Category Archives: UU Fellowship

Samhain Silent Supper

Weds. Oct 30th 6:30 – 8:00 pm at UU Fellowship Hall

This ritual supper, from the Wiccan holiday of Samhain, honors dead ancestors with a potluck supper eaten in silence. This article in UUWorld describes some of the ritual’s roots. https://www.uuworld.org/articles/halloweens-ritual-roots

For our potluck, you are invited to bring some ‘soul food’ that may come from a family recipe or that reminds you of your ancestors. You are also invited to bring a token or photo of loved ones who have died. 
Join the event on Facebook!

UUA Common Read

Common Read 2019-20

A Common Read invites participants to read and discuss the same book in a given period of time, building community in our congregations and our movement by giving diverse people a shared experience, shared language, and a basis for deep, meaningful conversations.

Each year, the Unitarian Universalist Common Read is chosen by a committee including both headquarters and field staff of the UUA. Anyone may nominate a book. Read the criteria for Common Read selection. Nominate a book for 2020-21 using our online form.

The Common Read Selection Committee is pleased to announce that An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (Beacon Press, 2015) and An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People adapted by Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese (Beacon Press, 2019) are the new Common Read. 

covers of Indigenous Peoples' History of the US and young people's version

In 2015, Beacon Press published an extraordinary book by Indigenous scholar and activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz that challenged readers to learn US history through a narrative that centers the story, the experiences, and the perspectives of Indigenous peoples. In 2019, Beacon Press published an adaptation for young people by Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese. Upending myths and misinformation that have been promulgated by leaders and media, it asks readers to reconsider the origin story of the United States taught to every US school child.

In 2020, our nation will approach the 400th anniversary of the much-mythologized encounter at Plymouth between colonists and those native to the land, and our own General Assembly 2020, in Providence, RI, will speak to the truths that contradict the mythology. At the same time, movements in response to global and local environmental emergencies, many involving UUs, are increasingly recognizing the connection between indigenous rights and climate justice. This Common Read invites UU congregations, communities, and individuals to learn the story of trauma and resilience that is the Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States.

If you are not familiar at all with this history, we suggest that you read the version for young people. The discussion guide, available in mid-October, will work for readers of either version. Note: the original version is available as an audio book.

For more information see: https://www.uua.org/books/read?utm_source=Members&utm_campaign=1d7a4f827a-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_09_06_02_38_COPY_13&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_4fe96110f7-1d7a4f827a-224627873

Small Numbers, Infinite Possibilities (Leadership training)

This is a national training just for small congregations created by the small congregation specialists from all over the UUA.  There are four webinars and one in person meeting. 

A Year of Learning and Connection for Smaller Congregations
Brought to you by your Regional UUA Congregational Life Staff

We know that small congregations are sharing the Love and Grace of Unitarian Universalism with their people and their communities every day. We also know that small churches can be faced with big challenges. Together we can help small congregations reach toward their greatest potential.

Our congregation may participate in:

  • Four Webinars! 
    • Smalls Making a Big Difference Oct. 16 
    • Right Sizing Your Congregation’s Operations Nov. 13
    • Stewardship and Sustainability for the Long Haul Jan. 15  
    • Being Beloved Community Feb. 12
  • Pi Day In-Person Event Near(ish) You! March 14, 2020
    • Why Pi Day? Small number, infinite possibility!
    • Facilitated by our regional staff with a video welcome from UUA president Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray
    • Meet other smaller congregation leaders
    • Meaningful conversations
    • Share support, ideas, and resources
    • Explore opportunities for collaboration and ongoing shared learning
    • Of course, there will be PIE!

For more information see: https://www.uua.org/pacific-western/blog/small-numbers-infinite-possibilities?utm_source=Members&utm_campaign=1d7a4f827a-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_09_06_02_38_COPY_13&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_4fe96110f7-1d7a4f827a-224627873

Recruiting Lay Speakers

First Sunday of the Month–we are recruiting lay speakers!

The theme for lay speakers this year is: What sources of knowledge led to growth and transformation for you? Book, movie, story, source of knowledge, etc. (AKA: What is “scripture” to you?) How does this source inspire you, comfort you, or help you make meaning?

We invite lay speakers from our fellowship to speak on this topic this year. We have reserved the first Sunday of each month for these services.

