May 16, 2024

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This Sunday at VUU


Sunday, May 16

“The Good Goodbye - Practicing Gratitude”

This Sunday Rev Sarah reflects on Marci's tenure, the gifts she has given each of us and the whole of VUU and our community as we practice the "good goodbye" with immense gratitude.

Our graduating high school students will "bridge" to adulthood, met on the other side by VUU young adults. We will welcome them with open arms; Jenny P. leads the congregation singing the Circle Game as they bridge.

Lynn deMuth, the VUU Choir, the band (John, James, Paul, Andrew), and Katie Seiferth, Director of Music Ministries all join the celebration.

Following the service, we ALL join in pot luck fellowship to toast Marci's service and retirement.



  • Preschool (3/4 yr olds)
  • Kind/1st Grade
  • 2nd/3rd Grade
  • 4th/5th Grade
  • Middle School (6-8th)
  • High School (9-12th)

Summer program starts soon! Check out the curriculum below.

New! Sumer Curriculum Here


8:30 am Meditation

9:00 am Discussion  

In person, in the board room, and

Via Zoom here

YouTube Link - Sunday Service
Zoom Link - After the Service



The Congregation will hold it's Annual Meeting on Sunday, June 9, 2024, after the Service. The Meeting will be held in the Sanctuary and on-line. Elections will be held to fill open positions on the Board of Trustees, the Leadership Development Committee and the Special Funds Committee. The Congregation will be asked to vote on proposed changes to the VUU Bylaws regarding use of electronic ballots for absentee voting and the addition of the Seven Principles and Sources to the VUU Bylaws. The VUU Budget for 2024/25 will be presented for approval by the Congregation.

All persons who have been registered Members of the Congregation for at least 30 days are eligible to vote, and all are welcome to attend. Please plan to participate in this critically important meeting.


The VUU Board of Trustees

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, May 16

  • Finance Committee Meeting 5:30p
  • Ukester Friends 6p
  • Spectrum Connection Circle 6p
  • Worship Associates Meeting 6:30p
  • Page Turners Book Club 7p

Friday, May 17

  • Rachel Smith Celebration of Life 1p

Saturday, May 18

Sunday, May 19

  • Dalai Lama and Friends 8:30a
  • Sunday Service 10:30a
  • Faith Formation Classes 10:30a
  • Marci's Retirement Party 12p
  • VUUJAZ Coffee Convo 12p

Monday, May 20

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

Tuesday, May 21

  • I-HELP Shelter 5:30p
  • EastVUU Womens Group 1p
  • LDC Meeting 6p

Wednesday, May 22

  • DnD Games 5:30p
  • CCL/EAT Meeting 6p

Thursday, May 23

  • Board Meeting 5:30p
  • East VUU Social 6p
  • Ukester Friends 6p
  • Facilities Meeting 6p

Friday, May 24

  • Singles Dinner Out 6:30

Saturday, May 25

Sunday, May 26

  • Dalai Lama and Friends 8:30a
  • Sunday Service 10:30a
  • Faith Formation Classes 10:30a
  • Voices Lifted 12:15

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

Marci's Retirement Party





Marci's beach-themed retirement celebration is THIS SUNDAY,

immediately after the service. We're hosting a potluck and

arranging fun activities for the kids.

Let's Feast Together

We're organizing a potluck and inviting everyone to bring their favorite dishes to share. Whether it's your signature side dish, mouthwatering main course, decadent dessert, or simply a contribution of paper products, sign up now to help us create a memorable farewell for Marci!

Volunteer to Help

Whether you're a pro at setting up tables and chairs, ensuring the safety of kids on the bouncy castle, or donning your cleaning gloves for post-party tidying, your support is invaluable. Join us in creating a seamless and enjoyable experience as we honor Marci and bid her farewell with gratitude and joy! Sign up here.

Help Give Marci a Gift

We’d like to send Marci away with a fabulous party and two meaningful gifts: a plaque for the Education Courtyard to rename it as Marci’s Courtyard, and a memory book with photos and messages from current and past kids and parents.


If donations allow, we also would like to have activities for kids to do at the party, including a game, a craft, and a bouncy castle. To contribute to the party and Marci’s gifts, please donate through Breeze’s online portal by clicking here.

If you have any questions about the event, or encounter any problems signing up, please email Kelsie at

VUU Updates

By-Laws Amendment Vote: Principles and Sources

VUU members will vote on several By-Laws amendments at our annual meeting on June 9th, and the Board would like the Congregation to weigh in on a Sources and Principles Amendment in particular. This summer at GA, UU congregational delegates will vote on a rewrite of the UUA's Article II, which currently contains the Sources and Principles UUs are familiar with. Some members of VUU would like to add the Sources and Principles to VUUs By-Laws. The Board does not take a position on this amendment, but would like to support the democratic process in our congregation by allowing the Congregation to vote on this By-Laws change.  

During the Congregational Conversation on May 5th, there were calls for an amendment process for this proposal, partially regarding bullet 4 of the Sources section. The Board is evaluating the best path forward.

Section II.03 Principles

"We, the members of the Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation, covenant to affirm and promote:

● The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
● Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations;
● Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
● A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
● The right of conscience and the use of the democratic
process within our congregations and in society at large;
● The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
● Respect for the interdependent web of all existence, of which we are a part.

Section II.04 Sources

The living tradition which we share draws from many sources:

● Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;
● Words and deeds of prophetic people which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion and the transforming power of love;
● Wisdom from the world's religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
● Teachings of World Religions which call us to respond to God's love by loving our neighbors as ourselves; Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit;
● Spiritual teachings of Earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.

Grateful for the religious pluralism which enriches and ennobles our faith, we are inspired to deepen our understanding and expand our vision. As a free congregation we enter into this covenant, promising to one another our mutual trust and support."

VUU Preliminary Budget

We continue to update the budget for FY 2024 as pledges come in and we work to fund the deep cuts presented two weeks ago. These preliminary budgets are working tools not usually released beyond Board/Staff/Finance. They represent where we are; they are frequently updated and are works in progress. The final budget presented to the congregation in June WILL BE DIFFERENT and depends on you.

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; our fiscal year is July 1 – June 30. This operational year is what the budget and most programs are aligned to.

The Final budget will not be available until the Board approves it.  The budget vote will occur at the June 9th Annual Meeting.

Between now and then please use the link above to see where we are and pledge what you can; every dollar pledged is a staff position or program that will not be cut.


-Submitted by David Sheh, Finance Chair

General Assembly (GA) is Coming!  Call for Delegates!


June 19th – 23rd the annual gathering of UU’s from around the US and around the world will be held on line, this year is a virtual GA. VUU is entitled to several voting delegates, so if you are interested and have the time please let us know us know as soon as possible at


The main event: this year we will be voting on the adoption of the final Article II revisions. To take a look at what is being proposed and a comparison between the current Article II and what is proposed:

Article II Proposal

Article II Proposal Comparison to Current Article II


For more information, follow these links:

UUA General Assembly Registration

UUA General Assembly Schedule

Input Wanted

On June 16th, VUU is going to have a service on the theological diversity of Unitarian Universalism, and we'd love to have your input. If you would like to speak on being a UU Buddhist, a UU Jew, a UU Christian, UU Pagan, etc. please send me a shout on We are envisioning three speakers on different faiths going for 5-7 minutes. Questions to consider: What do you find beautiful about your theology? What speaks to your soul? How does it flourish within UUism?

-submitted by Mary Kate Eckles


Ain't We Got FUUNd?

VUU Chooses You! Pokemon Party – Tickets are Available!

Do you have Pokemon fans in your family? Are they (and you!) for FUUNd now that school is out? Why not by them a ticket to an afternoon filled with 4-5 Pokemon games, activites and a light snack? Each ticket holder will leave with some Pokemon loot and new trainer friends. Parents are not required to purchase a ticket or to stay, but we appreciate your consideration in advance. Maria W. and Amanda L. and their boys will be your hosts.

FUUNd’s VUU Chooses You! Pokemon Party will take place at VUU in rooms 1 & 2 from 2-4 pm on June 6th. Click here to purchase tickets; email for more information.

Music Ministries

1-Hour Choir – June 2

The 1-Hour Choir’s last rehearsal and performance for the Spring season is June 2. We will then take a break for the summer and resume in the fall. You can still join the 1-Hour Choir and learn an easy song or two on June 2. We meet in the Sanctuary from 9 -10 am and then lead the music in the service at 10:30. Contact Katie for more:

  • 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.
More About Music Ministries here

East VUU Social Night

Save the date: Thursday, May 23, 6:00 pm

Come join us for a delicious Mediterranean meal, at one of our favorite places, M.V.Pita. All are welcome!!!!

1066 N Power Rd, Ste. 103, Mesa, AZ 85205

East VUU Meeting - Save the Date!

"Community Obliteration in Phoenix"

Thursday, June 13, 6:00 pm ZOOM Meeting

Presented by Pete Dimas, Ph.D.

During the 1970s and 80s, the City of Phoenix obliterated a community of over 6,000 residents to make way for airport-related economic development. This community, known as Golden Gate Barrio, was made up of multi-generational and politically active vecinos. At the heart of this barrio was Sacred Heart Church and, owing to an over 30-year struggle, that church is the only remnant of Golden Gate and is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Pete Dimas is a Phoenix native and a Navy veteran of the Vietnam War. He received his Ph.D. from ASU in History, Social Work Theory, and Public Policy Analysis. Pete is the author of Progress and a Mexican American Community’s Struggle for Existence, which tells the story of the evolution of Golden Gate, Sky Harbor Airport, and the resistance of the community to its demise. He is currently working on a documentary series, Arizona’s Mexican Heritage: An American Story.

Join Zoom Meeting here. All are welcome!!!!

Environmental Action Team

Environmental Action Team (EAT) Meeting

Monday, May 20 at 6:30 pm

Join us on Google Meet (not Zoom). 

Since the April meeting didn't take place,

we'll open with a similar query to the one we planned for April: "Tell us 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.

ALL Are Welcome!

-Submitted by Linda Stenholm

Faith Formation

Summer 2024 Curricula

School curriculum is wrapping up, and summer classes are on the horizon! Just like last year, we'll merge classes to have three instead of six. This year, we're cutting summer to eight weeks, so that we align our calendar with local schools' schedules. The summer program will be from June 2 to July 21, with Water Fun Day on July 21. The new school year will begin on July 28.

We are looking for volunteers to help in the classrooms this summer. Please sign up here.

UU Emotions - Pre-K–1st Grade

Explore big emotions with books by Tom Percival. Curriculum includes a craft and/or activity that relates to the topic.

Culture Company - 2nd–5th Grade

Travel around the world, getting stamps in your very own passport. Learn about the cultures and histories of Australia, Ghana, India, Brazil, Morocco, and Greece.

Eat Around the World - Middle and High School

Gain an appreciation of the cultures of China, Ethiopia, and India through the lens of food. This curriculum includes cooking and eating food every other week. On alternating weeks, youth will learn about the racism these cultures experience, with a particular emphasis on food-related racism.

High School Seniors Bridging

This Sunday, May 19 the High School seniors in our congregation will be celebrated as they Bridge into Young Adults. 

Anyone who identifies as a Young Adult is welcome to be on the receiving end of the bridge as the youth cross.  As is our tradition, we will end the ceremony by singing "The Circle Game" by Joni Mitchell (there are dance steps included!) Please plan to join us for this celebration!

Joys and Concerns

Michael Santoro

Shari Melton’s 45-year-old son, Michael Santoro, died suddenly and unexpectedly last Monday morning. His family with four small children live in Tempe, and Shari is with them now. She’s not ready to receive texts and calls, but cards would be appreciated. The address is 10543 E Palladium, Mesa 85212. Her partner Jerry Martin shares her grief. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of them.

Marion and Mark Hammer

Mark and I have participated and enjoyed worshiping with your community for the last 12 years during our snowbird time in Arizona. We planned to fly home April 12; however, on April 11 Mark had stroke. He has made tremendous progress with the help of Banner Rehab and has been discharged with the help of a cane. We flew home on Saturday and are welcomed back to our INUUC church. It has been a difficult time for us, but with excellent medical care and helpful neighbors we came out strong and plan to return to Mesa next fall. Hope to see you all then!

Rachel Smith Memorial

Our dear member Rachel Smith will be remembered in a Celebration of Life at VUU on Friday, May 17 at 1:00 pm. All are welcome!

Please consider giving a gift to VUU or the Huntington’s Disease Society of America as a tribute to Rachel and how she inspired us.

Please note your gift is “In Honor of Rachel Smith.”

Thanks for your generosity!

Janice Miller

Share your Joys and Concerns here.

Fellowship and Social Activities

Gen X & Millennials Pool Party

Calling all Gen X and Millennials! Join us for a pool party on Saturday, May 18th, from 7-10 pm.

Please email Kate McGee at for details.

Circle Suppers Group

Would you like to get to know more people from the VUU community? Join the Circle Suppers group and participate in monthly potluck dinners. A purely social event, there are no requirements aside from having a good time. On the first Saturday of each month, small groups of 8 or 10 meet at a host’s house for a meal and conversation. The hosts and attendees are always changing, so each month you will get to meet and visit with new people. Participants are not required to host and most dietary restrictions can be accommodated. Singles, couples, and families are welcome, and you don’t need to be a VUU member to participate.

Contact: Nick Carr

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 Thursday, May 16 at 7:00 pm; we will meet at the home of Johnnie Godfrey in Tempe (near Baseline Rd. and the 101).  The book is Fer-de-Lance, a mystery by Rex Stout.

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

Giving / Volunteering

Are you our next volunteer?

We are looking for three more volunteer drivers to fill in for those who have or will be leaving Arizona heat this season! 

Adding three more to the roster could assure a year round every-other-month commitment of just one Saturday for everyone. The reward you receive is knowing you made a difference in someone’s life.

OUR MISSION: Saturday 9am pick up of food donations from a Mesa grocery store.  Drive of 20 miles to two Asylum Seeker Shelters within 5 minutes of each other. Staff is there on receiving end to unload. 

Involves a 1-2 hour commitment of your time and gas.

Call or text Sharon Kopina for more info at 602-668-7397.


Partners in Education (PIE)

Let's show our teachers how much they are appreciated! This week we are collecting contributions for next Monday's PIE Bash. Last year we provided pies and coffee for about $250. Please let Perii know if you can help! Call or text Perii Skolnick,, 413 429-6937

We need Bilingual Volunteers for our after-school program. Please let us know if you are interested or know someone who might be. We will be happy to arrange a visit to Adams to see this amazing program in action. Contact Randall Casillas, or Perii Skolnick, for more information. 

-Submitted by Perii Skolnick

See What Happens To Your Ballot!

Your UU the Vote Team is arranging a private tour of the MCTEC (Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center) so we can become educated on exactly what's happening with ballots after they are cast.

Enjoy a private tour exclusively for VUU members and friends. We will be selecting a date in early June - tentatively set for June 4th at 1 PM pending interest from the congregation - for the tour.

Please sign up at the UU the Vote table before or after services.

Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation |