October 26, 2023

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This Sunday at VUU


Sunday October 29, 2023 “Celebrating Samhain: Letting Go So We Can Grow” A pagan celebration

We return to an all ages ritual celebrating the pagan holiday that Halloween is derived from, Samhain. Contact Lisa Bonine or Rev. Sarah if you want to help lead or set up or show up before 9:45. We’ll start set-up at 8:00 a.m.

We will include a child/baby dedication for any families who wish to participate as part of the ritual. Please contact Rev. Sarah if you want your child(ren) to be included.

This will be an eclectic introduction to what pagan, earth based ritual is like. It is followed by activities, eating yummy foods, drumming, decorating rocks with runes symbols, walking the labyrinth, chanting/singing, dancing and having fUUn! There are no faith formation classes this Sunday, please bring your whole family to our mini-festival!



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

We invite you to bring any of the following for online and in person worship:

  • Pictures or memorabilia of ancestors and people who have died in your circle of loved ones.
  • Make cards for ancestors–to add to Ofrenda
  • Natural objects for the altar (gourds, pumpkins, pine cones, rocks, etc.)
  • Drum(s) or hand held percussion instrument 
  • A seasonal snack to share
  • Costumes (not too scary for our littles, please!) Celtic costumes were more oriented toward the natural world–furs and feathers...
  • For online folks, a home altar made of natural elements, words of wisdom, and pictures of ancestors
Join Us on YouTube 10:30 Sunday
Join the Zoom discussion after service here

To help with Sunday morning hospitality, click here.

Next Sunday - November 5 - Sneak Peak!

Sunday Nov 5: “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 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. Beverages will be provided.

VUU Happenings

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

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VUU Updates

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Fellowship and Social Activities




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Adult Faith Formation

Caring Ministries

Social and Environmental Justice

Sunday Morning Teams



UUA (Unitarian Universalist Association)

Submit to the Happenings

Prior Weeks' Newsletters

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UU Justice Arizona

Valley Interfaith Project

Adams Elementary


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Thursday, October 26

  • Board Meeting 5:15p
  • Facilities Committee 6p
  • East VUU Gathering 6:30p

Friday, October 27

  • Singles Dinner Out 6:30p

Saturday, October 28

  • VIP Mental Health Training 9a
  • Rev. Sarah Installation 2p

Sunday, October 29

  • Dalai Lama and Friends 8:30a
  • Sunday Worship Service 10:30a
  • Spotted OWL Parents 12:45p
  • Burrowing OWL Parents 12:45p
  • Spotted OWL Class 12:45p
  • Burrowing OWL Class 12:45p

Monday, October 30

  • I-HELP Shelter 5:30p

Tuesday, October 31

  • EVUU Women's Group 12p
  • Men's Group 7p

Wednesday, November 1

  • Choir Rehearsal 6p
  • Spectrum Connection Circle 6p
  • VIP Housing Planning 6p
  • Policy Team Meeting 6:30p

Thursday, November 2

  • East VUU Gathering 6:30p

Friday, November 3

  • FLP Lunch 12p
  • Nefesh Soul 5:30

Saturday, November 4

  • Instrumental Meetup 10a
  • New Participant Lunch 11a
  • Social Suppers 5p

Sunday, November 5

  • Dalai Lama and Friends 8:30a
  • Sunday Worship Service 10:30a
  • Dimentia Presentation 12p
  • Spotted OWL Parents 12:45p
  • Burrowing OWL Parents 12:45p
  • Spotted OWL Class 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

This week I was happy to attend the installation of the settled minister for the Sedona Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Rev. Anthony Johnson. SUUF rents space from the Jewish Community of Sedona and the Verde Valley Synagogue (JCSVV) and the shared space is beautiful, overlooking the breathtaking view of red rocks in Sedona. Rev. Anthony brings a lifetime of service and a depth of spiritual leadership we are lucky to have in Arizona, and I am honored to be colleagues with him. I was also grateful to see many of our UU colleagues in attendance, many of whom will be joining us this weekend for our Installation Service.

I attended a City of Chandler Council meeting with a number of VUU folks to express our solidarity with librarians who have curated diverse materials including LGBTQIA+ materials and have recently faced a conservative group protesting these and demanding their removal. It was a long meeting, but at the end we joined several other community members in sharing our belief that libraries and librarians need to maintain diverse collections that allow everyone in our community to be represented and included. We were much appreciated!

Finally, I also attended Arizona Faith Network’s annual event that highlights their work, accomplishments, and values as an interfaith organization. From the tables of organizations engaged with the work of AFN to the videos about their work and the keynote speaker, it was an enriching morning.  

Rev. Sarah Oglesby-Dunegan

Rev. Sarah's Installation Celebration

RSVP Here to attend
Sign up here to help/donate/bring food


Thanks to so many who have signed up to help set up the reception tables and/or to bring food for the celebration. We still need some clean up helpers and some more tortilla chips. One can never have too many helpers or tortilla chips, right?!

You can also donate to help defray costs on the signup page. Check to see what's still needed and how you can help. Of contact a member of the reception hospitality commission below.

Helping set up? Please be at the church by 1p.

Bringing food? Please bring to the kitchen, ready to serve by 1:30p.

Mark your dish if it's not disposable!

Thank You! Janet Cantley, Barb Quijada, Laura Rohlfing, JoAnne Smith

VUU Updates

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

Celebration of Life for Debbie Dynes

The service will be held on Saturday, November 11 at 2:00pm at VUU. Here is a link to the flyer with more information.

Special Funds 2023 Recognition Sunday Honoree Announced

The Special Funds Committee is pleased to announce our 2023 Recognition Sunday Honoree, Ken St. John! Ken now joins an elite group of people in the congregation (essentially VUU’s Hall of Fame) who have given their time, talents, and leadership over many years. This group includes the following:

1995 Marilou Coy, 1996 Bunny Clarke, 1997 Jan Christian, 1998 Roger Smith, 1999 Bill Wood, 2000 Larry Visotsky, 2001 Bob Clarke, 2002 JoAnne Smith, 2003 Roger Axford, 2004 Debbie Dinyes, 2005 Todd Heglund, 2006 Charlotte Ward, 2007 Neria Ryder, 2008 Betty Nering, 2009 Lauree Perry, 2010 Jim Nielsen, 2011 Loyd Means, 2012 Barb Quijada, 2013 Debbe Simpkins, 2014 All the children of VUU, 2016 Anne Schneider, 2017 David Sheh, 2018 Beverly McCormick, 2019 Linda Horton, 2020 Mary Rothschild, 2021 DeeAnne McClenahan, 2022 Rebecca Riggs, and 2023 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

Music Ministries

Bring Your Drum THIS Sunday

We will be drumming in Sunday's Service, October 29. We will also circle up and drum following the service. You are welcome to bring your own drum to play, I will have extra to borrow as well. 


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 MusicDirector@vuu.org 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 MusicDirector@vuu.org.


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 MusicDirector@vuu.org. 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!

christyvestmusic.com christyruthvest@gmail.com 205-639-2019


SOCIAL NIGHT: TONIGHT October 26 - 6:30pm

GOING AWAY PARTY for Bonnie, in absentia as she had to return to Florida this same day and Margaret, who will be leaving us in November to move back East to be closer to family. We will miss them but cheer them on in their new homes!  

We will meet in the Pima Room at Apache Wells, 2223 N 56 St, Mesa, thanks to Peggy, who lives in the neighborhood. We have met there in the past. Our room is in the back building next to the big room. Signs will be posted. Bring a dish to pass, tableware and drink.  ALWAYS A FUN NIGHT as games will also be played. All are welcome.

STAY UPDATED: Click here for the EastVUU Facebook group

Save the Date - November 9 - EVUU Monthly Meeting, 6:30PM

Rev. Dr. Samantha Wilson has begun work with VUU on the Spirituality of Conflict.  

She will be our guest speaker. We leave here with a quote from her 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

PIE - Art Masterpiece Program

Last Chance to sign up for Adams Elementary School’s Art Masterpiece training November 2!

The program runs from Jan to May, twice a month for only 15-20 min. classroom time. This is a wonderful opportunity to interact with the students, learn about art and have fun! No experience needed. Contact Perii Skolnick (413 429-6937) or visit this link for more info.

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.


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!

Fellowship and Social Activities

Singles Dinner Out

Date: Friday, October 27 at 6:30pm

Location: Aunt Chiladas, 2019 W Baseline Rd, Tempe (just west of the I10 on the south side) 602-431-6470 

The weather will be perfect for their outdoor tables. Costumes are encouraged for this Halloween weekend occasion. 

RSVP to Jodi or contact Claudette by phone or text 973-768-6047 

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. In one of the most important and beloved Latin American works of the twentieth century, Isabel Allende weaves a luminous tapestry of three generations of the Trueba family, revealing both triumphs and tragedies. For the meeting address or questions, please contact Johnnie by email or 480-231-8381.

Volunteering and Giving

Mexico Service Trip

Are you interested in a Multi-generational (12 yrs and up) service experience in Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico? Use this form to let us know you are interested. One form per family.

Prior to the pandemic, Marci facilitated biennial service trips in Agua Prieta, MX with Rancho Feliz. We worked to build basic housing in the barrio, visited children in an orphanage, connected with migrants at the migrant center, and felt awe at the border wall. 

We have reserved March 18-21 with Rancho Feliz Volunteer Exchange program.

Adult participant drivers will be needed. We will gather at VUU at 8 am on Monday, March 18th and caravan to the border in Douglas. A Rancho Feliz employee will meet us in Douglas and lead our cars through the border. Thursday, March 21 we will leave Agua Prieta after lunch to drive back to VUU.


  • Valid passport (or passport card), expiration date no sooner than 6 months from return date.
  • Minimum age: 14 years old (12 -13 yr olds with a parent)
  • Cost: TBD (based on pricing from Rancho Feliz), pricing covers housing and meals, building supplies, and cost of items we will bring as donations.
  • Drivers need a valid drivers license, auto insurance AND Mexican auto insurance. We will reimburse for the Mexican auto insurance and gas.

Faith Formation Scholarship money is available, based on need.

If you are interested - and/or want more information as we get it - complete this form.

Border Support

For the past several years, EastVUU has held a December Winter Clothing Donation Drive. We are happy to include our full congregation, as able, for this very needed Immigration Action. Asylum Seekers often travel into winter condition states with no protection but what Refugee Aid can supply. An added bonus is that all are welcome to attend the EVUU annual Christmas Party which will be held Dec 28. More info will be provided closer to attendance.

October/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 will collect November thru to the EVUU December Social Night after the Christmas Party Dec 28.

We have new driver volunteers joining us! By doing so, any one of us only has to sign up for one early morning Saturday a month. We could use a few more as back up. You can contact Sharon by text at 602-668-7397 for more info.

Saturday starting in November Borderland Produce opens their East Valley market at 8am. Our drivers are there by 7:30am to get their vehicle in line. For a donation of $15 volunteers at the market load in the vehicle 70# of produce/fruit. We deliver to Pastor Angel's Asylum Seeker Shelter, about a 20 minute drive away. Someone is there to unload our vehicle. This is about a 2 hour commitment.

In November, Produce drivers will be offered an additional opportunity to deliver on Saturday to Pastor Angel. We arrive a 9am at a retail grocery store (in the same area as Produce Run) to their receiving dock where they will bring us a cart of items from specialty produce, deli and bakery. We do load our own vehicle but it's quite manageable with no heavy items. This about a 3 hour commitment. If drivers cannot do this second pick up, someone else can fill that slot.

We have now added ANOTHER food pickup from the East Valley on FRIDAYS! A well known retail coffee shop/cafe allows us to come in and pick up all artisan bread not sold the day before but edible. Because it does not have preservatives the bread must be used or frozen. We will deliver this new Bread Run to Pastor Angel AND Pastor Martha's shelters! We can also, if three bags are donated, take one of those bags to a Homeless advocate for their outreach program. They are HUGE bags! We have a dedicated driver volunteer but could use a back up here on this day as well for 8am pickup.

Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation | vuu.org