BUUF Announce


Your weekly newsletter of events and issues 
At and Around 
Berrien Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 

For every individual searching for spiritual meaning, 
Berrien Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
provides a welcoming and caring religious community 
dedicated to diversity of thought, social and 
environmental justice, 
and peace for all.


Joys and Sorrows


It was a joy to have Emma Kinnard, founder of the Fresh Start Children's Garden, at our service on Sunday.

Julie Williams reminded us that, if you want to feel good, call June Blackwell as she recovers from back pain. June's positivity is contagious!

Lisa Fuller shared that her golden retriever "Bear" has a heart condition and hip dysplasia. On Friday, a friend experienced in "healing touch" worked with Bear and it seems to have helped. 

Last Tuesday was Rev. Jim McConnell and Patty McConnell's 48th wedding anniversary. Congratulations to you both!

Happy birthday to the many BUUFers with birthdays in February, including Deej Leggitt, Dorothy Long, Dave Sarra, Suzi (Parron) Smith and Ben La Fleur. We love you all!

To share your joys and sorrows with the larger BUUF community send an email to Office@BerrienUU.org or contact Rev. Jim McConnell at Minister@BerrienUU.org or 574-229-6536.


Sunday Service

Sunday Service: "Building Intentional Multigenerational Community"

Sunday Service: "Building Intentional Multigenerational Community"

Sunday, February 16, 
10:30am - 11:30am

This Sunday we are honored and excited to host Michelle Richards as our guest speaker. Michelle Richards is a Unitarian Universalist Credentialed Religious Educator at the Master Level and is the author of Come Into the Circle: Worshiping with Children and Tending the Flame: The Art of Unitarian Universalist Parenting (Skinner House, 2010). Michelle also wrote and developed the Popcorn Theology curriculum series previously used by BUUF. Among many other accomplishments, Michelle has contributed regularly to the magazine UU World, has presented UU webinars and workshops, and is the director of the UU family summer camp Chalice Sparx, held annually in Southwest Michigan. This Sunday, Michelle will share her experience and expertise in “building intentional multigenerational community.” Gretchen Ohmann, who helps plan and direct the Chalice Sparx summer camp, will be our service leader.

Join us this Sunday as we continue to build our loving, multigenerational community.

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This Week at Berrien UU

Mindfulness Workshop: "R.A.I.N. Meditation Practice"

Mindfulness Workshop: "R.A.I.N. Meditation Practice"

Saturday, Feb. 15, 
10:00am - 11:00am

This month for our mindfulness workshop we will learn a practice that comes from Tara Brach. A distinctive voice in Western Buddhism, she offers a wise and caring approach to freeing ourselves and society from suffering. The meditative practice has the acronym, R.A.I.N. and can be completed in as little as a few moments or as long as needed. We will learn a bit about her practice & follow along with one of her introductory guided meditations. Learn the heart of compassion in the RAIN.

Any questions may be directed towards: dre@berrienuu.org

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Green Sanctuary Team Meeting

Green Sanctuary
Team Meeting

Saturday, Feb. 16, 
After Service

Our next Green Sanctuary team meeting is scheduled for February 16th following the service. Progress is being made toward certifying BUUF as a Green Sanctuary. If you are interested in helping with the certification process or supporting BUUF's sustainability initiatives like composting and the children's garden, please join the Green Sanctuary team.

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BUUF's Welcoming Congregation Status Renewed!

This week, Dave Sarra, Welcoming Congregation Chair, received the following notice from the UUA. Many thanks to our Welcoming Congregation team for all their hard work!

Congratulations! You have successfully completed the Five Practices of Welcome Renewal for 2019. Sincere congratulations on your ongoing commitment to LGBTQ+ welcome and inclusion in and beyond the great city of St. Joseph, MI.

It was a pleasure to read about all you have accomplished and the powerful work you have done to ensure that BUUF is meeting the needs of queer and trans congregants and the wider community in the following ways: 

I.      Becoming a Welcoming Congregation – 2006 

II.     Welcoming Worship (“Our Journey to Hope," 1/13/19, "Reaching the Summit," 10/20/19)

III.   Welcoming Days of Observance (International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, Biphobia; Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR); World AIDS Day; Stonewall Riots Anniversary; National Coming Out Day)

IV.   Welcoming Module ("Treasure: From Tragedy to Trans Justice Mapping a Detroit Story," 11/20/19) 

V.     Support a Welcoming Project (OutCenter Halloween Teen Party)

You have approval to use the new Welcoming Congregation logo on your website and other materials. Thanks again for your congregation’s life-giving, essential work!

With Appreciation,

Rev. Michael J. Crumpler  |  LGBTQ and Multicultural Programs Director  |  Ministries and Faith Development


BUUF Financial Update

The BUUF Board met last Sunday and reviewed the financial reports from the first 7 months of our church year (July 2019 through January 2020). BUUF President Harvey Johnson would like to share the following updates with our fellowship. 

BUUF's total income year-to-date is $26,651:

• Pledged Donations: $10,820

• In-Kind Donations: $3,199.

• Unpledged/Book/Gift Donations: $1,668

• Rummage Sale Income: $894

• Building Use Donations: $1,800

• Endowment Fund Income: $2,568

• Music Grant: $3,900

• Interest/Dividend Income: $61

Note: The BUUF budget is counting on pledges of $21,160 from July 2019 through June 2020.  After 7 months we would hope to be at $12,343 in pledges. However, we are currently at $10,820 in pledges (88% of the expected income for this time of year). If current trends continue, we expect our final pledge donations to be $2,611 behind anticipated pledge income. Pledge donations make up approximately 45% of our income.

Based on current income and expenses, we will need to balance our budget by omitting our annual contribution to the UUA and minimizing the use of special guest speakers. We also ceased our garbage disposal service earlier this year and laid off staff during the month of July.   

Primary expenses include:

• Almost $16,000 YTD for paid staff, including our Minister, RE Director, Office Admin, Music Directors and Child Care Workers

• Our Bookkeeping, RE Teacher, Building Maintenance, Janitorial, and Lawn Mowing services are all donated by generous members and friends, saving us thousands of dollars annually. They are shown as both an income and expense line item ($3,199).

• Other key expenses consist of wireless internet and telephone services: $893 YTD

• Electricity and gas utilities: $546 YTD

• Church insurance: $528 YTD

We are fortunate to own our building, but it does need to be maintained. Key priorities are repairing holes and cracks in the parking lot and driveway, replacing our aging heating and cooling system, and expanding our sanctuary space and furniture to accommodate our growing attendance. We also need to fund a portion of our music director salary beginning in July 2020, as the grant money decreases every year. BUUFers will receive a survey in the next few weeks, asking how you feel these needs should be prioritized and how you can contribute.

Feedback or questions on income and expenses are always welcome and should be directed to either our Treasurer, Dave Sarra, or our President, Harvey Johnson. Thank you again to the many BUUFers who contribute their time and treasure to our fellowship!


Upcoming Bat House Workshops

The Green Sanctuary team, led by BUUF Board Member Diane Gibbons, is planning to hold several workshops at BUUF on building bat houses. A sign-up sheet for those interested has been posted in the Fuller Fellowship Hall. The workshops are aimed for the older RE students, their parents, and anyone interested in assisting in building several bat houses to put on the property this spring. Dates and times will be set according to information we receive from the sign up sheets. Our goal is to have the houses up by the end of March or early April weather permitting.  

One of the primary benefits of bats is insect control. One bat can consume over a thousand insects in one night, including mosquitoes and moths. Other bats are important pollinators of seeds and fruit. They can also help with seed dispersal. Unfortunately, bats are at risk from a number of threats, including white-nose syndrome and forest clearing. Bat houses help replace natural habitat loss to maintain this essential species.  


BUUF Cookbook Contributions Welcome 

Work continues on the BUUF Cookbook Fundraiser. Project manager Lisa Quinlan is again extending an invitation for recipe contributions, especially from our newer members and friends. Lisa is also requesting more photos of finished dishes (try for some "artsy" images), as well as copy and quotes for the cookbook. "If you have written anything on food, eating, or things related to the fellowship of meals, please email this to Lisa at biggreenfrog40@yahoo.com." Thank you, Lisa, for all your hard work on this project!


Chalice Sparx Family Camp

July 10-13, 2019 

Registration for this summer’s Chalice Sparx Family Camp & Retreat for Unitarian Universalist families is now open. Join us July 10-13 in Cassopolis, Michigan for an amazing all ages experience at lovely Camp Friedenswald in southwestern Michigan -- only 90 miles from Chicago, 120 miles from Ann Arbor and 195 miles from Indianapolis.

At Chalice Sparx camp and retreat for families you will experience a truly multigenerational community. There are no camp counselors here to whisk away the children separate from their families. Here we learn together, worship together and explore together in a community of all ages – including elders who complete our multigenerational village. As an intentional UU covenanted community, we are especially welcoming to Trans children, youth and their families. Although we are a small growing camp, approximately half of the families who come to Chalice Sparx camp each year are families with a child, youth or adult who is trans or non-binary and families of color or families with a child of color/multiracial represent 1/3 of our families each year at Chalice Sparx.

We also have fun together. Swimming, hiking or riding a wagon through the trails, canoeing, archery, popcorn popped in a kettle over an open fire, and of course, S’mores and singing camp songs.

Check out the website of our non-profit organization run by Unitarian Universalist religious educators, ministers, and lay persons from all over the Midwest: www.chalicesparx.org. Like us on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/chalicesparx/ and join us in Michigan July 10-13, 2020!

Michelle Richards, CRE-ML
Credentialed Religious Educator at the Master Level
Executive Director Chalice Sparx UU Family Camp


Looking Ahead

Community Conversations: "Why don’t they just get in line?"

Community Conversations:
"Why don’t they just get in line?"

Wednesday, Feb. 26, 
7:00pm - 9:00pm

Have you ever wondered, or heard other people wonder, “Why do immigrants come to the U.S. illegally? Why don’t they just get in line & come to our country the right way?” Berrien Immigrant Solidarity Network (BISN) will help us understand just how difficult the immigration experience is with an IMMIGRATION SIMULATION, an interactive exercise that simulates the complications, challenges …

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UU AllComers Dinner and Discussion

UU AllComers Dinner and Discussion

Saturday, March 7, 6:00pm - 8:00pm 

All BUUF members and friends are invited to a special night of food and fellowship on Saturday, March 7th, from 6 to 8 PM. A light dinner will be provided, followed by an informational discussion about BUUF’s history and governance, religious education programs, small group activities, and path to membership. Newer visitors to BUUF are especially encouraged to attend. This is a great opportunity to to get to know other BUUFers in an informal setting, learn more about Unitarian Universalism, and ask questions. Children are invited, and child care will be provided. Please RSVP to office@berrienuu.org.

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