Friday News 9-10-2021

Happy Friday!

I hope your September is off to a good start! We are so excited for the start of the new church year and Water Communion on Sunday! This Friday News is full of important information about our return to live services and our new, wonderful, live streaming system. Be sure to check out all of the announcements below to get the latest information about what we know and how we plan to come back safely.

And, as always, please let me know of any announcements you would like in Friday News by 8 pm Wednesdays and put “Friday News” in the subject line so I can be sure to not miss your email. If you have a recurring announcement, like wanting your class or group to be announced on the third Friday of each month for example, please email me that information and I will add you to my rotation list and be sure we are all informed about the amazing offerings we have throughout the fall! (Please note: the list is starting fresh this fall so even if you were on the rotation last year, please email me the newest information you have for your group.)

Let me know if you have any questions!

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)
  • 9/11: Twenty Years Later. Gathering to Remember  – 9/11
  • Sunday Service – 9/12
  • How to watch our services
  • New ways to get important Sunday information
  • September Soul Matters Packets!
  • Classes for Children and Youth – 9/12
  • Upcoming Fall Family Events
  • Sunday School Volunteers Needed!
  • Pathways to Membership – 9/19
  • Beyond Inquirers Class – 9/20
  • How to Be an Antiracist in Ohio – 9/25
  • Baby Shower for Amanda and Jim – 9/26
  • Compensation Listening Sessions
  • Come Sing with Us!
  • Check out the latest Justice Update!


9/11 – Twenty Years Later Gathering to Remember
Join us tomorrow, online, at 11am as we remember and share through spoken word, music, and silence. Rev. Marian will lead the remembrance. Everyone is invited. The Zoom link will be sent Saturday morning.
Sunday Service – Courage to Part the Waters
Join us Sunday 9/12 at 10:00 am, for our annual Water Ceremony. This morning we lift up the element of Water and what it means to have courage to face, or part the proverbial waters of life’s challenges. This morning we will have a reverse water communion. Instead of bringing water to share, we are gifting water from previous water communions to you! These are perfect for your home altar, meditations, and your own spiritual practices – all while being interconnected with our community.
Sunday Service – Ways to Watch!
1.) Help us experiment and be the first to watch our Sunday services via our new live-stream! The full service will be live streamed on our First UU Youtube channel. Visit for the link, or search First UU Columbus on Youtube.

2.) Join us In-Person! We will be having live, in-person services for the first time since March 2020! Please be aware that seating will be very limited due to pandemic restrictions and very high local caseloads. We will have seating in the sanctuary and Beach Hall. RE will be outside. Masks are required in the building.

3.) Can’t watch the service live? You can catch it and all of our services through our website.

New Ways to Get Important Sunday Information!

When you come to the church, you will see this QR code on the doors (and on several slides during the service). This gives you access to a variety of helpful and important resources! You can check it out by using your phone’s camera to scan the code now!

  1. We are asking everyone who comes into the building to check in and let us know that they are there. We are doing this to help us with contact tracing if that need were to arise. When you scan the code, you will see a link to a Check-In Form. Please fill that out, or fill out the paper form on the Welcome Desk.
  2. This code helps you connect with our new live streaming on Youtube.
  3. Like to know what’s coming up in the service? You can find our Order of Service here!
  4. If you would like to submit a Joy or Sorrow to be shared during the service like we did on Zoom, you can find a link to that form here.
  5. And finally, you can easily donate during the offering using this code as well.
If you have any questions, or need help scanning the code, please let Kelliknow, or ask one of our friendly Welcome Team volunteers on Sunday morning. And thank you for helping us to keep our community safe!
September Soul Matters Packets Are Here!
The September Soul Matters Packets are ready for your viewing pleasure! This month, our theme is Embracing Possibility. 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).


Classes for Children and Youth!
 ***  Read the full RE round-up here!!!  *** 

Expect opportunities for children to learn, play, and connect together outdoors almost every Sunday, starting 9/12. Children accompanied by a parent or caregiver will have the opportunity to attend RE outside on the SYC playground, during the worship service. Masks are required! Dress for the weather and come prepared for your family’s pandemic needs. Youth Group will meet twice a month after the service, in the Red Oak natural play area.

Sign-ups for closed cohort Coming of Age and Our Whole Lives sexuality classes will be coming soon; pending enough volunteers to teach these classes. More info and class dates TBA.

Contact our Director of Religious Exploration, Amber Scott

Upcoming Fall Family Events!
Family Worship: Water Ceremony / Meet and Greet 
10:15am Sunday, 9/12 – SYC Playground

First Full 3-11yr Outdoor RE Class w/ Jen
10:15am Sunday, 9/19 – SYC Playground

Youth Group Kick Off! 12-19yrs
11:15am Sunday, 9/26 – Red Oak Natural Play Area

Volunteers Needed
Please fill out this form to help with RE this year! Thank you!


Pathways to Membership Class

Our first Pathways to Membership class of the new church year is quickly approaching! If you’re considering becoming a member of First UU or would like more information about us, please join us on September 19th from 1-3 pm on Zoom. (All Pathways classes will be on Zoom until further notice.)

You can register for the class, or a future class here. Please email Kelli McNeal if you have any questions.


Beyond Inquirers Class

Are you seeking a way to deepen your learning and engagement with the congregation? Beyond Inquirers is a five session series on the Faith Forward Path focused on the congregation and you – offering a deeper understanding of how the congregation works and how you can be part of it. The sessions do not have to be done in order, so come when you are able. This class is open to anyone! We are offering the classes online on Mondays at two times 10:00-11:30am or 7:00-8:30pm. Sessions include:

  • September 20th: What do UUs believe?
  • September 27th: Is this a new religion?
  • October 4th: How do we do church?
  • October 11th: How do we live our lives?
  • October 18th: Does it matter if I join?

Learn more about the Faith Forward Adult Religious Education curriculum, and register for Beyond Inquirers to receive the Zoom information on our website.


How to Be an Antiracist in Ohio

Join us Saturday, September 25th, from 10:30-11:45 on Zoom, for a virtual presentation by Dr. Kevin McGruder. (Zoom Meeting ID: 862 2827 0414; Passcode: uu)
Dr. McGruder will start by sharing definitions and examples of systemic racism and 5 points about how to be an antiracist. Then, he will answer our questions! This event is available to all at no cost, but we will be requesting donations to support our church fund for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color who are members and friends of First UU to attend GA and other UU events.

Dr. Kevin McGruder’s interest in community formation led to a career in community development, and now as an academic, to research interests that include African American institutions, urban history, and gay and lesbian history. McGruder worked for many years in the field of nonprofit community development, wrote the book Race and Real Estate: Conflict and Cooperation in Harlem, and is currently Associate Professor of History at Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio.

You can check out some of Dr. McGruder’s writing in the Columbus Dispatch:

How to Be an Antiracist in Ohio


Baby on the Way! Meet and Greet Open House for Amanda and Jim

Amanda, our First UU Justice Coordinator, and husband Jim Hays will soon be welcoming a baby into their lives. We would like to help them celebrate on Sunday, September 26th from 11:30am-12:30pm at First UU.  We will gather on the patio off of Weisheimer. All are welcome, including families and children.

Gifts are not necessary, but if you would like to give them a gift, there are two options:

  1. Donate to the group gift – a baby-to-toddler car seat – by emailing Rev. Lynda Smith at to get her address for mailing a check; or
  2. Bring a book: Board and fabric books are nice for young hands, especially books that are written by authors of Color and books that are science-themed. Please note, Amanda and Jim will be taking the books home to open.
  3. Sign up at the Open House to be on Amanda and Jim’s Meal Train email list.

If you would like to help with the planning of this fun celebration, please email Lynda.


First UU Board Hosted Compensation Listening Sessions


From First UU’s Board of Trustees:

Our Compensation Listening Sessions are continuing. We have had some great sessions and want to hear more from you! There are spaces available for each of these sessions:
Saturday, September 25th:  9:00–10:15 AM

Tuesday, September 28th:  7:00–8:15 PM


To sign up to participate in one of the sessions, follow this link to the Compensation Listening Sessions SignupGenius. We want to hear from you!


Come Sing with Us!
For all those who love to sing: There is a place for you in one of First UU’s choirs! We will be starting back up again this fall, keeping current best practices in safety in mind. For this fall, First UU choirs will meet weekly for one-hour rehearsals. Singers will need to be masked and distanced, and choir members will be encouraged to sit at a distance that works best for their individual comfort. At this time, choirs will be recording songs that will be played during worship services, with the hope that, as COVID case numbers fall, we can resume in-person singing. In-person, masked soloists and small groups will alternate weeks with choir recordings. All of these practices have been decided in consultation with reopening guidelines from the CDC, singing-specific COVID research, and First UU’s Reopening Implementation Task Force.


If you are interested in singing with one of our choirs, being a soloist or in a small group, or have a question about the above guidelines, feel free to contact Director of Music Brandon Moss at Spirit of Life and Rising Voices choirs rehearse on Tuesdays (starting Aug. 31), 7:00-8:00 pm, and Chalice Choir rehearses on Thursdays (starting Sept. 2), 7:30-8:30 pm.



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!