December 3
“We DID Build a Wall”

<Arlene J. Pearlman, President of the Sarasota Manatee Chapter of AU, is our speaker. Americans United for Separation of Church & State (AU) celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. The first amendment of our Constitution established a wall of separation between religion and government and almost every religious and secular group, elected officials and community leaders signed on then, and keep signing on. To keep that separation, we need to fight stronger and harder with more voices than ever to protect the rights of everyone.

Arlene J. Pearlman has been active in civil rights most of her life. Growing up Jewish she was the target of discrimination and, years later saw her children go through the same thing (it continues to this day). After 9/11 she founded the Women’s Interfaith Network of Sarasota/Bradenton/Venice. Women of all faiths and none meet for small group lunches monthly to dispel prior stereotypes. 
 Arlene has been a member of AU since 1963 after an encounter with a John Birch member. In 1962 she fought to change adoption laws in NJ, NY and Conn. which restricted adoptions to people of the same religion as the birth mother – she won. She is Past Pres. of the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism in Sarasota, and a member of the Gulfcoast Affirming Interfaith Network.
Music: Barbara Jensen

December 10
“The Story of Hanukkah
(“We Want a Christmas Tree”)”

Carol Burch, MUUF member, invites us to sit around the Solomon’s dinner table for a lighthearted look at the holiday with a skit and music.

MUUF member Carol Burch invites us to sit around the Solomon’s dinner table for a lighthearted look at the holiday with a skit and music. Carol and her husband, Jim, joined MUUF a little less than a year ago.
Prior to their move to Bradenton from Venice, they belonged to UUCOV. Previous to Venice, they attended UU in Gainesville and had attended UU in Painesville, Ohio prior to moving to Florida. Carol is Jewish. As a child, her family belonged to Temple Israel in Akron, Ohio. As an adult, she belonged to Tiferith Israel congregation in Ashtabula, Ohio. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, Carol’s parents were very involved in the social justice issues and participated at the Unitarian Church in Kent, Ohio. Since Jim was formerly Methodist, Carol and Jim have found Unitarianism to be a great middle ground. They’re both drawn to social issues, too. Carol studied music at Kent State University. She sings with Bay Chorale and previously sang with the Central Florida Master Choir. She’s also a violist and plays with Sarasota Pops and Bradenton Symphony. Formerly a teacher, tutor and social worker, Carol is now a Realtor with Real Estate Mart.
Music: Choir

December 17
“On Whose Shoulders Do We Stand?”

Bonnie Norton, member of Venice UU, will be our speaker. Unitarian Universalists often talk about our seventh principle– Respect for the interdependent web of all existence. Let’s reflect on how we are connected to the generations that preceded us as a denomination and as individuals.

Bonnie Norton is a native of Vermont, I spent most of my working career in northern New England. I am a CPA and for many years worked in higher education administration having served for a number of years at Dartmouth College where I was the Director of Financial Planning and Budget. Like many others, I abandoned the religious training of my childhood, but was fortunate to discover UU while in my late twenties. As with many others, I instantly felt I was home in terms of faith and spirituality. Over the years I have served the congregations I’ve attended in a variety of ways ranging from making coffee to serving as board president and twice heading search committees. In addition to my Masters in Accounting I hold a Masters in History and always return to my first academic love, recently focusing on learning about the history of Unitarian Universalism.

Music: Tasha Robinson, harp.  Barbara Jensen, piano

December 24
“Holiday Memories Through Stories and Song”

Several MUUF members will reminisce about their childhood memories of Christmas or Hanukkah. The choir will sing a piece from Messiah and Mendelssohn’s Christmas Gloria.
Music: Choir

December 31
“My Universalism

Andrew Hudson invites us to his talk on Universalism, the less-known of the two U’s. As a former MUUF member, Andrew was always more attracted to Universalism. Having now served a brief pastorate at a liberal Mennonite church, he is even more interested than before. Andrew will share from his story over the eight years since he left membership at this congregation, and along the way share his personal version of Universalism that serves him well in the Christian world (or at least the liberal part thereof.) Andrew’s invitation to the Manatee UU Fellowship will be to set aside the various dysfunctions of our culture and take whatever we find empowering from the tradition that many of us grew up with.
Music: Eleonora Lvov, piano