April 11, 2024

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This Sunday at VUU



Sunday, April 14

“What Does It Mean to Be UU?”

Barbara Face, Adah Beehler, and Rev. Sarah lead a service that looks at the power of covenants versus creeds and how we are born into covenant.  Rev. Rebecca Parker says “We are born into relationship before we shape relationships by our conscious intention. We inherit covenant before we create covenant. We do not make ourselves. We are given the gift of life, the gift of the earth that sustains life, and the gift of one another—here, now—and in all the generations leading up to now.”  VUU youth join us for this service as they learn what “adult” services look like and also learn something about being UU! 

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 1-3 (set up at noon and clean up at 3)

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

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

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 11

  • East VUU Meeting 6p
  • Ukulele Club 6p

Friday, April 12

  • Singles Lunch 11:30p
  • OWL Training 2p
  • Paz de Cristo Meal Prep 4p

Saturday, April 13

  • OWL Training 9a

Sunday, April 14

  • Dalai Lama and Friends 8:30a
  • Pygmy OWL class 8:45a
  • Sunday Service 10:30a
  • Faith Formation Classes 10:30a
  • OWL Training 10:30a
  • Immigration Action Team 11:45a
  • Voices Lifted 12:15p
  • Burrowing OWL class 12:45p
  • Parents of Burrowing OWL 12:45p

Monday, April 15

  • I-HELP Shelter 5:30p
  • VUU Scout Meeting 6p
  • EAT Meeting 6:30p

Tuesday, April 16

  • EastVUU Women's Group 1p
  • LDC Meeting 6p

Wednesday, April 17

  • DnD game 5:30p
  • VUU Voices Choir 6p

Thursday, April 18

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

Friday, April 19

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
  • VUUJAZ Conversation 12p
  • Burrowing OWL 12:45p
  • Burrowing OWL parents 12:45p

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

Desert Notes from Rev. Sarah

As some of you learned at service last week, I participated in some civil disobedience last week in support of Unite Here (union) concession workers at Sky Harbor. (Article here) With two NAACP representatives (both pastors, one is a Bishop) another African American Bishop, and 15 other individuals, we helped draw attention to the issues facing these workers.  

A lot is going on in the life of your minister! I celebrated and dedicated a new baby with a couple who wanted to do this with a minister and their family. I performed a wedding ceremony for two amazing women in late March as well. Another couple has begun working with me on their October wedding, and we are planning three memorial services over the next month.  

I’m headed to our congregational camp extravaganza on April 19 and an installation service for my colleague Matthew Funke-Crary in Tucson on April 21. I’ve met with the committee helping to hire our interim Director of Faith Formation, and you’ll be hearing more from them soon. We’re also planning our big goodbye party for Marci in May! In between, my daughter graduates on May 11 from college and I’ll be helping her wrap up her life in Missouri as she prepares for Peace Corps service in Costa Rica. All of this while we try to wrap up our pledge campaign and plan for next year. Your prayers are welcome…LOL As we used to say, “catch you on the flip side!”

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.

Learn How to Make Unique Baby Blankets (04/14, 04/28, 12:001:00 pm; 5/5/24, 2:00-3:00 pm) Learn how to knit by making a beautiful baby blanket in this three-session workshop! No knitting experience is required and all supplies will be provided by instructor Heather M. ($30)

Healthier Living Through Mat Yoga (04/20/24; 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.


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.

Sanctuary Transformation Celebration

The Sanctuary Transformation Team recently called our project to a close, and celebrated at the March Congregational Conversation. After five years of work, we celebrated the planning, fundraising, delays, more planning and fundraising, and projects that transformed the beauty, functionality and accessibility of our sanctuary (and put a new roof on the education buildings). If you missed our presentation, please take a look here to see all that was accomplished.

Thank you to the 39 individuals and 143 donors who made this happen!

-Submitted by DeeAnne McClenahan


Please Consider Running for a Position

Last Sunday, my co-chair on the VUU Leadership Development Committee Roz Hawkins addressed the congregation, making a "pitch" for people to consider running for one of the 3 groups which are elected in our congregation: Board of Trustees, Leadership Development Committee, and Special Funds Committee. And she also beautifully described her experience falling in love with VUU as the basis of her commitment to the congregation. I hope Roz's story resonated for you as it did for me!

I'd like to echo Roz's request to consider running for elected office at VUU with my own. Elections provide us the only really reasonable way for all of the congregational community to chose members to represent them in the administration of the congregation. However, the democratic process only works if members of our congregation (maybe you!) are willing to step out of their comfort zone to "share their love" of this beautiful congregational home by running for an elected position.

If you would like to talk more about this, any member of our committee would love to talk to you!  

-Submitted by Dan Schulte- on behalf of the VUU Leadership Development Committee, which besides Roz and Dan includes Teri McGovern-Nintzel, Mary Rothschild, Amanda Schneider, Joel Sannes, and David Sheh.  

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.


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

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 Meeting: UU The Vote!

Save the date: Thursday, April 11, 6:00 pm

Join EastVUU and Sandy Whitley on zoom to discuss ways we can bring about a more compassionate world in this critical election year. All are welcome!