Other questions you might consider:
What did the source mean to you when you first encountered it? What does it mean to you now?
What do you like about the source? Do you have any criticisms of the source? 
How does this source inform your spiritual practices/personal theology?

We invite you to share a portion of the source with us during the service.

Contact worshipuufkc@gmail.com to volunteer. The Worship Committee is available to help interested volunteers develop their talks.

UUFKC receives the Pickett Award for growth in small congregations!

Members Celebrate

June 4, 2019

Dear Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Klamath County,

We in the Pacific Western Region are delighted to announce that your congregation has been selected to receive the Unitarian Universalist Association 2019 O. Eugene Pickett Award.  This national award is given annually to a small congregation that has made an outstanding contribution to the growth of Unitarian Universalism.  The award comes with a certificate of merit as well as $600 to further your good ministry in the world.

Your congregation has embodied the phrase, “small but mighty”. You lost your building to fire about a decade ago, but did not let that be the end.  You have, like a phoenix, been born anew. In your small and conservative community, you have been showing inspirational growth in participation.  Simple programs, like family game night, have helped you become a welcoming home to many young LGBTQ families in your community.  Your use of social media and engagement with the local newspaper project a joyful image of your work.  You are a visible face of inclusive welcome and social justice in your small Southern Oregon town.  You are living our faith out loud.

Not only do you care for your community, you are well connected with the larger faith.  You make good use of UUA resources, from leadership trainings to educational resources.   You are active in SOUUP, the Southern Oregon UU Partnership, working with other small town UU congregations in your part of the state. And you are an honor congregation, reliable in contributing your fair share to the larger association.

Thank you for the good ministry you are doing.  It is an honor for us all to walk with you in this important work.

Blessing,
Rev. Sarah Schurr
Pacific Western Region – Unitarian Universalist Association

The Rev. O. Eugene Pickett was president of the UUA from 1979 to 1985. Ordained in 1952, he served as minister of congregations in Florida, Virginia, and Georgia, as well as the Church of the Larger Fellowship. He is minister emeritus of the UU Congregation of Atlanta and the CLF and now lives on Cape Cod with his wife, church musician Helen Pickett.

this I believe: chuck wells

On Sunday May 5, Chuck Wells gave us a presentation of: This I have Come to Believe. Following is the text of that discussion.

THIS I HAVE COME TO BELIEVE

May 5, 2019

I have struggled and searched during my 93 years to find the beginnings, growth and the Realization that constitutes the ‘essence’ of my spiritual being.

I have enjoyed the wonder of the process in its anxious and disturbing encounters and confrontations with my fellow human and other beings, and of course with mortality.

So here are a few of my observations of ‘The Human Comedy.’

I see no evidence of Divine Creation in this universe as I understand it.

Miraculous, yes, but not ‘Devine.’

There is no evidence of Divinity guiding us in the manner that we, the more sentient

species, have conducted and rationalized our behavior toward one another.

How we have so much fear and hate expressed throughout our various cultural and

religious values, while deeply knowing that, at best, we have one life.

As does every other one of us on this earth.

So how can we in good human conscience exploit others and believe in a benevolent

source?

No matter the range of our religious orientations, we all have the blood of avarice and

conflicting cultural dichotomies on our hands.

On too frequent occasion we have done unto others as we fear they may do unto us. And history tells us that is so, for good evidentiary reason. It happens over and over.

This grim game has existed in every culture, in every faith and under every form of government to a dominant andcontrolling degree ever since we banded together.

The battle cries sound from “Onward Christian Soldiers” to every other cultural faith’s

own version of supplication for security.

Yet within this continuous conflict is the countervailing expression of love and grace

under fire and under suppression.

Nearly all of us have an innate sense of fairness.

And each have needs for the basics of existence, love and self-esteem, and self expression.

Unfortunately these universal human needs have been, and are, the currency of the dominating cultures and egocentric controllers.

I should acknowledge them and perhaps thank them for having demonstrated to me my innocence as to what we are capable of.

Some of these people I have known and still experience some as adversaries.

And so they have contributed to the formation of my calling, my nature and my spirituality.

Socially, what else is there to do other than to retain my dignity, self-worth and capacity to love and enjoy my fellows and our Heaven here on earth?

The dominant culture is unable or unwilling to recognize that by never having put a survival for humanity value on natural resources they have de facto condemned our nature to a slow uninhabability.

They are threatening life’s balance and future existence. Environmentally speaking our economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of nature.

