Dear Ones of First UU,
It is with a heavy heart that we write to tell you of the death of Rev. Dr. Carolyn Owen-Towle, beloved minister emerita of this congregation. Carolyn experienced an inoperable aortic tear late last week and her status declined rapidly. Tom gathered the family and brought Carolyn home with hospice for her final days. She died on Monday evening, surrounded by love. Tom is doing as well as can be expected and he expresses his appreciation for our love and prayers, welcomes our emails and cards, but asks that we hold off on calls or visits for the time being.
A Special Message from Rev. Justine Sullivan, Developmental Lead Minister
I have spent the last few days, as I imagine many of you have, reading about and watching news accounts of the horrific violence that is occurring in Israel and the surrounding areas. Many of us have loved ones with direct ties to the affected area. All of us are heartbroken by the terrible loss of life and the escalating bloodshed. In our congregations and across our movement, the conversations about the conflicts between Israel and her Palestinian neighbors have been difficult. As passionate people of faith, committed to justice, we must engage issues that are complicated, and which contain multiple stories and points of view. Doing so with compassion and respect is not always easy. I call for prayer for the all those caught in the crossfire, all those worried for the safety of those who have been kidnapped, all those mourning their dead. All are beloved, and we pray for their comfort and safety. We pray also for a way forward. On Wednesday, October 11, we will gather for a brief time of prayer, meditation, and song at 6:30 pm in Bard Hall. We will light a chalice, offer prayers for peace, and Marshall will lead us in song. I will offer a similar time for prayer from South Bay. On Friday, October 13, at South Bay at 6:30 pm, please join me in person or on Zoom using this link: https://bit.ly/Southbayprayervigil10-13-23. Beloveds, at moments like this I am especially grateful to be part of a faith movement that can as Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt calls us to do “center justice as we call for peace.” And I am ever grateful to serve our faith with you.
7:30 pm Saturday, March 11th 2023.
Experience barbershop standards and originals in English, Spanish and Portuguese! Formado en 2019, Los Bordershop es el primer cuarteto mexicano de barbershop, y uno de los únicos del mundo que canta en español. No pierdas la oportunidad de ver su debut en los EEUU. Formed in 2019, Los Bordershop is Mexico's premier barbershop quartet, and among the only quartets in the world to sing in Spanish. Don't miss your chance to see their U.S. debut. Also featuring very special musical guests: MotleyQ and So Noted! Share this free concert, download a flyer to send to friends.
Registration required. Get your free tickets.
Download a flyer for the whole week.
Melanie DeMore is a 3 time Grammy-nominated singer/composer, choral conductor, music director and vocal activist. She facilitates vocal and stick pounding workshops for professional choirs and community groups as well as directing numerous choral organizations. We are thrilled to welcome Melanie DeMore for a whole week of music and YOU are heartily invited to her Song as Worship Workshop, Community Sing Concert AND our Music of the Heart Sunday service - all FREE. Read on for the weeklong schedule.
The Membership Coordinator (25 hours per week) oversees our comprehensive membership program which promotes membership growth, new member assimilation, membership tracking, and volunteer identification across two campuses. The Membership Coordinator also serves as a resource for committees and ministry teams who are looking for volunteers. Please forward to anyone who you feel would be a good match. For the job summary including application instructions download the Job Description.
Chris Chambers started work as our new Social Justice Coordinator in January 2023. Their pronouns are the singular they, their, and theirs and they are 30 years old. Chris became an activist at 16 and has been involved in grassroots organizing ever since. They worked at a food justice project, called Food not Bombs, in Seattle before moving to this area. Chris moved to Tijuana in 2011 where they continued to work with Food not Bombs (or Comida No Bombas) with people who've been deported and/or are unhoused. They felt this corner of the world has special geopolitical significance, that would challenge their white privilege while allowing them to continue working in social justice. Chris worked with Angela Fujii, our previous Social Justice Coordinator, at Casa Arcoiris, in Tijuana. Most recently, they've worked with transgender asylum seekers, as a paralegal.
Great news! Youth and Young Adult programs are BACK! Youth aged 12-21 are strongly encouraged to email Lara Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org with days and times they are able and willing to connect with one another. Please include your interests and wishes for this space. Keep an eye out for monthly events such as a movie and game night that happened in January.
