Happy Friday!

I hope you all are doing well as 2021 quickly comes to a close! It was great to see so many of you on Sunday for our Music Sunday.  Huge shoutout to our choirs and our amazing music directors for an amazing performance. And thank you to all of the cookie elves who made the return of the cookie fair so fun!

I also would like to draw your attention to two very important annual fundraising opportunities that are happening now.

  • The Auction team is still looking for donations for our Annual Auction. Please scroll down to their announcement (or click here) to learn more about how to make your donations.
  • It is also Holiday Appeal time! We are so grateful to each and every one of you for so generously giving your time, talents, and treasures. It is because of you that First UU is able to make a difference in this world. Please consider donating to this campaign, to help us continue to maintain our financial stability, be able to adapt to this ever changing world, and continue to serve our community. If you are able, please help us reach our goal of $12,000. (Last year, we raised almost $14,000!)   You can donate by visiting firstuucolumbus.org/holidayappeal/, or by mailing a check into the office and putting “Holiday Appeal” in the memo line. Please let me know if you have any questions. And thank you again!

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.

Announcements at a Glance
Click the header to jump to an announcement or section, for more details!

Sunday Service – Lights of Joy: Winter Solstice Celebration
Join us in person or online this Sunday, 12/19, at 10:00 am, for our weekly Sunday service!

In the darkness of winter there are celebrations of light. We decorate trees and put lights in windows to bring a bit of joy to the season. Come, let us celebrate the turning of the starwheel.

Presented by Rev. Dr. Marian Stewart.

Holiday Services
Please join us in person or online for our Holiday Services this week. On Friday, December 24th, we will have two services:

– Family Service will take place at 5:00 pm.
– Candlelight Service will take place at 8:00 pm

There will be no service on Sunday December 26th.

First UU Sound and Streaming Team Needs You!
The First UU Sound and Streaming team is looking for a few new volunteers! If you have experience with sound or streaming production, or a great passion to learn, we would love you to join our team! Please contact Andi Mocharski at andi@firstuucolumbus.org to find out more.
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 firstuucolumbus.org/sunday for the link!

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

December Soul Matters Packets Are Here!
The December Soul Matters Packets are ready for your viewing pleasure! This month, our theme is Opening to Joy. 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).

Hang Donations on the Mitten Tree!
Add your donations of new, warm winter items to our Mitten Tree – such as gloves, mittens, scarves, and hats – in child and adult sizes. After the holidays these items will be taken to the Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center to be distributed within our local community!
Volunteers Needed: Spring RE Classes

We need RE teachers and volunteers! Especially:

  • 10-11year OWL facilitators
  • Coming of Age teachers and mentors

If you are interested, please email Amber or fill out this form.

We also plan to offer a five week “catch up” program for eight-year-olds who missed 6-7 OWL during the pandemic, which will run mid January into February. Please subscribe to the Religious Exploration announcements list; registration is coming soon!

Outdoor Sunday School News (RE)
Hello families! Last week we played together in the sand and on the playground. Then we gathered to share some jokes:

  • Question: What kind of pine has the sharpest needles?
  • Answer: A Porcupine!

We shared a lot of silly jokes and laughter! What a nice way to celebrate our monthly theme, Opening to Joy. Our Sundays have evolved into a time to visit and to play together. And we celebrate these opportunities for connection! Join us this Sunday for our final gathering of 2021. If you happen to have any glass yogurt jars, please bring them for a project we hope to do this week!

We look forward to seeing you again this Sunday from 10-11am, on the SYC playground! Children are invited to attend with a parent or other adult. Masks are required, and weather appropriate layers are recommended!  Peace and joy to you this season!

Upcoming Dates of Note!

  • Sunday, 12/26: No RE, Holiday Break
  • Sunday, 1/2: No RE, Holiday Break

While our activities continue outdoors, brief warm-ups inside are permitted at the discretion of the parent. Please communicate with your kiddo/s about your family’s boundaries and chosen precautions while we continue to navigate being in community together during times of pandemic. Don’t forget to sign-in when you attend RE or other church events! Use the clipboard, or scan the QR code to access the online formQuestions? Get in touch! – JeniferAmber, and Christine

December Youth Group Events!
Upcoming Youth Events!

  • This week, on Tuesday, 12/21: Whole Family Solstice Labyrinth Walk! 5-7pm at Chadwick Arboretum
  • Friday, 12/31: NYE Late Nighter! 7pm-1am at First UU (we need another adult volunteer / chaperone)

Masks are required! Email Amber to join the Youth Group email list!

NOMINATIONS – Calling for Nominations!

Know someone who would be great? Maybe you?
Each year, your Nominating Committee identifies engaged, thoughtful and energetic congregation members for consideration and election at the Annual Meeting in June. This year, that includes:

  • 6 candidates for the 3 open seats on the Nominating Committee
  • 2 candidates for the 2 open seats on the Board of Trustees, and
  • 1 candidate for Moderator

If you would like to suggest someone for the committee’s consideration, or are interested in one of the positions yourself, please visit the Nominating Committee table in Fellowship Hall following Sunday services or let us know via this quick form.


Carpe Diem in Concert TONIGHT!

The dynamic string quartet, Carpe Diem, returns for their second concert this season, tonight at 7:00 pm. This is a special holiday concert that you won’t want to miss.

Carpe Diem will be playing a piece by Leslie Adams, who was Music Director at First UU for a short time back in the late 60s/early 70s. He is now a world-renowned composer.

This event will be both in person (masks are required) and live streamed. You can purchase tickets here or at the door. Tell them you are a First UU member for a discount!

Live Stream Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rh099Jp8Jo


First UU Auction Donations Needed

Our 2022 auction is quickly approaching, and we need your donations – your fellowship events, dinners, get togethers, excursions, vacation lodging, services, gift baskets, gift certificates, food items, physical items, etc. Please use this link to make your donations. The deadline for entering all donations is Wednesday, January 19. We rely on you to make our auction possible, so please donate!


Labyrinth Helpers, Musicians Needed!

The labyrinth is returning! You can walk the labyrinth starting 12/26. Please sign up here if you are interested in helping, hosting, or providing music.


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!
Dinner and Conversations 12/17
Groups are now forming for Dinner and Conversations for the beginning of 2022. These groups of 8 will meet once a month from January – March.

If you are interested in participating in these potluck dinner groups, we ask that you are fully vaccinated because the dinners take place in each other’s homes. For more information, please see the Fall Engagement Catalog. Contact Marcia Canter if you would like to sign up.

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. (She is currently trying to get caught up on emails. If you already emailed interest, she will respond as soon as she can.) For more information on CUUPS, you can visit their website here.

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!


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! Meet us in the Nature Center parking lot at 10am each week (timing varies by season). Contact Erica Scurr to join the mailing list – for weekly updates and reminders!
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 cersiuu.org!

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!