Nature is still here, and so far supporting this blinded human rationalization.

So we wake up each day and confront the same problem. To paraphrase Sally,

Do we celebrate this primal experience of awesome wonder of living in nature or do we once again stand into the life and death fight to save and restore our earthly habitat? We generally are compelled to do both. And then have a Sundowner glass in celebration of the glory of it all.

Primary reverence expression here if time allows.

“A Work In Progress: Interview with Anya Kawka”

By Carol Imani

When I asked Anya Kawka if she would be my next subject for an interview she tried to persuade me to choose someone else. “Everyone knows who I am, so I think it would be better for you to talk to one of our newer members” she said.  I didn’t agree.  I thought that, although Anya is probably the highest profile person in our fellowship, few of us know much about her other than what we see her doing on Sunday mornings. But I tried to oblige her and scheduled an interview with a newer member. Before I could talk with that person, though, she went out of town for a week and the deadline for newsletter was approaching. So at that point Anya was willing to sit down for a talk with me under a large pink tree in full bloom in her yard and here’s what transpired.

Anya first came to Klamath Falls in 2015, “as the trailing spouse” from The Dalles, where she grew up, because her husband, Michal, had gotten a job running the TRIO program (for students with special needs) at OIT.  At that point, their son, Bogdan, so familiar to us all, was just seven months old, and Anya and Michal visited various congregations to see which might be a good fit.  She had grown up as a Catholic, and although “that was a meaningful upbringing” she’d also had a crisis of faith in high school when she realized that she could not believe in Jesus as the son of God.  “When we went to the Unitarians we met Chuck and Sally and the second week Sally asked me to be the treasurer.  ‘But I hate numbers, I hate math’ I said and Sally’s response was ‘Well, someone’s got to do it’ and after two years of that Chuck asked me if I’d be the president of the fellowship. I really struggled with that, because I felt that I still wasn’t even sure what UU is all about. But Chuck said ‘Oh, that’s okay.  We just need someone to deal with the administrivia.’  So, in 2017 Anya, who previous experience overseeing things was as the Programming Coordinator for the Parks and Recreation District in the Dalles, became the President of the Fellowship, or more accurately called the Chair of the Board.

What enabled Anya to feel comfortable in her new role was attending a UU Regional Assembly in Eugene, especially a workshop about the meaning of “Beloved Community”  in which the facilitator “had us share our various beliefs about religion, which turned out to be quite different and we learned that being in a ‘beloved community’ means not hiding our differences, but embracing them in an atmosphere of acceptance.”

More confidence building came from Reverend Sara Schurr, a Unitarian minister based in Portland, who acts as a consultant to regional UU fellowships of under 75 people, and one of the ways in which she was helpful was in offering Board Development days.  Among the things Anya absorbed were

  1. You can’t please everybody
  2. Don’t pander to the hecklers
  3. In making decisions for the fellowship the first priority should always be “Does this serve our mission”

After being intensely involved in all aspects of the fellowship since then, Anya is now cutting back on her involvement a bit.  Though she won’t be on the board any longer she will still be chairing the RE (Religious Explorations) Committee and still sitting in on board meetings for a while.  She has witnessed a number of key changes in the fellowship over the last few years, and says they were prompted, in large part by how “We’re no longer a congregation in a cupboard, but are now renting the space for our exclusive use.”  That has led to, among other things, more programming, including Art Nights, Family Game Nights, and New Member Orientation.  And that, in turn, has made the process of becoming a member much more clear than in the past.   Another change has been participation in the process of becoming a “Welcoming Congregation for LGBTQ people” which has included putting a “non-discrimination clause” in our bylaws.  And all of these changes “have helped us gain new members.”  In addition, she says that now “I’ll get to focus on things I particularly enjoy such as overseeing the social media page, as well as outreach, marketing.”

Anya runs a small daycare business from her home during the week, and was motivated to start that when she discovered that “Klamath Falls has a huge shortage of childcare options.  I just wanted a place where the TV would not be on all day, and the food would be healthy and that was impossible to find.”  But now that Bogdan will be starting kindergarten in the fall she’ll be phasing the business out since, although it’s been fun, it’s also been “exhausting.”  And she’s started doing an online masters in education from the University of Oregon.

