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Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson

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Tucsonitarian: August 2020

August 2020 Newsletter 

 

The Tucsonitarian

 

/
 
Rev. Bethany
Russell-Lowe
 
NOTE: Rev. Bethany is on vacation through August 7th. If you are a member or friend of the congregation and there is an EMERGENCY you may call or text her at: 520-428-4921. Want to set up a time to meet? Make an appointment here: 
 
 
Vespers Every Thursday
5:30 PM on Zoom
 
Every Thursday Rev. Bethany and UUCT Worship Associates will lead a 30-40 minute vespers service on Zoom starting at 5:30 each week. This will be a live service with songs, readings, and a short reflection from Rev. Bethany or another speaker. 
 
Join us! 
Password: 483148
 
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Seeking Small Group 
Ministry Facilitators for 2020-21
 
Our Small Group Ministries got off to a great re-start this year! Rev. Bethany is looking for a few new facilitators for Small Group Ministries in 2020-21. 
 
Because a number of our members will need to meet on Zoom for the foreseeable future, facilitators will need to be willing to facilitate groups from Zoom (training and support available). All SGM Facilitators will meet monthly in their own monthly Small Group Ministry with Rev. Bethany.
 
If you are willing to lead a group, 
please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Board President
Rex Graham
 
Thank you for electing me to a 2-year term as UU Church of Tucson Board President. (I think.) I invite you to sit in on any of our board meetings, which are held on Zoom at 7 pm on the third Tuesday of the Month.
 
It’s only August, but the reality of being president is settling in like a new spouse with lots of (good) opinions. Just kidding. I’m very excited. Even if I don’t know what lies ahead.
 
I felt a brief introduction would be helpful to those who I haven’t met yet. However, all of you surely may be wondering, what will be my focus, or foci? What do I think of our minister? Will I continue leading trips to the migrant shelter in Agua Prieta? What about our nagging building problems?
 
I’m 69. My pronouns are him, they. I’ve been an active UU for about 4 decades. I have a master’s degree in microbiology, and I’ve spent most of my professional career as a newspaper or magazine science writer and editor, and university communications director. My instinct is to listen first before speaking, and asking questions to clarify.
 
I love UU traditions and rituals, but I also embrace change when it makes common sense. For the past 2 years, I have been involved in a variety of activities at UUCT, mostly involving social justice. I have a deep appreciation of our UUCT culture, and the people who founded the church, and previous ministerial and lay leaders.
 
I have 5 personal priorities as your president for the next 2 years:
 
Mission
“We transform ourselves, our community, and our world by intentionally living our Unitarian Universalist principles.” That’s UUCT’s mission statement. It’s pretty good. That mission statement will guide everything I will try to do. I will start every board meeting by reading it to remind us to keep our eyes on the prize.
 
Minister
Rev. Bethany Russell-Lowe’s inspiring, creative ministry was key to my decision to become a member of UUCT. I want to support her ministry and that of her/our ministry team in every way possible. Rev. Bethany’s remarkable shift to online services and other offerings is typical of her inspirational can-do creativity. And keep in mind she’s only getting started in her career. I feel all of us are comfortable embracing, empowering, valuing, and supporting her (especially during the coronavirus pandemic) and not taking her, Jamili Omar, and the other members of the ministry and worship teams for granted.
 
Glue
I have this mental picture of our beloved community as a shape-shifting, techni-colored popcorn ball. The sticky glue that holds us together includes our common belief in the 7 Unitarian Universalist Principles. The glue also includes our easy, welcoming familiarity, shared history, and the continuous creation and renewal of friendships. I feel the glue at services, coffee hours and auctions. And now in Zoom small-group meetings, Baja 4 services, Care Team activities, Circles of Care Zooms and emails, and innumerable casual phone calls. Pre-COVID, I felt a silent, palpable sense of shared empathy when each tearful person dropped a pebble in the bowl of water during the Joys and Sorrows part our services.
My goal is to do whatever is practical to encourage all of us to take responsibility to continually mold the popcorn ball. Our phone calls, emails and Zoom meetings are part of the glue. The hopes and dreams expressed during our recent “cabin meetings” was everybody’s opportunity to share how we want to safely maintain our community and our glue. I will ask the Covid Response Team (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to organize more of these meetings.
 
Justice
I have dropped my role as Social Justice Council (SJC) chair. However, I remain deeply committed to LGBTQIA+, immigrant, racial, and economic justice issues. Now, I’m a justice volunteer. Actually, the SJC has been re-invigorated with new leadership and ideas. A workshop and coaching sessions led by the UU College of Social Justice has made the SJC more effective. On a personal level, I want to embody the change I wish to see in my community, and the world.
 
