Category Archives: UUFoM News

Our Whole Lives (OWL) Facilitator Training

September 27-29

Elementary (K-1/4-6) with Christina Fairman and Hudson Nummerdor
Secondary (7-9/10-12) with Deborah Dean-Ware and Carolyn Meagher

Honest, accurate information about sexuality changes lives. It dismantles stereotypes and assumptions, builds self-acceptance and self-esteem, fosters healthy relationships, improves decision making, and has the potential to save lives. For these reasons and more, we are proud to offer Our Whole Lives (OWL) Facilitator Training. This is a comprehensive, lifespan sexuality education training for those who would like to teach this curriculum to children and youth.

Training will be offered for Elementary and Secondary Our Whole Lives Facilitation at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Midland & Creative 360 through a joint venture between the United Church of Christ, Midland, and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Midland.

Participants must attend all sessions of the program to be certified as OWL facilitators.

The training schedule for each age level is:

– Friday 9/27 1:00 – 8:00pm at UUFoM (dinner and snacks provided)
– Saturday 9/28 9:00am – 8:00pm at UUFoM (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and       snacks provided)
– Sunday 9/29 12:00 – 3:00pm at Creative 360 (lunch provided)

(worship opportunities available at both UCC and UUFoM on Sunday morning)

Cost: $250 per person. Registration fee includes training sessions and all meals and snacks as indicated.  Participants are responsible for the required materials, travel, and hotel accommodations. Inexpensive lodging options and home hospitality options available.

Please fill out registration form and complete payment to guarantee a spot at the training by September 6. Register online at

A special note to members of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Midland who are interested in supporting this training (even if you are not able to attend training yourself):

You too can help support this ministry and the upcoming local training in September!!

* Offer in-home hospitality for out-of-town participants. If you are willing to open space in your home to provide an accessible place to stay contact Participants choosing in-home stay over the cost of a hotel will make a donation of $50 to support OWL programming.

* Donate food, beverage, and snack items to help feed participants while they train.  Sign up for needed items at

Thank you so much for your continued support of this life-changing program!!!

Jenn Ringgold, Director of Educational Ministries, UCC

Heather Cleland-Host, Director of Religious Education, UUFoM

Summer’s End BBQ

August 25, 2019 at 12:00pm

Join us for a BBQ, roasting marshmallows, water fun and activities for all ages!  Bring a lounge chair and your families!  We will have hot dogs, s’mores, drinks and chips.  Feel free to bring your favorite summer food to share, or other items to grill.  If you are a kid or an adult, volunteer or staff, a member or friend, you are welcome to join the fun! 

This event is hosted by the Lifespan Religious Education Team.  We will also have enrollment forms and other materials about the coming year at this celebration of summer.

**Please note:  This is the same day as some team meetings.  If you are attending any of these meetings, be sure to grab a bite of food on your way and come have fun afterwards.  Also, if you are a team member AND parent, we got you covered!  Email the Director of Religious Education Heather Cleland-Host (, so we know to expect your kids.

Nominating Committee Seeks Suggestions

The Nominating Committee acts as its own entity on behalf of the congregation, with two members elected by the congregation to two-year terms, and the third member appointed by the Board to a one-year term.  The Nominating Committee is tasked with providing a slate of candidates for election at the annual congregational meeting, which will be held on October 27.
The following positions are up for election this year:

President Elect
Board Secretary
Member at Large
Nominating Committee member

For more information about what is involved in these positions, please see the Fellowship Bylaws on the Members section of the website:

Article VI. Board of Directors
Article X. Committees and Ministry Teams, Section 3. Congregational Committees,  Item A. Nominating Committee

If you are interested in being considered for one of these positions or would like to suggest someone else to be considered, please contact one or all members of the Nominating Committee:

Jacob Guettler
Donna King
Kathy Kinkema

From the Board President

Hello my people!

I’m sitting on our deck as I write this and see the garden is out in full force at the Cook-Sonoras home. We’re planting veggies and flowers, picking bouquets, clearing out old plants and shrubs that don’t work anymore and anticipating what’s to come next. It’s a lot of work but creating something beautiful in which we can take pride makes it worth it.

