All posts by WAltmeier

March Focus on Hunger and Homelessness

On an ongoing basis, we collect canned goods and other non-perishable items for the Midland Emergency Food Pantry Network.  Drop off your donations in the bin at our new UUFoM Donation Center located across from the office door.

In March, we are collecting small items for Shelterhouse at UUFOM.  Shelterhouse provides safe houses, shelter, advocates, counseling and more (all free of charge) to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Midland and Gladwin counties.  The Shelterhouse Resale Shop, located in the Kmart shopping center on Saginaw Road, accepts donations of gently used clothing, home goods, accessories, toys, books, etc.  They are always looking for volunteers to help in the shop with donation processing, sales floor, stock prep, and pricing.  See the Shelterhouse website for other volunteer opportunities including help with children’s activities, transportation, clerical, grounds keeping, maintenance and cleaning.

Jedi Academy & Youth Group

March 4 Kalama Sutta
March 18 Humanist Manifesto
April 1 Food Art Gallery

Jedi Academy and the Youth Group meet every other Sunday.  Jedi Academy is a religious education program run during the service, and the youth group meets after the service for lunch and fun from 12-1PM.  At the next meeting, on March 4, they will be having an Anime Film Festival (bring your favorite Anime) and planning for their Food Art Gallery.

Soup & Sources – March

Soup and Sources: What is truth? Science & Religion
March 16 at 5:30pm
Joint Activities
7PM Break-Outs: Children’s Movie & Source Discussion
Soup & Sources is a fun multi-generational program where we gather together for a social dinner and then learn together about the Sources.  We will be eating together and sharing some multi-generational activities together, followed by breakouts based on those who would prefer to play and those who would prefer to have a discussion of this month’s Source.
Soup and Pizza will be provided (If you like making soup, let me know.) We will have soup, pizza, and salad (please email if you have special food needs.) We will have activities as you arrive to help meet each other, during the meal (small groups to eat together,) and following the meal. The program is for all ages – kid and adult friendly!
THIS MONTH: We are exploring the Fifth Source.  The fifth source calls us to draw on Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit.  For this reason, this month’s theme is Truth.
What to bring: Yourselves! If you feel inspired, you can bring a sweet dessert to share, but this is intended as a free event.
Please RSVP to by Sunday March 11, so we can know how much soup or pizza to order.

What is happening in Religious Education at our Fellowship?

  • This past month, the Children’s Circle learned about all the varieties of ways different religions instruct us to love each other and care for each alone, the role of love in Judaism, Christianity, and more.
  • 25 Valentines were sent to patients in the hospital by students in the Children’s Circle and the Middle School Jedi program.  MidMichigan Health News includes mention.
  • Soup and Sources was held – celebrating love and what it is to be a good neighbor.
  • The Youth Group met and made plans for a Food Art Gallery to raise money for the Midland Animal Shelter through the Humane Society.
  • We have a middle-schooler participating in “Our Whole Lives” Sexuality Education at the United Church of Christ.
  • The Religious Education team has began to explore options for a sleepover, a puzzle room break-out event, a possible youth con and more.

Reason and Truth – A RE-flection

Awareness is like the sun.  When it shines on things, they are transformed. 
-Thich Nhat Hanh

Our Fourth Principle calls on us each to seek truth and meaning in our lives and in the world.  A central human desire is for our lives to be meaningful, impactful.  We want to matter.  This is intuitive.  It is not enough to simply find meaning though.  It is important for the meaning that we find in life to be true.  Religion provides many tools to help us find that truth.  Buddhism calms the mind and helps us achieve clarity of thought.  The Golden Rule of many traditions urges us toward choices that are good and harm none while loving ourselves and our neighbors.  This month we are exploring the Fifth Source – which encourages us to draw on another resource to help us find what is true and meaningful: the resource of Science and Reason.

As a physicist, the Fifth Source is one that is near and dear to my heart. In the past, before I joined Unitarian Universalism, I had a long-standing ambivalence about drawing on science for religious purposes. Part of my ambivalence was because I had been taught to rigidly separate Science and Religion.  Often, people I loved and cared about would argue that faith could not be informed by logic and reason, because then it would not be faith.  Faith was important to them; it was often vital to their endurance through harsh experiences, including losses. They believed the only way prevent science from affecting their faith was to never mix the two.

Over the years, I came to realize that this understanding limited both faith and science.  Specifically, it denied that science was of any value to a person of faith, and it limited faith to a particular belief in a doctrine, instead of embracing its potential to be a source of clarity.  This was an important realization because the other part of my ambivalence was because religion has sometimes been used in biased ways.  As a scientist, it is very important to me to avoid bias. This means keeping political scheming out of science, and it means keeping religious doctrine out as well. Religious doctrine requires an adherence to a particular doctrinal truth or a creed, which is an obstacle to objective research.  Scientists are always seeking both the results that confirm our theories, but also those that might disprove them.  A “failed” test can be as important, if not more so, than a test that simply confirms our expectations.  It is by being wrong that our understanding grows.  Unitarian Universalism has a powerful draw to me as a scientist, because it also does not bind us to a single doctrine (or religious bias). It also finds growth in being wrong and does not fear the unknown.  It, too, questions.

Children’s Circle – March 2018

March 4 “The Kalama Sutta” (Buddhist) This story is based on the Kalama Sutta: “Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

March 11 “The Wise Teacher’s Test” This story is from the Spirit Play CD.  It explores the question of what – rightfully or wrongfully – is the right path of wisdom.

March 18 “Origin of the Moon”  This is a lesson from the Spirit Play CD that explores the scientific origin of the moon.

March 25 “My name is Stardust” (Harris) – This story was written by a child with help from her parents. It explores the history of the universe and the amazing, wondrous fact of how we are connected to the very stars themselves.

UUFoM and You

Considering Membership?

How do people of diverse beliefs become part of one congregation?  “UUFOM and You,” led by Rev. Connie Grant, Linda Rector, Judy Donahue, and Sara Clavez, will be held on Saturday, April 28, 9AM – 12PM (note date change.)

If you think you may have found a spiritual home at UUFOM and are ready to consider becoming a member, or if you are already a member and want to know more, please come!   Register here or contact Rev. Connie Grant at

Food Art Gallery

April 1, 2018 – After the Service


The UUFoM Youth Group will host a Food Art Gallery after the service on April 1.  EVERYONE is invited to make an edible food sculpture for the Gallery.  The congregants will be able to buy tickets to vote for the pieces.  The piece of art which receives the most votes will win!  Sculptures will also be auctioned (silently) for congregational consumption.  There will be additional items for fun purchase and take home.  All funds raised will go to the Humane Society of Midland which runs the Midland Animal Shelter.

2018 Serendipity Auction Ideas

Serendipity Auction

Garden party Child care
Afternoon tea Pet-sitting
Brunch Computer assistance/support
Theme dinner Workout buddy
Movie & discussion Weight-training plan
Movie & singalong Snow shoveling
Game-playing evening Yard work
Beer-tasting or wine-tasting evening Fly-fishing class
Scientific conversation over dinner Fly-tying class
Travelogue and dinner Cooking/baking lesson
Vacation cottage Craft lesson
Tickets to an event Canning lesson
NCG movie basket Woodworking lesson
Gift basket/item from local merchant Nutrition class
Massage gift certificate Fitness class
Yoga certificate Farm produce
Perennials Baked goods that evening
Golf pass/green fees Baked goods during the year
Firewood Canned goods
Soup of the month Homemade meal