Friday News 5-14-2021

Good morning!

I hope you were able to tune in and celebrate with Rev. Dr. Isabel Call at her ordination last Saturday. If you didn’t have the opportunity to watch this truly wonderful service, you can find the video here.  A huge congratulations to Rev. Isabel!

I also want to say thank you for an absolutely heart warming stewardship campaign. Because of your generosity, we had $44,000 in pledge increases. This is absolutely amazing news. Because of this, we are able to meet several of the goals outlined in the pledge material. You will be hearing more about those exciting changes once the budget has been finalized. I and the rest of the staff are truly moved by the generosity that we have seen in this campaign. Thank you.

I also believe in being transparent and honest about what we are not able to accomplish with this current budget. One of our goals was to increase our fair share contribution to the Unitarian Universalist Association. We are able to allocate some resources to increase our contribution, but we still have some work to do to get to the recommended 6.75% of operating expenditures. The other area where we were able to make some progress, but not reach our goal was bringing staff to fair compensation. We know that this has been a goal for First UU for awhile, and we are certainly moving in the right direction. Unfortunately, we only received enough pledge increases to bring the Director of Religious Exploration and the Director of Congregational Life positions to 72% of fair compensation. Several other positions remain around 90-95%.

It is so difficult to share this with you. Yes. One of those most underpaid positions is my own and I want to be clear that I am so honored and grateful to be here and serving you every single day. I love this job and the opportunities I have to get to know you on a deeper level. And still, I know this news is hard. I know from seeing each and every pledge form that came in that so many of you are literally giving everything you can. And I am truly speechless at the unbelievable faith and generosity that you are showing in us and in the work and values of Unitarian Universalism. When I get the opportunity to share with someone what I do for a living, I can’t believe the words as they come out of my mouth because I know that I get to work with you all in the important work of fighting for justice and equity, and promoting our UU values. That’s why I know that sharing this information with all of you is important.

So, you might be wondering how you can help. There are a few ways:

  • Finish paying your current year pledge. This helps us plan our budget more accurately as we don’t have to estimate where we will be at the end of June. If you have questions about your current year pledge, please let me know and I am happy to help!
  • If you are in a financial position to be able to increase your pledge for the 21-22 church year, there is still time to do that. (We have not heard from about 38% of our pledges.) If you have already submitted your pledge form, but would like to modify, please let me know.

Again, I want to say how grateful I am that we have been able to increase our budget for the first time in 4 years. I cannot wait until we are able to be back in person, and see each other face to face, without a screen between us. Please let me know if you have any questions.

And, as always, my weekly reminder, if you would like an announcement in the Friday News, please email me no later than Wednesday at 8:00 pm with FRIDAY NEWS in the subject line.

Virtual hugs,

Kelli McNeal
Director of Congregational Life

Announcements at a Glance

(Click the heading to go to that group of announcements for more details)
  • Sunday Service – 5/16
  • Soul Matters May Packets
  • Finance Committee Meeting – 5/19
  • Children and Youth RE – 5/16
  • Parent Coffee Convo – 5/24
  • Bridging: Recognizing Graduates – 6/6
  • Recognizing our Graduates
  • UU History 101 – 5/17
  • How Will UU Take Action?
  • Check out the new Justice Update!

First UU Ways to Connect

Sunday Service – Radical Acceptance – No White Flags Involved
Join us Sunday 5/16 as we examine the radical acceptance. We all have our stories. And many of them are painful. Radical acceptance is about saying yes to life, just as it is. It’s not rolling over in submission. It’s not putting anything out of our minds. But it is an acceptance of the reality and nature of our existence – the pain remains. Suffering does not.

“By choosing to radically accept the things that are out of our control, we prevent ourselves from becoming stuck in unhappiness, bitterness, anger, and sadness, and we can stop suffering.” – Marsha Lineham

May Soul Matters Packets are Here!
Our May Soul Matters Packets on Story have all been mailed. You can find the digital versions here: General Packet (for all ages); Soulful Home (UU activities to do as a family); Chalice Home (tips for creating sacred space at home).
Finance Committee Meeting Invitation


 Classes For Children & Youth! 
Sunday, May 16th 
12noon Religious Exploration for 3-7years
1pm Youth Group for 12-19years Sunday, May 23rd 
11:10am Peace Pals music for 5-10years
12noon Religious Exploration for 7-12years

Sunday, May 30th 
No RE – Holiday Break 

RE Class Schedule 2020-2021 
Church Google Calendar 

Email Amber, Director of RE, for more info!

Parent Coffee Convo for Families w/ PreK-Elem Kids
Hello Families! Invitation: Parent Coffee for those with children of Preschool to Elementary age, with teachers Jenifer Bojanowski and Deb Baillieul, and Director of Religious Exploration Amber Scott. Topic: Making the old and familiar new, and responding to the collective trauma of 2020.

Join us on Zoom! Monday, May 24th, from 7:00-8:30pm 

It has been quite a year! As we move forward trying to make plans for this Summer (including Peace Camp!) and into the Fall, it brings to our awareness that we have experienced a collective loss (activities, connections, and people). Some of our folks attended a workshop recently that addressed, in part, the idea of collective trauma and how that may contribute to our experience of reconnecting at this time (i.e What will it be like when we can see each other again? To have a conversation face to face? To hug? To play?). We would like to hear from our families about what has worked and been good this year, and what you have been missing this year. Also, what has your child been missing?

Whether you have been attending church online, or RE gatherings or not- we would love to hear from you! During this meeting we will also explore what needs are for kids, families, and for you as parents / caregivers, for this summer. We are open to adding ideas to our meeting – with the idea that this is an informal conversation for you. You can contact us with any questions or thoughts you would like to share.

Email us! Jenifer Bojanowski / Deb Baillieul / Amber Scott

The session will be recorded for the purpose of the presenters to review concerns and questions. The recording will not be shared or distributed on any social media platforms. You are welcome to “rename” yourself for the meeting and/or not participate with video for the recording. 

Bridging June 6th: Recognizing Graduates

If you have a graduating senior who you would like recognized by the church this year, please email Amber ASAP to be included in the June 6th Sunday service!

Please include:

  • The graduate’s name (including pronunciation tips) and their pronouns
  • A favorite photo of them we have permission to share (to be featured in the service)
  • Current mailing address (for bridging gift and caring card)
  • High school or homeschool program they are leaving or completing
  • College if they will be starting in the fall, gap year info, or what they will be doing next
  • A sentence or two about their interests and ambitions (preferably written by the youth, but could also be written by a parent / guardian)
Thank you!
Caring Cards for Graduates
We would like to honor and celebrate our high school and college graduates. If you are or know of someone who is graduating, please fill out a caring card request, so that we can lift them up during a Sunday service, and congratulate them.


Faith Forward – UU History 101

UU History 101 is a 7 session introduction to concepts and people from our history. In this series, we approach history from the starting point of compelling stories and personalities. We will explore the questions those people faced, and make connections with our own lives and the world around us today. The overarching question is: how can history be translated into our religious life and practice? In addition to learning about history, we hope you will learn about yourselves. Registration is open now! Join us for session 6 on Monday, May 17th.Visit our website to learn more about Faith Forward, register for the UU History class, and see the other incredible courses that are being offered next!


How Will UU Take Action?
As the sun comes out and the temperatures warm, are you ready to spring into action? Maybe you’re looking for a way to work for justice, but not quite sure where to start. Check out our new Take Action page on First UU’s website. Whether you have 5 minutes or 5 hours to contribute, whether you are looking for in-person or virtual, whether your passion for justice is centered on democracy, racial justice, food insecurity, the environment, or interfaith work, there’s a way for you to take action today!
Justice Update
Check out our latest Justice Update to learn more about how First UU is combating food insecurity, hear some uplifting gratitude, and learn how you can defend our First Amendment rights!