April 18, 2024

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This Sunday at VUU


Sunday, April 21

“There IS a Planet B: A Systems Engineer Approaches Climate Change”

Join Worship Associate Melanie Cloonan-Schulte and guest speaker Sailesh Rao for this Earth Day service with refreshments afterward provided by our FLP team.

Dr. Sailesh Rao is the founder and Executive Director of Climate Healers, a non-profit dedicated toward healing the Earth's climate. He is an environmentalist by occupation and in that role has worked with Al Gore on Climate Change and executive produced several documentaries. He is a Systems Engineer by profession and has created the "Climate Bathtub" model to help humanity understand the systems solution space for reversing climate change and enabling a thriving planet.

YouTube Link - Sunday Service
Zoom Link - After the Service



  • Preschool (3/4 yr olds)
  • Kind/1st Grade
  • 2nd/3rd Grade
  • 4th/5th Grade
  • Middle School (6-8th)
  • High School (9-12th)

Haven't registered yet this year? Use this link

See 2023-2024 Curriculum Here


8:30 am Meditation

9:00 am Discussion  

In person, in the board room, and

Via Zoom here

Upcoming Memorial Services 

We have some upcoming memorial services and need some help with setting up and cleaning up, if you have some time available:

On Apr 25, 2024 for the service celebrating the life Peter Bollenbacher from 1:00-3:00 pm (set up at noon and clean up at 3:00 pm). Sign Up to help here.

On May 11, 2024 for the service celebrating the life of Erik Gajate from 11:00 am-12:30 pm (set up at 10:00 am, clean up at 1:00 pm)*

On May 17, 2024 for the service celebrating the life of Rachel Smith from 1:00-3:00 pm (set up at 12:00 pm, clean up at 3:00 pm)

Please reach out to Rev. Sarah if you can help.

*This is a rental and will be officiated by another UU minister. Nick Carr will be leading the set up.  

To help with Sunday morning hospitality, click here.

VUU Happenings

Love is our doctrine · Service is our prayer · Justice is our calling

See Articles Below For

Desert Notes

VUU Updates

Faith Formation

Joys and Concerns

Fellowship and Social Activities



Music Ministries

Children/Youth Faith Formation

Adult Faith Formation

Caring Ministries

Social and Environmental Justice

Sunday Morning Teams



UUA (Unitarian Universalist Association)

Submit to the Happenings

Prior Weeks' Newsletters

Partner Organizations

UU Justice Arizona

Valley Interfaith Project

Adams Elementary


Paz de Cristo


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Thursday, April 18

  • Finance Committee 5:30p
  • Ukulele Group 6p
  • Worship Associates 6:30p
  • Page Turners 7p

Friday, April 19

  • Prescott Retreat 2p

Saturday, April 20

  • New Participants Class 9a

Sunday, April 21

  • Dalai Lama and Friends 8:30a
  • Pygmy OWL 8:45a
  • Sunday Service 10:30a
  • Faith Formation Classes 10:30a
  • Burrowing OWL 12:45p
  • Burrowing OWL parents 12:45p

Monday, April 22

  • I-HELP Shelter 5:30p

Tuesday, April 23

  • EastVUU Women's Group 1p
  • Men's Group 7p

Wednesday, April 24

  • DnD game 5:30p
  • VUU Voices Choir 6p
  • New Member Class 6p
  • CCL & EAT Meeting 6p

Thursday, April 25

  • Peter Bollenbacher Memorial 1p
  • Board Meeting 5:30p
  • East VUU Social 6p
  • Facilities Committee 6p
  • Ukulele Club 6p
  • VIP Leaders Training 6:30p

Friday, April 26

  • Singles Dinner 6:30p

Saturday, April 27

Sunday, April 28

  • Dalai Lama and Friends 8:30a
  • UU The Vote 8:30a
  • Pygmy OWL class 8:45a
  • Sunday Service 10:30a
  • Faith Formation Classes 10:30a
  • VUUJAZ Coffee Convo 11:45a
  • Caring Neighbors 12p
  • Voices Lifted 12:15p
  • Burrowing OWL class 12:45p
  • Parents of Burrowing OWL 12:45p

Click here for the most current calendar, to view locations, contact information details for above events

Desert Notes from Rev. Sarah

Rev. Sarah will be attending the VUU Retreat in Prescott this weekend.

VUU Updates


Ain't We Got FUUNd?

The FUUNd's annual petroglyph hike took place on a glorious spring morning last weekend. Pictured are the VUU members who gathered at South Mountain to enjoy the hike and a delicious brunch hosted by Anne Schneider, Rebecca Riggs, and Nick Carr.

Wish you could have been there? Well, you can still get in on the April events listed below. Click here to bid on these and other FUUNd events scheduled later this year.

Healthier Living Through Mat Yoga (4/20/24; 11:00 am Online). Join yoga instructor Noell H. for a relaxing one-hour chair yoga class presented online. ($12)

Empathy Circle with Vagal Toning (4/21/24; 1:00–2:30 pm). Calling all seekers of connection to life! You are invited to circle, and then pair up, and then circle back again as we move from our hearts in vagal toning + empathy buddy practice. Please check the auction website for a full description. ($20)

Event pricing, location, and other details can be found at event.auctria.com/VUUFUUND2024

Email fuundtogether@vuu.org for questions or other assistance.


Money Matters

Based on March financials, it has become clear that contributions are significantly down in the first quarter, and we may be facing a cash crisis. Many members and friends have not made their 2024 pledges, and some have not been paying based on last year's pledge.

If you have not made your pledge, please do. We can't create a budget without it!

If you are able to make some catch-up contribution in April, please do. Our staff, our campus, and our programs depend on you. The operating budget makes it possible for us to support our mission of love, justice and service! 

You can review this month's financial report here.

Submitted by DeeAnne McClenahan, Financial Analyst


Special Funds Committee

The Special Funds Committee still has approximately $500 available for small grants this fiscal year ending June 30. Please contact Rick Hinrichs (480-888-6656 or hinrichs@asu.edu) for more information. You can also reach the Special Funds Committee at specialfunds@vuu.org.


VUU Preliminary Draft Budget

There have been many requests for more detail on our FY 2024-25 budget since our congregational conversation of 17 March.

Finance is providing a preliminary draft that contains 2 budgets, minimum and aspirational. These preliminary budgets are working tools not usually released beyond Board/Staff/Finance. As such they represent where we are, are frequently updated and are works in progress. The final budget presented to the congregation in June WILL BE DIFFERENT.

With these understandings please examine the budget numbers in detail here. Contact any Finance or Board member if you have questions or concerns.

Also please note: Our pledge year is the calendar year, 1 Jan to 31 December. Our Fiscal year is 1 July to 31 June. This operational year is what the Budget and most volunteer positions are aligned to.


The Final budget will not be available until the Board approves it. The congregation will discuss the budget again at the May 5th Congregational Conversation. The budget vote will occur at the June 9th annual meeting.


New to UU? New to VUU?

Never got around to joining and now you’re thinking about it? 

Start your path to membership, or just learn more about us!

VUU New Participant Class

Saturday, April 20 9:00 am-1:00 pm 

VUU Board Room (Office Building)

RSVP here

New Member Recognition

Sunday Service, May 5

Music Ministries

Our Accompanist Will Be Leaving

On March 27, Christy Vest resigned from the accompanist position accompanying our VUU Voices Choir and Sunday services. Her last Sunday will be this Sunday, April 21 and her last day accompanying the choir will be April 24, at our VUU Voices choir rehearsal. 

Christy shares that "I am sincerely grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with you [Katie Seiferth] and everyone else at VUU, and I deeply appreciate the warmth and welcome I've experienced here. Thank you for your time, support, and investment in the music program at VUU!" 

Christy, we have all been blessed by your beautiful music through your piano playing, singing voice, leading vocal warm-ups, accompanying our choir rehearsals, and leading our children’s choir. We look forward to staying in relationship as you continue to be a music teacher to many of our musical congregants and planning more concerts with you in the future. We wish you all the best on your new musical endeavors!

There will be a card available to sign to give well wishes and messages of gratitude to Christy. The card will be on the desk in the music room through the blue curtain in the Sanctuary this Sunday. We will also have treats to celebrate our time with Christy at her last choir rehearsal. Contact Katie Sieferth.

Earth Day Cabaret

The Earth Day Cabaret has been postponed and will be rescheduled to a later date. More information will be coming soon.

  • VUU Voices Choir - Wednesdays 6:00-7:30 pm (childcare available)
  • One Hour Choir - First Sundays 9:00-10:00 am
  • Chalice Ringers - contact Katie Sieferth if you are interested.
  • Drum Circle - contact Katie Sieferth if you are interested.
  • Play with the Band! - contact Katie Sieferth if you are interested.
  • Ukulele Club - Thursdays 6:00 pm
More About Music Ministries here

East VUU Social Night - NEW LOCATION!!!

Save the date: Thursday, April 25, 6:00 pm

NEW LOCATION: Change of Plans! We will be meeting at P.F. Chang's. 6610 E. Superstition Springs Blvd. Mesa, AZ. Reservation under EastVUU. (480) 218-4900.

Join us for delicious Chinese meal and good company. All Are Welcome!

East VUU Meeting

Save the date: ZOOM meeting. Thursday, May 9, 6:00 pm. Join Zoom Meeting (Meeting ID: 739 743 734)

Join Melissa Bush, Hospice Nurse Practitioner, in a discussion of what to expect when a dear one approaches the end of life. Hopefully, this will help us all in times of distress and confusion as we support our loved ones and family. All are welcome.

Faith Formation

Thank you!!

Thank you to all of the congregants who stepped up to help make our Easter Pancake Breakfast such a success this year!

The Coming of Age 2025 teens did a great job of selling tickets, making food, setting up, taking down and serving breakfast. I hope you had an opportunity to chat with some of them.

Dave Merrill, our pancake guru, walked the youth through the mixing, measuring and grilling of the pancakes, a task that often includes searching the electrical panel for blown circuit breakers! Laura Rohlfing's knowledge of what, where, and how in that kitchen kept us on task! Nick Carr knew what we needed before we even realized there was a need.

Thanks to everyone who helped with the clean up and resetting of the sanctuary! 

I hope you all love the pancake breakfast tradition as much as I do!

-Submitted by Marci Beaudoin

Joys and Concerns

Share your Joys and Concerns here.

Peter Bollenbacher

August 17, 1951 - March 26, 2024

VUU has lost a good friend. Peter Bollenbacher and his wife, Michelle Tomkins, have been a part of the VUU community since Warner Road days. Friends remember Peter as a generous and cheerful individual, with a wide range of talents and interests. He fought stomach, esophageal, and liver cancer for several years, showing indomitable spirit right up to the end. His Celebration of Life will be Thursday, April 25, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. All are welcome.

If you would like to help, sign up here.

Fellowship and Social Activities

Singles Dinner Out

WHEN: Friday, April 26 at 6:30 pm

WHERE: Joe’s Farm Grill, 3000 E Ray Rd, Gilbert. (2 miles east of Lindsay) It’s in the area called Agritopia, and we’ll be eating outside while the weather is still nice at night. There’s plenty of parking in the back. We’ll be saving a table, so get in line to order.

RSVP to Claudette by phone or text 973-768-6047. (Text STRONGLY preferred. Not all the emails have been getting to me.) But if you must, RSVP to claudettewassil@hotmail.com

Giving / Volunteering

April 22 I-HELP Meal

It's spring! And what better way to celebrate than with an old-fashioned picnic?

Please bring ready to serve items between 5:30-6:00 pm. Non-perishable or cold food donations may be labeled and brought to the Sanctuary kitchen on the Sunday prior to the meal.

Please sign up here. Thank you!

-Submitted by Laura Rohlfing, VUU I-HELP Coordinator

Immigration Action Team Border Support: Collecting Donations

Humanitarian Crisis at Sassabe: Small handheld fruit cups, and applesauce are needed at the Sassabe border. You can drop these off at the sanctuary or text Sharon Kopina at 602-668-7397 with the address of the next link in the supply chain you can mail any items from Amazon to.

Please don't forget on-going clothing donations as you clean out closets and drawers. Thank You!

-Submitted by Sharon Kopina

Partners in Education (PIE)

Call for Bilingual Volunteers! Opening of Rumbo al Exito/Path to Success! Rumbo al Exito is off to a running start!!! We have a corps of volunteers from VUU, students from Westwood High School, and volunteers from the community, coming together to provide afterschool homework assistance to the English Language Learners at Adams Elementary. As the word gets out, we have more students so we need more volunteer tutors.

Please let us know if you would like to join in this important effort. Sessions are Mondays and Wednesdays, 4:00-5:00 pm. Participation on one or both days is possible. Contact Randall Casillas, (twinarrows1@yahoo.com) or Perii Skolnick, (sperii1@gmail.com)

-Submitted by Perii Skolnick

Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation | vuu.org