Infrastructure
And finally, I want to address the long-term benign neglect of our campus. We are so deeply indebted to past UUCT members and leaders for building and enlarging our campus. But repairs and updates have, out of financial necessity, been lower priorities. Still, we have so much potential - under our leaky roofs.
 
Addressing our serious infrastructure issues will enable us to accommodate our growth, which will only continue under Rev. Bethany Russell-Lowe. Our savvy, can-do Facilities and Finance Committees are already assessing the extent of our long-term deferred maintenance. They are prioritizing needed updates and repairs, and identifying the means to fix, maintain, and update our campus.
 
Why focus on infrastructure when the campus is closed? Parts of our campus are breaking down, even while we’re away. At the same time, this weird time represents an historic, one-time opportunity for UUCT in several regards:
·        Currently, construction and commercial-remodeling costs may be down 30-40 percent. (Contractors are hungry, but it won’t last.)
·        As much of our campus remains mostly vacant (although our pre-school tenant is operating at capacity) any repair work would result in less disruption.
·        Borrowing rates, which will likely be part of any infrastructure plan, are currently at historic lows.
·        If UUCT needs to seek additional donations from the congregation, which is likely, that effort wouldn’t be competing with our regular fundraisers, which have been mostly paused.
·        Making these necessary repairs and updates honors the extraordinary efforts of those at UUCT who created and enlarged our campus over the past 75 years. Addressing our infrastructure also recognizes and honors dozens of current UUCT members who have generously supported our church for decades.
 
Thank you for reading this far. I know. . . It’s a lot. I’m sure you have thoughts and ideas to share. That’s great. Feel free to email me at my new email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We can always set up a Zoom call, too.
 
Thank you,
 
Social Justice 
Committee - Aston Bloom 
 
Two is better than One$
 
As noted previously we are now providing two organizations per month the Share the Plateproceeds. 
 
Recipients for the first half of August will be Sister Jose Women's Center, which provides aid and temporary shelter for homeless women in Tucson. 
 
The second half of August will be Casa Alitas, which is a program providing help for migrants fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries.
 
How to donate
 
Checks with “Share the Plate” in the memo line can be mailed to the office. Online donations can be made at https://www.uuctucson.org/donate/. On that donation page you will find an option for Share the Plate as well as designations for pledge fulfillment, general donation, and Minister’s Discretionary Fund.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
 
UUCT ‘Surrogate Shoppers’ 
Helping medically at-risk UUCT members
 
UUCT Surrogate Shoppers can pick up medicines and deliver groceries for UUCT members.
 
To place a grocery order, contact one of the surrogate shopper volunteers:
  • Vail and East Tucson – Marsha Newcomb, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
  • Vail and East Tucson – Cathy Dinsmore, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Northwest Tucson – Terry Spinelli, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Green Valley – Bonita Mott, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Midtown Tucson – Rex Graham, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Deliveries will be made within 1-3 days. 
 
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
 
UUCT’s Coffee and Clothes Drive
 
Sales and delivery - of Café Justo coffee are continuing. This Social Justice Council (SJC) project benefits small-scale, shade-grown organic coffee growers in Chiapas, Mexico. (Kate Schleinkofer and Judy Dare lead this project.) 
 
The delivered-price is $10 per pound bag of Arabica beans and ground, and Robusta beans and ground.
 
Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Beth Britton for This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Report from the Facilities Team
 Margot Garcia
 
The Facilities Team has been busy over the last few months bringing some projects to fruition. If you look at Goddard on the north-east corner you will see the new riser stretching above the roof carrying a new safer connection from TEP lines to our campus. There is also a new meter and new disconnect box for safety.
 
The refrigeration unit for the Holland offices broke down. Watson Refrigeration is busy finishing up installing a new system to keep our minister and administrator cool during the hot months of the year.
 
On August 31 RoofSavers will begin patching and covering the roofs of Goddard, Thoreau and Lincoln with two coats of elastomeric paint to seal the roof. This new covering should be good for about 5 years when we will need to do a complete re-roofing. The new white roof should also lower the inside of the building temperature and lower air conditioning costs. 
 
The Facilities Team is working on updating and adding to the list of repairs, renovations and the completion of started projects so we can see the total amount of work that needs to be done. We will, to the best of our ability, get cost estimates. This is part of a longer-range plan.
 
