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Happenings At A Glance

Upcoming Sunday Services on ZOOM

Make sure you have a Chalice available to light before the Service begins.
Services can be seen on Zoom every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. Our Touchstones The theme for September is worth and dignity.

September 13th: 
Sunday Service with Barbara Metz, Marci Beaudoin, Mary Erickson, Katie Seiferth, VUU Choir
 •  Order of Worship

Join our Service every week at this link: Zoom Worship Service  

In case you've missed it, last week's:  Worship Service

VUU News

In The Meantime

Is this weird or what?  Here I am a retired UU clergyperson in Grand Rapids MI being the interim minister for Valley UU Congregation in Chandler AZ.  The only thing that makes it less weird is that we are hardly alone.  When I was getting training for interim work there were others doing exactly the same thing, including a colleague in Virginia serving a community in Alberta Canada. Mercy!

The interim period between ‘settled’ ministers is ‘unsettled’ for the congregation.  Setting aside the obvious tasks that clergy do to keep an institution going, clergy are connected to every part of a religious community.  And when that person leaves the community is less connected.  An interim 1900 miles scarcely fills the gap, but I will be coming to Chandler, and though I will be going back and forth from MI to AZ, my spouse and I expect to enjoy winter with you in AZ.  

In addition to keeping a hand on the steering wheel, as it were, we transitional clergy have to know where you are going.  Two of the tasks of interim ministry - not interim ministers, mind - is to look back over where you have been, and look ahead to where you want to go.  These will be the chief tasks of this first interim year as they are essential to choosing someone to go with you in the years ahead.  

Many years ago, at a conference about racial justice, an older man leading the seminar said something that has stuck with me ever since. “We don’t have much time so we must go slowly.”  That will be our motto in the meantime.  

Fred Wooden,
Interim Minister
Notes from the Board

Since our last update, the VUU Board has been busy, busy!  We have signed a contract with our Interim Minister, Rev. Fred Wooden, who you should all have met at one of our services, on Facebook, and/or here in this Happenings. He’ll be here in person next week, and preaching from his new pulpit on the 20th. Say hi, or send him some of your thoughts at
Rev. Fred and the personnel team have hired our new Congregation Administrator, Lora Gustafson, who brings experience and loads of new ideas for us from UUCP. Lora has overlapped with our interim admin, Matthew, and is on board full time.  We hope you’ll get to meet her soon; watch the Happenings for her photo and intro next week.  Lora will be working in the office and from home, and her email address is
At our recent Congregational Conversation, you let us know that was a good format for sharing updates, and you’d like us to keep doing it more often during our virtual world – at least quarterly – so we’ll be planning another very soon. Meanwhile, the Board has approved our IHelp guests to stay in the sanctuary through at least October, and our Covid team is meeting regularly to watch the metrics and plan for in person meetings as soon as it is safe to do so.  With the high degree of transmission that comes with singing and just being together indoors, we are erring on the side of caution, and will continue to hold fast to a high degree of care. The COVID-19 team would like to remind all of members to get your flu shot as soon as you can, helping to make the fall and winter a low transmission season.
The board will be meeting twice this once – once for our “retreat,” which we will convene safely from our own homes, and again for our regular board meeting.  Meetings have been changed to an earlier time (4:30p), still on the third Thursdays of the month – anyone who would like to attend as a viewer can email for the zoom link.
The finance team has got their hands full this year, with a finite expense budget.  They will be holding finance training on Tuesday, September 16 at 6:00p.  If you’ve ever been interested in learning more about our budget, how we keep our financials, and other fascinating details, please contact (David Sheh) for the zoom link.
The Board would like to thank Nancy Harrell and the personnel team for all their work this summer, Linda Horton and the Transition Team for the work they are just starting with Rev. Wooden, Ken St. John for his care of our property (more to come on how you can help there), Matthew Clark for his great work this summer holding things together and getting organized for Lora’s work, Jim Nielsen for his ongoing care of our website and other technologies, and Libby Bean and the Sunday morning tech team for supporting the worship associates in creating engaging Sunday Services.  It takes a village to run this place, and do we ever have a wondrous village!
Sending love and light,
DeeAnne McClenahan, President
For the Board of Trustees

Youth Programs

As you probably suspect; our only option for delivering faith formation programming this fall is online (sorry to add to the kids screen time!) Classes begin Sunday, September 13th. Program calendars and ZOOM links will be emailed to you after your registration has been received.
Registration link:

ELEMENTARY: 2 yr olds - 5th graders, Sundays 1-2 p.m.: CartUUns, Unitarian Universalist values through the animated short films of Pixar and Disney. 
Please note: 
1) Monthly "take home" bags of supplies will be created for each participant. Please indicate (on registration) if you can pick up bags at VUU, help deliver, or need delivery.

 MIDDLE SCHOOL: 6th-8th graders, Sundays 3-4 p.m.: Crossing Paths, Exploring the World's Religions using a UU theological framework. Virtual visits will enable youth to experience our "neighboring faiths" in the safest format available during the Covid pandemic.
Please note:
1) Parent & youth orientation will be Sunday, Sept 13th at 3 pm. Classes will begin the following Sunday.
2) Classes will be recorded and uploaded as PRIVATE to the VUU YouTube channel. Families will receive an email with the link to view the videos.

HIGH SCHOOL: 9th - 12th graders, Sundays 4:30-5:30 p.m.: TED Talks, Discussion based programming. 
Please note:
1) TED Talks will cover a variety of topics including social change, race, LGBTQ+ issues, environment, criminal justice reform, peace/conflict and may include some swear words.

In the Community

Summer 2020:Hosting Chandler I-Help 
We will continue to host the Chandler I-HELP Shelter in our Sanctuary at least through October. Would you like to help by washing sheets? You would pick up dirty sheets on a Tuesday between 10:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., and return them clean the next Tuesday during those same hours. Interested?, please click here.

Thanks to the food donors, the sheet washers and thanks to the whole beloved VUU Community for your generous hospitality during these challenging times. Our guests and those who run the Chandler I-HELP program are so grateful. 

VUUers are still getting together virtually, meeting and doing good works of love & justice

EastVUU Meeting 
Join EastVUU in a Zoom discussion about Climate Change: Thursday, Sept 10, 6:30 p.m.

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that climate change is happening, and the majority of people believe something needs to be done about it.  People are feeling the effects of higher temperatures, stronger storms, fires and floods. 
While there is a lot of negative news, there are also rays of hope about what is being done to reduce green-house gas pollution, including personal actions, renewable energy and energy efficiency measures.  But more aggressive measures are needed to stave off the worst effects of too much carbon in our atmosphere. 
VUU’s Sandy Whitley from the Citizen’s Climate Lobby will discuss how pollution affects our health and our world. She will report on positive efforts under way, and one potential solution recommended by scientists and economists alike as the most effective way to reduce GHG pollution – a carbon pricing strategy. Opportunities for individual action on climate will be shared.
Sandy is a retired nurse, grandmother, and hiker. She joined Citizens’ Climate Lobby, dedicated to working towards a solution to our warming world, and believes the best thing we can do about climate change is talk about it – and let our Congress know we want action.  She has been a member of VUU since the significant date of January 2017.  

Mark your calendar: EastVUU Social Night, Sept. 24, 6:30 p.m. Stay tuned for theme.

EastVUU Gathering Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 739 743 734
Passcode: 920559
Want to re-connect with other parents from Valley UU?
Drop in to one (or more) of our Parent Chat zoom meetings. No need to RSVP
Mondays 2-3:30 p.m.
Meeting ID: 830 0882 2731
Passcode: 190811 
Tuesdays 7-8:30 p.m.
Meeting ID: 842 1301 8734
Passcode: 190811

Saturdays 1-2:30 p.m.
Meeting ID: 874 4429 2775
Passcode: 190811
Page Turners September Announcement 
The Page Turners are continuing to meet via Zoom. If you enjoy reading and discussing books, we would be happy to have you join us. You are welcome to join us for all of our meetings or just when the book is of interest to you.

The September book is 1Q84 Vol. 1 by Haruki Murakami.  A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s 1984. It was an instant best seller in his native Japan. It begins in 1984 in Tokyo. Intrigued? Pick up the book and join for discussion in September. The meeting will be on September 17 at 7:15 p.m. If you would like to receive the Zoom link, email Amy at
The Vegan Lifestyle: Beyond Veggies and Tofu!

This Friday (9/11) at 10 a.m., VUU’s Food for Life and the Planet Committee (FLP) will explore understanding vegan as a lifestyle choice as opposed to just an eating choice.  We will consider our clothing and alternatives that can keep us true to cruelty-free decisions.

