Category Archives: UU Fellowship

Together Again! Our 1st & Last In-Person Gathering of the 2020/21 Church Year

On Sunday, June 27th, after a 16-month endurance of ZOOM services, we met face-to-face at Wiard Park (with masks). As we did, butterflies flitted about; also song birds. (Enchanting!)

Out-going board chair, Franny Howes, held an abbreviated service (no candles or flammables, per ordinance), and extended thanks to our 2020-2021 volunteers.

She announced individuals’ names for all committees: Worship, Stewardship/Finance, Social Justice, Property Task Force, UUFKC Board, Garden Task Force. Marilynn Sutherland, who stepped down as treasurer due to health issues was “held in our hearts. Thank you for your efforts & wisdom. So deeply missed.”

Franny welcomed new board members Faith Leith, Jerry Brown, and Julia Jackman. Julia stepped up early as Treasurer, due to Marilynn’s health issues.

Franny shared one word to come out of the COVID-19 experience, RESILIENCE!! (And what a gift it is!) With the thermometer rising, Chuck Wells had the final word: “Last one standing gets to carry others to their vehicles.”

–Barbara Turk, Archivist

Summer Book Group: Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson

UUFKC Board Members Julia Jackman and Jerry Brown want to organize a book group for the summer to read and discuss the novel “Ministry for the Future” by acclaimed sci-fi author Kim Stanley Robinson. The book delves into a near-future scenario that is grappling with intense climate change pressures. It is a challenging and realistic look at world-wide socio-economic and political realities and offers up some provocative ideas for how we might change them. The discussion group might consider some of these ideas and poke at them a bit, and maybe consider how our UU community might be a change agent on this topic. If you are interested, contact Jerry or Julia by email.
Jerry: geodejerry@gmail.com
Julia: juliackjackman@gmail.com

Aspirations by Alison: Empowering Connection with Soup for SOUUP

Join the SOUUP Luncheon via Zoom on April 25th after Sunday Service

It has been such a joy to worship together, share together, and learn together among the three congregations of SOUUP. This month, Rogue Valley UU Fellowship in Ashland lives into their mission statement’s call to “Empower Connection” as they bring one of their fellowship traditions online, and open it up to this beloved SOUUP community. 

RVUUF has a tradition of a quarterly Soup Luncheon. Soup and bread makers would bring their creations to church on Sunday morning, and after the service, Coffee Hour would be replaced by a bread and soup lunch. Each table would have some conversation-starting questions to help the fellowship flow as the soup was eaten. It has been more than a year now since RVUUF has been able to engage in this tradition, and it is missed. So, RVUUFian Krynn Lukacks and I have reimagined the Soup Luncheon for Zoom and for fellowship with our UU siblings in Southern Oregon. 

Find RVUUFian’s favorite bread and soup recipes HERE (this links to a downloadable PDF recipe book).  We encourage folks to choose a recipe or two and try them out at home in preparation for our SOUUP Lunch on April 25th right after Sunday Service. On the 25th, we’ll join the SOUUP Luncheon Zoom by clicking HERE. Bring your bread and soup, we’ll have some time to slurp soup together with mics on mute while we hear a song or story. Then we’ll head into breakout rooms and share our soup and bread-making experiences, or dig a little deeper with some of the conversation prompts provided. Sharing food together has always been an important part of congregational life, and we want to be able to continue that experience even though we’re not ready yet to gather and eat in person.

Many of us share the goal of seeing SOUUP connections strengthened as a result of my internship, with our congregations working together to see our UU principles manifest in our Southern Oregon communities. One important way of strengthening those connections is by building relationships, coming together not with the goal of accomplishing work or learning something, but simply to get to know each other, to establish the friendships that will lay the foundation for coordinating our work, learning, and worship in the years to come. I hope you’ll join us on the 25th for some essential fun to empower the connections between us. 

