August 31, 2023

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This Sunday at VUU


"Labor Day: Movements that are Changing the Future'' featuring Joe Murphy, AFLCIO, Kent , Arizona Poor Peoples’ Campaign, and Josie Mitz, Sunrise Movement. Rev. Sarah brings us voices from movements spaces that ask us to support workers’ rights and demand changes that would address the impacts of racism, poverty, climate change, militarism and gun violence in our country. This Sunday will be part rally, part spiritual deepening around what it means to be a people of protest, movement, and transformation for ourselves and each other. 

***BONUS*** Bring your own protest signs to help adorn our space with a sense of movement energy. This Sunday will feature the songs and chants that are part of these movements–the the musicology of protest and movement building! 

Join us on YouTube 10:30 Sunday


  • 8:30a Dalai Lama and Friends
  • 10:30a Children and Youth Faith Formation


Water Fun Day 10:30-12

This Sunday !!

in the education complex

Giant Water Slide, Sprinklers, Baby Pool, Cool Treats

Wear a swim suit & sunscreen and bring a towel!

Parents are invited to join!


Fall classes start NEXT Sunday.


8:30 am Meditation

9:00 am Discussion  

In person: Board Room

Via Zoom 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

New Participants

Joys and Concerns

Fellowship and Social Activities




Music Ministries

Children/Youth Faith Formation

Adult Faith Formation

Caring Ministries

East Valley UU (EVUU)

Social and Environmental Justice

Sunday Morning Teams



UUA (Unitarian Universalist Association)

Submit to the Happenings

Partner Organizations

UU Justice Arizona

Valley Interfaith Project

Adams Elementary


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Thursday, August 31

  • Caring Neighbors Orient. 6:30p

Friday, September 1

Saturday, September 2

  • New Participants Class 9a
  • Social Suppers 5p

Sunday, September 3

  • Dalai Lama and Friends 8:30a
  • Sunday Worship Service 10:30a
  • Water Fun Day! 10:30a
  • FF Teacher Lunch Mtg. 12p

Monday, September 4

  • I-HELP Shelter 5:30

Tuesday, September 5

  • EVUU Women's Group 1p
  • Men's Group 7:00p

Wednesday, September 6

  • Choir Rehearsal 5:30
  • Spectrum Connection Cir. 6p
  • AlAnon 7:00p

Thursday, September 7

  • Spirit of Life Reading Cir. 7p

Friday, September 8

  • FLP Lunch Zoom 12p
  • Paz de Cristo Meal Prep 4p
  • Nefesh Soul Service 5:30p

Saturday, September 9

  • CPR/1st Aid Training 9a

Sunday, September 10

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

Liz Chain

Dalai Lama and Friends and VUU Member and cat lover, Elizabeth Chain died unexpectedly Thursday, Aug. 17. Liz's spirit is in her twin cats, who Linda and Dennis Swain graciously adopted. Liz's relatives will plan a celebration of life for her in Iowa with a gravestone next to Liz's mother and father's gravestone plot.

Cards may be sent to Crystal & Tom Hennessey, 124 E Redbud Dr, Stillwater, OK 74075 and Charity & Tom Murphy, 1365 Joliet St, El Cajon, CA 02019.

Submitted by Pat Flahart, Ahwatukee Caring Neighbors

Desert Notes from Rev. Sarah

This Sunday, we got word that my father in law had died.  He was in hospice with cancer and had suffered a couple of strokes.  We knew his time with us was short.  We are sorry to lose him.  Chuck was a man with a big heart – he took folks in when they were down on their luck, provided housing and food and respite.  He helped watch his autistic grandson whose disability prevents him from many regular activities and life opportunities. Like most of us, he made his share of mistakes, some of which hurt other people.  Although we had little in common politically or personally, we shared a value for family loyalty (not above honesty, and not at the cost of anyone’s safety).  Chuck was always 100% clear that he loved us and he made no demands for us to change, no judgements about how we partnered, parented, or pursued our life goals.  When Sol came out, he struggled with pronouns but never argued about them or made comments about them.  He never “dead-named” Sol – he was consistent in using Sol’s chosen name. This is the true example of “we need not think alike to love alike.”  When Chuck came to our house he let us be who we are–and never made us feel like we should be anything else.  I will always be grateful for this, and he will be dearly missed.  May each of you be blessed by love that holds you with respect and honor. 

Rev. Sarah

Save The Date

On October 28, 2023 Valley UU will celebrate the Installation of Rev. Sarah as our Senior Settled Minister. This event will feature guest religious professionals from our region and other regions in the US and is a chance to highlight the shared ministry between us. We’ll also include representatives from important partnership and community leaders. The ceremony and reception will run from 2 p.m. to 4:30. More information to come! Want to help with hospitality?  Contact Barb Q at  

New participants

New Participant Class

Parts I and II are combined in this class, THIS Saturday September 2 9a - 1p

RSVP here

VUU Updates

Calling all LGBTQ+ congregants

Adults and youth alike! We want as many of you as possible to participate in the October 15th service when we celebrate National Coming Out Day!

