November 23, 2023


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This Sunday at VUU



Sunday, November 26, 2023

Flip the Church!

The worship team invites you to watch this homily from Rev. Sarah’s installation before coming to service and be prepared to be in a small group conversation about it. 

Worship Associates Joel Sannes, Amanda Schneider and Melanie Cloonan Schulte will help facilitate. We’ll begin and end with our usual rituals of songs, chalice lighting, readings, and an offering while making room for small group conversations.



  • 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 

No classes this Sunday. All ages game day. OWL classes do not meet.

See 2023-2024 Curriculum Here


8:30 am Meditation

9:00 am Discussion  

In person: Board Room

Via Zoom here

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

Christmas services and activities:

December 6, 2023 6:00p Join the choir and DECORATE our Sanctuary.  Of course we’ll sing while we decorate.  We’ll have treats to share (calling all bakers and candy makers!)  Have some decorations that need a new home?  Bring them!  

December 10, 2023 10:30a A Unitarian Universalist Christmas Pageant

Join us on Sunday morning as the children and youth of Valley UU remind us how and why we celebrate Christmas. In addition to a fabulous story about the true meaning of Christmas we will be conducting a clothing drive during the pageant. 

We will be supporting documented asylum seekers who pass through the valley on their way to their sponsors in colder climates. Please plan to bring new or slightly used outwear for kids and adults: All children's sizes - sweat shirts and jackets, Adult sizes small, medium & large - jackets.

You will want to join us in person - everyone in the sanctuary will receive an "audience participation" bag! Christmas Pageant featuring VUU kids!

December 14, 7p - Longest Night Service

December 24 Christmas Eve ****NO MORNING SERVICE****

3:00p Family Friendly Christmas Eve service “Stories, Songs and Santa!” Hosted by the Seiferth and Oglesby-Dunegan families.  An intergenerational early service oriented toward families with younger children who have earlier bedtimes, shorter attention spans, and whose theology is one of cookies, Santa and stories about Santa, and fun songs.  Wear your “holiday funware” - holiday pajamas or special outfits.  Bring some cookies to share.  We’ll have Santa and a beautiful spot to take a family photo (with or without Santa!) after the service. We’ll also have an exchange of stuffed animals for your child to choose a lovey to take home (bring one, take one and of course we’ll have extras in case someone forgets!)

7:00p Christmas Eve Service Led by Rev. Sarah and an ensemble of singers, directed by Beth Wyman.  A service oriented around adults and older children celebrating the beauty and magic of this season through classic music and messages that remind us of the connections between liberal Christianity and Unitarian Universalism through the traditional Christmas story.  Of course, we also share a theology of pretty lights, cookies, hot chocolate and coffee.

Christmas Eve Help!

Looking to add one more thing to your holiday to-do list? Lucky you! The Coffee Team really needs your help in the VUU Kitchen on Christmas Eve.

Before the 3:00p Santa's Coming service: Help make hot drinks and set out snacks. Help clean up after the service.

Before the 7:00p Traditional Christmas Eve service: Help make coffee and set out cookies. Help clean up after the service.

To volunteer, click here. Questions? Contact Barb.

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

Faith Formation

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 23

  • Facilities Meeting 6p
  • EVUU Gathering 6:30p

Friday, November 24

  • Singles Dinner Out 6:30p

Saturday, November 25

Sunday, November 26

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

Monday, November 27

  • I-HELP Shelter 5:30p

Tuesday, November 28

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

Wednesday, November 29

  • Choir Rehearsal 6p
  • DnD Games 5:30p

Thursday, November 30

  • Board Meeting 5:15p

Friday, December 1

  • Singles Dinner Out 6:30p

Saturday, December 2

  • Circle Suppers 5p

Sunday, December 3

  • Dalai Lama and Friends 8:30a
  • Family Choir 9a
  • Sunday Worship Service 10:30a
  • Faith Formation Classes10:30a
  • Spotted OWLs 12:45p
  • Burrowing OWLs 12:45p

