January 25, 2024

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This Sunday at VUU


Sunday, January 28 10:30

From Right to Related: Reimagining Conflict with

Rev. Dr. Samantha Wilson

This is our second of three weekends with Rev. Sam, as she leads two workshops on Restorative Practices and Conflict Resolution Friday and Saturday and finishes the weekend in worship with us. 

The VUU Voices Choir performs.

The Sanctuary is open! 



  • 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

YouTube Link for Sunday Service
Zoom Link for after the service

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


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Thursday, January 25

  • Board Meeting 5:15p
  • Facilities Committee 6p
  • Ukulele Club 6:30p
  • OWL planning meeting 6p
  • East VUU Dinner Out 6:30p
  • Carol Weatherspoon Memorial 7p

Friday, January 26

  • VUU Singles Dinner 6:30p
  • Restorative Practices Workshop 1p

Saturday, January 27

  • Restorative Practices Wkshop 10a

Sunday, January 28

  • Dalai Lama and Friends 8:30a
  • Sunday Service 10:30a
  • Faith Formation Classes 10:30a
  • Voices Lifted 12:15p
  • Burrowing OWL Parents 12:45p
  • Burrowing OWL Class 12:45p

Monday, January 29

  • VIP Core Team Meeting 9a
  • I-HELP Shelter 5:30p

Tuesday, January 30

  • East VUU Women's Group 1p
  • Men's Group 7p

Wednesday, January 31

  • DnD Game 5:30p
  • Choir Rehearsal 6p
  • CCL & EAT Meeting 6p

Thursday, Feb. 1

  • Ukulele Club 6:30p
  • Spirit of Life Reading Circle 7p

Friday, Feb. 2

Saturday, Feb. 3

  • Creativity Matters 4p
  • Social Suppers 5p

Sunday, Feb.4

  • Dalai Lama and Friends 8:30a
  • Sunday Service 10:30a
  • Faith Formation Classes 10:30a
  • FUUnd Kickoff 10:30a
  • Pygmy OWL Orientation 12:30p
  • Burrowing OWL Parents 12:45p
  • Burrowing OWL Class 12:45p

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

Desert Notes from Rev. Sarah

It's been a whirlwind since our construction began right after Christmas (again) and I am relieved to be back in our Sanctuary for Sunday services, even though we are still putting the finishing touches on it.  We had a New Participant class this last weekend, and I expect to be celebrating at least a couple of new members in February!  As the Board sorts through nearly 30 pages of notes from the 110 participants in our Listening Sessions at the beginning of the year, I want to reflect back to you that there was both depth and breadth of what we heard from folks.  The reality of serving a UU congregation at this moment in time is that we are serving very diverse needs and engaging a very wide range of ideas.  The complexity of this reality is sometimes easy to lose track of unless we step back to really take it in.  We have, sometimes, competing needs and ideas.  And while it is the job of your leaders and staff to try to sort this out, it would be a modern miracle if we were able to consistently meet and engage all of those needs and ideas all of the time in a way that avoids conflict, challenges, or mistakes.  In a community like ours, which is committed to pluralism, we all need to sort these out and to practice “turning to wonder,” which we invited you to do in our listening sessions. We also need to practice listening, making amends, restoring relationships and starting over.  I include myself in this “we!” 

I’ve used these phrases to help us think about good practices in a pluralistic community:  Give grace, make space (make room for people to do things differently, make mistakes, be human); Move at the Speed of Trust (recognize that relationships take time, energy, and commitment and the quality of these impact the amount of trust we have to move forward together); Never in Doubt, Frequently Wrong (meaning, we often make the mistake of certainty when we actually have missed someone else’s experience or knowledge…this is a reminder to act with humility and to be willing to learn where we have missed something important to someone else).  Some of you have asked me why we are engaging in conflict work with Rev. Sam.  You’ve wondered, “is there something wrong with us?”  No.  There’s something missing in our larger culture!  We don’t learn adequate skills to navigate the complexity of pluralism well (needed for the larger project of democracy, too!)  Because pluralism means differences, and navigating differences means we will bump into each other and make mistakes in our relationships–we will encounter places of conflict. My hope is that all of us–myself included!--will learn better skills for navigating pluralism and difference in our congregation and in the world around us.  Will we ever be done?  Probably not!  But we will get better.  I can already see this happening.  I hope to see many of you at the workshops this weekend.  Thanks for the many ways you are showing up to this work, asking questions, and learning together.

I invite you to check out these offerings from Side with Love's

 annual 30 Days of Love Campaign.

VUU Updates

Restorative Approaches to Conflict Workshop

Presented by Rev. Dr. Samantha Wilson. There’s still room for some more people to register for Saturday’s workshop. (Friday is basically full!) Anyone can attend, there’s no pre-requisite or ongoing commitment.  

Register Online Here 

Saturday, January 27 (10AM-1PM) at VUU

“Conflict is the spirit of the relationship asking itself to deepen.” 

- Malidoma Patrice Somé 

When you hear the word “conflict mediation” or “accountability,” do you already feel like you’ve done something “wrong” or “bad”? A different experience is possible! Come learn with our conflict engagement consultant, Rev. Dr. Samantha Wilson, as we explore a different paradigm for conflict -- one where conflicts create connection and our interdependence and creative power is the basis of all action, healing, and accountability. 

During the three-hour workshop participants will:

  • Experience being in "circle" with other members of the VUU community
  • Practice with simple tools to support each of us in our personal reactions to stress and conflict
  • Engage and play together with an innovative experience of a restorative and transformative justice paradigm 
  • Imagine ways that a restorative and transformative approach to conflict, grounded in UU values, could shift our personal and community approaches to conflict and harm

Expect some ritual, creativity, playfulness, reflection, and real time exploration of what relatedness means to us. All workshop participants must be registered to participate (walk-ins may not be available unless space is remaining and announced). You will receive a confirmation of registration email. Tea and coffee will be available. We welcome participants to bring foods to share! 


FUUNd Auction Kickoff February 4

Many thanks to all of you who donated to the 2024 "Let’s Have FUUNd Together" Auction! We can’t wait for everyone to see our FUUNd-tastic online catalog of dinners, outings, hikes, tasty treats, handmade treasures, workshops, hikes, services, and many more FUUNd items!

Please plan to join us for the Auction Kickoff right after the service on February 4. FUUNd Committee members will be there to help you register and show you how to bid online. Auction items will also be displayed on the patio for those who prefer to browse a “hard copy” of the catalog. AND… THERE WILL BE CAKE!


New Participant Spring Schedule

New Member Recognition on February 4. If you have decided to join Valley UU since our last new member recognition, we’d love to recognize you. Please contact Rev. Sarah at minister@vuu.org if you’d like to be included. What’s involved? We invite you to come up front and be introduced, engage in a shared covenant with the congregation, and receive a symbolic gift from us. We’ll do this during the time for all ages, so kids can be included in families that are joining.

March 2

New Participant Welcome Luncheon, 11:00 am-1:00 pm, Classroom 1&2

RSVP for Mar 2 here. 

April 2

New Participant Class, 9:00 am- 1:00 pm, VUU Board Room

RSVP for Apr 2 here.

May 5

New Member Recognition, Sunday Service

June 1

New Participant Welcome Luncheon, 11:00 am-1:00 pm, Classroom 1&2

RSVP for Jun 1 here.

Memorial for Carol Weatherspoon

You are invited to join the family of Carol Weatherspoon tonight January 25, 7:00 pm in rooms 1 and 2 in the Faith Formation building at VUU for a memorial gathering to share memories of this amazing woman. She was a member for several years until 2018 when health issues made it wise for her to return to Florida where her family could provide the care and support she needed. She passed away January 18, 2023.

Carol is best remembered for organizing coffee hour after Sunday Services and the meal on Mondays for our homeless I-HELP guests.

It will be an informal gathering with light refreshments. You are welcome to bring a snack if sharing.

-Submitted by JoAnne Smith

Music Ministries

The VUU Voices Choir Wednesdays, 6:00-7:30 pm

Rehearsals are on Wednesdays in the Sanctuary from 6:00-7:30 pm. To see the 2023-2024 schedule please click here. To access sheet music and vocal tracks for songs we are working on, please click here.

One-Hour Choirs (Adults and Kids)

Have you and/or your child wanted to sing in a choir, but mid-week rehearsals don’t work for you? Join the 1-Hour Choir. We’ll learn an easy song or two on the Sunday morning we perform. This allows for flexibility - you do not have to be committed week to week. All ages are invited, children and adults. The adults will meet in the Sanctuary and the kids will meet in the Flex room, in the Sanctuary both from 9:00-10:00 am. Both the adults and the kids will then lead music in the service, with the kids singing before they go to their classes.

A rehearsal and performance are held every first Sunday of the month, coming up February 4. Contact Katie for more information or with any questions: MusicDirector@vuu.org.


Social Night “Dinner Out”

January 25, 6:30 pm

Nando’s Mexican Cafe 

6715 E McDowell Rd 

Mesa, AZ 85215

Come one, come all! Join EastVUU folks for a night out at Nandos! Tonight, January 25 at 6:30 pm.

EVUU Meeting - Racism: What is it costing YOU?

Zoom Meeting

Thursday, February 8, 6p NEW TIME!

In recognition of Black History Month, Beverly McCormick and Doug Nintzel will guide us through a lively discussion about the harms of racism to all of us and what we can do to help the healing.

Join Zoom Meeting here

Partners in Education: Urgent Special Request

Adams Elementary School's Tiger Store has run out of incentive rewards for good behavior!!! This is an important element, in supporting the positive behavioral program at Adams. Thank you for your ongoing commitment to make a difference in these kids' lives!!! Cash donations made out to Partners In Education can be sent to VUU. Contact Perii Skolnick (sperii1@gmail.com) for more detailed information about this program.

TAX SEASON IS UPON US! Please consider contributing to Adams Elementary EAC. You may deduct up to $200 individually or $400 jointly from the taxes you owe Arizona. This is your opportunity to direct your tax payment to a program that is aligned with our VUU values! The ECA Form that you include with your donation is available here. This can be done any time during the year, up until your day of filing. You may then subtract your donation off the taxes you owe Arizona! For more information, contact Perii Skolnick (sperii1@gmail.com). 

Faith Formation

Grief Support Group

VUU Pastoral Care is organizing a Grief Support Group beginning Sunday, February 11 that will run for 8 weeks on Sundays from 1:00-2:30 pm in the VUU Board Room. This group is for anyone experiencing grief related to any type of loss who would like the opportunity to support and be supported by others also facing grief. The group will be held in person, with simultaneous virtual access for those who cannot attend in person.

This is planned as a covenant grounded support and discussion group (not a grief education program) facilitated by Lay Pastoral Care Team members Melissa Bush and Dan Schulte. For this type of group, participation will be limited to 12 members maximum. Those who sign up for the group are asked to commit to the entire 8 weeks. Depending on interest, we may consider running a second group later in the year.

If you are interested in signing up for the group, please contact Melissa Bush (melbear77@msn.com) and if you have questions you can contact either Dan (dlschulte@msn.com) or Melissa.

-Submitted by Daniel Schulte

Return of the Prescott Retreat!

We are excited to announce the grand reopening of our All Ages Congregation-Wide Retreat in Prescott! This is an opportunity to get away, make new connections, have some fun, and learn new things. If you are interested in joining us for this memorable experience please fill out this interest form.

Camp de Beneville Pines

Camp de Benneville Pines has announced that Family camp, scheduled Feb 17-19 has been cancelled. "Due to a culmination of factors, camp staff have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2024 Elementary Family Winter Camp." As of now, no other camps have been cancelled.


Registration opened January 13 for three highly anticipated camps! These camps sell out fast so be sure to register early. Click the below to learn more.

Rainbow Family 4/5-4/7

UU Women's Retreat 5/3-5/5

Yoga & Whole Living 5/17-5/19

Joys and Concerns

Share your Joys and Concerns here.

Voices Lifted

Voices Lifted is a small group of women singers that can provide vocal music at bedside to calm, heal, or uplift. If you or a family member needs comfort at home, in hospital, or in hospice care, please contact Lynn DeMuth via the Pastoral Care team at pastoralcare@vuu.org.

Fellowship and Social Activities

The Page Turners Book Club

The Page Turners Book Club is open to all members, visitors, and friends of VUU who enjoy reading and discussing a variety of books. The next meeting is February 15 at 7:00 PM.

The book is The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery.

With her “joyful passion for these intelligent and fascinating creatures” , Montgomery chronicles the growing appreciation of this mollusk as she tells a unique love story. By turns funny, entertaining, touching, and profound, The Soul of an Octopus reveals what octopuses can teach us about the meeting of two very different minds.

For the meeting details, watch this space.

-Submitted by Amy Monahan

Ukulele Club Started January 4

We have an Ukulele Club at VUU! Join us on Thursday nights at 6:00 pm in Classroom #5. Any level is welcome to join us. It will be a round robin format where you can volunteer to share/play what you've been working on. (No more than 3 min).  We will also play some songs together. Please text uke group at (602) 884-0827 if you are interested. Please bring your uke, small percussion etc.

-Submitted by Maria Wildflower

Singles Events Coming Up

Dinner Out

WHEN: Friday, January 26 at 6:30 pm

WHERE: Perfect Pear Bistro, 9845 S Priest Drive, Tempe (at the back of Tempe Crossing Mall on the corner of Ray and Priest), (480) 247-3410. 

RSVP to claudettewassil@hotmail.com or contact Claudette by phone or text (973) 768-6047. (Text preferred.) 



Sunday, February 11, 4:30 pm

Super Bowl Party at Gloria's

-Submitted by Jodi Freeman

Spirit of Life Reading Circle

Thursday, Feb. 1 at 7p

Join Zoom Meeting

How do we "spend" our lives?

Reading from A Year with Thoreau

Giving / Volunteering

New process for hospitality planning

If you chair a committee or lead occasional programs or events and need hospitality help, the process is changing. (Or maybe more accurately, we are intentionally designing a process in place of the informal way we’ve done this in the past.)

First, if you are planning an after service or non-Sunday event that includes refreshments, you will need to identify someone on your team as the “lead” for hospitality. 

Second, this person will contact our coffee team via Laura Rohlfing and make sure you understand how our kitchen in organized and what is involved in things like making coffee. Laura will not be the person doing these things for your activity, but she will make sure your point person knows what to do. 

Finally, you may need to recruit help from your team or folks attending your event for set up and clean up. JoAnne Smith, who used to help with these some, is not in a position right now to do any of the physical labor but is happy to bounce ideas with you. 

Barb Quijada is moving more fully into her leadership with VIP, and will not be on the Sunday coffee team or available to help with hospitality for other events. We are grateful for the many times both of these women have helped with events and hospitality over time!!! If this is an area of interest for you, contact Rev. Sarah or Laura Rohlfing.


The Sunday Morning Coffee/Refreshment Service is looking for a "few good friends" who are willing to donate a few hours each month to make sure that this invaluable part of Sunday service is able to survive and thrive! I have been a member of this team for several years, and have found it to be a very rewarding experience. I have met many people and had some great conversations across the refreshment table!

We are looking for people who would be willing to be available for one Sunday a month to assist with coffee/refreshment service. Orientation and training are provided. We are also looking for people who would be willing to fill in as substitutes on an occasional Sunday. Again, orientation and training are provided.

At this point, the Coffee Service Sign Up Genius has been discontinued. Please stay tuned for further developments. If you are interested in any of the above, or if you have any questions, please contact Laura Rohlfing by email or 480-249-6287 (text or voice mail). 

AZCEND Eggs Benefit

VUU supports the work of AZCEND via their IHELP program which houses folks in our sanctuary once or twice a week. Because of this relationship, I have been serving on their Board. Would you like to join me at an upcoming breakfast to celebrate the lives they are changing and the difference they are making? The breakfast is complimentary. We really want people to come and find out more about the impact AZCEND is making in our community, and I would love it if you could come. The event is Thursday, February 15 at the Gilbert Community Center. Check-in begins at 7:30 am, and the program runs from 8 – 9 am. Let me know if you're coming! We can sit together. You can register online at https://azcend.org/eggs-benefit/

Submitted by Rev. Sarah

Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation | vuu.org