Not a bad analogy for UUFOM, right?

On Sunday, June 2, 2019, 60 members (including proxies) gathered to discuss two pieces of business: Amending the By-Laws in Section 1 Composition and Election brought by the Board of Directors and Adopting a Statement of Advocacy brought by the L.O.V.E. Team. Below are final By-Laws addition and Statement of Advocacy.

Additions to ARTICLE VI. BOARD OF DIRECTORS, Section1. Composition and Election

Two or more members of the same household may not serve on the Board of Directors at the same time. Two or more members of the same immediate family may not serve on the Board of Directors at the same time.

Term Limits: No member may serve more than two consecutive two-year terms on the Board. A two-year interval must elapse before a person is eligible to be elected again after serving on the Board. Appointment or election to fill a partial term will not count toward the maximum of two consecutive two-year terms.

Vacancies: A vacancy on the Board of Directors occurring between Annual Meetings of the Congregation will be filled by majority vote of the remaining Board members. A Board member so-appointed will serve until the end of the fiscal year. If a full year still remains at the time of the next Annual Meeting, the Nominating Committee will recommend a candidate to be elected by the Congregation to serve the remaining partial (one-year) term.

Statement of Advocacy
We, the members of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Midland, hereby endorse the following Congregational Statement of Advocacy:

We affirm the full inclusion and participation of people of all genders in our religious community and in society at large.

In witness to this Statement of Advocacy, a “Progress Pride” flag will be hung on a flagpole on the Fellowship grounds.

Thank you to everyone for your thoughtful participation in the Business Meeting.

Now it’s time for me to get back to summer. But before I bend my back to pick another weed or prune another bush, I’ll take a moment to listen to the wind rustling through the foliage and enjoy the fruits of our labor. May you have a moment to do the same.

In grateful service and with love,

Shannon Sonoras
Board President

2019-2020 Religious Education Program

Many Paths, One Community

Next year’s religious education program will be an exploration of the world religions and how Unitarian Universalism relates to the myriad of religions and philosophies that we draw upon. We will be focusing on five main world religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam), Humanism, and Earth-Based Traditions (Paganism, Native American traditions, etc).

Lower Elementary – More than one way to answer a question: The youngest children will focus on the different ways that religions of the world answer the questions of how to live our lives and behave toward one another.

Upper Elementary – Stories of what is sacred: Older children will explore the core stories told by different religions and the basic beliefs of each religion.

Teens and adults – Sharing a community that has different beliefs: Teens (and adults) will learn about each of these religions and reach out to religious communities to learn more about each other.

The curricula we will be drawing on will include:

  • Moral Tales (Tapestry of Faith)
  • Love will Guide Us (Tapestry of Faith)
  • Sacred Stories & Picture Book – World Religions
  • Crossing Paths (Middle school and up)
Some of the possible communities we will reach out to:
  • Temple Bethel (Jewish)
  • Islamic Center of Midland
  • Christian churches (teen choice)
  • Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture and Lifeways
* For Buddhism and Hinduism, we may have to reach outside of our area.

Stronger Together – Women & LGBTQ Justice

June 29, 10:30am – 4:15pm
Birmingham Unitarian Church

38651 Woodward, Bloomfield Hills, MI  

EXCITING SPEAKERS:  Rep. Christine Grieg, House Minority Leader; Emily Clancy, Organizer, Planned Parenthood of Michigan; Jay Kaplan, Staff Attorney, MI ACLU LGBT Project;  Dani Woods, Detroit Policy Department LGBT Liaison; Emme Zanotti, Stand with Trans Board Member, Judy Lewis, Training & Education Coordinator, SAGE.

10:30am Registration
11:00am Brunch
12:00pm Program 

PANEL: Threats & opportunities for women & LGBTQ people
WORKSHOPS: Policy updates affecting women & LGBTQ people
WORKSHOPS: How to be an ally for women & LGBTQ people

Registration: $30 (scholarships available); free child care

Click HERE to register via Eventbrite (use credit card or PayPal)
Click HERE to register via MUUSJN website (use check or Paypal)

This conference is being planned and supported by over 15 women’s and LGBTQ empowering organizations including: the Birmingham Unitarian Church; Planned Parenthood of Michigan; the American Association of University Women; United Church of Christ – Michigan Conference; Fem’s 
for Dems/Fems for Change; Equality Michigan; Stand with Trans; Song and Spirit Institute for Peace; Inclusive Justice; SAGE Metro Detroit; Metropolitan Church of Detroit; UU Fellowship of Central Michigan; Gray Panthers of Metro Detroit; Northwest UU Church; and the Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network.           

MUUSJN’s Facebook page

Great Lakes Bay Pride Festival Volunteers Needed

The Fellowship will be present again this year at the Great Lakes Bay  Pride Festival and we are looking for volunteers to fill 2.5 hour shifts at our booth. The festival is on June 29, 12:00-5:00pm at Wenonah Park in Bay City, with set-up beginning at 10:00am.
We are looking for five volunteers per shift to help us out. Shifts are available from 12-2:30 pm and 2:30 – 5 pm, or you can stay for the whole event. Please sign up here for a shift
If you have any questions, please contact Jacob Guettler by email or 989-492-4414.

Ministerial Musings

Ever since I began serving the Fellowship as your interim minister in August, 2017, we’ve known that I was “pre-fired.”

In a sermon at the end of my first year with you, I announced that I had one foot out the door.  (Here I am, pointing to the door!)  I was laughing then!  Now, it’s almost time for me to go, and I’ll shed a tear (probably more than one) as I actually head out.

I have had a wonderful time with you.  The major goal of this time was to help you get ready for your new settled minister.  You are ready, and Eric Severson is ready to join you on August 1.

I’m heading to Pittsburgh, to serve the First Unitarian Church as interim minister for the next two years.

Because I want to be in Midland mid-July, I’ve revamped my schedule for these next few weeks.   I’ll be here until I leave for General Assembly in Spokane on June 17, and I’ll return to Chicago on June 23 for some vacation time.  Then I’ll be back in Midland on July 15, based here until I head to Pittsburgh on July 31.  While I’m in Midland I’m available for conversations and meetings, and will be glad to talk with you.

I will hold you in my heart always,


Beyond Binary: A Conversation About Gender – Follow-Up

Thank you very much to everyone who attended the program “Beyond Binary: A Conversation About Gender” last Friday, May 17. We had somewhere between 30 and 40 people attend this successful event. We hope everyone was able to take away a better understanding of what it means to be Transgender and what the Transgender experience is like. Special thank you to Amy McDonald from Family & Children’s Services for leading the conversation and moderating our panel discussion, and to the three panelists for their willingness to be vulnerable by answering audience questions and talking about their experiences as members of the Transgender community. Finally, many thanks to Rev. Connie and Amy Rogers for their leadership in making this program possible, to Denise Reiling for providing supporting resources (see below), and to everyone who brought snacks for intermission. If you were unable to attend the program, please see the links below for resources used during the program as well as extra educational materials.

From The Living Our Values Everyday (L.O.V.E.) Team

Resources & Educational Materials
I’ve Lived as a Man and a Woman

How to Talk to Transgender People

National Park Service LGBTQ Heritage Study

Genderbread Person: A teaching tool for breaking the big concept of gender down into bite-sized, digestible pieces

National LGBT Health Education Center: Glossary of LGBT Terms for Health Care Teams

Unitarian Universalist Association’s “Transgender 101: Identity, Inclusion, and Resources”

Pronoun labels are provided underneath the name tags.  You place them inside your badge holder towards the bottom.  



UUFoM Adopts a Road

On April 13, a cool, sunny Saturday morning, 15 intrepid UUs put in almost three hours of trash-picking on our newly adopted section of Eastman Road, including all of the Midland City Forest frontage, from Monroe Road to the North Entrance of the Fairgrounds. We picked up 32 bags of trash, including lots of plastic bags, some of which we filled with trash because we ran out of the bags the city provided–it was a mess! Someday, soon I assume, we’ll get credit with a couple of signs on that stretch of road. As road adopters, we’re committed to this job twice a year, but, after our initial effort picking up years of accumulated litter, it will get easier. Our next outing will probably be in October, and we hope more of you can join us.

Jim Crissman, Living Our Values Team