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

Desert Notes from Rev. Sarah

In my sermon last week I referenced the book “God Revised:  How Religion Must Evolve in a Scientific Age” by Rev. Galen Guengerich, a UU minister and colleague of mine.  One of the ideas I talked about was the importance of gratitude as a building block for interdependent, healthy communities and congregations.  Guengerich says that the key to renewing our sense of faith in the future is to understand that we are truly interconnected and interdependent.  Each of us is the sum of all of the events and relationships of our past, and each of us contributes to the context of everyone we interact with and even people we don’t realize we are interacting with.   What we eat, what we buy, how we speak, what we create, what we throw away...all of these choices come to us from a context; someone made the things we buy, someone receives the money we spend, someone hears the words we use, someone sees the flag we raise. This context is always shifting, and our choices are continually changing the landscape not just for us, but for all of us.  Guengerich’s revision of God is like my own--that God is not a supernatural being but rather the co-creation of each of us living into our fullest capacity for the good of each and the good of all; God is an energy that we are creating and tapping into as we make each new leap of faith.  We can call that whatever we want–Spirit of Life, or Love, or building the Beloved Community, or whatever you like.  Gratitude is a central piece of this shared work because it helps us see that we need each other.

So today I want to tell you how grateful I am to each of you.  This congregation is made up of many smaller teams that are working together: from pastoral care to immigrant support, to neighborhood connectors and youth faith formation; to the community garden and environmental action; to the choir and musicians, and volunteers who show up to set up or clean up or learn how run the A/V booth; to book groups, and East Valley UU activities and the Dalai Lama group; to social gatherings and fundraising and OMG!  You all are an amazing, dedicated group.  And some of you are also showing up to learn about your own capacity to respond to conflict differently and to build healthier systems of negotiating our complex congregational life.  This first year together has not been easy.  It has required all of us to work harder to listen, to consider different points of view, and to think about change in new ways.  Some of you have remarked that it has not been a “normal” year for a new minister.  I am not sure such a thing exists, and whatever norms were here before COVID, they’ve most certainly been forever changed.  I know some of you are struggling with change and some of you are celebrating change.  No matter what, I am grateful for the many contributions made each day–to our shared future and our present needs.  What are you grateful for?  I hope you find time to celebrate this week and this season the things that bring joy, comfort, connection, meaning and growth for you.  

Rev. Sarah Oglesby-Dunegan

Restorative Practices/conflict engagement work with VUU

Hello VUU! I’m excited to share with you this video introducing our “Special Care Congregations” Tool and Impact of Ministries Survey. Both of these resources are part of our work together, exploring the dynamics, conflicts, needs, and hopes at VUU.

This tool was shaped by my nineteen 1:1 conversations with your congregational leaders in September, as well as my gatherings with them during our Kick Off Weekend. The tool invites you to explore a couple different “metaphors” about the needs and dispositions of a community experiencing a leadership or organizational transition. 

My invitation:

  • Watch this video. The video is about 30 minutes long, so get a cup of tea. 
  • Read along with the PDF of the worksheet, “Special Care Congregations,” adapted by Rev. Sarah and I from the work of Rev. Robert Latham. 
  • Then, when you’re ready, fill out the Impact of Ministries Survey this month (before the end of November) to share your reflections about what needs appreciating, gratitude, grieving, healing, tending, or accountability in this congregation’s history of ministries and leadership.

Near the end of November, I’ll begin reviewing your responses with Rev. Sarah to explore themes, patterns, and possibilities with your Board and Committee on Shared Ministry. Your responses will guide our reflections and next steps together! 

You are welcome to email me if you have questions – I am grateful to learn and work with you! 

With care, Rev. Sam

UUA Update

The UUA invites all UUs to review the Final Proposed Revision to Article II and absorb what it means to you and your congregation or community. To help you engage deeply with the text, we offer multiple formats of the Final Proposed Revision: an online webpage, a PDF version linked from the webpage, and a PDF version with line numbers linked from the webpage, to support the work of proposing amendments.

