Articles, Reflections, & Announcements
Tend the Spark, Carry the Flame
Manna on Meridian: It Takes a Congregation (or 5 congregations!)
The number of changes individuals have had to adapt to this past year, makes it even more meaningful that so many have been ‘willing and able’ to maintain and help others. Not only maintain, but improve and thrive and extend our reach.
Thanks to all the financial and foodstuff contributions to Manna on Meridian, the member congregations have continued to serve ever-increasing numbers of families facing hunger. From the “widow’s mite” to the people who turned over their stimulus checks to Manna, every single dollar is appreciated. And every food/toiletry donation from every person is put to use. Thanks to people adding an extra can of fruit or a new toothbrush or soap, Manna has been able to provide additional items to help take financial burden off of our recipients. For some of us, it is difficult to believe that a $1 bar of soap is a financial burden – it truly can be. Every month, thanks to your generosity (and that of the 5 member churches), volunteers are able to add items to people’s supplies, increasing the likelihood their family can make it financially through another month.
In 2020, the five member congregations of Manna donated enough that Manna provided 2000 bags of groceries, produce, and bread. That does not include the extra produce! To each of you who donate(d) financially– thank you. To those who contribute foodstuffs – thank you.
This year UUCT members have taken a more visible role in the work of Manna. On the Friday before distribution, UUCT is represented by 4-5 volunteers every month working in the preparation area bagging produce. 3-4 UUCT members also work to help with distribution on Saturday. A very special shout out to the 8 or so UUCT volunteers who met (masked and distanced) on the veranda monthly during the summer and prepared double bags in which the food is packaged. To me, it was not only a great gift of volunteering for Manna, but the gift of community – seeing and talking with people we have not been able to be with at church. It was a win in many many ways.
Manna during Covid has taken a different form. Prior to Covid, Manna Saturday was a community event. Volunteers prepared coffee and snacks for visitors, there was a clothing give away, sometimes the health department came to provide services or information, there was a group of Manna recipients who came and worked in the garden at Faith, and of course there was the food distribution.
In these days of COVID, recipients do not get out of their cars. Volunteers (usually from an identified church each month) take the bags of staples to the cars. It will be good to get back to the time when that sense of community returns.
While we are not fond of many changes required by COVID, with regard to volunteering for Manna, COVID has helped develop some closer relationships between member congregations. It has introduced our own congregation to more of the inside workings of this small but mighty food pantry. It has kept us going by helping us help others. In my opinion, COVID has strengthened our own congregation’s sense of community, not just with Manna but with other programs and activities that are now taking center stage for so many reasons. I am ready for the horribleness and inconveniences of COVID to go away – but I do hope we maintain that expanded sense of community.
Special Newcomer Gathering This Sunday, February 7 at Noon
Newcomers, whether you have attended one virtual service or many, please join us for a gathering immediately following the Sunday service. This will be an opportunity for us to get to know each other and for you to ask questions you might have about UUCT.
The gathering will last an hour maximum, but please come even if you cannot stay for the whole time. There will be similar gatherings the first Sunday of every month directly after the service, so if you cannot make this one, plan on attending in the future.
Important: Click here for a separate Zoom link than the Sunday service link. Log in directly after the service. The passcode for the gathering is: newcomer.
If you have any questions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Executive Board has scheduled a Zoom Congregational Meeting on February 14, 2021 immediately following the Sunday service.
If you have questions regarding the Asking Budget, please ask your canvass captain, a member of the executive board, the finance committee, or the budget committee. Click here to view the 2020 – 2021 Asking Budget.
Share the Plate
By Deborah Holt
Greetings from the Share the Plate Committee, Every member and supporting friend should have received an application by now. It is due the end of February.
The Spark, the Flame and the Ember—ALL need Fuel
Have you wondered how you can help the church grow physically, aesthetically or improve mobility? Do you have engineering, architectural or interior design experience? Are you able to articulate and explain a vision of what you think will improve our shared spaces? Do you understand contracts or have time to monitor projects?
One of the things that I have always been impressed with about our church is that those who designed the buildings and grounds here were all members of this church (and some of these members are still here!). These buildings did not happen overnight and this site was not developed when the congregation decided in the late ‘60s that they needed a new space to grow and build their sanctuary. This was a wooded lot on the north side of town that did not have any buildings at all. Their desire was the spark of possibilities to come as the members met regularly to design and plan the church and grounds. http://www.uutallahassee.org/history/
Look at what this site is now. The congregation’s spark grew to a flame as they raised funds through pledges or donations to design and pay for the buildings, to create the light fixtures, risers and podium in the sanctuary, to purchase books, tables and chairs, to build the playgrounds, the Memorial Garden and the Veranda, and even created a layout for the future plans for this piece of land. Whenever I see old pictures of what was here before and what is here now, I am in awe. Everything you see at UUCT is the result of our founding, past and current members whose love and vision created this sacred space for all of us!
Right now, it feels like the flame has died down to embers as we are settled into poking the fire’s remains while we wait for this pandemic to end. But, we are still here. We are the fuel that helps carry the flame when we willingly donate our time in any capacity, our talents whether in accounting, carpentry or song, or our treasure to support programs, an awesome staff, maintenance, utilities or general expenses such as postage, copiers or even fire extinguisher or back flow inspections (check out our budget for more information!). While UUCT does have a staff, they also carry the flame from our fuel—our fuel of support helps their flame make our future brighter. Our fuel is needed on many levels, whether it is a spark, a flame or an ember.
For the past several years, give or take a few breaks, I have served on the Church Board as the VP for Management at our church. This is a volunteer position that gives me the opportunity to look after the church in ways that I know I can contribute my time and talents to fuel and carry the flame that keeps this space vibrant—I consider this service like managing a prescribed burn. These controlled fires benefit their ecosystems as they reduce the impact from wild fires. Planning for growth and maintenance is similar—I like to stay ahead of infrastructure impacts by paying attention to what needs to be done (Plus, working with an awesome sexton and other volunteers makes this position fun…).
I have come to the realization that we should quit poking the embers of unfinished plans and tend our fires. As a result, I am soliciting for people to serve on the Capital Improvement Committee (CIC) who can participate for at least 2-3 years. The last big committee project was the Veranda, which was completed in 2011, and it has served us all well. I have some ideas to improve the walkways around the pods but I shouldn’t be the only one with ideas here at UUCT.
What do you see at UUCT that you would like to improve? What kind of talents can you share? What would you like to learn about UUCT? What visions do you have for our buildings and grounds? Are you a doer, a planner, an artist or a scribe? All help is welcome, including input from past CIC members. Send me an email at email@example.com (Leon like the County) if you would like to tend the spark and carry the flame, too. I’d like to gather at least five people to fuel this committee.
G.2.1 Capital Improvement Committee (CIC)
To plan and oversee long-term capital improvements to UUCT physical facilities
1. Using professional technical and consulting services as needed, and with Board and
2. Research alternatives, gather information on needs, and make general recommendations to the congregation regarding long-term facility development.
3. Interview professionals and contractors and make recommendation to Board and congregation.
4. Oversee developments of specific building plans for facility development, securing
Board and congregational approval at key decision points.
5. Oversee facility construction and any follow-up work required.
30 Days of Love, Week 4: Restoration and Repair
Each week of 30 Days of Love, there will be a weekly theme with a menu of do-it-yourself activities in the following categories:
Read: Articles, book excerpts, poems,
Watch: Videos, concerts and roundtables discussion
Participate: Artist workshops, writings and actions
Listen: Music, meditation, lectures, poetry
Worship: Worship moments – alone or together – to refuel
Week Four: Restoration and Repair (February 7 – February 14)
Our General Participate events require pre-registration to participate. Most will also be livestreamed on the Side With Love Facebook page, but not all, depending on copyright.
2nd Quarter Financial Update
Second quarter results are in, and UUCT’s congregation continues to step up in a big way. Due to the great financial results so far, the board decided to reinstate raises for our fantastic staff to the 2020-21 asking budget levels, as was agreed would happen when the final budget was approved last May.
Pledge income continues to be within expectations – thank you to everyone and please continue to pay those pledges! Non-pledge income continues to run short of budgeted amounts, however we are expecting pandemic-related payroll tax credits that will more than offset the shortfall there. Expenses continue to run below budget overall.
As our disbursing treasurer Ron Clark notes in our latest financial report, in addition to the strong results so far, we’ve also received another very generous legacy donation. The December financial report can be read here: https://www.uutallahassee.org/treasurers-december-2020-report-to-congregation/
A more detailed presentation of the financial highlights through the 2nd quarter of the 2020-21 fiscal year can be found here: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/10Eso3_CRVi74fqKkMvWZrWGWhnYz7zdc2TwjBy0XKaE/edit?usp=sharing
January is also the month we prepare our annual financial reports for the prior fiscal year. 2019-20 results can be viewed here (first link is the narrative report, second is the spreadsheet): https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ewbbGnzaPVBNFeFJtpzRgGBtFo8wNBGM/view?usp=sharing
Tallahassee’s Solar Program Now Available
By Steve Urse
In January 2018, the city started receiving electricity from the 20 megawatt (MW) solar farm it built near the airport and created a solar customer participation program that Sustainable Tallahassee, LWVT, and ReThink Energy, with UU’s leading the way, had strongly advocated for. The program quickly became fully subscribed with over 1700 residential customers and a waiting list was created.
Subsequently, the city contracted for a second solar farm, adding 42 more MW, which became operational in January 2020, and on February 26th, the city commission approved Phase 2 of customer enrollment. Interrupted by the onset of the COVID pandemic, however, the email campaign for further sign ups was postponed until June.
All those who have not yet subscribed are encouraged to do so now. Residential, small- and medium-sized commercial customers can elect for all or a portion of their monthly electric bill to reflect solar at one of three rate levels: 25, 50 and 100%. To date, there are more than 2,100 Tallahassee Solar participants, but room for at least 1500 additional participants if all sign up at the 100% level – or more if a some sign up at the 25 or 50% level.
Customers who choose to purchase energy at the solar rate will pay 5 cents per kWh for the fuel charge portion of electricity. That amount will be fixed until September 30, 2037. While the current fuel change for natural gas rate is 2.808 cents per kWh, given the volatility of fuel markets, Tallahassee Solar customers, will likely see their energy bill decrease over time as compared with non-participants.
In the meantime, participants will be helping to support the city’s investment in reducing our carbon footprint and meeting our goal of being carbon free by 2050. The average Tallahassee household that participates in Tallahassee Solar at the 100 percent level will save 5.9 tons of carbon dioxide from entering our atmosphere annually. That’s the equivalent of planting 2.4 acres of new forest each year.
You may sign up online at: https://www.talgov.com/you/solar.aspx
Thanks to Meta Calder, LWVT, for the substance of this article.
The next solar article will describe UUCT’s solar array and how UUCT’s electric use has not only declined but is carbon neutral due to Tallahassee Solar.
Me & White Supremacy Reflection Circle, Monday Evenings
“White supremacy is a system you have been born into. Whether or not you have known it, it is a system that has granted you unearned privileges, protection and power. What you receive for your whiteness comes at a steep cost for those who are not white.” says Layla F. Saad.
If you are interested in working through Layla F. Saad’s book, “Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor,” you’re in luck! Another group is starting up. We will meet on eight (8) Monday evenings, 7:30-8:30 pm, on Zoom, starting Monday, February 8th.
Through personal reflection, journaling, and sharing with a small group, we will be examining how the white supremacist culture has affected us personally and what we can do to help dismantle systemic racism. We will use The Circle Way to structure our group’s work.
If you wish to join us, please contact Jennifer Carver at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can go ahead and get the book and start reading. Be sure to purchase the book (which includes all the journaling prompts) and know that there is no need to purchase the guided journal.
Indwellers Group at UUCT
Adults 25-49 are invited to join Indwellers, a new cohort group for socialization, community connection and spiritual exploration.
You can look forward to a bimonthly Zoom discussion on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month, social events, and community care. Join us for our next Zoom discussion on Tuesday, February 9 at 8 p.m.
Old Guys Lunch
The next Old Guys Lunch will be Wednesday February 10 at 11:30 am on the veranda of UUCT. Social distancing and current facility use guidelines will be followed. We will continue meeting every other Wednesday weather permitting.
If interested in joining this group or for more information, contact John Sample.
Christian Spirituality @ UUCT
Join us for a twice-monthly, Zoom Bible study. While each week’s Bible passage will be the focus of the meeting, the real purpose of Christian Spirituality is to create a friendly association, to give and receive support, and to find our lives expressed in the Bible.
Our meetings will be the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. For zoom information contact Kay Stuart-Tilley at email@example.com. Our next meeting is February 10.
February Food for Thought – a healthier you, a healthier planet
Due to our stimulating conversation last month, we are going to continue our discussion on dairy (its impact on our bodies and the environment, substitutions, and recipes) at our February meeting. So, if you missed January’s meeting and would like to join us, you might consider viewing this short interview with John Robbins as he discusses dairy: https://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/baskin-robbins-heir-speaks-out-against-dairy-industry-video/
In addition, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has a FACT SHEET, which also provides some background information: https://www.pcrm.org/good-nutrition/nutrition-information/health-concerns-about-dairy#:~:text=Milk%20and%20other%20dairy%20products,%2C%20ovarian%2C%20and%20prostate%20cancers
Please consider joining us for our Food for Thought meeting – a healthier you, a healthier planet zoom meeting on Thursday February 11th at 7 pm. If you are not on our email list and are interested, please email Linda Oaksford at firstname.lastname@example.org. A link will be sent to you prior to our meeting.
If you would like a little teaser and would like to try an ice cream recipe that is 100% dairy-free, and has no saturated fat, try one of these simple-to-make recipes: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/238092/vegan-banana-ice-cream/
Centering BIPOC Voices, February and March
By Robin Gray
On Saturday, February 13th at 3:30 PM the Centering BIPOC Voices group will meet the discuss “The Fire Next Time” by James Baldwin and the documentary video “I Am Not Your Negro. The video is available on Netflix for those who have the service, and for small rental fees from other streaming sources. If you are going to have trouble accessing the video, please contact Susan Fleming (email@example.com) to let her know.
If you’d like to join any discussion and have not met with Centering BIPOC Voices before please contact Robin Gray (firstname.lastname@example.org) to be added to the mailing list and to receive important information for the group.
Looking ahead to March 13th the book under discussion will be “Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir” by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey. Kiese Laymon reviewed “Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir” for the New York Times, he wrote: “Memorial Drive” is, among so many other wondrous things, an exploration of a Black mother and daughter trying to get free in a land that conflates survival with freedom and womanhood with girlhood. It is also the story of Trethewey’s life before and after the day in 1985 when her mother was murdered by her ex-husband, Trethewey’s former stepfather, in the parking lot of her apartment complex on Atlanta’s Memorial Drive.”
Church Work Day Next Saturday
Join us Saturday February 13 from 9am – 2 pm for our monthly church work day. Feel free to bring your lunch. Social distancing guidelines will be followed.
Hope to see you there!