I asked why she’s doing the degree, phrasing it in terms of that silly question “So what do you want to be when you grow up?” and she said that actually she might like to found an alternative school someday.  “I think that school is less about kids finding their own strengths than having to conform to one-size-fits-all norms, less about figuring out who you are, than capitulating to standardization.” 

She also told me that her undergraduate major, at Willamette University, had been theater.  But “not acting” she said, “more production: bossing people around, organizing them” and so that might also have a role in what the future holds.  Certainly those skills would come in handy in running a school.

In the meantime, she and Michal try to visit Michal’s family in Poland every other year. So that must add another dimension of experience to whatever comes next for her.  I didn’t get to hear about those trips, though, because Bogdan, who had gone into the house to use the bathroom, left the keys inside and locked everyone out.  So we said our goodbyes, and off they went to climb in a window.

Annual Meeting

Sunday, April 14th, following the service, approximately 12:00 pm. All members are invited to attend and vote on the future of their fellowship! We need a quorum of 30% of members to stay for the meeting. Agenda includes: 

  • eating pizza!
  • reviewing the budget!
  • voting for board members!
  • updating our bylaws to include a non-discrimination clause! Read the proposed update here.
  • celebrating a fabulous year together with a slide show and cake!

UU Interview: Eddie Sackinger

Cuddle Puddles, Cluster Cons and Embedded Systems

Eddy Sackinger says that he has a “vivid memory” of leading a meeting of YIC and YAC from a “cuddle puddle” and “I very much miss it.”

“Oh,” I said, feeling totally clueless, until he explained that a “cuddle puddle” was a bunch of kids lying on the floor with their heads on each other’s stomachs, YAC was the Youth Adult Council, YIC was the Youth Involvement Committee, and both were at the Unitarian Fellowship in Corvallis, where Eddy, as a teenager, truly became a Unitarian, and where he led these groups, maybe not always from a cuddle puddle. Listening to this, I was beginning to feel acrynymed-out, but in those days Eddy also belonged to YRUU, Youth Religious Unitarian Universalists, which enabled him to go on trips to places like state parks and participate in “Cluster Cons,” which I think he said were three-day overnights.

Who knew that interviewing Eddy would be so challenging. I knew that, as one of the oldsters at our Klamath Falls fellowship I was always happy to see Eddy, first of all for his warm and gracious self, but then too because, since he’s all of 24, having him around, and knowing that he has been a Unitarian for a long time, made me feel that nobody could accuse our fellowship of not having age diversity. “Yes, I am the token young adult” he said when I told him about those feelings, but “that’s begun to change over the last few months. Now we’ve got Courtney and Brittany.”

Eddy started out in Tualatin, a suburb of Portland, and moved to Corvallis at age eight when his dad, who is a mechanical engineer, got a job there. He didn’t arrive in Klamath Falls until 2013, to attend OIT and major in “embedded systems” something which, for me, also required an explanation. Embedded systems, I learned, are computers in other devices, such as cellphones, digital cameras, and cars, for instance. Eddy anticipates graduating from OIT in 2020 and wants to write software for companies which make the hardware for those devices.

His academic career, however, hasn’t been all smooth-going. He dropped out of OIT for a while in 2015, feeling that he just wasn’t prepared for the challenge of some of the courses he was required to take, in particular calculus. He got a job for a while with Klamath Technology Services and then, “wanting to explore the world” enrolled in an Americorps program called City Year, where he was placed at San Houston High School in San Antonio, Texas, as a tutor in a math class. Talking about that experience his face lights up and “It was wonderful” he says. There was a great deal of ethnic and racial diversity at the school and “For the first time in my life I was interacting with people truly different than me. I realized how much I valued diversity, and so that experience involved values clarification in many ways.” Also, he says, “The food in Texas is amazing, particularly breakfast tacos.”

Back in the Northwest Eddy spent a year in Portland, going to Portland Community College and working at Best Buy. Then a vacancy at the house which his parents own in Klamath Falls opened up and Eddy decided to tackle OIT again. Things went better than had the first time around, in part, says Eddy, because “In San Antonio I had to be a role model, advocating for others, and that taught me how to advocate for myself.” So, when things got rough again in math classes and other classes, Eddy was no longer afraid to ask questions and work out the issues.

“Also” he says “I came back because I was missing the fellowship here. It’s a welcoming community, a place where I feel morally grounded and personally valued, and you guys make me feel older than my age suggests that I am.”

“At the end of the day life is about people.”

–Carol Imani, February 26, 2019