Please contact Denise McLeod at to receive links to some materials we’ll review beforehand to kickoff the discussion. 

Hope to see you then!

Join Zoom Meeting: Friday 9/11 at 10:00 a.m.
SINGLES  --  still having fun!

Singles are meeting 1-3 p.m. on Wednesday afternoons to play cards on Check out the site and see all the fun games! We will zoom for the meeting so we can talk while we play.

Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 359 568 3684 Password: 123456

GAME NIGHTS ON ZOOM CANCELLED: We regret to announce that we just haven't been able to sustain enough interest in Game Nights on Zoom. We will resume Game Nights when we can meet in person again.

For more information contact Claudette by phone (973-768-6047) or email

Our Dalai Lama and Friends virtual gathering meets every Sunday at 9 a.m. It be will on Zoom. 
Here is the link
Meeting ID: 388 347 383
Password: 347553
VUU CCL & Environmental Action Team Meetings
Time: Every month on the Fourth Wed, until Dec 23, 2020
        Sep 23, 2020 06:00 PM
        Oct 28, 2020 06:00 PM
        Nov 25, 2020 06:00 PM
        Dec 23, 2020 06:00 PM 

Click Here to Join Zoom Meeting
      Meeting ID: 992 3643 0521
      Password (required): 892925

Social Distance...But Make it Social Justice

Beloved Conversations
Registration began Sept 1, starting in October
Beloved Conversations curriculum developers at Meadville Lombard Theological School have responded to the needs to learn how race and ethnicity shape our personal and collective lives and practices, in a virtual format. UUJAZ has partnered with Meadville to offer discussion groups for AZ participants, and scholarships for UU's in AZ who enroll. More details are emerging in the next month.

UU Congregations participating in Beloved Conversations report they are:
  • more courageous when engaging in cross-cultural dialogue
  • more comfortable taking risks to communicate deeply held assumptions about race and ethnicity
  • better equipped to sit with cultural differences
  • more adaptable at dealing with different standards for worship, music, education
  • more fluid translating personal communication styles and theological commitments to other preferences and traditions
  • better able to link personal power to systematic oppressions
  • more resilient when confronting the status quo
  • more curious about personal, narrowly held assumptions
  • better able to set aside issues of perfectionism and judgment when encountering different standards
Click here to fill out our interest form to get enrollment details, including how to sign up for a 20% discount through UUJAZ

UU the Vote with UUJAZ
This November, we have an opportunity to reflect our UU values in local policy more than ever. Can we ensure free and safe elections? End cash bail and contracts with private prisons? Hold police accountable? Empower those most vulnerable to pandemic and racism? Fund education? 

None of this will happen without you. We have less than a month before ballots drop, so NOW is the time to have conversations with people you know, or join a phone or text bank. Don't wake up in November wishing you did more. See all UUJAZ/ UU the Vote opportunities here:

Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Candidate Forum

The interdependent web of connection is central to Unitarian Universalist principles, and we know at UU the Vote, what happens at the county level affects us all. Did you know your access to a safe and accessible election, the budget for the 4th Ave jail, and even the air you breathe in the Valley is regulated by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors? Learn from the Sunrise leaders in Maricopa County more about this powerful position we don't often hear of!

Join us on Tuesday, September 15th, on Facebook Live at 6 p.m., for a conversation with community members of Maricopa County, Unitarian Universalist Justice Arizona, Sunrise Movement, and the candidates for Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. 

Confirmed attendance: Jevin Hodge, candidate for District 1 and Whitney Walker, candidate for District 3

Hosted by UUJAZ, UU the Vote, and Sunrise Tempe

Conversation with the Candidates: Homelessness and our Faith

As Unitarian Universalists, we honor the inherent worth and dignity of our unsheltered neighbors. We are called to work for a just, equitable, and compassionate world, where everyone has the resources needed not just to survive, but to thrive. These beliefs push us beyond serving folks in need, to advocating for policies that eradicate homelessness altogether.

Join us Tuesday, September 22nd, on Facebook Live at 6 p.m., for a conversation with community members of Surprise and Sun City, candidates running for LD22, and guest speaker Sophia of Unsheltered Phoenix, hosted by Unitarian Universalist Justice Arizona.  
Black Lives Matter 
Copyright © 2020 Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation, All rights reserved.

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