VUU Updates

Board Update

Hello VUU Members,

At the last Congregational Conversation, the Board said we would set meetings to let you share and share with you about our congregation’s understandings of and feelings about upcoming Article II proposals to be voted on at 2024 GA. The Board has planned those sessions. Check your email for the details. Please join us for a meeting.

Nancy Egly, BoT Vice President and the Board of Trustees

Fostering Compassion and

Creativity at VUU Scouts

This month, our focus at VUU Scouts is Citizenship. Our goal is to instill in our scouts the values of being responsible, compassionate, and engaged members of society.

At our recent scouting meeting, our scouts took a proactive step towards promoting good citizenship by creating care bags for those in our community who are unhoused. These care bags are designed to provide comfort and support to those individuals our scouts may encounter throughout their lives. Each bag includes supportive message cards written by the scouts filled with love, light, and encouragement.

In addition to our meaningful community service project, our troops also showcased their creativity by making Tie Dye shirts to serve as our distinctive uniforms. These vibrant shirts represent our unity and commitment to being active citizens in our society.

For further details, please refer to our informative flyer. We encourage you to spread the word and invite others who share our passion for citizenship education to join us on this incredible journey.

Let's come together, make a difference, and pave the way for a brighter future.

Caring Ministries Program

December 11 - 6:30p

Coping with Grief During the Holidays

Join us in the Board Room for a talk provided by a Hospice of the Valley speaker. The holidays can be very difficult. Hospice of the Valley shares strategies for grieving families who are trying to move through the

holiday season. 

“Coping with Grief During the Holidays” recognizes why grief is so important, helps us understand how grief affects us, discusses ways to survive the holidays, and learn ways to create new memories.

The program will be livestreamed; details to come.

Music Ministries

Drum Circle

Do you or someone you know, have interest in helping Katie lead the drum circle? If so, please contact Katie at

The VUU Voices Choir

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. Contact with any questions.

The 1-Hour Adult Choir - Dec. 3 and the Kids'choir "Angel Choir" - Dec. 10

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. Next is December 3. However, please note that an Angel choir will be taking the place of the 1-hour kids' choir for the month of December. The kid's choir will not be meeting Dec. 3 but rather be singing for the pageant on December 10. All kids are welcome to sing in the Angel choir. Your kids can also be a different character than an angel AND still sing in the Angel choir. Contact Katie for more information such as videos of the songs and lyric sheets that the Angel choir will sing:

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!


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

Save the Date: December 14 Monthly Meeting 6:30pm

Our 2024 planning meeting to decide how our EastVUU group can grow and prosper. Suggestions welcome before our meetup. Email us and we will compile a listing to present and discuss. Suggestions also welcome night of meeting!

Join Zoom Meeting

Save the Date: Social Night December 28 6:30pm

Once again at Barbara Peter's Home. Plenty of inside room and outdoor fire pit area to enjoy fellowship after a busy Holiday Season! More info will follow.

Faith Formation

Faith Formation Holiday Class Schedule:

  • Nov. 26 - NO classes, all age game day (assistants join us) OWL classes do NOT meet
  • Dec. 3 - MS & HS classes meet, Pre-K - 5th grade NO class  Pageant Rehearsal (assistants assist with pageant.) OWL classes meet
  • Dec 10 - NO classes, everyone attends Pageant, 10:30 am OWL classes do NOT meet
  • Dec. 17 - ALL classes meet, OWL classes do NOT meet
  • Jan. 7 - Everything is back!! All classes and OWL meet.
  • Jan. 14 - ALL classes meet, OWL classes do NOT meet

Creativity Matters

Interested in a curriculum focused on exploring topics through creativity? Join Rev. Sarah and Kelsie for an Adult Faith Formation program on the first Saturday evening of every month, starting January 2024. Fill out this form to indicate your interest.