We are looking for speakers, ushers, those willing to give a coming out story, musicians, artists, those willing to do a reading, etc. 

Please contact Bobbi Ryals 602.486.3587 or Email her here by September 15th if you would like to participate. 

If you don't feel comfortable participating in the service, we hope to see you there so we have a strong showing from our community.

Music Ministries

The VUU Voices Choir

Rehearsals start Sept. 6

The VUU Voices Choir starts our fall season with rehearsal on Sept. 6, and each Wednesday, in the Sanctuary from 6-7:30 pm. Performances will be during Sunday Services every month. All singers aged 16 and up are invited. Childcare is provided in the Flex Room, which is located inside the Sanctuary. For more information, please contact Katie Seiferth, Director of Music Ministries

The 1-Hour Family Choir - starts Oct. 1

Have you wanted to sing in choir but mid week rehearsals don’t work for you? Join the 1-Hour Family Choir. We’ll learn an easy song or two 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. A rehearsal and performance are held every first Sunday of the month starting in October - Oct. 1, Nov. 5 and Dec. 3 for the fall season. Free childcare is provided in the nursery. If you would like more information, please contact Katie Seiferth.

The Chalice Ringers - Bell Choir

If you or someone you know has an interest in directing our bell choir the Chalice Ringers, please contact Katie Seiferth.

Save the Dates:

Chili-okie is our annual chili cook off and karaoke event hosted by Katie and the Music Team. We will gather October 21 in the Sanctuary for a fun night of food and music. More details coming soon.

Earth Day Cabaret is our annual cabaret that highlights our talented and diverse musicians within VUU. Desserts, music, dancing and celebrating our beloved Earth will happen April 27 in the Sanctuary. More details coming soon.

Caring Neighbors

Caring Neighbors is continuing to expand the number of those we serve in our VUU community. We appreciate every Neighborhood Coordinator for all they have done and will do in the future. From coordinating short term transportation help, meal delivery, and phone calls to checking in on VUU'ers, and much more, we hope to continue to enhance our caring and support for one another. Starting September 1st, there will be some changes to the list of neighborhood leaders.

We are grateful to the following coordinators for all their dedication and support this past year. We appreciate you all: JoAnne Smith, Deidre Mears, Robin Latto, Jeanie Gaskill, Bonnie Phillips. Renee Spears, Sabena Norman, and Joanne McGrath. We look forward to announcing the full Coordinators roster for '23-'24 soon.

Caring Neighbors Co-chairs, Johnnie Clemens May and Nancy Wittenberg

East Valley UU (EVUU)

Thurs, Sept 14, 6:30p

Join the EastVUU group as we hear VUU member Evan reflect on being both a UU and long-term member of 12-Step Recovery. He will share practices in self-reflection that all of us can use to enable personal growth. Join Zoom Meeting here

SAVE THE DATE for the EVUU Social Night September 28.

Help Wanted


The communications team has varied responsibilities, including the Happenings newsletter, social media, public relations, signage, our website, and Sunday morning announcements. We keep our VUU family and community up to date!

We're looking for a few good folks to volunteer a few hours a month to work in one or more of these areas. If you're interested, just click here and we'll contact you right away! Thank you! The Communications Team

I'd like to help!
With website updates
With Happenings, Announcements, and/or Social Media
With PR and/or signage
Environmental Action Team

As we leave behind an extreme summer and move into a season of life-sustaining temperatures and regeneration, let’s celebrate what we love about the Earth.

Please participate in these events on October 1:

  • Add your unique message to the “I Love the Earth” banner.
  • Visit Environmental Action Team tables on the patio to learn about actions that can make a difference in our future.
  • Share your ideas, actions and solutions for creating a cleaner and safer environment for all.
  • Attend a talk on solar energy after the service in the sanctuary.

Food and drinks provided!

Food for Life and the Planet

We are re-launching Food for Life and the Planet in September with Lunch with FLP and we’d love to have you join us!

On the first Friday of every month, we will continue our journey of exploring various topics related to plant-based diets but at a new time. Our hope is that those who work will be able to take their lunch hours with us. So, bring your brown bags and let’s discuss the hot topics that affect our health and our environment. All are welcome—veteran vegans and curious carnivores!

Lunch with FLP

Date: September 8th (Not the first Friday - Labor Day got in the way.)

Time: 12 Noon

Location: Zoom Link here

Discussion Topic Video: What The Health (please watch the video prior to the meeting. Available on Netflix and other platforms.)

See you then! Denise McLeod and Linda Ruehlman

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 September 21 at 7:00 PM. The book is Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr.

Volunteering and Giving


Paz de Cristo Donation of the Month

September - Pasta Sauce

Please support our focus charity, Paz de Cristo, by bringing a donation of pasta sauce (any kind) during the month of September. Drop your donation in the designated container in the foyer of the sanctuary. Thank you for your generous support!

Paz de Cristo Meal Prep

Continuing the Tradition… Keeping the Commitment… Living our Principles

September date: 2nd Friday, September 8th, 4pm - 7pm

Location: 424 W Broadway Rd, Mesa, AZ

Click here for the sign up link Families welcome!

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 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.

Seventeen volunteers are needed 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.

Affordable 55+ Housing in Chandler.

Join us for the next VIP Housing Team meeting. Meet members of other congregations engaged in the effort to increase affordable housing in Maricopa County. Monday, Sept 18, 6:30 (location TBD).

Email Barb Quijada for more information and / or to join the team.

Immigration Action Team

The IAT is excited to kick off fall with an in-person meeting for all those interested in helping our immigrant friends.  The meeting will be 9/10 after the service in the sanctuary starting at 11:45-ish. Soooo easy to attend. We will set up our plans for the next few months including legal issues, finances, and social support.

Thanks to all of you who tried the Salchipapas made by Katherin and her family. They made some much needed extra cash and provided us with a glimpse of their country's street food scene.

Ian is about to turn twelve this week and will be celebrating with a party with his immediate family AND his new VUU extended family. Baby Axel was 11.5 pounds at his last Doctor's appointment!

There is also lots happening with our Afghan friends with a possible reunion of husband "M" with ASU student wife "Z" after many years apart.

If you feel that sometimes it's hard to see the results of our social justice work...then come to the Immigration Action Team Meeting on 9/10 and make an immediate difference in the lives of good people trying to make it in a new country that sometimes seems harsh and un-welcoming. Let's show them VUU lives up to its principles! Everyone is welcome!

A VERY successful month-long Clothing Donation Drive!  Three Latino Asylum Seeker Shelters received Men/Women/Children summer clothing. Much of what was donated was new which is always appreciated. As each shelter receives several bus loads in a weeks' time, this donation drive is ongoing with a bin marked for Refugee Aid in the sanctuary. One of our EVUU members assisted a Latino shelter last week in processing families. They saw firsthand how quickly supplies are used up and how appreciative those receiving are to have received.

I-Help Success!


Once again, I am awed and humbled by the invaluable support that so many of our VUU families continue to provide to the VUU I-HELP program. 

Our meal of nachos with all the trimmings was very greatly appreciated by our 25 hungry guests. I am hereby passing on all of the thanks and expressions of gratitude that I frequently receive from them. Without all of the support I receive from willing I-HELP volunteers, their meals and lodging would not be possible.

A special thanks to my husband, Ron, for always being willing to be the chief I-HELP cook in the Rohlfing family. Also a big shout out to Nancy Landeryou, Pat Flahart, Sabena Norman, and Ariel Virshup for not only donating food, but their time in setting up, serving, and cleaning up after the meal. I appreciate all of you more than you will ever know. Last but certainly not least, I would like to thank Priscilla Acero and the AZCEND Community Center team who organize and transport our guests day in and day out, to many different locales. It is a Herculean task, and she manages to do it with grace and style!

Our next I-HELP meal service will be on Monday, September 25th. Stay tuned!

Submitted by Laura Rohlfing, I-Help Coordinator

News From UUJAZ

The Future of Us - Fundraiser for UUJAZ

Tuesday, October 17th - Phoenix 5:30pm

Friday, October 20th - Virtual event - 1 pm

Hear Rev. Julián Jamaica Soto speak about our future, read their poetry, and launch their new book inspired by the desert. 

Rev. Julián Jamaica Soto is a Unitarian Universalist minister, and activist for racial, trans/queer, and disability justice. They wrote "Spilling the Light: Meditations on Hope and Resilience" in 2019, which quickly became a favorite source for chalice lightings, meditations, poems, and prayers for UUs across the world, and is heading towards its 5th printing. Rev. Soto has served on the Journey Towards Wholeness Transformation Team, the Presidential Search Committee, the Creative Council at enfleshed, and as Interim Senior Associate for Justice Education at the UU College of Social Justice. They have worked in parish ministry, interim ministry, and hospital chaplaincy with veterans, and their public theology practice has truly made them a "Minister's Minister," beloved by religious professionals. Soto lives in the Pacific Northwest, and seeks to serve the mission and values of Unitarian Universalism, along with the healing of the world.

This fundraiser supports the work of Unitarian Universalist Justice Arizona (UUJAZ), engaging UUs in Arizona in social change, putting our values into action.

Register by September 15th to reserve your copy of their book at

Sex Ed for Young(ish) Adults: Millennials + Gen Z

Weekly on Sundays, starting September 10th

4:00-5:30 pm, Virtually on Zoom

Join us for Sex Ed for Young(ish) Adults, where we explore relationships, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, sexual health, and cultural influences on sexuality, together with other Millennials + Gen Z.

Sign-up at

Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation |