Friday News 11-26-2021

Happy Friday!

I hope you all had an absolutely wonderful Thanksgiving. I want to take a brief moment to just say how thankful I am for this community.

– First, to Amber for filling in on getting Friday News out and teaching our Faith Forward classes, THANK YOU! And to all of the staff for stepping in and taking care of things so that I could recover, thank you. I feel truly blessed to work with such an amazing team.

– I also want to say a huge thank you to each and every one of you. As Rev. Marian has told you, I had a procedure on November 8th that was supposed to be super simple and require little to no recovery time, but I developed bad complications that left me in a lot of pain. After two weeks, and no idea what was going on, my doctor scheduled me for surgery a week ago and they were able to find what they believe to be the cause of my pain. (So far it seems that they were right!) Recovery has been slow and I’m still not quite back to myself yet, but through it all you have been so patient and kind. Thank you for your well wishes! It’s going to take some time before I am able to get through all of my email and get caught up, so I thank you in advance for your continued patience and grace. I plan to return to work in limited capacity next week, and I look forward to reconnecting with all of you!

Virtual hugs,

Kelli McNeal
Director of Congregational Life

*Please let Kelli know of any announcements you would like in Friday News by 8 pm Wednesday, and put “Friday News” in the subject line – so that we can be sure to not miss your email! Let us know if you have any questions!

For your protection from scammers and stalkers, we have an OPT IN directory. You have to let us know if you want your name and contact information included! If you do not let us know using the OPT IN option, you will not be included. And your church friends will have a hard time reaching out to you.

If you would like to be included in the directory, please fill out this membership update form and let us know which information you would and wouldn’t like listed. If you are a member and would like a copy of the directory, please contact Marian Garcia in the front office.

Sunday Service – Back for the Future
Join us in person or online this Sunday, 11/28, at 10:00 am, for our weekly Sunday service!

There is plenty to criticize about our religious ancestors, the Pilgrims and Puritans. But there are also some things we can learn from their story. There is a Ghanian proverb: “It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.” Learning from our ancestors is part of the spiritual work of Sankofa, which translates as “reach back and get it.” What helpful things can we find in our ancestors’ story?  Presented by Rev. Joan VanBecelaere.

How to Attend the Service!
1.) Join us In-Person! Seating is available in the sanctuary and Beach Hall. Masks are required! 

2.) Watch the service broadcast live, through the livestream on our Youtube channel! Visit for the link!

3.) Find service recordings and watch them later, through our website!

November Soul Matters Packets Are Here!
The November Soul Matters Packets are ready for your viewing pleasure! This month, our theme is Holding History. We will not be mass mailing the packets this year, but you can find them in digital version in Friday News, printed copies at the Church, or you can request a mailed copy from Marian Garcia.

You can find the digital versions here: General Packet (for all ages); Soulful Home (UU activities to do as a family).

Spring Class Outlook

It is our hope to continue to add more of our regular classes back in after the winter holidays! This includes 10-11year OWL and Coming of Age. For both these programs, and for drop-off RE classes to start up again, we need a dedicated group of volunteers in order to make that happen.

If you are interested in helping out as a teacher, mentor, RE volunteer, or program facilitator, please email Amber or fill out this form. And tell your friends! It takes all of us to create the church community we dream about!

We are also planning an OWL-inspired “catch up” program for eight-year-olds who missed out on the 6-7year class during the pandemic. It will probably run for about five weeks, starting in mid January. More info coming soon!

Outdoor Family RE This Week! (Sunday School)
Big thank you to Christine and the wonderful Davidson family for all their hard work this past weekend! We had a multi-sensory “Stone Soup” experience.  It was rainy – but we had a shelter, a fire pit, and yes, we made soup! We found the supplies via scavenger hunt, and then kids helped with cutting the vegetables. And it was DELISH! Such a lovely way to celebrate each other and our community! This Sunday we will revisit the ideas from “Stone Soup.”  In the spirit of this time of year, there will be a craft project to be shared with the creatures (birds and squirrels). And, we will play together! Join us this Sunday for some connection and fun!Just a quick note regarding how things are looking regarding indoor / outdoor going forward at this time. We are still doing much of our time outside. This means that our main playspace is outside. However, for brief warm ups and art projects (sometimes) kids may go inside, at the discretion of their parent. For any inside time we are asking our grown-ups to determine and communicate with their kiddos around maintaining social distance and other precautions that are important to you and your family (that may be no time inside, or being a few feet away from others, or going in when there are less kids). Please reach out to us with any questions or concerns as we continue this journey together. – JeniferAmber, and Christine

See you this Sunday, 11/28, from 10-11am, on the SYC playground! Children are invited to attend with a parent or other adult caregiver. Masks are required! Grown-ups: please dress your family for the weather, bring camp or lawn chairs to sit on, pack extra masks, and consider bug spray. We look forward to connecting and playing with you!

Don’t forget to sign-in when you attend RE or other church events, for contact tracing purposes! Use the clipboard, or scan one of the QR codes around the church building to access the online form

Youth Group Field Trip! 11/28
Youth Group Field Trip! This Sunday, 11/28, our middle and high schoolers (age 12-19years) are invited to the Ohio History Center for a lunch and learn program! Cost will be $5-$10 per person. Please pack a lunch (or arrive fed) and meet in Beach Hall at 11:15 for an 11:30 departure.Please email Amber to RSVP youth, and let us know if adults from your family can help drive / chaperone. If you plan to meet us there, the program itself will run 12noon-2pm. We expect to be back at the church building for families to pick up around 2:30pm. Masks are required! 
Wall of Remembrance
The First UU Youth Group has created A Place To Remember those we have lost, where you can write things on slips of paper and weave them into our tapestry of remembrance. On the RE bulletin board – in the hallway between the Kitchen / Beach Fellowship Hall and the Courtyard / Restrooms.
UU Walkers: Highbanks Every Friday
Did you know? Folks from First UU enjoy the scenery on a morning hike at Highbanks Metro Park every Friday! Currently meeting at 9:30am in the Nature Center parking lot (timing varies by season). Contact Erica Scurr to join the mailing list – for weekly updates and reminders!
Millennial Covenant Group

Self-described “millennials” are invited to join our small ministry group – which meets twice a month for discussion and fellowship. Contact Mattie Reitman for more information, and to get connected!


Sunday Meditations: Call for Feedback

Earlier this year, occasional guided meditation sessions were offered during Coffee Hour on Zoom. The facilitation group is now seeking your feedback! What did you like or dislike about these meditations? Would you like to see more opportunities offered? What are you looking for in future meditation activities? Are you interested in helping to facilitate? Please email any feedback to Jessi Sadaka. Thank you!


Music Sunday Holiday Concert 12/12

Our choirs are preparing for in-person, masked performances – in place of our regular Sunday service, at 10am on Sunday, December 12th.


All Ages YA Book Group 12/15

Meeting third Wednesdays at 7pm, on Zoom – until it either warms up enough to meet outside, or case rates drop – hopefully in the spring. Email Erin Reilly-Sanders for more information! Upcoming titles:


Labyrinth Helpers, Musicians Needed!

The labyrinth is returning! Contact Jan Phillips if you are interested in helping, hosting, or providing music.


Pastoral Ministry: Rev. Lynda Smith
Rev. Lynda Smith has agreed to help with Pastoral Care as we continue our search to fill the open position. Lynda began work this week at one-quarter time,  will work with the Pastoral Team Council and the Caring Team. Because Lynda is amazing, she is also continuing her work with our Justice Action Ministry (JAM). Thank you Lynda! Click here to contact Lynda.
Covenant of UU Pagans Group
The Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) is an independent affiliate of the UUA honoring goddess-based, earth-centered, tribal and pagan spiritual paths. UU Paganism is a liturgical and theological community under the umbrella of the UUA.

We have received interest in starting a CUUPS chapter here at First UU! If you are interested in this new group, please email Kelli McNeal. For more information on CUUPS, you can visit their website here.

Upcoming Faith Forward Classes

How can history be translated into our religious life and practice? UU History 101 is a seven session series that approaches history from the starting point of compelling stories and personalities. We explore questions these figures faced, and make connections with our own lives and the world today. Classes run thru December 13th, Mondays at 10am and 7pm. Upcoming sessions:

  • November 29th – A Question of Identity
  • December 6th – A Question of Calling
  • December 13th – History of First UU Columbus 

Register for upcoming Zoom classes, and learn more about Faith Forward on our website!


Fall Engagement Catalog
Looking for ways to get involved and connect with other First UUers? Check out our Fall Engagement Catalog here!
More Community News on Facebook!
See what our community is doing, support each other, and kindle personal connections – Check out the First UU Facebook Page, and join our Facebook Group!
BREAD’s Annual Assembly
Almost 400 Justice Ministry Network members from 44 BREAD congregations voted Monday night at BREAD’s Annual Assembly for Environmental Injustice to be the new problem for BREAD research and action!

Contact Alice Rathburn, Chris Johnson, Jessi Sadaka, Ken Odiorne, Marilyn Webster, or Noel Williams for more information, or to get involved!

Columbus Vaccine Clinics
If it’s been at least six months since your last COVID shot, you are eligible for a booster! Many Columbus Public Health clinics do not require an appointment, and include the opportunity to get your flu shot, as well as free take-home COVID tests! Find a clinic near you!
Work at CERSI 2022!
Why would someone “work” at CERSI (Summer Institute)? Folks apply for service positions/jobs for many reasons. Some enjoy the work itself, whether driving a golf cart, directing the choir or being part of the religious education program. Some find that the campership (financial assistance) that comes along with a service position helps make SI more affordable. Some find that they enjoy themselves more when they have a “job” to do. And some want to do their part to make the SI magic happen for others.

Service applications are being accepted until January 3rdClick Here to see this years jobs and how to apply! Questions: contact Carolyn Stevens.

CERSI 2022 will be held at CalU in California PA (30 miles south of Pittsburgh) during the week of July 10-16, 2022. There will be an online component for those not attending in person. Find out more at!

Drag Story Time w/ Red Oak!
Ready for a new family-friendly, LGBTQ+ holiday tradition? Local Queens will read stories for children of ALL ages! $10 per ticket, children 2 and under are free. We expect this event to sell out, so get your tickets today!
Winter Institute – In Person!
Winter Institute (WI) is a long held tradition of gathering over President’s Day week-end for a mid-winter retreat at Salt Fork State Park in Cambridge, Ohio. This relaxing weekend is an intimate gathering for UUs of all ages! Enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and sledding (if there’s snow!), as well as the fireplaces and cozy corners of the lodge (not to mention, the pool and the hot tub)! Join fellow UUs to worship, play board games, make music together, or solve the community jigsaw puzzle. Our pandemic precautions include requiring vaccination, masking, and distancing. Find out more!
Multi-Platform General Assembly
General Assembly is the annual gathering of Unitarian Universalists, where we conduct business of the Association, explore the theological underpinnings of our faith, and lean fully into our mission and principles. This year, we will have the option of meeting online or in-person! Join us June 22 – 26, 2022 online or in-person in Portland, Oregon! Learn more!