February 22, 2024

Click here to view The Happenings in full

This Sunday at VUU


Sunday, February 25, 10:30a

“Songs for the People”

This is the last in our Black History Month series on African American UU’s. Rev. Sarah highlights our commitments to civil rights and racial justice and their roots in pre and post civil war leaders and activism. VUU Voices choir performs.  



  • 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

YouTube Link for Sunday Service
Zoom Link for after the service

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, February 22

  • VUU Board Meeting 5:30p
  • EastVUU Gathering 6p
  • Facilities Committee 6p
  • Ukulele Club 6:30p
  • Worship Associates 6:30p

Friday, February 23

  • Singles Dinner Out 6:30p

Saturday, February 24

Sunday, February 25

  • Dalai Lama and Friends 8:30a
  • Pygmy OWL class 8:45a
  • Sunday Service 10:30a
  • Faith Formation Classes 10:30a
  • Burrowing OWL Parents 12:45p
  • Burrowing OWL Class 12:45p
  • Grief Support Group 1p

Monday, February 26

  • VIP Core Team 9a
  • IHelp Shelter 5:30p

Tuesday, February 27

  • Men's Group 7p

Wednesday, February 28

  • DnD Game 5:30p
  • Choir Rehearsal 6p
  • CCL & EAT Meeting 6p

Thursday, February 29

  • Ukulele Group 6:30p

Friday, March 1

Saturday, March 2

  • New Participants Lunch 11a
  • Creativity Matters 4p
  • Social Suppers 5p

Sunday, March 3

  • Dalai Lama and Friends 8:30a
  • Pygmy OWL class 8:45a
  • Sunday Service 10:30a
  • EAT Presentation 11:45a
  • Voices Lifted 12:15p
  • Burrowing OWL Parents 12:45p
  • Burrowing OWL Class 12:45p
  • Grief Support Group 1p

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

Desert Notes from Rev. Sarah

Housing Press Conference VIP/Capitol:

Last week I enjoyed the opportunity to participate in a press conference at the state capital with Valley Interfaith Project as we advocated for a bill called “Yes in God’s Backyard” or YIGBY, which is an opportunity for faith communities to use land they own to create deed restricted and publicly available affordable housing. This bill enjoyed bipartisan support and went to the appropriations committee this Monday, where it passed out of committee to be discussed on the floor of the House and hopefully the Senate. We cannot do this work alone–we had four Bishops from different denominations, a rabbi, and many clergy present as well as others from our congregations. The message was that access to affordable housing is a moral issue which calls us to act together to insure this important resource in our community–and faith communities are willing to do their part. I was excited to participate and see the progress of this work!

Azcend Eggs Benefit:

Nine VUU’ers joined me at the Azcend annual Eggs Benefit program in Gilbert to learn more about their work beyond the IHELP program we support. I was grateful to share that time together and see how our financial and volunteer support makes a difference everyday for our neighbors in need. As a board member for Azcend, I was proud to have a full table and to watch our elected officials walk by and notice some of the same folks who have been to council meetings and advocated for needs in our community (like affordable housing!) at our table. We may be a small denomination with fewer congregations, but our commitment to change and opportunity in our community is visible and powerful. Thanks for joining me!


Th VUU Board of Trustees and I are asking folks to continue their pledges from last year as we prepare an aspirational budget and enter a pledge drive in March beginning with an intergenerational service called “Stone Soup” and finishing at the end of March on Easter with a pancake breakfast and service. During that month, I will be releasing videos about VUU and the ministries and programs we are engaging this year that need your continued support. We’ve just had a successful annual FUUnd auction raising more than $20,000! Plan to join us in March and consider increasing your pledge to support the transformational work being done every week here at VUU!  

VUU Updates


FUUNd Raises Over $21,150

The 2024 Let’s Have FUUNd Together auction raised $21,150 thanks to our 63 donors and 120 bidders, and to the tireless efforts of our amazing auction committee - Pam Swan, Bill Haskell, Rick Hinrichs, Jim Horton, Linda Horton, Amanda Lee, Ann Sebren, Linda Stenholm, Barbara Sorauf, and Debbe Simpkins. The committee also thanks Rev. Sarah, Todd Sirrine, the VUU Board, Linda Rand, Nick Carr, and Gloria

Masters for their support of our efforts.

Bidder and donor statements were emailed to everyone last Monday, 2/19. If you can’t find yours, please email fuundtogether@vuu.org for assistance.

A payment link is included at the end of your bidder statement. Simply click this link and follow the prompts. You will have an opportunity to review your charges before finalizing your payment. You will also be asked if you would like to include the credit card charges, and we hope you will!

Payment in full is due by noon on Wednesday, February 28. If your payment is not received by the deadline, your credit card will be charged automatically.

Please watch the Weekly Happenings for FUUNd updates throughout the coming year. We hope to feature photos of VUUers having FUUNd at the events they won, and to use the auction website to offer “buy it now” pricing for events and items that have not sold out.


