carol-bartz3President’s Message for July 2017 

Carol Bartz

July is the beginning of our new fiscal year and that means the beginning of our new Board of Directors: John Isham, Vice-President; Mary Lou Thompson, Treasurer; Bill Hayes, Assistant Treasurer; Doris Sutliff, Secretary; Al Guy, Director; Jim Heaton, Director; AJ Wolff, Director; Bill Peruzzi, President Emeritus. Thank you to Ricki Cunninghis, Becky Smith, and Bob Yavis for their service on the Board with hopes that they will find new areas to be involved in at MUUF! On Sunday, June 18 we showed our appreciation to Lisa Bohn for all her years of service as Director of Religious Education as we presented her with a card and gift. We hope you, too, find new ways to help make MUUF a better place!
On the evening of June 12, we hosted a memorial service for the forty-nine Pulse Nightclub victims with Prism, Manatee Pride, Rev. Glen Graczyk of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, and our own Rev. Dee Graham providing readings with a slide show and music honoring the victims. There were forty-nine roses in forty-nine single bud vases for all to see. Thank you to Valerie Fisher for initiating and coordinating the event which touched the hearts and minds of all 100 people in attendance and thank you to John Isham and Gary Chanco for handling the rather challenging media portion of it.
Our Transitions Task Force has been busy looking into possibilities for hiring a new minister and an informal meeting was held Sunday, June 18 with members of the congregation to discuss different points of view and answer questions. John Isham shared a graph showing attendance records for a little more than the past decade and some interesting trends were apparent. While there used to be a bell curve with the winter months being much higher in attendance, this is no longer happening in the same way. Many ideas were discussed during the meeting and there will need to be more meetings and perhaps a survey before any formal steps can be taken.
We are always looking for ways to do what we do better! Recently, Klaus Obermeit from Sarasota UU has generously offered suggestions for making our website more effective. We are looking at resources through the UUA as well so please tune in to our website http://manateeuuf.org/ to check it out!  It will be changing during July as we adjust to the UUA Theme for websites.
At the time of this writing it is before Bill Hayes, Klara Weis, and I embark to UUA General Assembly in New Orleans. Expect to hear more about it when we return as we will be bursting with ideas from the many and varied sessions we will have attended, some of which will be helpful in our time of transitions.

JUNE 2017

Our dinner honoring Rev. Dee Graham as she embarks on early retirement gave us an opportunity to express some of our thoughts and feelings as well as for her to do the same. Surrounded by family and friends Dee knows that we care about her and wish her well as she deals with her health issues. The recommendations by the UUA and by other denominations as well for a departing minister to not interact with members after they leave is understandable, but it tugs on our hearts as we say goodbye.

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The Transitions Task Force (John Isham—chair, Bill Hayes, AJ Wolff, Joan Butcher, Ed Kobee, and myself—ex officio) has begun to explore options for the future of our congregation in regards to our ministerial needs. We have met with Connie Goodbread, our representative from the UU Southern Region, to help with the process, which will include looking inwardly as well as outwardly as we strive to realistically reach for our ideals. Expect to hear more news as we could be scheduling meetings, seeking input, etc. before any decisions are even considered by the congregation as we work on moving forward.

The only way to make sense out of change

is to plunge into, move with it, and join

the dance. Alan W. Watts

At our Annual Meeting, we made the tough decision to no longer provide funding for our Religious Education program since we didn’t have regular attendance of children and youth for the past couple of years. Lisa Bohn, who has served as Director of Religious Education for six years, has so much talent and resources that we only saw the tip of the iceberg of her creativity! Her monthly “stories for all ages” were always creative and unique as well as the Mother’s Day, Day of the Dead services, and the Madrigal Dinner she coordinated each year. It is our hope that Lisa will continue to be active here at the Fellowship in the years to come.

As we begin our new fiscal year with a new board there will also be some changes in committee chairs so keep aware of news in announcements and in our weekly emailed 2-Minute Updates. A new Involvements Booklet (explains what committees and activities there are and who to contact) and a new Directory will be coming out soon to reflect all the changes. Bill Hayes and I will be attending UUA General Assembly in New Orleans as MUUF’s delegates along with Klara Weis as an attendee. We will be voting to elect a new UUA President who will serve for the next 6 years and for the first time it will be a woman. (All three candidates are women.) As always at GA a local social justice is highlighted: there will be emphasis on the lack of progress on restoration after Katrina and how it has been driven by racism. The unrest within the UUA with multiple resignations is sure to be discussed and I feel certain the issues are more complex and easily muddied when people rush to judgement. We hope to bring back a multitude of new ideas as we attend different workshops and find opportunities to network with other UU’s!

President’s Message for May 2017

By now our members and friends should have received the letters from Rev. Dee Graham and myself about Dee’s need to stop working as of April 10 due to her disability.  Together with her doctors the decision was made to focus on her own health and reduce stress in her life.  We knew this would happen eventually, but it’s still an adjustment for all

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of us.  We are thankful for the times we have shared with Dee as she has enriched our lives here at Manatee Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, provided us with pastoral care, and more fully connected us to our denomination.  We are saddened to have reached this crossroads and send our caring and positive thoughts with her.  To show our appreciation and love for Dee there will be a dinner on Friday, May 5, at 6:00 p.m. at the Fellowship.  Please plan to attend.

For members and friends here at Manatee Unitarian Universalist Fellowship it means we are in a time of transition as we ask the question “Where do we go from here?”  We don’t have to rush into any decisions as we take time to reflect and consider our next steps, but we do need to be actively exploring our options.  At our board meeting on April 18 we set in motion the forming of a Transitions Task Force that will look into the different possibilities.  The resources of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) are available to us and we have already spoken with a number of UUA staff members who have said they will support us and help us as needed.

The important thing is that we are here for each other.  Dee has said “MUUF members do a wonderful job caring for one another…you know what to do.” It’s true and we will continue to do so.    This transition time gives us the impetus to identify what we envision for our future so that we can work collectively towards fulfilling our vision.  MUUF does offer a liberal sanctuary and voice in our community…a voice of love, hope, and compassion.  Let’s make it stronger as we move ahead together.

President Roster

Carol Bartz:  July 2016 to present

Martha Pelletier,  Jan. 2015 – June 30, 2016

Bill Peruzzi:   October 2012 to January 2015