Spirit of Life December 7th Meeting

Hello, Friends, Our next meeting of Spirit of Life Reading Circle is Thursday, December 7th at 7:00 on Zoom. In addition to the readings, we'd also like to encourage you to listen to this song, which was written for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and which I personally love.

We hope this reflects our new year as well and we hope to see you on Zoom on the 7th!

Love, Mary, Anne, and Rebecca

Dec 7, 2023 07:00 PM

Join Zoom Meeting Here

Joys and Concerns

Meal Train for Donna Bennett

Donna got a new knee! She will be recovering at home for at least 6 weeks after her total knee replacement. We would love some help with meals for her and Bradley. Sign up for the Meal Train.

If you don't live locally or would just rather send her a food delivery gift card, her email is Thank you so much for surrounding her with love and support in the form of food in this healing time for her!

Olivia James, Donna's daughter

Lee Laskowski Surgery

Lee is home recovering from back surgery. The surgery went well. Cards would be appreciated! 5002 E Summer Moon Lane, Phoenix 85044.

Sue Keen, Lee's mom

Fellowship and Social Activities

Want to get in on the FUUNd?

Visit the auction table on Sunday mornings and donate your own special

event or service. Not sure what to donate? In addition to made to order baked goods, would you consider:

  • Hosting a Dinner? Whether it’s a Chinese feast, a backyard BBQ, or a meal featuring Polish, Transylvanian, Italian, South American, Mexican or some other cuisine, VUU members and friends love to get together with friends over a delicious meal.
  • Leading a Hike or an Outing? Take a group to the art museum, the botanical garden, or even the zoo! Lead a hike for beginners at South Mountain or offer a more challenging excursion on the Peralta Trail or Usery Mountain Park.
  • Throwing a really FUUNd party? Past auctions have featured pool parties, tea parties, Tequila tasting, card games, Civil War discussions, jigsaw puzzles, game and movie nights. We’ve even sold an axe throwing party!
  • Offering Lessons or Services? Can you do tax preparation, prepare a will or other legal document, offer counseling, a health and wellness assessment, photography, pet-sitting, house-sitting? Can you give swimming, yoga, dancing, music, jewelry making, or other lessons?
  • Creating a Handmade Item especially for the buyer? Do you quilt, paint, draw, knit, sew, crochet, work with wood or leather? Custom items are always popular!
  • Sharing your Vacation Getaway for a weekend or longer?

Watch this space for FUUNd updates and information

about how you can donate electronically.

Singles Dinner out

Friday, November 24 (yes, tomorrow!) at 6:30p

Perfect Pear Bistro 9845 S Priest Dr Tempe (at the back of Tempe Crossing Mall on the corner of Ray and Priest.) RSVP to Claudette by email or text 973.768.6047

Singles Holiday Party

Save the date - December 16, 5:30p

The Page Turners' 2024 Book Selection Party - Dec. 14 7p

Please note this is the second Thursday in December. The meeting will be held at Pat & Amy Monahan's house near the 101 & Ray Rd.  We ask that everyone bring a snack to share.  Amy & Pat will provide beverages.

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.
  • You can bring a spouse, partner, or guest with you to the party if you choose to do so.  

For the meeting/party address or questions, email Amy.

Volunteering and Giving

VUU Environmental Action Team (EAT)

The VUU Environmental Action Team is looking for fresh new energy and leadership.

Sandy Whitley and Denise McLeod have served exceptionally well as our EAT co-chairs for the past couple of years and are ready to pass on the leadership torch by helping to develop and mentor new EAT team leaders.

At our last team meeting Linda Stenholm volunteered to step up as a new EAT committee chair with the request that one or two other EAT members will step forward to share the leadership responsibilities with her as co-chairs.

If you are interested or want to recommend another VUU member) getting involved in our VUU EAT team leadership, then please reach out to Sandy Whitley, Denise McLeod and/or Linda Stenholm to learn how to join us.

The bottom line is that we must continue to re-energize an renew our commitment to the VUU EAT work to bequeath an environmentally sustainable future to our children and grandchildren. Contact Bill Elliott with questions.