The funding for these projects is thanks to some generous gifts from the Joyce Hardin Legacy, Carol Hubbard Legacy, Marion Leonard gift, and savings thanks to the PPP loan/grant.
Road Trip!
The Empire Ranch
 
Empire Ranch is a working cattle ranch in southeastern Pima County, Arizona that was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. In its heyday, Empire Ranch was one of the largest in Arizona with a range spanning over 180 square miles. It’s owner, Walter L. Vail, was an important figure in the establishment of southern Arizona’s cattle industry. 
 
In the early 1950’s the ranch was featured in several western films starring many of Hollywood’s most famous actors, such as John Wayne, Gregory Peck and Steve McQueen.
 
On November 7th the Empire Ranch plans to host their annual “Roundup” now called the Cowboy Festival which has many events of cultural interest.
 
Carolyn Saunders and Julia Mehrer are planning a one day TUUR to the festival, Covid permitting. No details are available at this time, but stay tuned for more information!
Jamili Omar 
Director, LFD
 
Better than Return of the Jedi...
Better than Frozen II...
Better than Godfather II...
It's...
 
RETURN OF 2ND HOUR!
 
2nd Hour returns to a computer screen near you every 2nd Sunday starting September 13, 2020! Join us after social hour for education, fellowship, and service opportunities with folks of all ages (yes, even YOUR age!) once per month. Workshops will be as diverse as we are: from Small Group Ministry to hospitality, from music to socializing, and from get out the vote events to trying new artistic techniques. Watch the Wednesday Newsletter for announcements. 
 
2020-2021 2nd Hour Dates
 
September 13, 2020 / October 11, 2020
November 8, 2020 / December 13, 2020
January 10, 2020 / February 14, 2020
March 14, 2020 / April 11, 2020
May 9, 2020
* * * * * * * * * * *
 
**Seeking Workshop Leaders**
 
I’m building a schedule of workshops and would love to include you in the line up. What do you have to share with the world? Bring me an idea and we’ll work together to develop it! No need to worry about technical support. I’ll have assistants available to manage the Zoom, so you can simply lead.
 
If you have any questions or want to lead a workshop, please contact Jamili at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  
 
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
 
Family Faith Development
 
Are you ready for some faith development as a family? I am collecting resources for at home religious education both on the Parenting Club Facebook page and in a Google drive. The folder is available to everyone! You'll find activities that take 5 minutes and ones that take 5 days, so you're in control of how much time you spend on RE.
 
Worship Services 
with the Baja 4
 
 
UUCT Summer Services
Bert Meek
 
The Board and Reverend Bethany, with support from our entire congregation, have decided that UUCT services will continue to be offered remotely through the summer, just as we have since March 22. Each of the eight services from 7/12 through 8/30 will focus on one of our Seven Principles, with the final service focused on the new proposed Principle of Spiritual Wholeness. 
 
The Baja 4 ministers will oversee each service but the summer services will be lay led. You’ll see several of our UUCT worship associates, as well as worship associates from the other congregations. 
 
You'll find us on the UUCT YouTube Channel
 
Aug. 2 Songs of Searching (4th Principle) WA's Martha House, Diane Farone, Anne Bowling
 
Aug 9 Songs Conscience (5th Principle) WA's Nina Tolley, Howard Tolley, Jamili Omar
 
Aug. 16 Songs of Community (6th Principle) WA's Merrie Longbottom, Derek Contraras, Nancy Murphy
 
Aug. 23 Songs of Interdependence (7th Principle) Julie Olsen, Carrie Cooper, Brenda Lundt
 
Aug. 30 Songs of Wholeness (8th Principle) Ann Aust, Bob Gordon, Martha House.
 
Welcoming and Membership
Beth Britton
 
The Welcoming and Membership Team made changes in content and design to their portion of the web page. Thank you Judy Jessing, Allison Ewoldt and Flo Weeks for your contributions.
 
Yes, you can still join the church during the pandemic. To connect to Rev. Bethany who will facilitate the process click here.
 
Know folks new to UUCT? Encourage newcomers to complete the Guest Information Cardhere or on line at UUCTucson.org. Alma Byrd will contact them to help them get engaged in the many distancing activities of the church. 
 
The Directory has been updated. Please print it from the web page.
colorful-flowers.jpg
 
SAZCUUPS
EJ Millstone
 
 
We held a kitchen witchery discussion and came up with some great ritual ideas for house, relationships, and the election. We had a great time!
 
What Is Waxing
 
We have created a Circle of Care specifically for members of SAZCUUPS. We are offering virtual hangouts several times a week for our members to connect with each other throughout the uncertain time.
 
To join, email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please note, this is for members only--if you want to join SAZCUUPS as a dues-paying member, let us know!
 
Our Lammas ritual this month will be on August 1st at 6:15 p.m. on Zoom. Meeting ID: 823 936 4868
 
Pagan Tip of The Month
 
The cacti are dropping their fruit and it's a good time to make some Agua De Tuna for our first harvest celebration. Here's a recipe from Dora's Table:
 
3 Prickly pears, red, large
1 cup water
½ cup orange juice freshly squeezed
1 tsp. Agave syrup, light
 
Instructions
Slice both ends of the prickly pear off. Make one long vertical slice down the body of the prickly pear. Peel back the skin, by pushing it back with a knife or your hand. The skin should come right off, and you should be left with just the prickly pear. Place peeled prickly pears in blender with 1 cup of water. Blend at the lowest speed for 1 minute. Strain and discard the seeds and pulp. Place prickly pear juice back in the blender, with orange juice, and agave syrup. Blend until smooth.Serve over ice.or by phone: 520-444-9189
 
Beloved Conversations: Meditations on Race and Ethnicity
 
A curriculum for exploring the role of race/ethnicity in individual and congregational lives is going virtual as of September 1, 2020. 
 
It is intended for UUs seeking to embody racial justice as a spiritual practice. 
Participants will work at their own level of experience in race-based caucuses, with a critical friend, in bi-weekly learning pods and monthly “meaning making sessions.” 
 
The teaching and learning materials are based on the best practices of multicultural and arts-infused education. The program is positively reviewed by over 140 congregations who have participated to date.
 
Registration opens September 1. Beloved Conversations begins online in October.
 
For more information about Beloved Conversations, see the Meadville Lombard website: 
 
 
Or email questions to: 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
For questions about group discount registration, contact Steve Kraynak: 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Survey - Racial Justice Programming
Lisa McDaniel-Hutchings
 
A small team is organizing racial justice programming for members and friends of the Baja 4 congregations to promote awareness, build understanding, and challenge our perceptions of racial justice. 
 
To better guide our planning, please give your candid responses to 5 quick questions.  Just click here: 
 
 
Thank you! 
 
Meet
Zoobie!
 
 
 
Hello! Gloria McMillan here. I’m happy to introduce this new column for people who want to discuss rational ways of looking at life, the world, and the restaurant at the end of the universe.  
 
This is our mascot Zoobie.  He bravely went into space just to be our logo. 
 
First, what is a rationalist, anyhow? The Cambridge Dictionary defines a rationalist as “someone whose actions and decisions are based on reason rather than emotions or beliefs.”  That doesn’t mean we cannot be both religious, in the sense of feeling compassion, awe and wonder, and still primarily base actions and decisions upon reason. I am guessing that most of us rationalists are less likely to employ theist rhetoric.  And that’s okay in the Unitarian Universalist Church.
 
This column is open to anybody who wishes to write about how we can understand and meet life’s challenges through our reason. I hope some of you who have topics to share will bring them here. 
 
One biggie these days is how will we get the support that religious people feel if we are not theists?  Certainly, there is little comfort when we are stressed or grieving to know intellectually that we are just tiny bits in the puzzle of the universe.  But that is what makes it so important to have a place to share in order to reach out and support each other.  
 
Our feelings of reacting to entropy (stuff breaking down) and mortality may involve what the late UU minister David Johnson said (quoting Emerson?): “Nothing is lost.” That is because of the conservation of mass. Matter changes from one form to another and nothing is ever lost. We fall back into interstellar dust and so each of us is made from star dust.
 
Send ideas to pursue or write your own column to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  
 
This is your Cosmic Corner and your voices are important to us.
 
UUJAZ News - Janine Gelsinger
 
Hello friends,
 
Covid-19 revealed to many of us the deep cracks in our society that have always been here. As Mia Mingus, a disability rights and transformative justice organizer says, "If we get this right, we'll never go back to normal." What work lies ahead of us to make essential changes in ourselves, in our congregations, in the world?
 
July 1st marked the beginning of the new congregational year... and also my one year anniversary as your Executive Director at UUJAZ. I don't think any of us imagined that all our programming would be shifting to virtual spaces, but in the last few months we've worked hard at UUJAZ to create ways to do justice online, together. Below, please find offerings for discussion groups on anti-racism and trans inclusion, UU the Vote Action Hours, a justice book group, movie nights, and other opportunities to act for justice in our world.  
 