Join Zoom Meeting

East VUU Social Night

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

Location: Pizzicata, 6210 E. McKellips Rd, Mesa,,


All Are Welcome

Environmental Action Team

Environmental Action Team (EAT) Meeting

Date: Monday, April 15 at 6:30pm.

Let's try this again...Join us on Google Meet (not Zoom). 

We'll open with introductions and the request: "Share something about your most memorable Earth Day."

We'll also discuss upcoming plans for UU the VOTE (surely of the utmost importance to many of us), as well as FLP (Food for Life and the Planet), updates on VUU's Solar goals, and our next Environmental Action events.

Bring your ideas. ALL Are Welcome!

-Submitted by Linda Stenholm

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 Tompkins, 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 April 25, from 1 to 3 p.m. All are welcome.

Fellowship and Social Activities

Memorial Day Camping with UUs at SAWUURA

No fee and no crowds! Our beautiful UU-owned camp property in Northern Arizona, SAWUURA, will be open for UUs and friends of all ages to come and enjoy the mountains for Memorial Day Weekend. SAWUURA is a 100-acre property owned by UUs located in the Sierra Ancha mountains near Young, AZ.

Dates: May 24-27

Families, children, friends all welcome! Camp has water, composting toilets, a group kitchen and ramada. Bring tents, sleeping gear, and your own food. High Clearance Vehicle required

Information & registration available here.

April Spirit of Life Reading Circle is Canceled

Dear Friends, Anne, Rebecca and I have decided to cancel Spirit of Life Reading Circle for April, but we are adding a June meeting this year. Our May meeting will be on Thursday, May 9 at 7:00 pm, and our June meeting will be Thursday, June 6 at 7:00 pm.

We look forward to seeing you at our next meeting in May, as our April meeting is canceled.

-Submitted by Mary Rothschild

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 April 18 at 7:00 pm. We will meet at the home of Johnnie Godfrey in Tempe (near Baseline Rd. and the 101).  The book is "The Dictionary of Lost Words" by Pip Williams.

For the meeting address or questions, please contact Johnnie Godfrey at (480) 231-8381, or email Amy Monahan.

-Submitted by Amy Monahan

Singles Lunch Bunch

WHEN: Friday, April 12, 11:30 am

WHERE: Wildflower, 6428 McClintock Dr., Tempe (Tempe Square Shopping Center on the SW corner of Guadalupe and McClintock) 

BONUS: After lunch we’ll visit the Turnstyle Consignment Shop and/or Changing Hands Book store, both next door.

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

We’re going to try to start having luncheons the 2nd Friday of every month, so mark your calendars.

-Submitted by Claudette Wassil

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

April Donation of the Month: Canned Beans and Tuna

Please support our focus charity, Paz de Cristo, by bringing in a donation of canned tuna or beans at any time during the month of April. If possible, we ask that the cans have pull-tab lids to make them easier to open. Drop your donation in the designated container in the foyer of the sanctuary. 

Consider a tax credit donation to Paz de Cristo. Each day, more individuals are counting on Paz De Cristo to support them while they are experiencing homelessness. With ever-increasing housing, gas, and food costs in Arizona, your support can help ensure that our neighbors don’t have to worry about how to meet their basic needs while they journey out of homelessness.

-Submitted by Megan Kimball

Paz de Cristo Volunteers Needed This Month

Continuing the Tradition… Keeping the Commitment… Living our Principles

April date: Friday, April 12, 4:00-7:00 pm

Location: 424 W Broadway Rd, Mesa, AZ

Families welcome!

Please join us as we keep VUU’s 34-year tradition of serving the evening meal to Paz de Cristo guests on the second Friday of April. Volunteers gather at the Paz kitchen/dining room from 4:00-7:00 pm to prepare then serve the evening meal. Additional tasks include cleanup of dishes, sweeping and mopping of floors. If you are joining us for the first time, don’t worry, Paz staff and experienced VUU volunteers make the work easy and fun, and the evening goes fast.

Seventeen volunteers are needed for the evening and can range in age from 12 on up. Volunteers must be able to stand and participate in all tasks during the entire evening. Have questions? Contact Joanne at 602-620-3100.

Click here for the sign up link

-Submitted by Joanne McGrath

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 it to.

The photo is of the Good Samaritans of Green Valley. They are the ones with the boots on the ground, waiting for supplies to come in to bring directly to the border wall where there are many women and children. Asylum Seekers travel through the roughest terrain and are often forced by border patrol to walk the additional 5 miles to their station in all types of weather. 

-Submitted by Sharon Kopina

Partners in Education (PIE)

Opening of Rumbo al Exito/Path to Success!

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. Please let us know if you would like to join in this important effort. Contact Randall Casillas, (twinarrows1@yahoo.com) or Perii Skolnick, (sperii1@gmail.com)

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! Here is an ECA Form that you can include with your donation. This can be done any time by April 15, up until your day of filing. You may then subtract your donation from the taxes you owe Arizona! For more information, contact Perii Skolnick

-Submitted by Perii Skolnick

Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation | vuu.org