Young Adults aged 22-35 began gathering in early December. We meet regularly on Mondays from 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm. These meetings include space to discuss issues and topics of interest, time for playing games, enjoying food, and planning events. Lara looks forward to meeting each and every one of you. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions, comments, preferences, or concerns.
February 20, the youth and young adults are gathering to strengthen our writing and poetry skills, play some games and eat some yummy food together. Eva Garcia Mayers is leading us in the writing activities, which is fabulous, because Eva is fabulous.
The Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego, the fifth oldest church in the city, will celebrate the 150th anniversary of its founding with a year long series of celebrations. An opening festival for all ages will take place at the Front Street campus on Saturday, January 28, featuring dignitaries, food, face painting, stilt walkers and music. Choral festivals, special worship services and a series of speakers on the cutting edge of religious thought are planned throughout the year.
January 28, Saturday, Hillcrest Patio, 1 pm - 5 pm.
Please join us as we kickoff our 150th Celebration with a fun, multigenerational festival (art show, food, face painting, magic and circus arts) that is sure to please! We will have a short program in the Meeting House with visiting dignitaries and special music starting at 1:30 pm. For more information, please contact Tony Bianca.
We expect a large turnout, so please be sure to register for your FREE tickets.
We have two 20 hours per week job openings. Take a look and feel free to send to a friend who might be interested. Job Posting for South Bay Coordinator | Job Posting for Social Justice Coordinator
74 events and services have been created and the auction commences today and bidding will continue through June 30, 2022. Help for bidding will be available on the patio after worship services every Sunday through June - come and see Robie Evans or Dan Paul at the tech table after service!
If you remember your bidding number from 2019, it's the same one! And, if you've been a bidder in the past, you may have already received an email from us with a direct link to the auction website. Be sure to make sure you're registered!
IMPORTANT: Download our How To Guide for ease in registering and bidding online.
We appreciate your participation in this important fundraiser and church community-building project. If you have any questions, please email Dave Hunt or Robie Evans. Thank you and good luck in bidding on your favorite events! Register and view the catalog at our Auction website.
The Reopening Team would like to share some changes we're making. But before getting to the practical changes in our COVID policies and procedures, we’d like to take a moment to share a little of what we learned from our recent survey and frame the work that we’re doing in the context of our UU Principles and Values. We’re overjoyed to report that 292 people responded to our survey and that the responders accurately represented the demographic makeup of our congregation and both of our campuses. It is fair to say that this is the largest response and most accurate representation of any survey at First UU in recent times. Thanks to church member Dr. Rebecca Fielding-Miller for the masterful work done in creating it and analyzing the data! Please watch the Window for an upcoming forum to discuss survey results. Read on for a few key takeaways.
By Tony Bianca, Program Director
As we enter April, I'm mindful of the many spring holidays that celebrate new life and new beginnings. I'm also reflecting on our April theme, "Stories of Who We Are,'" and wondering what the next chapter of our story is going to be like. We'r e in a time of the year when we, your Program Staff, would normally be wrapping things up and looking toward the slower,
low-key days of summer - those months when there's less going on and more people away on vacation. But, this year, who knows? Things have been shut down for so long, it feels somehow wrong to start winding down just as we?re gearing up. So, at the risk of interfering with your summer plans, I'd like to ask you to consider committing some time to help with our Lifespan Programs. Here are some areas where we could use your help:
By Nancy Fisk, First Words Editor with Robie Evans, Director of Operations
Our system of governing policies at First UU requires we have a Lead Minister at the helm, making decisions. In the past, the Lead Minister has had the support of the Associate or Assistant Minister, the Director of Operations, and a Lay Leader. This group of people is known as the Executive Team. Rev. Dr. Arvid Straube started the team in 2010, when he was our Lead Minister, to assist him with personnel matters.
Though it's hard for me to believe, my six weeks as your Minister in Residence are already over, and this Sunday is my last one with you. It has been an honor to accompany you for this brief time, and to hear your stories, struggles, and aspirations for this beloved community. You have an interesting and challenging road ahead of you as you navigate what it means to be a religious community in the post-pandemic world. You also have ahead of you the many ways you'll find to heal past conflict and navigate disagreements, and the large decision about whether or not to move in the coming years. I hope you'll let yourselves be guided in all of what's ahead by your sense of mission, asking (in one way or another), Who are we called to be together? What difference do we want it to make, that First UU exists? You have terrific people in leadership - both as staff and as volunteers - and I have great confidence that along with them, your next Minister in Residence and then your new Lead Minister will help you gain clarity and map the path ahead. I'm grateful to have joined my life to yours for this little time, and will be eager to see how your next chapters unfold. With respect and affection, Rev. Kathleen McTigue
PROGRESS: The reopening Team met on Saturday March 5 to review together what we currently know about Covid in our area and the direction things are trending. Based on our discussion we are ready to recommend the following ...
PROGRESS: The reopening Team met on Saturday March 5 to review together what we currently know about Covid in our area and the direction things are trending. Based on our discussion we are ready to recommend the following:
We'll be back together again for in-person, outdoor worship services on the patio at our Hillcrest campus! Masked, reasonably distanced, and with a clear expectation that all who can do so will be fully vaccinated. This includes a booster.
Starting February 15, 2022, the Rev. Kathleen McTigue will begin her six-week time with us as our next Minister in Residence. You can read more about Rev. McTigue in this month’s First Words, on page 6. Our current Minister in Residence, Rev. Deanna Vandiver will be ending her time with us in this role but will continue to work with us, along with Rev. Dr. Denise Graves, in our restorative process, Unfolding Peace, throughout this calendar year.
Q. When can we all meet, in-person and outdoors?
Q. When can our choirs rehearse outdoors?
A. We're looking at the end of this month.
Risk levels in San Diego are still "Severe," but we believe a drop, even down to "High," could be enough for us to meet outdoors safely. The team will meet on February 12 to make decisions about in-person outdoor services for late Feb. and early March. Our best guess about when the Omicron wave will pass its peak is anywhere between now and March 1.
Down the road, a further risk-level drop to some fraction of "High" could be enough for us to okay meeting indoors, though we have no guess about that timeframe. We do know that waiting to reach "Medium" could be forever, so that's not our goal.
By Nancy Fisk
Marshall Voit began working in January for First UU as the new Music Director. So far, he’s very impressed with the professionalism of the staff and the welcome he’s received. When in-person singing is allowed, he’ll be directing the Chalice Choir and the Women’s Choir. Until then, he’s collaborating with the other music staff members on our worship services. A native of San Diego, Marshall went to high school in the Poway Unified School District. He credits them with a foundation in music education that has led to his career in choral direction, singing, and playing musical instruments. Raised in the Jewish tradition, his father is a Jewish music leader, and his mother is a rabbi.
Each of us has weathered the past months of congregational changes and challenges as best we could. Without a space or place to share our feelings and what’s weighing on our hearts, remaining in covenant, connectedness, and community has been difficult. As a first step to acknowledge what we’ve experienced, we are implementing a Listening Circle program to share our feelings. Learn more and sign up at our Listening Circles page.
The staff team has worked very hard to get us to the point where we can livestream the Sunday service as it happens at 9:30 am on Sunday morning. This will mean that there will be a few important changes to how the online service will happen, and we wanted to be sure everyone is aware of what will be different.
Help First UU become more of a “happening place” and promote more multi-generational, ethnic, racial, and class diversity at First UU, including greater offerings for events - among members, attendees and families. The Board has created a new board committee to administer the Outreach and Growth Fund (OGF) that was created as part of the generous Renewal and Growth Fund donation to the church in late 2021.
By Rhiannon Roselle, BoardTrustee
October is a month of many spooky things - pumpkin lattes, bats, ghosts, and goblins. It's also time for one thing that ISN'T scary . . . a return to the Annual Pledge Drive! First UU's yearly operations are made possible by member and friend financial commitments which make up 60% of our annual operating budget. It helps keep the programs, facilities, and music you love running. This year's Pledge Drive theme is Back to Basics: Building Our Community. With everyone longing for connection, the Annual Pledge Drive Team is planning something special. By the end of the month, every member will have received an invitation for a personal phone or zoom call or, if they're comfortable, an in-person visit. These personal calls and visits will be a chance to spend time with a fellow First UU congregant and are much more than simply making your financial pledge.
The First UU Church of San Diego blog is your resource for upcoming events and past event recaps. Leave us a comment to let us know what you think!