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The monthly newsletter of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson, 4831 E. 22nd Street, Tucson, AZ 85711,

520-748-1551, www.uuctucson.org. To view previous editions of the newsletter, click here.

Newsletter editor: Craig Rock at newsletter@uuctucson.org. Send us your UU stories, poems and photos.

Navigating this 4-page newsletter: Link onto the desired page at the top or bottom of each page.

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The New Year and the Work Ahead

by Frank Valdes

We have a brand new year ahead of us and I expect it to be a very good year for UUCT. Let me outline what I think will be the prime areas of work this year, especially in the first half, for your Board of Trustees, your leadership teams, and the congregation as a whole.

One prime area revolves around our ministry. We will be defining and expressing our expectations for our current interim ministry and our future settled ministry. Clear expectations, as I mentioned in an earlier column, are very important. If we don't agree upon and express our expectations, and put them down on paper, then many issues and bad feelings can arise from mismatched expectations. In particular, our many successes can become obscured by petty misunderstandings.

We are a little behind in defining our expectations and goals, including some concrete criteria for judging our progress for the transition years. This is an immediate area of work for us. Then we can begin the various steps that must occur this year leading towards choosing a settled minister. In particular, we will be articulating a vision for our future ministry and making plans for the all-important search process.

Stewardship is another prime area of work. Despite getting on track with covering our basic expenses with our pledging and other income, our budget remains weak. It may be hard to take that next step in stewardship but it is something we will work on with more consistency, visibility, and involvement of everyone. A Stewardship Team has formed and is making plans for this year's fun pledge drive.

As we transitioned into our interim period last year we began a conversation about governance. This was a prime issue for many and was one of the areas identified as a continuing concern during our transition workshop. We will continue the conversation and come to a governance model suited to UUCT, first within the leadership and then the congregation.

And there is one final prime thing that requires no crystal ball to see coming (since we have seen talking about it for several months already). That is the PSWD Justice District Assembly 2017 here in Southern Arizona. Since the border issues are in our back yard, we will lead UUs from around our district. As the song says, "We are a justice seeking people".

I wish all of us a great new year. 2017 is a PRIME year (the next one is 2063)!


Merry Meet: Pagan Worship Restarting at UUCT

By Carrie Cooper and Julie Olson

It’s been several months since we had regular “alternative” (Pagan / Wiccan / Earth-based spiritual) worship services at UUCT. A group of us decided that we needed to have a Winter Solstice celebration this year, and we held a ritual at UUCT on December 21. Yule, or Winter Solstice, represents the rebirth of light and the promise of summer. During this longest night of the year, we welcomed the sun back from the darkness.

More than 80 people of all ages showed up in Goddard Hall to celebrate the return of the light. So many people came that we couldn’t do the planned spiral dance, due to lack of space. This is a wonderful problem. The room was filled with energy, and the gathering was joyous. We even had two dogs join in the fun. For me, as someone who helped lead the circle, seeing the change in attendees was very gratifying. Newcomers who were shy and nervous when they arrived left smiling and talking to others. Faces were brighter, and people seemed more calm.

Julie, our main worship leader, led us in a small group activity called the “Friendship Circle” to make the return of the light manifest. Each person got a candle, and she asked us, “What gift would you give to your community in this coming year? What can you do to not only improve the bonds between us in this room, but to better this world?” We talked in small groups about what we could do: donate to the ACLU, write articles, work with immigrants to welcome them, or volunteer at the Food Bank. We then lit our candles from the main altar and placed them in giant bowls. The light from these candles was strong.

Music at the gathering was outstanding. Jeff Chamberlain played his song “Gonna Ride on that Wheel” with acoustic guitar. Georgia Conroy played the flute, and Brian Moon played drums. The choir sang “The Holly and the Ivy” with new words by local composer Chris Tackett. We also had a messy, fun dance to an adapted version of the “Banana Boat Song” (“Light is returning to this place / Daylight come and the Sun is reborn”). We were lucky to have our talented choir end the evening with “The Peace Not Past Our Understanding” sung a capella.

We now have a planning group for future spirituality circles (Brenda, Julie, Carrie, Georgia, and Mary), and we plan to hold regular events during 2017. The “Wheel of the Year” is an annual cycle of 8 seasonal festivals, including the solstices and equinoxes.

Our next celebration will be February 2 for Imbolc (also called Candlemas or Brigid’s Festival of Lights). Imbolc comes from Irish Gaelic “Oimelc, which translates to ‘ewe's milk.’ It's a precursor to the end of winter when the ewes are nursing their newly born lambs.” Brigid is the Triple Goddess of smithcraft, healing, and poetry. The heart of this ritual will be sharing our creative works: poems, stories, paintings, and other arts. Maybe you play an instrument or quilt or make note cards or knit. Details for the event will be announced in January. Please come join us for a sacred show and tell!


Inspiration - Letter to the Editor

Inspiration. That is what I get from this beautiful Unitarian Church here in Tucson. Although the word “inspire” is derived from “to breathe [life] in to,” I find that this church never lost its vitality at its core. Coming out of a challenging period, membership is regenerating and increasing, and I’m hearing less about surviving and more about thriving and nobler aspirations like social justice and making a difference in our world. Interestingly enough to me, this parallels some personal life experiences, and I’m finding that I’m having more and more enriching experiences of church than I ever have before. Rev. Lyn’s sermons show passionate optimism regarding what and how we can “do,” the coffee hours and lunches are friendlier and more inviting, the congregation is smiling and feels more loving than ever. I look around and admire many of my friends and may know just a little about their personal pain and struggles as they have allowed. I see such strength and vigor and a commitment from them to move forward in love and action. I see this personal power combine in our community as commitment to make the world a better place. This power was also manifested by the quick and responsive call to balance our budget and give a long-overdue raise to our staff, as so many pitched in to support the amazing work of Margot Garcia and the Finance team. Craig Rock had a well-attended Social Justice Council meeting. We have an active Caring Committee chaired by Darlene Mathews engaged in pastoral work. So many things are going on here. I am so excited and inspired by this energy.

Thank you. Liz Ravenwood

Newsletter Contents

1. New Years Updates - Frank Valdes and Rev Lyn Oglesby; District Assembly and Home Hospitality; ICS Food Bank (Share the Plate in January), Pagan Worship. Letter to the Editor.

2. Updates on Religious Education and UUJAZ; Finance Committee Report; Pot Luck for New Members & Others; Meet New Members; Announcements.

3. Ofelia Rivas Talk; Citizens Climate Lobby Program; Update on Methodist Refugee/Asylum Project; History Photo Answer; Justice Digest; No More Death Article.

4. History Photo Question; Sahaurita Borders Fair; Poems.

New Year's Resolutions

by Reverend Lyn Oglesby

Happy New Year to all members, friends, and visitors to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson!

I usually make ambitious New Years’ resolutions. And they seldom work out the way I plan. My “resolve” has not been strong enough! My goals have not been realistic. Especially the resolution to lose a bunch of pounds, or horizontal inches---sigh! An annual failure, sadly predictable.

I wonder why we do this to ourselves? Make resolutions that are overly ambitious, that we don’t carry out or follow through on, and then feel badly about ourselves because we’ve failed. Am I the only one who does this? I hope so, but doubt it. Sigh…Speaking for myself, which is all I can honestly do, this year I am making new resolutions that perhaps I can actually follow diligently -- and hopefully accomplish. (Research tells us that if we make public our goals, we are more likely to accomplish them!) So here goes:

1. Lose ten pounds, which is not impossible and should be pretty painless if I give up ice cream and desserts.

2. Make my bed every morning before I get dressed.

3. Substitute “darn” for “dammit” and swear less overall!

4. Go to bed at a reasonable hour with a good book rather than television. Read more poetry.

5. Give more to my church, and raise my pledge. A 10-15% increase is not going to hurt all THAT much.

6. Drive under the speed limit, which is dangerous in Tucson because nobody else does! But who needs a ticket!

7. Sing with the Desert Chorale – or at least practice on Wednesdays -- if Brian will let me. Singing makes me happy.

There was a longer list, but those seven made the final cut. These are things I can do, and if I do, I will feel much better about myself. I don’t do failure very gracefully!

Wishing all of you a glorious 2017 and that you don’t beat yourselves up because you make unrealistic New Year’s resolutions. Have more fun! Get out more! See you in church! In faith and love.

P.S Thank you to those volunteers who painted my office. What a great new feeling!


Share the Plate - January 2017

Interfaith Community Services - Food Bank

8701 E. Old Spanish Trail Rd (New Spirit Lutheran Church)

Hours: Tues&Thurs, 1:00-4:00PM Sat, 10:00AM-1:00PM

• You must be a Pima County resident to receive 1 box of food per month.

Bring 2 forms of id showing your current address.

Supplemental food items may also be selected.

• Stay tuned early next year for future announcements concerning mobile distribution locations!

(Click on image for larger print. This is the first of a series of news articles to inform our congregation about the various programs offered by ICS (Interfaith Community Services). Marsha Newcomb, UUCT Representative on the ICS Faith Council


Justice District Assembly = Education + Connection + Transformation

You probably have those 2017 calendars handy now, so mark March 31-April 2 for Justice DA 2017. The Unitarian Universalist congregations in Southern Arizona, the Baja Four (UUCT, Mountain Vista, Sky Island in Sierra Vista and Green Valley), invite you to join in a different kind of district assembly.

Preparation for participants at DA has already begun with Education about migrant and borderland justice in Southern Arizona. In the spring thirty partner organizations will offer interactive immersion experiences designed to Connect you to the social, environmental and spiritual facets of immigration justice. Then, over 300 Unitarian Universalists will gather to worship at the border wall as the Transformative capstone of our gathering.

​But it doesn’t end there.

As participants from the Pacific Southwest District return to our homes in Southern California, all of Arizona, and Las Vegas, we will continue what has begun. We will continue to expand our education. We will continue to deepen our connections. And we will continue to open ourselves to transformation, living out the justice we proclaim throughout the Pacific Southwest District and beyond.

You are invited to be a part of all this as we learn, connect, and transform our hearts, minds, and spirits together.

Registration opens January 1. Go to justiceda2017.weebly.com to register.



There will be lots of action at this event, and many attendees who cannot afford a hotel room will need a place to rest their weary heads.

Do you have a bed or two to spare for the nights of Friday, March 31, and/or Saturday, April 1? If so, please contact Susan Rock at susanrock44@gmail.com. or see her in Goddard Hall after the service.

As March 31 approaches, we will also be asking for other kinds of help, such as packing lunches and providing short-haul transportation.

Stay tuned!


Social Justice Council Meeting

January 15th, Noon, Servetus Room