Tuesday Talk

Guest Column: Allie Bonsteel, Board Chair


This time of the year can be tough–stuck inside all the time and everyone is getting sick! My family has been dealing with one form of miserable bug or another for 3 weeks now, but I think that we are finally on the mend. As I sit here writing this, I am soaking up some artificial sun from my sun lamp and how I wish it was the real thing!

This is my first Board update of the new year and there’s been quite a bit going on in the world of governance that I’d like to update you on.

The Board has approved Barb Fiorini as member of the Nominating Committee with a term to end 6.30.20 and Judy Vazquez as a member of the Finance Committee for a 3 year term. Thank you Barb and Judy.

We also began discussions about completing Rev. Marian’s review. This is a process that we should be going through at least every 3 years. We are working on figuring out what this process will look like as it is the first time the Board has gone through a ministerial review since the change to the new governance model several years ago. We hope to have this completed by the end of the church year.

As I mentioned in my December Tuesday Talk, we are also engaging in discussions about our Church culture. We are in discussions about forming a new task force to dig deep into our history and offer insight into how that history influences our Congregation today. This is still in the early stages and as we know more, I’ll let you know.

We had our mid-year congregational meeting last month. Thank you for attending! Our staff gave updates on their respective areas and I gave an update from the Board. Here are some important highlights:

  1. It’s been several years now since we moved to the Governance Policymodel that we are currently operating under. While it is evident that church leadership put in many hours towards researching and strategizing the system and policies that we have in place today, the Board is struggling to actually implement all of it in practice. Some of this struggle is inherent as the policy is a framework, not a prescribed way of doing things and I get that but part of it is that this work is complicated and the members of the Board are constantly shifting as are the members roles on it. We will be implementing some changes to help us better align with the realities of the church calendar and better hold ourselves accountable.

  2. We are on track to meet our budget for the year. While this is certainly wonderful news, we are mindful that we have some challenges aheadincluding continued support of the Congregational Life Coordinator position held by Kelli McNeal that is funded by a 3 year declining grant. The Finance Committee and the Board are mindful of these challenges and are working with staff to be as proactive as possible in planning for next year’s (and beyond) budget.

  3. We have significant improvements that need done on the roof above Slowter lounge and the SYC/RE classrooms. By significant, I mean complete replacement of the roof and HVAC systems that service those areas as well as the Worship Center. We have put off these repairs for years and simply cannot wait any longer. We have received a proposal from our general contractor for around $170,000. The Finance Committee, led by Doug Kauffman, is diligently working on finding a solution for funding these repairs. We have several options that we are looking at including obtaining bank financing. There will be a special congregational meeting on February 23rd at 12:30 to discuss the plans for funding. A quorum will be required for this meeting as voting will occur. Please attend as you are able.

  4. As you heard from Seth Kraut in the Tuesday Talk last week, we are in need of your help to fill a task force that was formed by the Board. There have been ongoing discussions within Nominating and the Board about how best to select church leadership. There are specific issues that we see with the current selection process. People generally vote for who they know, which is reasonable, but it makes it difficult for newer members to participate. Some people don’t want to be in a contested slate. In order to further this discussion and then move it to action, the Board voted to form a task force to evaluate how best to select church leadership. If this is something that interests you, please contact board@firstuucolumbus.orgor talk to one of us. It’s an opportunity to engage in some very interesting conversations and guide important decisions about who we are and how our church operates.

This past Sunday, the Board hosted a town hall to discuss this question; How can we, as a congregation, better work for justice through learning? Thank you for attending. We’ll be compiling the information that we collected and working with Rev. Marian to make sure your voices are heard.

As always, we want to hear from you! Please e-mail board@firstuucolumbus.org if you have questions or concerns.

May you be well,

Board Chair

Opportunities and Reminders

Thank you to all who volunteer, serve, and help make First UU such a strong community. It is true that our church is what it is because of you.

And without you, coffee time would not happen. Have you signed up? It’s fun and only takes one Sunday a month. For more info, contact Denni Hale.

Interested in joining First UU?
Pathways class is THIS SUNDAY, Feb. 9th, 9am–2:30pm, Room 301 

Have you been thinking about becoming a member of First UU? Would you like to know more about the church and how to get involved? Attending the class does not obligate you to join the church. Please register at here. Breakfast and lunch will be served.

From our Nominating Committee…
Want to meet new people, contribute to the church, and learn new things? Do you know someone who would be a good leader and representative for our church? The Nominating Committee would love to hear from you!

You are invited to submit a nomination form telling us about yourself or someone else who you think would make a good leader. Submitting your name, or someone else’s, is not an obligation. It’s an invitation to a conversation about potentially serving on the Nominating Committee, Board of Trustees, or as Moderator. And, if these positions aren’t your thing, we can put you in touch with Kelli McNeal, our Congregational Life Coordinator, to review other opportunities.

Explore getting involved! Help your friends get involved! The online form is here, or if you prefer to put pen to paper, hard copy versions will be available at the church starting on January 26th; just see a member of the Nominating Committee. If you would like to get in touch with us about any other matters, send an email to the Nominating Committee at nominating@firstuucolumbus.org.

Is an Intern in our future???
Contribute a Teaching Share to the Intern Fund 
If we would like to have a ministerial intern in the coming years, we have to put the funds in place now. In order to say ‘yes’ to a school and a potential intern, we have to know that we can uphold our promise. If you are interested or would like more information, please contact Rev. Marian soon.

***Middle HourMiddle HourMiddle Hour***
Sunday, 10:15–10:45am
Learning Lab: Auction 101
Room #201
Facilitator: Danya Furda and Auction Team 

Demonstrating how to participate in the auction: donate online, volunteer, bid online. Also tips about offering meals or activities, including best times, etc.
Middle Hour is Fun!
Creative Expressions
Room A/B
Join Deb Baillieul to explore Puppets and Power. Make sock puppets to explore appropriate power.
Participants in the Beloved Conversations retreat from this past weekend. (More people will be in a Retreat Makeup session.)
Standing left to right, Paul L’Herrou, Frank Phillips, Lynda Smith, Sylvia Howe, Retreat Facilitator Rev. Dr. Elaine Peresluha, Tamara Parsons, Debra Boyd, Robin Lawson, Su Farnlacher, front row left to right, Kathleen Fowler, Amber Scott, Ken Odiorne


For additional churchwide activities and events, please see First UU News (emailed on Fridays and in the Sunday Order of Service).

For information about family and child-focused events and classes, see the RE News (emailed to families and in the Sunday Order of Service).

TODAY – Vigil
Wednesday, February 5th, 6:30–7:30pm, Sanctuary
Vigil: State of Affairs (Impeachment, etc.)
Led by Rev. Marian
Feeling upset, out of sorts, elated or angry about what is happening in our government right now? Come, stay the whole time or drop in as we share the space with each other.

Friday, February 7th, Beach Hall
First Friday 
Leave the Cooking to Us!
Join us for a pasta dinner in Beach Hall, followed by a communal art project for everyone or board games at 7:30. Gluten free and vegan options provided; if you’d like to bring something to share you’re more than welcome to but the important thing to bring is you. See you at First Friday!

Saturday, February 8th, Beach Hall
All Soles Contra and Square Dance 
7:30–8pm Beginner’s Session
8–10:30pm Dance

Caller will be Margaret Goodman from Springfield; band is Changeling (Deborah and Karl Clark Colon) from Yellow Springs.
New to dancing? The beginners’ session will get you started. You will learn some basic figures that will be repeated in the evening’s dances. All dances will be taught and no partner is needed.
Free childcare is available in a nearby classroom.
Cost is $8 for adults; $4 ages 12-25; and free for those under 12.
For more information, visit:

Sunday, February 9th, 9am & 11am, Sanctuary
“Shades of Humanism” with Rev. Marian
A deeper look at our Unitarian Universalist fifth source, humanism. How a long history of non-theistic thinking has impacted and changed us. Where did it begin, where is it going? What is it anyway?

First UU Auction: Come Fly with Me! 
Saturday, February 22, 2020
To really take off, we’ll need many donations to zoom in and take the bidding sky high! You can donate from the auction website or email.  We’ll have a table in Beach Hall starting near the end of November, then on February 9 we will have Auction 101 sessions during Middle Hour to share auction information and answer questions.Save your stuff!
Rummage Sale
May 2, 2020 (Saturday)

We will also need volunteers. Please contact Seth Kraut (614-477-0099) or Rachel Kraut (614-774-2362). We need household items (kitchen decor, small appliances, baskets, lamps), jewelry and accessories, working toys/games/puzzles, garden, travel and camping items. More information will follow.
The Ohio House Public Utilities Committee voted to approve SB 33, the bill to charge environmental protesters with felonies and $10k fines, and non-profits (including churches) $100k for helping them. After the vote, the crowd left the hearing room and the frustration erupted into a protest in the hallway, loud enough to disrupt the remaining agenda items. The senators heard us.
The bill now goes to the full House for final passage. We will let you know so we can all show up in our bright yellow LOVE (the environment, free speech) shirts.You can also contact your House representative. Find their names and email and phones here: http://www.ohiohouse.gov/For more information, see the Greenpeace summary, contact Joan VanBecelaere with UUJO, or see last week’s Tuesday Talk.


Jennifer with her twin daughters at the “And Then They Came for Me” concert to support First UU’s Fund for Immigration Legal Assistance (FILA). We have helped Jennifer and others with legal fees to obtain U-Visas and Asylum status.
We are keeping families together and saving lives

Concert Report

The “And Then They Came for Me” concert to support First UU’s Fund for Immigration Legal Assistance (FILA), was a big success, raising over $4500. Already, FILA has helped Columbus area immigrants with children, with funding for U-Visa and Asylum applications. We are changing – and saving – lives! 
For more information or to donate, go to First UU’s website.

Gift cards are needed to provide food for Edith Espinal, Miriam Vargas, and the Honduran family living at Just North. Kroger cards are preferred. Jan Phillips is collecting the gift cards. You may give them to her at church, or leave them with Rev. Marian.

Helping families stay together.
“And Then They Came for Me”
concert to support First UU’s Fund for Immigration Legal Assistance (FILA) was fun for all and a big success.
Sponsored by the First UU Archives Group
February 4, 1939
The American Unitarian Association sent Martha and Waitstill Sharp to Czechoslovakia to work with refugees fro the Nazis. This marked the beginning of the Unitarian Service Committee, which was organized in May 1940 as a standing committee of the association “to investigate opportunities for humanitarian service both in America and abroad.” The USC became independent of the AUA in 1948. In 1963 it merged with the Universalist Service Committee, which was first organized in 1945, also as a response to the war in Europe. The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee  focuses on humanitarian aid, development, and human rights in America and throughout the world.