November 2, 2023

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This Sunday at VUU


Sunday November 2, 2023

“Day of Remembrance: Memento Mori, Memento Vivere”

Rev. Sarah and members of the Caring Ministries will lead us in a service that invites us to remember those we’ve lost, to practice holding grief together, and to consider how embracing the reality of death can deepen our connection to life and the opportunities of each moment to live fully. After service, Caring Ministries hosts a guest speaker that will help us learn more about dementia as part of the aging process.  



8:30 am Meditation

9:00 am Discussion  

In person: Board Room

Via Zoom here


  • 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

After service, Caring Ministries will host a guest speaker and potluck lunch.

“What is Dementia, Anyway?”

Join us for a talk provided by a Hospice of the Valley speaker on dementia. The talk will help define dementia and how it affects the brain. The discussion will include what is normal and describe changes that can occur. Also discussed will be what planning and decisions should be considered by family. In addition, ways to enhance communication with a loved one living with dementia, and community resources available for support in the home, will be covered. Please bring a dish to share for lunch, ready to serve as soon as Sunday service ends. The program will be livestreamed.

Join Us on YouTube 10:30 Sunday
Join the Zoom discussion after service here

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

VUU Updates

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, November 2

  • Spirit of Life Reading Circle 7p

Friday, November 3

  • FLP Lunch 12p
  • NefeshSoul 5:30p

Saturday, November 4

  • Instrumental Meeting 10a
  • New Participant Luncheon 11a
  • Social Suppers 5 p

Sunday, November 5

  • Dalai Lama and Friends 8:30a
  • Sunday Worship Service 10:30a
  • Faith Formation Classes 10:30a
  • Pastoral Care Presentation 11:45
  • Spotted OWL Parents 12:45p
  • Burrowing OWL Parents 12:45p
  • Spotted OWL Class 12:45p
  • Burrowing OWL Class 12:45p

Monday, November 6

  • Communications Team 5p
  • ScoUUt Pack 6p
  • I-HELP Shelter 5:30p

Tuesday, November 7

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

Wednesday, November 8

  • Choir Rehearsal 6p
  • Special Funds Meeting 6p
  • VIP Housing Planning 6p

Thursday, November 9

  • Caring Neighbors Coord Dinner 5p
  • East VUU Gathering Program 6:30p

Friday, November 10

  • Paz de Cristo Meal Prep 4p

Saturday, November 11

  • Debbie Dynes Memorial 2p

Sunday, November 12

  • Dalai Lama and Friends 8:30a
  • Sunday Worship Service 10:30a
  • Faith Formation Classes10:30a
  • Immigration Action Team 11:45a
  • Voices Lifted 12:15p

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

Desert Notes from Rev. Sarah

The news has been filled with harrowing violence. From the wars in Ukraine and in Gaza to more mass shooting events in our own country, we are being bombarded with the trauma of mass murder, hatred, and mass destruction. At this moment it is possible to take a stand against anti-semitism and the horror of terrorism proliferated by Hamas and to call for a cease-fire in a situation in which thousands of civilians are being killed and dislocated as homes are destroyed beyond repair. 

As Unitarian Universalists who value our relationships in the interfaith world sometimes it is hard to stand in the breach and have any clarity about what we might call for. We can’t forget the millions of Jews murdered in the genocide of WWII nor the history of centuries of anti-semitic violence and political oppression which have real reverberations and continuity in our contemporary world. We also can’t pretend that the current violence we are witnessing will do anything other than further deeply traumatize and polarize those involved. I think it’s important to remember that the people of a country are not synonymous with the governments of those countries–governments can act in ways that harm their own people just as they can act in ways that protect them.  

Don’t we know that ourselves? We know that the gun lobby regularly works against the actual desires of a majority of Americans who want to see a decrease in access to firearms and to interrupt access to them in situations of domestic violence, mental health challenges, and past history of violence/criminal activity. This is why it matters who we elect to state legislatures and to Congress and also why it matters that we organize to make our voices heard around the issues that matter to us. No leader is perfect, and in a democracy it is our responsibility to redirect elected leaders through our own citizen lobbying and through ballots that prioritize money, policies and elected leaders that are responsive to us instead of to Big Money. 

Locally we are working with Valley Interfaith Project to leverage local leadership around the twin crises of mental health and access to affordable housing in our communities. Our young people in particular are in crisis and need us to show up with them to demand that our schools and communities have a better plan for resourcing their needs and addressing the underlying complexities of mental health challenges (bullying, poverty, racism and homo/transphobia, lack of access to health care, social isolation and so many more!).  

In addition our immigration team is working together, and with partner organizations, to meet the humanitarian aid needs of immigrants showing up in our country looking for safety from violence, jobs that will sustain their families, and access to opportunities to live full and productive lives with dignity and joy. None of us gets free until all of us are free.  

We need to be talking to each other and to our friends and family about these issues and all of the ways that our capacity to be fully human are challenged. My spiritual journey is impacted when the world around me is a place of brutal violence, hatred, misunderstanding and oppression where war wins over diplomacy. I can’t separate my own spiritual needs from the reality around me. Peace is not peace if it doesn’t extend outside of my own body and experiences. Unitarian Universalism isn’t a faith that promotes spiritual ignorance or spiritual self-centeredness. Our journeys are always intertwined, so it matters to me if your path is being blocked by systemic racism or economic disparity, by gun violence or war..Justice is an aspect of spiritual deepening, not a path away or distinct from it. May we stand in the breach and repair what we can or demand the resources necessary to repair our communities.  

Isaiah 58:12 NRSV: “Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.”  

VUU Updates

Save the Dates!

The next weekend Rev. Sam will be with us is January 26-28. Details TBA but count on an event on Saturday and Rev. Sam at the helm of the Sunday service on January 28.


New Participant Luncheon

Some of you expressed confusion when you received an invite to the New Participant luncheon this Saturday because you are longtime members.  We know you’re a long time member!  New participants like to meet current and long time members at these luncheon events–it helps them feel welcomed and connected. Several of you regularly attend and help welcome folks, and I deeply appreciate that.  Please consider taking time to meet new people and learn about them so that our community will feel welcoming and open.  

Borderlinks and Arizona Leaders

I am joining a delegation next week of local folks learning from Borderlinks about the issues of immigration in our country and needs of folks crossing the borders to arrive in the United States.  I am excited to deepen my knowledge and my relationships in order to better the support the immigration team at VUU and to continue my own commitment to activism around these issues. I’ll be in Tucson and at the border for four days.  I look forward to sharing with all of you about this experience and the ideas that result from it.  –Rev. Sarah

Marci is retiring from her position as Director of Faith Formation Ministry on May 31, 2024

From Marci: Thank you all for the opportunity to work as the Director of Faith Formation ministry for the past 15 years. I have loved my time here and appreciate the opportunities it has afforded me. The experiences, challenges, and the opportunities for growth that I have encountered during my tenure have been both professionally rewarding and personally fulfilling. I will miss the interactions and the meaningful work we do at Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation.

I am committed to ensuring a smooth transition and have begun work to make sure our Faith Formation Assistant, Kelsie McEntire, has the skills and knowledge necessary to keep our ministry running at the level that our congregation deserves.


It is my intention to stay away from Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation for a minimum period of one year to allow the new director space to make the program their own.

Love to all, Marci Beaudoin

Special Funds 2023 Recognition Sunday Honoree Announced

The Special Funds Committee is pleased to announce our 2023 Recognition Sunday Honoree, Ken St. John!

Ken has served VUU in many capacities over the past 26 years including the Board of Trustees, the Leadership Development Committee, the Ministerial Search Committee, the Usher Committee, the Green Sanctuary garden, the Facilities Committee, the Music Program (singing in choir and leading our Cabaret performances), and most recently the Worship Associates team. Ken has most consistently volunteered in the Faith Formation program, having taught or assisted with every class other than the infants, which his daughters often covered. He co-led the YRUU high school age social group for a couple of years and now serves as a facilitator in the youth’s Our Whole Lives sexuality education program.

Please watch for a Special Funds Committee letter regarding Recognition Sunday with a form for a special donation to the VUU Endowment Fund in honor of Ken St. John. This letter has an extended bio of Ken. Read it here and/or you should be receiving it this week in your USPS mailbox. Come join us on Recognition Sunday, December 3 at VUU.

Thank you, Ken, for all you have done (and continue to do) for VUU!

Special Funds Committee: Rick Hinrichs (chair), Anne Schneider (secretary), Joanne McGrath (treasurer), Carl Anderson, and Kama White.

State of the UUnion - October 22

Board Report from the Congregational Conversation


The board received private correspondence from several members indicating their strong feeling regarding the UUA's efforts to replace Article 2, which currently contains the Seven Principles and other significant aspects of our collective movement. All of us at VUU are likely aware of this controversy, although our relative level of knowledge about its details varies greatly. Article 2 was the central issue discussed earlier this year when we, the board, surveyed the congregation to assist us in selecting our GA delegates. We, the board, recognize that for many within our midst these changes are a challenge to their very understanding of what it means to be a UU. 

As such, some are asking our congregation to take dramatic action, some of which might include significant changes to our bylaws. We fully recognize the sincerity of the request, and because of the magnitude of it, we need time to allow members of the board and our congregation to educate themselves on this issue, engage in discussion with each other, make recommendations as needed, and, if it is called for, vote on changes to our bylaws. As such, the board will move forward with the consideration of the concerns raised by this correspondence:

1) Using October to educate ourselves on the different stances on this issue.

2) Using November through December to listen to all members of VUU.

3) January through March to engage the congregation at multiple levels of discussion including with the UUA directly.

4) Having recommendations to bring to the congregation, if necessary in March.  

5)  Scheduling a vote on any bylaw changes, if necessary, by May.

The Board of Trustees

Installation Ceremony

Installation Ceremony Recording

For those of you who missed it, you can still view the installation ceremony for Rev. Sarah on our YouTube channel. Over 180 folks attended, and we received the blessing of other clergy leaders and partner organizations as well. From the shared musical leadership of UUCP choir members joining us with their music director Benjie Messer to the amazing spread of refreshments and colorful decorations organized by Barbara Quijada and an excellent hospitality team with NIck Carr, Janet Cantley, Laura Rohlfing, Joanne Smith and many more we were able to celebrate and honor our commitment to “Improvise Toward a Shared Future” in ministry at VUU. 

Thank you!

Thanks to ALL members and friends of VUU who helped make Rev. Sarah’s Installation Reception such a yummy success!

Special shout outs to Nick Carr, Laura Rohlfing, Janet & Garry Cantley, Nancy and Michael Woomer, Kathy Melamed, JoAnne Smith, Beatriz Arias, Jodi Cicirello, Linda Stenholm, David Sheh, Debi and David Grande, Carl Anderson, and Frank Quijada.

And to all who brought food, helped set up, and stayed to clean up—we couldn’t have done it without YOU!

Thank You!

—Barb Quijada, Reception Hospitality Coordinator

Environmental Action  Team

Lunch with Food for Life and the Planet

Please join us this Friday as we explore why it’s so darn hard to give up cheese! There are plenty of good reasons to consider plant-based cheese alternatives-- from health to the environment. But cheese--delicious, creamy, and melty—remains a huge obstacle for many of us. We’ll explore how we cope and how the new market of plant-based cheeses stack up. All are welcome—from veteran vegans to curious carnivores!

Lunch with FLP

Date:  Friday, November 3

Time:  12 Noon

Location: ZOOM

Here is some information to explore prior to the meeting to facilitate our discussion.

Article: Cheese Addiction: An Honest Guide to Giving Up Cheese

Video: Is Vegan Cheese the Future?

Hope to see you then!

For more information, email Denise McLeod or Linda Ruehlman.

Music Ministries

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

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


The 1-Hour Choir AND Kids Choir - starts Nov. 5

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 9am -10 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 starting in November (the kid’s will be singing “You Are My Sunshine”). That’s Nov. 5, and Dec. 3 for the fall season. We’ll skip January due to the new year holiday and pick back-up Feb. 4, March 3, April 7, and May 5. Free childcare is provided in the nursery as well. If you would like more information, please contact Katie Seiferth at


The Chalice Ringers – Interested in ringing?

If you or someone you know has an interest in playing bells in our bell choir the Chalice Ringers, please contact Katie Seiferth at I have a director and now need to collect who is interested in participating. Yay!

Looking for voice or piano lessons for you or your child? Contact Christy for more information or to schedule a complimentary lesson! 205-639-2019



Rev. Dr. Samantha Wilson has begun VUU work on the Spirituality of Conflict.  She will be our guest speaker. A quote on her approach:  

“This is not about fixing a specific thing, or getting ‘rid’ of conflict. The hope is that there is a deeper capacity for engaging conflict in ways that are generative – conflicts grow us and deepen us rather than stop us. This is about tending our congregational culture”  - Rev Sam

Join Zoom Meeting

SOCIAL NIGHT: NO SOCIAL NIGHT THIS MONTH: Thanksgiving is November 23, our usual monthly Social Meet-up. We will not meet up, allowing all to spend time on their own pursuits.  

STAY UPDATED: Click here for the EastVUU Facebook group

PIE - Art Masterpiece Program

This week we added 3 new volunteers to our Art Masterpiece team! Welcome Beverly McCormick, Peggy Richardson, and Linda Rand. Thank you to our returning volunteers, Jen Hofmann, Adrienne O'Donnell, Shari Melton, and Perii Skolnick. Adams has requested that we provide the program to 9 classrooms, an expansion from 7 classes last year!

Adult Faith Formation

Spirit of Life Reading Circle

Our next Spirit of Life Reading Circle is Thursday, November 2nd at 7:00 on Zoom. We're reading some articles on loneliness and ways to combat it, a prime way is being part of a religious organization. We think this is a topic that resonates with us and points to things we can think about for VUU as well as our own lives. Contact Mary Rothschild to be added to the SOL mailing list to receive the readings and Zoom link.

Help Wanted

The Happenings Team

Your Happenings Team compiles the news and calendar each week to make sure you receive all the information you need every Thursday at noon. Most of the work is done on Wednesdays, and each team member takes the lead every second or third week (about three hours), while the others pitch in to edit (30-60 minutes) on their off weeks. To join the team or find out more, contact The Happenings Team here.

Post-Service Zoom Sessions Host

We need a few more folks to be trained and set up to host our zoom sessions after service. Thanks to members of the Pastoral Care team and a few others who have stepped up to help us out in this way. We usually have 7-10 folks looking to have some online conversation and connection after service.  Contact Rev. Sarah if you are interested. 


Financial Update

The Finance Team wants to keep our congregation updated with financial facts, so we'll be doing a quarterly column. Have questions? Contact David Sheh.

Our financial/budget year is July - June. For the first quarter of 2023/24:

  • Contribution income is 107% of projected - $108,424
  • All income is 102% of projected - $208,768
  • We used $75,618 of "one-time" income this year (carry overs and Recovery Fund)
  • Expenses are 115% of projected (we replaced two air conditioner units that were unplanned) - $192,046

Total annual budget = $676,073

Rental Income annual budget = $109,221

Adult members = 306

Pledging households = 169

Total Pledges 2023 = $427,867 (average $2,531/pledging household)

Submitted by DeeAnne McClenahan, Financial Analyst

Joys and Concerns

Welcome Sasha Joy Cantley!

Sasha Joy couldn’t wait, and was born three weeks early, on October 8, 2023 to Nicholas and Allison Cantley. Big sister, Freya (21 months) was ready to greet the new baby with lots of kisses. Nicholas and Allison were part of the middle school group (MUUGS) and Coming of Age program at VUU in the early 2000s.

Their parents—Julia Allison and Janet and Garry Cantley—are still active members of VUU. Allison’s father, Marty Brickner (who was an active member at VUU and Nick’s mentor in the Coming of Age program), has moved to Flagstaff. We are all overjoyed to welcome Sasha!

Welcome Alex Rose!

Gabe and Sophie are overjoyed to share the news of their daughter’s birth! Alexandra Rose was born

October 23 at 6:11 pm, weighing 6lbs 9oz. We are all home now, very happy and healthy. 

Our contact information is:

Sophie: 831-440-6621


Gabe: 949-510-0330


We had a few people ask about how they can help, so we’ve set up a meal train for those who would like to sign up for a day to bring food. Here is the link:

Fellowship and Social Activities

Singles Mid-Month Luncheon

WHEN: FRIDAY, November 10th AT 11:30 AM 

WHERE: Panera Bread1825 E Guadalupe, Tempe

RSVP to Gloria by text at 716-819-7622  

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 November 16 at 7:00 PM. The book is The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende. More information to come.

Volunteering and Giving

Paz de Cristo - Volunteers needed this month!

Continuing the Tradition… Keeping the Commitment… Living our Principles

November date: 2nd Friday, November 10th, 4pm - 7pm

Location: 424 W Broadway Rd, Mesa, AZ

Click here for the sign up link

Families welcome!

Volunteers are urgently needed this month as we are a bit short of the number of helpers needed. Please consider joining us so we can easily meet VUU’s commitment at Paz de Cristo in November.

Please join us as we keep VUU’s 34-year tradition with Paz de Cristo on the second Friday of each month to serve the evening meal to Paz guests. Volunteers gather at the Paz kitchen/dining room from 4 pm to 7 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 the evening goes fast. Paz de Cristo keeps all Covid-19 protocols in place to make the experience safe for all guests and volunteers.

Seventeen volunteers are needed and can range in age from 12 on up. (As of this writing, we need nine more folks!) Volunteers must be able to stand and participate in all tasks during the entire evening.

Have questions? Contact Joanne at 602-620-3100. Please sign up for this rewarding experience at

Border Support

Asylum Seekers often travel into winter condition states with no protection but what Refugee Aid can supply by your and others' donations. All donors are welcome to attend our EastVUU Annual Christmas Party which will be held Dec 28. More info will be provided closer to attendance.

November Supplies needed: Place in Refugee Aid Bin in Sanctuary.

Winter clothing, especially coats for men and women (Sizes S/M/L) and children to teens (all sizes). We also accept all seasonal clothing.

More info to follow if you wish to send new from Amazon items direct to Refugee Aid.


Job Announcement

Unitarian Universalist Justice Arizona (UUJAZ) is excited to announce that we are currently searching for a new Co-Director of Finance + Operations and a Co-Director of Programming and Partnerships. We welcome all applications and invite you to apply to one or both of these positions. Our organization's mission is to engage Unitarian Universalists in justice-making through strengthening congregational social justice ministries, connecting UU activists and congregations across the state, partnering with like-minded justice organizations, and empowering UUs to work for socially-just public policy. View the full job descriptions by clicking on the images below. Resumes and/or questions should be directed to

Application Link: 

Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation |