February 1, 2024

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This Sunday at VUU


Sunday, February 4 10:30

What Does Solidarity Look Like?

With Rev. Sarah and Worship Associate Amanda Schneider.

The Family Choir and the band perform.



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

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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

UUA Updates

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 1

  • Ukulele Club 6:30p
  • Spirit of Life Reading Circle 7p

Friday, February 2

  • Social Suppers 5p

Saturday, February 3

  • Creativity Matters 4p

Sunday, February 4

  • Dalai Lama and Friends 8:30a
  • FUUNd Kickoff 9:45a
  • Sunday Service 10:30a
  • Faith Formation Classes 10:30a
  • Pygmy OWL Orientation 12:30p
  • Burrowing OWL Parents 12:45p
  • Burrowing OWL Class 12:45p

Monday, February 5

  • VIP Core Team Meeting 9a
  • Comms Team Meeting 5p
  • Scout Pack Meeting 6p
  • I-HELP Shelter 5:30p

Tuesday, February 6

  • East VUU Women's Group 1p
  • STT Meeting 5p

Wednesday, February 7

  • Choir Rehearsal 6p
  • Policy Group 6:30p
  • DnD Game 5:30p

Thursday, February 8

  • EastVUU Program 6:00p
  • Ukuele Group 6:30p

Friday, February 9

  • Paz de Cristo Meal Prep 4p

Saturday, February 10

Sunday, February 11

  • Long-Eared OWL class 8:45a
  • Dalai Lama and Friends 8:30a
  • FUUNd 10a
  • Sunday Service 10:30a
  • Faith Formation Classes 10:30a
  • Immigration Team 11:45a
  • Voices Lifted 12:15p
  • Burrowing OWL Parents 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

Last weekend we had 50 people participate in Rev. Sam’s workshop on transforming conflict and restorative practices. The two groups explored a shift in perspective that moves conflict from focusing on dichotomous experiences that label someone the villain, someone the victim, and looks for a savior who will punish the villain, thus making everything “right.” The shift is to understand ourselves as all being connected by “the ground of all being” in which we cannot avoid having impact on each other because we are all connected. She invited us to see what happens when we move from seeing other people as the problem and to accept the idea that the people are never the problem–the problem is the problem. This can be very hard to let go of when we have decided that “someone” IS “the problem.” We talked about the many “agreements” we have with each other–spoken and unspoken– that can also be both helpful and harmful. We talked about the role of power in influencing how agreements are kept and enforced, and to pay attention to how we may be using our own power in ways that are life-giving or destructive.  Rev. Sam reminded us that we all have the power to heal and to harm, and the power to be harmed and to be healed (by and with each other). She brought all of us into this conversation as she led worship on Sunday. If you didn’t get to join us (There were 168 adults and 51 youth last Sunday, with many visitors!) then I invite you to watch the recording

The VUU Board of Trustees was represented in a reflection from Dan Sapakie who invited us to consider ourselves as all on a journey in a very large bus/van and that this might entail discovering new roads and routes, negotiating our shared destination. The Committee on Shared Ministry was represented by Rosaland Hawkins, who invited us to deepen our commitment to this shared ministry and to tend to the healing needed, even (or perhaps, especially) the wounds that remain from shared past experiences. I attended both workshops, as did Todd Sirrine (Congregational Administrator) and Katie Seiferth (Director of Music Ministry). After service Sunday in our welcome circle, and in other circles with new people, I have heard people express that they are excited to be in a congregation willing to talk about the hard things and also to be transparent about what’s hard. I am grateful to be on this van ride with all of y’all and hope we can begin to consider where we might go together and to share what we see/notice from the windows and along the way.  

I continue to deepen my connection to the work VIP is doing with mental health care and housing in Phoenix, and I am glad to see so many of you engaged in this work as well. I am also excited to continue to serve on the AZCEND board and to spend time learning about how this organization is meeting needs in our community. Next week I may have more to say on immigration, as we are planning a delegation to the borderlands in February with folks from other UU congregations. There are so many ways to get involved at VUU, and you can help shape these opportunities based on bringing your own gifts and talents. A great way to start is to bid on an item with our FUUNd auction!  

…Rev. Sarah

Side with Love's Annual 30 Days of Love Campaign

Check out the latest inspirations from our Side with Love leaders!

Black History Month: Don’t forget to read UU World! Here’s some material related to Black History Month and Unitarian Universalism you should check out. And here’s the most recent edition of the UU World. Do you want to receive a printed copy of UU World? Let our office Administrator, Todd Sirrine know!

UUA Updates

Article II Updates

Many of you may have been reading or wondering about the issues regarding Article II of the Unitarian Universalist Association Bylaws; some of you may be unaware of the changes that will be voted on at the June UUA General Assembly, requiring a two-thirds vote from congregational representatives to pass. The results have implications for UU congregations and our denomination. Here's a link to the process and the final proposed revisions of Article II. This is a link to a “teach in," critical of the proposed changes done by the UU congregation of Hartford: Article II Teach In. And another opposed to the changes from Save the Seven Principles. You can find lots more discussion of Article II and all else going on with the UUA by googling the UUA, Article II, the Fifth Principle Project, and the Seven Principles online. Educate yourself and make up your own mind. This is important!

-Submitted by Anne Schneider

I’d like to share this sermon link Who Cares About Article II?, from my colleague and friend, Rev. Lisa Bovee Kemper at Unitarian Universalist Community of Charlotte. Lisa gives a lens of the developmental, theological, and practical implications of the Article II changes being proposed. 

-Submitted by Rev. Sarah

VUU Updates


Your FUUNd Auction is Here!!

Scan the QR Code below or go to www.auctria.events/vuufuund2024 now to

  • Preview the auction catalog; and
  • Register now so you’ll be ready to bid when….

The auction opens this Sunday, February 4, at 12:00 PM

FUUNd Committee members will be there after the service to help you register and show you how to bid online. Auction items will also be displayed on the patio for those who prefer to browse a “hard copy” of the catalog.



New Congregation Intern

Some of you may know me, but for those of you who don’t my name is Adah Beehler and I am the new and first congregation intern. I am a senior in college getting a degree in Philosophy and Religion and am excited to get some real-world experience within a religious community. I plan on continuing my education and getting a Master's in Divinity after my bachelor's. I have been attending VUU with my family for many years and absolutely love the community. I have another church that I own and operate called Sun Meadow Temple which is geared towards those of the Pagan faiths although anyone is welcome. I love to read, study history, and enjoy a wide range of other subjects from politics to zombies. Please feel free to come and say hello or ask me questions on Sunday or at other events.


New Participant Spring Schedule

New Member Recognition on February 4. If you have decided to join Valley UU since our last new member recognition, we’d love to recognize you. Please contact Rev. Sarah at minister@vuu.org if you’d like to be included. What’s involved? We invite you to come up front and be introduced, engage in a shared covenant with the congregation, and receive a symbolic gift from us. We’ll do this during the time for all ages, so kids can be included in families that are joining.

March 2

New Participant Welcome Luncheon, 11:00 am-1:00 pm, Classroom 1&2

RSVP for Mar 2 here. 

April 20

New Participant Class, 9:00 am- 1:00 pm, VUU Board Room

RSVP for Apr 20 here.

May 5

New Member Recognition, Sunday Service

June 1

New Participant Welcome Luncheon, 11:00 am-1:00 pm, Classroom 1&2

RSVP for Jun 1 here.

If you are interested in getting involved with the Membership Committee please attend our online meeting on Feb 13th from 5 pm to 6 pm. Sign up here.

Music Ministries

Mark your calendars for Earth Day Cabaret, Saturday, April 27. More details coming soon.

1-Hour Choirs (Adults and Kids) THIS Sunday, February 4

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, Contact Katie for more: MusicDirector@vuu.org.

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

Rehearsals are on Wednesdays in the Sanctuary from 6:00-7:30 pm. To see the 2023-2024 schedule please click here. To access sheet music and vocal tracks for songs we are working on, please click here.

One-Hour Choirs (Adults and Kids)

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, coming up February 4. Contact Katie for more information or with any questions: MusicDirector@vuu.org.

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 MusicDirector@vuu.org. I have a director and now need to collect who is interested in participating. Yay!


Please email Katie at MusicDirector@vuu.org with any music related questions or requests.


Interested in Leading the Drum Circle?

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


EVUU Meeting - Racism: What is it costing YOU?

Zoom Meeting

Thursday, February 8, 6pm NEW TIME!

Join us for a discussion about the harms of racism to all of us and what we can do to help the healing. Beverly McCormick and Doug Nintzel team up to lead us for Black History Month.

Note: we are moving up the start time to 6 pm for all EastVUU Thursday meetups.

 All are welcome!!!

Join Zoom Meeting

Save the Date: EastVUU Social Night

Garlic breadsticks? Join the EastVUU group for Italian dinner!

Thursday, February 22, 6:00 pm

Olive Garden

6201 E. Southern Ave, Mesa

Food for Life and the Planet (FLP)

FLP Events

FLP Brown Bag Lunch on ZOOM

We’ll watch and discuss the Netflix produced series "You Are What You Eat: A Twin Experiment", a documentary of a scientific experiment in which 22 sets of identical twins followed different diets to determine the impact of the foods on their health. There are a lot of interesting findings, one of which is that we have more control over our health than we realize.

Date:   Friday, February 9

Time:  12 Noon

ZOOM Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89458536806

Heads Up About March ZOOM

One of the takeaways from "You Are What You Eat" 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



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

Faith Formation

Grief Support Group

VUU Pastoral Care is organizing a Grief Support Group beginning Sunday, February 11 that will run for 8 weeks on Sundays from 1:00-2:30 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

Return of the Prescott Retreat!

We are excited to announce the grand reopening of our All Ages Congregation-Wide Retreat in Prescott! This is an opportunity to get away, make new connections, have some fun, and learn new things. If you are interested in joining us for this memorable experience please fill out this interest form.

Joys and Concerns

Share your Joys and Concerns here.

Voices Lifted

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 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 February 15 at 7:00 PM.

The book is The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery.

For the meeting details, watch this space.

-Submitted by Amy Monahan

Singles Super Bowl Party

WHEN: Sunday, February 11 at 4:30 pm

WHERE: At the home of Gloria (2227 W Ironwood Drive, Chandler, 716-819-7622).

Everyone is asked to bring snacks or desserts and any alcoholic beverages they wish to consume. Water and soda will be provided and we’ll be ordering pizza. Please let me know what you plan to bring so I can attempt to balance it.

 RSVP to Claudette by phone or text 973-768-6047. (Text STRONGLY preferred. Not all the emails have been getting to me.) But if you must, RSVP to claudettewassil@hotmail.com

-Submitted by Jodi Freeman

Spirit of Life Reading Circle

Thursday, Feb. 1 at 7p

Join Zoom Meeting

How do we "spend" our lives?

Reading from A Year with Thoreau

Giving / Volunteering


Paz de Cristo February Donation of the Month – Pasta (any type)

Please support our focus charity, Paz de Cristo, by bringing in a donation of pasta (any type) at any time during the month of February. Drop your donation in the designated container in the foyer of the sanctuary. With your help, we can do our part to stock the shelves at Paz de Cristo and make sure they don’t run out of this popular staple.

A Big I-HELP Thank you!

Many thanks to all who participated in the January 22nd I-HELP meal service. The challenge of an offsite meal service was met with willingness and creativity on everyone's part. A special thanks to our volunteer servers: Nancy Landeryou, Jodi Cicirello, and Deb Lusk. You did not let a rainy night stop you from your I-HELP service!

Our host site, Chandler United Methodist, couldn't have been more welcoming and gracious. I was extremely impressed with their level of organization and number of volunteers. It is wonderful to have such dependable and capable partners in this effort.

Our next VUU sponsored I-HELP meal will be on Monday February 26. We will be back on site for this meal, thank goodness! I'm thinking about hearty soups as a main course. Any other suggestions?


Laura Rohlfing

VUU I-HELP Coordinator

New process for hospitality planning

If you chair a committee or lead occasional programs or events and need hospitality help, the process is changing. (Or maybe more accurately, we are intentionally designing a process in place of the informal way we’ve done this in the past.)

First, if you are planning an after service or non-Sunday event that includes refreshments, you will need to identify someone on your team as the “lead” for hospitality. 

Second, this person will contact our coffee team via Laura Rohlfing and make sure you understand how our kitchen in organized and what is involved in things like making coffee. Laura will not be the person doing these things for your activity, but she will make sure your point person knows what to do. 

Finally, you may need to recruit help from your team or folks attending your event for set up and clean up. JoAnne Smith, who used to help with these some, is not in a position right now to do any of the physical labor but is happy to bounce ideas with you. 

Barb Quijada is moving more fully into her leadership with VIP, and will not be on the Sunday coffee team or available to help with hospitality for other events. We are grateful for the many times both of these women have helped with events and hospitality over time!!! If this is an area of interest for you, contact Rev. Sarah or Laura Rohlfing.


The Sunday Morning Coffee/Refreshment Service is looking for a "few good friends" who are willing to donate a few hours each month to make sure that this invaluable part of Sunday service is able to survive and thrive! I have been a member of this team for several years, and have found it to be a very rewarding experience. I have met many people and had some great conversations across the refreshment table!

We are looking for people who would be willing to be available for one Sunday a month to assist with coffee/refreshment service. Orientation and training are provided. We are also looking for people who would be willing to fill in as substitutes on an occasional Sunday. Again, orientation and training are provided.

At this point, the Coffee Service Sign Up Genius has been discontinued. Please stay tuned for further developments. If you are interested in any of the above, or if you have any questions, please contact Laura Rohlfing by email or 480-249-6287 (text or voice mail). 

AZCEND Eggs Benefit

VUU supports the work of AZCEND via their IHELP program which houses folks in our sanctuary once or twice a week. Because of this relationship, I have been serving on their Board. Would you like to join me at an upcoming breakfast to celebrate the lives they are changing and the difference they are making? The breakfast is complimentary. We really want people to come and find out more about the impact AZCEND is making in our community, and I would love it if you could come. The event is Thursday, February 15 at the Gilbert Community Center. Check-in begins at 7:30 am, and the program runs from 8 – 9 am. Let me know if you're coming! We can sit together. You can register online at https://azcend.org/eggs-benefit/

Submitted by Rev. Sarah

Paz de Cristo

Volunteers needed this month!

Continuing the Tradition… Keeping the Commitment… Living our Principles

February date: 2nd Friday, February 9th, 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 February, 2/9/24. 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 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.


VUUJAZ is seeking new leadership

Valley UU Arizona is seeking new leadership! If you are interested of being part of this lay-led leadership group /team please contact Anne.Schneider@asu.edu.  VUUJAZ serves as one of our congregation’s Public policy advocacy groups with a focus on state-level policy. The group meets one a month to share information on social justice initiatives and opportunities.  Contact Anne at 602 828 2279 for more information. 

Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation | vuu.org