VUU Coffee Hour Sign up

Please sign up to assist with the Coffee Hour. It is people like you that make this part of Sunday service possible. We are always happy to welcome and train new volunteers. This is a great way to meet new people!

Snacks are provided by congregation members. You may bring something to share, but it is not required. Please review the available slots and click on the button to sign up. 

Questions? Please contact Laura Rohlfing at larohlfing@gmail.com or 480-249-6287. 

VUU Rentals!

When your friends, family, organizations need a space to hold an event, a meeting, etc., think of VUU. Our spaces are beautiful, functional, and affordable.

Send them here to see the spaces we have available and how to secure a rental.

Finance Update

To provide regular updates to the congregation, the Finance Team will publish a monthly update in the Happenings.

Excerpt from January Financial Analyst Report: “January was the seventh month of our fiscal year. Our gross income year to date is $387,000, $18,5000 under budget. Contributions are short by $9,800, and rental income was shy of projections by $8,200. This revenue includes the “one-time income” of $75,600 we carried from prior years and the Recovery Fund. Total expenses are over budget by only $500, with various categories making up for property being over by $19,507 (new AC needs). While January is typically a good revenue month, the closure of the sanctuary and lack of an operating campaign brought our income up short by $15,000 in January alone. The completion of the projects should bode well for future rental income. In net income, we are $18,000 behind budget year to date.” Link to full report here

Please send any questions to finance@vuu.org


New to UU? New to VUU?

Never got around to joining and now you’re thinking about it? 

Start your path to membership!

VUU Welcome Luncheon

Saturday, March 2nd 11a-1p 

Sanctuary Rooms 1&2 (Education side of campus)

RSVP here

VUU New Participant Class

Saturday, April 20th 9a-1p 

VUU Board Room (Office Building)

RSVP here

New Member Recognition

Sunday Service, May 5

UU Pacific Southwest Service Area Assembly

Registration is OPEN!

 Join us to share what's going on in your congregation and enjoy meaningful keynote topics, an assortment of workshops, youth con activities, music, worship, meals and more!

More information is available here.

Music Ministries

Earth Day Cabaret - Sat. April 27

We will be continuing the theme around Earth Day (think nature-inspired songs – mountains, ocean, rain, etc., songs about animals and any other song that could tie into celebrating and caring for our Earth). If you are interested in singing a song or playing an instrument, please contact Ken St. John or Katie Seiferth. We are looking forward to another great night of music and fun!

The VUU Voices ChoirWednesdays, 6:00-7:30 pm

To see the 2023-2024 rehearsal and performance schedule please click here

To access sheet music and vocal tracks for songs we are working on, please click here.

1-Hour Choir (Adults and Kids)March 3

Voices Lifted

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.

Ukulele Club

We have an Ukulele Club at VUU! Join us on Thursday nights at 6:30 pm in Classroom #5. Please text uke group at (602) 884-0827 if you are interested. Please bring your uke, small percussion etc.

Please email Katie Seifert at MusicDirector@vuu.org with

any music-related questions or requests.


EastVUU Social Night

Garlic breadsticks? Join the EastVUU group for Italian dinner!

Thursday, February 22, 6:00 pm (new time)

Olive Garden

6201 E. Southern Ave, Mesa

EastVUU Program Discussion

Save the date: Thursday, March 14, Zoom program discussion, 6:00 pm

"Interdependence"--UU Principle and Value. What do you value more--independence or interdependence? Is your well-being due mostly to your actions or the actions of others? How does perspective mature as we age? Let's discuss! All welcome!

EastVUU Zoom

Thursday, March 14, 6p

Join Zoom Meeting

Partners In Education

The Art Masterpiece program is up and running with our five volunteers presenting to eight classes! Two of us are providing additional related art projects to three classes. Openings windows on the world!

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! This can be done any time prior to April 15, and prior to filing your tax return. If you have AZ tax liability, you may receive full credit for your donation. (check with your tax advisor)

For more information, contact Perii Skolnick.

Food for Life and the Planet (FLP)

FLP Event - March 8

One of the takeaways from "You Are What You Eat" [on Netflix] is the way our foods have changed since WWII. With that in mind, we’d like to discuss an extraordinary book about how big business food companies have manipulated what we eat, resulting in significant health issues. TV dinners and Pop-Tarts, anyone? We wanted to give you plenty of time to read it so that we can have our usual lively discussion!

"Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us" by Michael Moss

Date: Friday, March 8

Time:  12 Noon

Google Meet Link


For more information, please contact Denise McLeod or Linda Ruehlman.

Faith Formation

Stone Soup - March 3

March 3rd is a Multi-generational service built around the children's book: Stone Soup. As part of the service, we will be making (and eating) soup! The kids will be making the soup, led by a team of adult volunteers. 

How can you participate? In the book, everyone in the village brings something to add to the pot, and we will be echoing this with our service. Please sign up to bring some ingredients here. Looking forward to making delicious soup to share!

Join us for a special Sunday service that celebrates the gifts we each bring to this community, providing nourishing relationships and experiences that help us grow, connect and transform! In addition to bringing ingredients to make soup or eat with our soup, we invite you to bring one or more bowls to donate to VUU so that we can all eat from bowls that are re-usable. Each bowl can be unique–and they don’t need to be fancy. From your own kitchen or a second hand store or somewhere else you’re shopping, find and bring one or more bowls so we can all eat soup together.  

We’ll begin with the story and a ritual, and then some of us will help prepare the meal (especially kids with some adult helpers!) and some of us will choose to be part of some small group conversations led by Valley Interfaith Project leaders that invite us to share stories about what we care about in our wider community, especially what we worry about and how those issues impact us and those we love. Anyone 12 and older can participate in a small group conversation. Some of us will help prepare lunch, set up tables. In January we listened to each other talk about our experiences at VUU. Now, we’re going to take a wider lens and consider where the wider community beyond VUU is experiencing needs and challenges that need our attention and care. 

Other group activities will be available too–we’re still “cooking it up!” Then, we’ll all eat lunch together, so plan to stay (and bring a friend or two!) This service will also be the kickoff of our Stewardship Campaign and we’ll invite you to look at our hopes for the next program year, the resources necessary to achieve these, and ask you to pledge your financial support for these goals. Stone Soup! Everyone has something to contribute, and every contribution makes a difference. 

Together, we create community…and this is sacred work.

Seen at Faith Formation

From Marci, our Director of Faith Formation: I loved seeing this class outside, thought I should share it with the congregation.

Lead teacher Jenny Casillas Lopercio, and assistant Kat Glover, took the preschool class outside to read Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli. The 3 and 4 year olds loved sitting in the sun and paid rapt attention to the story about self joy and sharing that joy with others. After the story the children glued paper hearts onto a piece of paper and wrote "Somebody Loves You." Who did they give them to??

Joys and Concerns

Share your Joys and Concerns here.

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 March 21 at 7:00 PM, we will meet at the home of Johnnie Godfrey in Tempe (near Baseline Rd. and the 101).  The book is "The Midnight Library" by Matt Haig.

Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets? A novel about all the choices that go into a life well lived.

For the meeting address or questions, please contact Johnnie at 480-231-8381 or email: agmonahan@gmail.com.

-Submitted by Amy Monahan

Singles Dinner Out

WHEN: Friday, Feb. 23 6pm

WHERE: Cafe Lalibela

849 W University Dr, Tempe

The food is Ethiopean; this has been a favorite spot in the past.

RSVP to Claudette by phone or text (preferred) 973-768-6047

-Submitted by Jodi Freeman

Giving / Volunteering

Paz de Cristo

Volunteers needed this month!

Continuing the Tradition… Keeping the Commitment… Living our Principles

March date: 2nd Friday, March 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 of serving the evening meal to Paz de Cristo guests on the second Friday of March 3/8/24. Volunteers gather at the Paz kitchen/dining room from 4 pm to 7pm 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 fun, and the evening goes fast. Seventeen volunteers are needed for the evening 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. Please sign up for this rewarding experience at www.vuu.org/paz.

-Submitted by Joanne McGrath

I-Help Dinner

Our February 26th meal will feature a comfort food menu of hearty soups and stews. Sign up here.

Please drop off your ready-to-serve items at the VUU sanctuary kitchen by 5:30 pm. The sanctuary door should be unlocked, but if not, just knock loudly please! 

If you are bringing your soup or stew in something like a slow cooker, please label it so it may be returned to you promptly. 


Thank you so much for your continued generosity!

-Submitted by Laura Rohlfing

Border Support

Have you heard about Sásabe, AZ?

Please read and donate small hand held foods so humanitarians at the border can provide them to these desperate, cold and hungry women and children. Refugee Aid transports to a local church for distribution.

See needs list below. 99cent stores have great prices. Items are used quickly so expiration dates are not a problem. 

2/12/24: “About 400 migrants, including children and elderly people, waited at the border wall more than 15 miles east of Sásabe from Friday evening into Saturday morning, when aid workers arrived amid snow and freezing temperatures, volunteers said.

Border agents didn’t come to the wall in response to volunteers’ calls for help because they claimed Border Patrol vehicles couldn’t make it over the steep, muddy roads on Saturday, said Aryanna Tischler, volunteer with Tucson humanitarian-aid group No More Deaths.” Aid volunteers made it in their own vehicles.

Read the full article here.

No water bottles, too bulky to transport 

Small cups: ONLY Applesauce, fruit, jello or puddings

Squeeze packets : vegetable or fruit

Ongoing Clothing Donations: Cleaning out closets? Your donations have reached into the TON category! Used up quickly at area Asylum Seeker Shelters, so remember to bag up your donations and bring them to the sanctuary. Babies, toddlers and children all sizes. Men and women adult and teen sizes, small and medium. All seasons accepted. 

Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation | vuu.org