RSVP here. Questions, email Arizona Interfaith Power and Light.


VUU Holiday Immigration Actions

Help the Immigration Action Team continue VUU's Holiday successes:

Success # 1. Our holiday winter clothing drive for asylum seekers continues...Last week we delivered more than 14 bags of clothing which will go to clothe the 150 to 300+ asylum seekers arriving M-F at each of the 3 Latino church shelters and the Welcome Center.

Success #2. Many congregants selected gifts to give our deserving families from our Holiday Gift Tree on display before and after services on Sundays. We'll make it easy for you to pick, purchase, wrap and deliver the gift you select. Lots of choices are still available and the tree will be there for your perusal for the next few weeks.

Success #3. We were helping Ian raise pledges for his Adams Elementary (Our PIE sponsored school) Turkey Trot happening this week. He was shooting for $210 to pay for his required fees to a Spring Science Camp...and we collected $230!...enough to cover his fees and contribute to another student who may need help. This money also will help the IAT meet our Special Funds matching grant requirements.

Thank you for your continued support!

Valley Interfaith Project

Ninety-three people attended the VIP Chandler Mental Health and

Affordable Housing Assembly at VUU last week. And almost one-third

of those were from VUU!

VIP Leaders and Friends at the Assembly...

... Celebrated VIP’s collaboration with Arizona Students for Mental

Health to bring teen suicide awareness and counseling services to

Chandler Unified School District

... Learned the facts around the affordable housing crisis in the East

Valley and a proposed senior affordable housing development in


... Heard reactions from CUSD School Board President Jason Olive,

CUSD Director of Counseling and Social Services Natasha Davis, and

Chandler City Council Member Christine Ellis

Next Steps Include...

... Formation of Rapid Response Teams ready to email, call, and / or

attend City Council, County Board of Supervisors, and School Board

meetings in support of VIP organizing

... Commitments to attend the VIP Delegates Assembly on December

12 to participate in planning VIP’s Agenda for 2024

... All VUU members and friends are invited to participate in Valley Interfaith Project’s organizing in ways small or big.

Contact a core team member for more information: Barb Quijada, Nancy Wittenberg, Linda Stenholm, Kathy Melamed and Rev Sarah.

Paz de Cristo - Volunteers needed this month!

Continuing the Tradition… Keeping the Commitment… Living our Principles

2nd Friday, December 8th, 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 December.

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

Progress Arizona

Progress Arizona will host a Progressive Messenger Training with us on Saturday, Dec. 2 (10am, on zoom) and Sunday, Dec. 3 (12:15p in the Sanctuary). Come learn how to use their super-easy Megaphone App to amplify progressive legislative information now and throughout the 2024 election cycle.

Contact DeeAnne for more information; more details here next week.

UU Justice Arizona

Take a stand for the LGBTQ+ community and our UU values - Join UUJAZ for our Prescott Community Safety and Deescalation Training

Across the country, UUs have been showing up: at school board meetings to assert children's right to access diverse books and historically accurate curriculum, at the state legislature to protest anti-trans bills, and at drag shows and story hours to support all gender expression. We know that we create safety in community, and we can bring joy and connection to places that carry some risk, including our own congregations. We also know that safety training helps us act from a place of love and courage, not fear, because we are prepared and can fall back on our training, while knowing it's likely to never be put to use. Our partners in the LGBTQ+ community need us to come create welcoming and safe spaces at their events, and we need to know how to keep our congregations calm, alert, prepared and focused so we continue to live our values out loud: let's get trained together!

Our training is created by "Safety Dave" of Empowered Safety Concepts, Rev. Brigitta of the SURJ congregational safety team, Janine and Casey from UU Justice Arizona (UUJAZ).

Saturday, December 9th | 8:30am - 5pm | Prescott area

Breakfast and lunch will be provided

Please RSVP here by Dec 3rd

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 at Resumes and/or questions should be directed to

Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation |