January 11, 2024

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This Sunday at VUU



Sunday, January 14

Camp VUU Part II: MLK Day Sunday

Sanctuary closed for renovations. We’ll gather in classroom 1 and 2 and online at 10:30 a.m. (please use the VUU after service zoom link.) After some opening words and an introduction/summary of Heather McGhee’s work, we will split into small group discussion with guiding questions. We’ll make use of some other spaces on campus and then re-gather to share some of our conversations.

10:30-10:55 Opening

10:55-11:00 Split into groups

11:00- 11:30 Small group discussions

11:00-11:35 Regather

11:35-11:45 Closing

Continued below...



  • 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

January14 MLK Day Sunday, Continued...

In case you like homework–we’ll learn together from this book: “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together” by Heather McGhee. In case you don’t have time to read but do have time for a video or audio lecture:

University Lecture, or a Ted Talk, or Short conversation that went viral about overcoming prejudice to be a better American, or 10 series podcast that follows on the work of her book.

Sneak Peak at Upcoming Services

January 21 - Camp VUU Part II: 51st Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

As our UU the Vote team works with HealthCare Rising organizer Matthew Yatsayte helps lead a program about the ballot initiative that would create an initiated constitutional amendment securing the right to an abortion in Arizona. Petitions are being circulated to move this initiative forward.  Matthew Yatsayte will share about his work with HealthCare Rising and why this issue is important to him.  Training for folks who want to join in on this work will follow the program.  Location and other details TBA, and dependent on completion of sanctuary project. 

SAVE the DATES: January 26-28 we will have Rev. Dr. Sam Wilson on campus again to work with us on the topics of resolving conflict and restoring relationships. She’ll offer a workshop on January 26 or 27 for anyone who wants to attend and will lead worship on January 28. More details and registration link here! In the meantime, please fill out this survey if you haven’t already. 


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


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Thursday, January 11

  • EastVUU Program 6:30p
  • Spirit of Life Reading Circle 7p

Friday, January 12

  • Paz de Cristo Meal Prep 4p
  • Anti Racism Workshop 9a

Saturday, January 13

  • Anti Racism Workshop 9a

Sunday, January 14

  • Service in Education Bldg
  • Dalai Lama and Friends 8:30a
  • Sunday Service 10:30a
  • Faith Formation Classes 10:30a
  • No OWL Classes
  • Immigration Team 11:45a
  • Voices Lifted 12:15p

Monday, January 15

  • VUU Scouts 6p

Tuesday, January 16

  • East VUU Women's Group 1p
  • STT Meeting 6p
  • LDC Meeting 6p
  • Men's Group 7p

Wednesday, January 17

  • Choir Rehearsal 6p

Thursday, January 18

  • EastVUU Coordinators 10:30a
  • Finance Committee 5:30p
  • Worship Associates 6:30p
  • Page Turners Book Club 7p

Friday, January 19

Saturday, January 20

  • New Participants Class 9a

Sunday, January 21

  • Dalai Lama & Friends ZOOM 8:30a
  • Faith Formation Classes 10:30a
  • Sunday Service 10:30a
  • VUUJAZ Coffee Conv. 12p
  • Parent Spotted OWL 12:45p
  • Parent Burrowing OWL 12:45
  • 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

It’s been busy here at VUU since we’ve come back from the holidays! In addition to renovations which are looking great and moving along, we have a lot going on!

Saturday I attended a Worship Associates mid-year retreat in which we reviewed our work since the retreat in July and did some administrative training needed to keep us all on the same page. I also worked with a small group that has begun meeting called “Creativity Matters” in which we channeled some spiritual work into a creative project. It was a lovely session and I hope some of you will join us next time on the first Saturday of the month from 4-7. On Sunday we held 13 Listening Sessions with 5-8 people in each (about 110 participants) and invited people to respond to these questions: 


  1. How does your engagement with the VUU and /or Unitarian Universalist community encourage you to live your purpose or feel more fully human? or live more wholeheartedly? (For new people: What do you need in your life to more fully live your purpose, feel more fully human or live more wholeheartedly?
  2. Think about a story about a time where you were able to live wholeheartedly/be fully human/live your purpose–what was present? What would need to be here (at VUU) (or not) that allows you to have the same/similar experience here…In other words, How would you know that this is the place you can live this purpose/be fully human?
  3. What kinds of changes (at VUU, in UUism, in the world you move in) are challenging and/or exciting to you right now and how would you like to move through these changes–what would allow you to trust that we are moving through the changes together/as a community? (for example: Think about a time when you moved through a difficult change with others and it went well whether you agreed with it or not–what was present?)

We also invited people to fill out a “wonder card” sharing something each participant wonders about after listening to each other.  

The Board of Trustees and the Committee on Shared Ministry also participated in a session prior to this weekend in preparation for serving as facilitators and to make sure their feedback was included as well. We are compiling our notes and observations and the board will consider “what now/what next” with advisory comments from the CSM. This will take some time. I expect we won’t have concrete next steps for a few weeks. Thanks to everyone who participated! We may have an opportunity for folks who weren’t able to attend to come to an online session later this month.  

Also this week I participated in a VIP/IAF leadership gathering to look at how we are organizing around mental health issues in our various states and how we can learn from each other in order to have better strategies as we enter a pivotal election cycle. This upcoming weekend on Friday and Saturday, VIP gathers to look at its overall organizing strategies and to engage in planning and training for this year. Please let Barb Quijada know if you are planning to attend! Help us plant seeds for this important shared work!

Chandler Multicultural Festival Saturday, January 13 from 11-6 p.m. VUU will have a table with a children’s art project and information about our congregation.  We’d love to have some folks sign up to take a 1 hour shift to share more about why you make VUU your spiritual home!  Want more information about the festival?  Check this link out!

Some of you have asked about the workshop that Rev. Sam is offering about conflict that is open to all VUU members. Information and a registration link are available here.


UUA Seeds for the New Year

As our next few Sundays won’t be normal services in the sanctuary, I am sharing this gift from the UUA of a service created for the new year. Watch when you need something inspiring! –Rev. Sarah

VUU Updates

Signpost with the words important and urgent on a whiteboard. Conceptual.


The holidays may be over, but you can help make sure there are still plenty of FUUNd things to do in 2024 by getting your auction donation in TODAY!

The deadline for donating to the 2024 FUUNd auction is January 14. Last year we auctioned off more than 90 events, parties, hikes, outings, handmade items, lessons, services, vacation get-aways and tasty treats. We currently have fewer than 40 donations.

PLEASE DONATE NOW! Just click on this link and complete the form: Let's Have

FUUNd Together 2024 (auctria.com)

Not sure what to donate? Click here for an inspiring list of last year’s auction items.

Need a co-host or other help with your event? Email fuundtogether@vuu.org.


New Member Class

January 20, from 9:00 am - 1:00 pm in the VUU Board Room (in the office building on the west side of the parking lot.) Register/RSVP here 

Learn about Unitarian Universalism, Valley UU, and find your own starting point at VUU and the pathway to membership. Anyone welcome. Current VUU leaders and members are welcome to join us. Class led by Rev. Sarah and Beverly McCormick.

Music Ministries

VUUsica Concert Series – Christy Vest January 20th

Christy Vest, our beloved piano accompanist, is offering a vocal and piano concert that is interactive and performative. Come to the Sanctuary on Saturday, January 20th from 4-5ish pm for an afternoon of live music. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for kids 18 and under. Possible childcare for younger kids - reach out to Katie if needing childcare at MusicDirector@vuu.org.

You can purchase tickets online by clicking our online giving link. Once you click the link, simply check the Music Program under "give to Operating" and indicate how many tickets you purchased in the notes, indicating it’s for Christy Vest. Tickets can also be purchased at the door on the day of the show starting at 3:30 when the doors open.

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

Rehearsals are on Wednesdays in the Sanctuary from 6:00-7:30 pm. However, due to construction happening in the Sanctuary we will meet in rooms 1 and 2, across campus on January 17. 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.

No 1-Hour Choirs (Adults and Kids) in January

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, skipping January. Next is February 4. Contact Katie for more information or with any questions: MusicDirector@vuu.org.


EastVUU Zoom Meeting - January 11 6:30p

Where are you growing in 2024? Do you like or hate New Year’s resolutions? In what ways would you wish to grow spiritually? Let’s share possibilities. All UUs and friends welcome!

EastVUU Zoom link 

Sign in # 408915517

Password: 293512

Social Night “Dinner Out” - January 25 6:30p

Nando’s Mexican Cafe 

6715 E McDowell Rd 

Mesa, AZ 85215

Partners in Education

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 from the taxes you owe Arizona! For more information, contact Perii Skolnick (sperii1@gmail.com). 

Food for Life and the Planet (FLP)

FLP Brown Bag Lunch on ZOOM

Who doesn’t want life to be a little easier? Double that thought when it comes to cooking! Let’s talk about hacks to reduce the amount of time we spend in the kitchen preparing our delicious and healthy foods.

Date:     Friday, January 12

Time:    12 Noon

ZOOM Link:  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88367843970

Below are some articles and videos to get the conversation started. Don’t let the word “vegan” scare you off! It’s all about healthy and environmentally-friendly food preparation.

Please try a few of these to report to the group… or bring your own to share for the benefit and cooking pleasure of all!

19 Vegan Food Hacks That Will Change Your Life (USA Today)

10 Vegan Food Hacks That Will Change Your Life (YouTube Video)

A Simple Hack for Easier Plant-based Meals  (You Tube Video)

17 Cooking Hacks Every Vegan Should Know (BuzzFeed)

Top 5 Plant-based Protein Hacks (The Kind Life)

We hope you’ll join us! For more information, contact Denise Mcleod or Linda Ruehlman.

Environmental Action Team

VUU's Environmental Action Team (EAT) Meeting

Join us for our first meeting of 2024 on Monday, January 15 on Zoom to discuss "Laughing Gas is No Laughing Matter"author Laurel Hardin.

Laughing gas, N2O, or nitrous oxide, is a gobsmacking 300 times more heat-trapping than CO2! Between 1990 and 2021, emissions of N20 grew by 40%! So why haven’t we heard about this more? These emissions are primarily a result of Agriculture, 60% of which is dedicated to the growth of animal feed crops. So cutting meat and meat by-products from our diets is the best [New Year's] gift we can give the Earth and the next generations of people.


For further information See the original UUCP newsletter article "Gift for Earth - Cut Nitrous Oxide Laughing Gas is No Laughing Matter."

Other sources and resources:



Contact Linda Stenholm for more information.

Faith Formation

Spirit of Life Reading Circle - January 11 7p

Readings are available here. Join Zoom Meeting here

Grief Support Group

VUU Pastoral Care is organizing a Grief Support Group beginning Sunday February 11th that will run for 8 weeks on Sundays from 1-2:30 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

Camp de Beneville Pines

SuperHero Academy camp is for grades K through 6 and their families

2024 UU Elementary Family Winter Camp

February 17 - 19


Together we'll harness the forces of confidence, character, and creativity to discover the superpowers hidden inside us all. Winter camp is the perfect way to spend quality time with the family, as well as allow children the opportunity for personal growth and foster independence.




Registration Opens January 13th 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 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' 2024 Book Selection Party - January 18

January 18, 2024 7:00 PM

2024 Book Selection Meeting

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 January 18 at 7:00 PM, we will meet at the home of Johnnie Godfrey in Tempe (near Baseline Rd. and the 101).

If you have suggestions for books for the group to read in 2024, please come with 3 book suggestions. Be prepared to give a very brief introduction to each book. We will vote on the 3 options and select 1 for next year. Please keep in mind the following:

  • Books should be readily available at the public library.  So please don't suggest books that came out in the last year that will have long wait lists at the library.
  • Books should be of moderate length.  They can be biography, fiction, or non-fiction.

For the meeting address, please email agmonahan@gmail.com.

Giving / Volunteering

Volunteering 2nd Fridays at Paz de Cristo

Continuing the Tradition…Keeping the Commitment…Living our Principles

January date: 2nd Friday, January 12, 4:00-7:00pm

Location: 424 W. Broadway Rd., Mesa, AZ

Click here for the sign up link

Families welcome!

Please join us as we serve the evening meal to Paz de Cristo guests on the second Friday, January 12. Volunteers gather at the Paz kitchen/dining room from 4-7p to prepare and serve the evening meal.

Questions? Contact Joanne at (602) 620-3100. Please sign up for this rewarding experience at www.vuu.org/paz.

-Submitted by Joanne McGrath

VIP Leaders' Retreat January 12 & 13

Building leadership skills within its dues-paying member congregations is a key part of Valley Interfaith Project’s mission. The VIP Leaders' Retreat is a chance for VUU members and friends to build our leadership skills—and to build relationships with VIP congregations from around the Valley. Please join us!

Time and date:

Friday, January 12, 5:00-8:00 pm (dinner at 5:00, sessions begin at 5:30)

Saturday, January 13, 9:00 am-3:00 pm (lunch included)


St. Louis the King Catholic Church

4331 W Maryland Ave, Glendale, AZ 85301

Sessions will include:

• How to plan and lead house meetings

• Direction for 2024 leading up to the election

• Building teams to organize in your institution

• VIP budget and raising money

• Updates on Arizona Career Pathways

• Reading and discussion groups

You are encouraged to attend the entire retreat as much as possible. The retreat will be bilingual. To RSVP and for more information (including readings and suggested donation), please click here.

-Submitted by Barb Quijada


Our January meal will feature one of our guests' favorite dishes: Lasagna.

PLEASE NOTE: This meal will be served OFF-SITE!!!

We will provide meal service at the following location:

Chandler United Methodist Church

450 E. Chandler Heights Rd.

Chandler AZ 85249

Sign up here. I will send a follow up email to all meal service volunteers with further details as they become available.

Immigration Action Team

Border Support

Order free tickets to receive the Zoom link.

Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation | vuu.org