Thursdays 7-8pm, Aug 6th - September 10th
 
What does it look like for UU's to be anti-racist and anti-oppressive? Join Janine and UUJAZ to read the Commission on Institutional Change's report "Widening the Circle of Concern" compiled over three years of interviews and research, analyzing structural and systemic racism. Discuss the recommended actions, and how they could translate into actions in our UU congregations in Arizona, to advance long-term cultural and institutional change that redeems the essential promise and ideals of Unitarian Universalism.
 
The commission's report is available free to read online, or as a downloadable PDF for a limited time, or can be purchased from the UUA bookstore.
 
 
 
 
Join UUJAZ's UU the Vote Coordinator Casey Clowes for an hour of engagement. Each week will rotate through education on the issues, visits from guest partners, training on deep canvassing conversations, and phone/text banking "action hours."
 
 
UU the Vote Office Hours: August 4, 5-6pm
 
 
 
 
Important Primary Election Dates:
 
Last day to return ballot by mail: July 29
Election day: August Tuesdays 6-7pm
 
 
Janine Gelsinger on facebook, or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Conversations with Friends
 
Ronna James 
and Gilbert Moore
 
Conversations with Friends has resumed meeting weekly, at 2:30 pm on Wednesdays, via zoom. 
 
Contact Gilbert Moore at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tucson UU Younger Adults
(TUUYA) Meet Ups
 
Do you identify as a young adult (generations X, Y, or Z)? Would you like to meet up with other UU young adults? TUUYA regularly hosts events and meet ups.
 
To stay in the loop make sure that Janice (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Jamili (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) has your email or join us on Facebook: by searching Tucson UU Younger Adults (TUUYA).
The UUCT Book Club
 
Included are the selected books for August and September so that participants will have time to acquire and read the books.
 
August's book is The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and we will meet via Zoom the 2nd Thursday, on August 13 at 9:30 am.
 
September's book is Deacon King Kong by James McBride and we will meet via Zoom the 2nd Thursday, on September 10th at 9:30 am.
 
To be added to the book club email list, contact Jan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 
886-2201.
 
LINK:
 
OR
go to: zoom.us
select: Join meeting:
 
Meeting ID: 884 1260 4078
Password: 484848
To be added to the Book Group e-list contact Jan.
 
HAVE YOU WANTED TO INFLUENCE THE GENERAL ELECTION...
 
But you didn’t know what to do that would make a difference? With the coronavirus keeping us all sequestered it limits our ability to be pro-active.
 
We have found a program that is targeting SWING STATES, and that’s where we need to make a difference.
 
This program, under the auspices of Indivisible Chicago Alliance, has the benefit of having used over 120 surveys to amalgamate the methods to use to be successful. It is not an indiscriminate mailing. The postcards you write will go to specific names in one of the swing states, and the message is NON-PARTISAN, simply encouraging voters to show up at the polls. 
 
Please look at the Q&A on the url below to find more information. The postcards should be ordered right away, as it takes time for them to arrive. 
 
Your only cost would be getting a 35¢ stamp for the postcards you order. Ten postcards would cost you only $3.50. Are you willing to spend that much to GET OUT THE VOTE?
 
Please e-mail Julia Mehrer at:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you wish to participate. 
 
Zoom Postcard Writing Parties will be set up for August and September.
 
Thanks for the Baja-4 Services 
Liz Ravenwood
 
It is easy to get in the doldrums these days if not anxiety and panic from listening to the news and the spread of COVID-19. 
 
I so enjoyed the recent church services as my takeaway was to rejoice in the moment even if that moment is being alone with yourself. The phrase “broken halleluiah” resounds well. 
 
It took courage of a couple of the ministers to actually dance on video and it was a joy to watch. 
 
I am reminded of 2 things. One from kittens, and one from an episode of Little House on the Prairie.
 
Regarding kittens, if you watch a little kitten play sometimes you can see that the “play attitude” comes from within the baby kitty itself. Something changes. It does a little backward shake in its head and then pounces forward. The play itself is an outward manifestation of the playfulness inside.
 
Little House on the Prairie has an episode of a woman with a heart condition who doesn’t do what her doctor recommends – to stay in bed. She enjoys life and lives it moment by moment. 
 
At the end of the show, she clutches her heart in pain realizing that it is her time to die, looks up to the skies, falls, sees a flower in front of her, exclaims “beautiful” as she pulls it towards her and smells it, looks back up to the skies, smiles, and passes away.

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