–Alison Duren-Sutherland, SOUUP Intern Minister, intern.minister@rvuuf.org

Trans Day of Visibility Worship Draws Participants from Around the U.S. & the World

On Wednesday, March 31st, we gathered together for an interfaith worship service to celebrate the lives, work, dreams, and contributions of trans, non-binary and gender-nonconforming siblings in Klamath Falls and around the world. UU Fellowship of Klamath County & Klamath Falls Friends Church hosted Rachel Crandall, founder of TDOV, to share the origins of this holy day. Pastor Anthony of the Friends Church will led us in the ritual of Waiting Worship. In this sacred space, we honored the image of the Divine in which trans people are so beautifully made.

Our worship on Wednesday was a testament to trans joy, made all the more powerful by the fact that the US president recognized Trans Day of Visibility for the first time on that very day! Rachel shared with us her excitement that a project she had started because she couldn’t wait any longer for it to come into being grew so broadly. One participant in our worship service Zoomed in from Indonesia, and shared that they too had held an interfaith Trans Day of Visibility service, emphasizing the global impact of this sacred day and Rachel’s important work.

Thanks to all who attended and shared. Our hearts are filled with joy.

Community Care Drop-in Zoom on the 2nd Saturday & 4th Wednesday

Did you ever wish for a chance to share more deeply during Joys & Sorrows? The SOUUP Community Care Group might be just what you’re looking for.

When the SOUUP communities gathered with the UU Trauma Response Ministry last October to help us debrief the experience of living through last September’s wildfires, many of us expressed our desire to see some similar, ongoing space for sharing and holding our collective joys and sorrows in community. Growing out of that conversation, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and new UUGP member Jerry Allen and SOUUP Intern Minister Alison Duren-Sutherland are pleased to announce a new project open to members and friends of Rogue Valley UU Fellowship, UU Fellowship of Klamath County and UUs of Grants Pass

Alison & Jerry will facilitate a Zoom Drop-In Community Care Group twice each month, on the 2nd Saturday at 5pm and the 4th Wednesday at 3pm. Registration is required, which means you need to enter your name and email address to be emailed a link to the meetings. This helps us track interest and participation, communicate with participants by email, and also keep our Zoom room a safe place for open-hearted sharing. You are welcome to attend both Wednesday and Saturday meetings, so if you think you might like to come on both days, make sure to register for both session by clicking each of the two links below and following the prompts: 

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR 2nd SATURDAY 5pm SESSIONS.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR 4th WEDNESDAY 3pm SESSIONS.

Each time we meet, we’ll light a chalice, review and agree to our ground rules, get an opportunity to check in, sharing our joys and sorrows with the gathered community, and as time permits, we’ll share a practice you can take home with you to use in daily life to help withstand the impact of the ongoing traumas of these difficult times we are living through. Feel free to attend this group regularly or whenever you are able. 

One of the key ground rules is that we will create a safe space to share. All sharing will be confidential to the group present. Everyone will agree not to share other members’ words or stories with anyone outside the group. Kindness will prevail and no one is required to share. It’s all voluntary, and there is no cost for this gathering. We hope to see you there, to give and receive support from this beloved community of Southern Oregon UUs.

Aspirations by Alison: Beloved Community in Southern Oregon

Above: The first meeting of the Southern Oregon UU Partnership

One of the goals I held for my ministerial internship since it was only a glimmer in my eye is that we would find ways for all three of our Southern Oregon UU Partnership (SOUUP) congregations to share in worship together, worship not as in bowing down before anything, but from the Old English root weorthscipe, which means lifting up what is of worth, “worth-ship” as Franny, the board chair at UU Fellowship of Klamath County (UUFKC), referred to it in our December service together. I’ve been so grateful to the people of Rogue Valley UU Fellowship (RVUUF), who have already stepped out of their usual Sunday morning routine to join me for Zoom worship with UUFKC as well as UUGP. Today, I am excited to provide details of a plan for three weeks of shared worship between our SOUUP congregations in February 2021, focusing on the theme of beloved community.

Like UUFKC, UUGP offers a Zoom worship service at 10:30am each Sunday. On Sunday, 2/14, all three SOUUP congregations will join UUFKC’s Zoom, and RVUUF and UUGP will have the opportunity to experience Sunday morning with UUFKC. The following week, 2/21, UUGP will open their Zoom sanctuary to the people of RVUUF and UUFKC. Then, on 2/28, for something completely different, we’ll join RVUUF for their pre-recorded worship service (available to watch on YouTube at your convenience) followed by “Coffee Hour” fellowship time via Zoom at 11:30am, where we’ll be able to share together in small-group discussion and do the work of relationship building that is the foundation of beloved community.

So, for the last three weeks of February, two of your Sunday mornings will be a bit different from what you’re used to. On the 21st, you’ll still log on to Zoom at 10:30am, but the service will be managed by the folks at UUGP, using the readings and worship elements that are part of their liturgy. On the 28th, the whole flow of the morning will be different, as I’ve described above. I want to ask you to enter February with an open mind. In addition to building beloved community, my hope is that we will be able to learn from each other, to see what we appreciate most from the different worship styles our communities have, what we can bring back that will work in our individual congregations, or what we really appreciate about our own ways of doing things. I also hope that as we invest our time in small-group sharing with our SOUUP siblings across the region on the 28th, we’ll reinforce the connections that already exist between us.

One of the great joys I’ve found in my internship so far is making connections: connecting local organizers to folks doing similar work on a national scale; connecting individuals in one congregation to counterparts doing similar work in another SOUUP community; connecting Southern Oregon UUs with opportunities to learn, act or worship with our larger denomination and affiliated organizations. I see our coming together for these three Sunday mornings in February as one more piece of the work of “empowering connection,” as RVUUF says in their mission statement. I hope you will accept this invitation to experience new ways to worship and connect with our faith siblings in Southern Oregon next month.

For LGBTQ+ Community & Allies: Transgender Day of Remembrance Service, Nov 20, 7pm via Zoom

Klamath Falls Friends Church and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Klamath County are holding a Transgender Day of Remembrance Service (TDoR) on Friday, November 20th at 7pm. TDoR is an annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. We will light a chalice, singe together, Pastor Anthony of the Friends Church will preach, and we will honor our departed, so that their troubled spirits may become our beloved ancestors.

This event is for LGBTQ+ folks and Allies.

Nov 20, 2020 07:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Let’s start to heal from the trauma of wildfire: Zoom event 10/10 @ 10:30am

Please join members of the UU Trauma Ministry Team and other members and friends of the Southern Oregon UU Partnership (including UU Fellowship of Klamath County, UUs of Grants Pass and Rogue Valley UU Fellowship) on Saturday, October 10 @ 10:30 am via ZOOM for an opportunity to explore the ways in which the recent wildfires have been and are affecting each of us and how we can support each other and those around us during this important time. Whether or not you personally experienced trauma related to the wildfires, your supportive presence can help our community begin to heal.

You are invited to a Zoom meeting with the UU Trauma Response Ministry on Saturday, Oct 10, 2020 at 10:30 am Pacific

You must register in advance for this meeting!
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

The UU Trauma Response Ministry was established in 2002 and has for the past 18 years worked with congregations across the country who have faced a variety of difficult and tragic circumstances including wildfires in southern California, Hurricanes Charlie, Katrina and Maria; the shootings at Tennessee Valley UU Church as well as many other incidents of natural and human made disaster and trauma.  Those who have benefited in the past from the presence of UUTRM report that their work helped greatly, especially through the initial stages of their experiences.  Even those participants who didn’t personally feel as though they needed to talk found that their presence was helpful for others who did.  Please join us for this important conversation.

Question? Email Intern Minister Alison: intern.minister@rvuuf.org.

Aspirations by Alison: My first two weeks

September 16, 2020

As I begin my third week of ministry as an intern with the three congregations of the Southern Oregon UU Partnership, I can hardly believe so little time has passed. So much has happened, in our work together, and in the wider Southern Oregon community. I began my first day with the Starr King School for the Ministry chalice lighting words

With the kindling of this flame,
We reaffirm our commitment
To accept life’s gifts with grace and gratitude
And to use them to bless the world
In the spirit of Love.

Friends, we are already working together to bless the world. As the fires were still burning in Medford, Talent, Phoenix and Ashland, our UU siblings in Grants Pass offered space in their back parking lot to SO Equity, a community organization that has been instrumental in coordinating relief efforts, to collect donations for our Rogue Valley neighbors impacted by the fires. With all that is already underway in our Souther Oregon UU Partnership congregations, lifting up the things that matter on Sunday mornings and doing the work of our faith the other six days of the week, I can only imagine how much we will be able to accomplish together and with our Southern Oregon UU Partnership siblings over the next ten months. 

Already, we have an event planned for all members and friends of the SOUUP community to engage in the work together. Thanks to your worship team, who called my attention to her work, on November 7th, Monica YellowOwl of the Klamath Tribal Nation, will offer a free training for our three congregations from 11am to 1:30pm on Zoom to help us learn more about the experience of some of the indigenous peoples who are our neighbors. This training offers a concrete way for our community to answer the call of the 2020 General Assembly’s Action of Immediate Witness statement, which asks us to “Research, identify, and acknowledge the Indigenous peoples historically and/or currently connected with the land occupied by congregations, and find ways to act in solidarity with or even partner with those Indigenous peoples.”  I hope you’ll join me at this training to bring this call to action from our faith into being in our community. 

In closing, I want to thank you for welcoming me warmly into your community. It was a joy to share Water Ceremony together, especially as fires raged around us. I have placed the water we poured onto the home altar I tend as part of my Unitarian Universalist spiritual practice. There are so many ways to practice our faith, and I’m looking forward to learning how you practice and where you find inspiration as a Unitarian Universalist.

Our ceremonial waters of beloved community on Alison’s home altar.

I’m looking to get to know as many of you as possible, so I hope you’ll consider signing up via Calendly for a one on one meeting. Feel free to email me at intern.minister@rvuuf.org, and call or text me at 541.291.2718. My days off are Mondays, so unless there is a real emergency, I won’t likely get to messages between Sunday and Tuesday. 

This is the first post in an occasional blog I’m calling “Aspirations” because my official title is “Aspirant” to the Unitarian Universalist Ministry. I love being an Aspirant. Our aspirations — vision of what we hope will come to pass — move us to take action for the world we want to bring into being. What are YOUR wildest aspirations for how we might bless the world in the spirit of love? Let’s see how close we can get to making them come true. 

Merry Meet, Merry Part, Merry Meet Again! 

–Alison Cole Duren-Sutherland, Intern Minister

Our new intern minister

Board President Franny Howes writes: This summer, our UUFKC board was presented with a tremendous opportunity: to have a ministerial intern support us, together with the other Southern Oregon Unitarian Universalist Partnership congregations in Ashland and Grants Pass. In consultation with committee leadership and after a review of our finances, we voted in favor of this and we will be working with Alison Duren-Sutherland this coming year. We are incredibly excited about all that Alison brings to us, and we will all be getting to know her better throughout the coming months. And now, you can hear from her in her own words:

My name is Alison Cole Duren-Sutherland, Duren from my mother, Sutherland from my father, and Cole for the street in San Francisco we lived on when I was born. I am excited to have the opportunity to introduce myself today as the incoming Ministerial Intern for the church year running September 2020 – June 2021.

At the mid-point of my distance-learning Masters of Divinity with Starr King School for the Ministry, and a recognized Aspirant to the Unitarian Universalist Ministry, I am honored and humbled for the opportunity to serve the three UU communities of Southern Oregon (UUs of Grants Pass, UU Fellowship of Klamath County, and Rouge Valley UU Fellowship) as Intern Minister under the supervision of Rev. Sean Parker Dennison of RVUUF.

I look forward to creating worship experiences for each community, and some that we can all share together. I look forward to organizing with you, inspired by the Actions of Immediate Witness passed at our Unitarian Universalist General Assembly this past June and the call of our 5th principle to uphold the democratic process. I look forward to getting to know you as we share joys and sorrows, triumphs and defeats, as we do the work of being beloved community and Widening the Circle of Concern. And I am excited to share with you some of the Education to Counter Oppression that I am receiving at Starr King.

To learn more about my internship, CLICK HERE for the proposal, keeping in mind that this is a living document that provides a framework for my ministry, which will evolve to meet the needs of our community. Through this internship serving the three congregations of the Southern Oregon UU Partnership (SOUUP), I seek honor the memory of Gordon O’Hara of UUGP by serving his vision of a strong and interdependent Unitarian Universalist movement that is a force for good in Southern Oregon. The COVID-19 Pandemic has changed the ways that we can be together, and the Unitarian Universalist Association has provided excellent leadership and resources to help us keep our faith and each other alive by coming together online. In some ways, this gives us more opportunity to participate together in the work of our faith.

A bit about me: I grew up in Portland, Oregon in a liberal off-shoot of the Mormon church. In my early teens, a series of anti-gay measures sponsored by the Oregon Citizen’s Alliance appeared on ballots in statewide and local elections. The hateful message was couched in Christian rhetoric, and when I came out as bisexual, I no longer trusted my faith community to love me as they said they did. At the same time, I was learning about the Bible as an historical artifact, a collection of early common era writings curated by the most privileged men of the 11th century, translated again and again, and ultimately, in my family’s faith, explicitly revised to fit one man’s vision of God’s truth. During my years at Smith College, studying mathematics and anthropology, organized religion was largely absent from my life.

Working at a women’s reproductive health clinic in Seattle after college, I learned about the Unitarian Universalists through the Our Whole Lives curriculum. When I had a tiny person that I was responsible for teaching values, and determined to live into my queerness in a way that was visible to her despite my straight-passing marriage, I ended up in a UU church. Reading the principles and sources, hearing that service is our prayer, and reading #530 Out of the Stars in the gray hymnal, I thought, “Here is a place where the wholeness of myself and my belief is reflected and welcome!” I came home to a community that held the faith that was alive in my heart

I came to Southern Oregon to manage a birth center in 2011, and the roots I have put down here run most strongly through the Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship; I was at RVUUF the first Sunday after we moved. When they invited me into the pulpit, I felt all the talents I love most to use come together into joy, as I researched, wrote and shared the loving, liberal, queer, feminist, sex-positive, justice-seeking UU pagan faith that is alive in me. The call to ministry came in my heart and from my people.

I live in White City with my husband Jamie, and our two daughters, Ramona (12 years) and Frances (5), plus four chickens, two pear trees, and an ever-burgeoning thicket of plums. We love to visit the Oregon Coast, but are staying home these days to protect Jamie, who is at increased risk of COVID complications due to an underlying medical condition. Our garden has been an incredible source of solace for the family during these times of staying at home.

I look forward to sharing more with you, learning the stories you have to share with me, and being of service to and with the UU communities of Southern Oregon. Merry meet, merry part, merry meet again!

Get to Know Our Intern Minister

Alison asks, “Please schedule an online meeting so we can start to get to know each other. All meetings will be via Zoom, and a link will be provided once you schedule. I’m excited to learn the story of this fellowship and how you found your way here, the gifts you bring and your hopes for our future together. CLICK HERE to schedule a meeting. If you can’t find a meeting time on the calendar that works for you, email me at intern.minister@rvuuf.org and let’s make a plan to get together a different time.”