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Changes and Opportunities – by Rev. Christina Leone-Tracy
December brings the opportunity for longtime traditions, and new ones to emerge. This month is filled with opportunities for celebration, contemplation, and generosity. We recognize that Christmas Eve here at the Fellowship has changed over time, and now our December 24 emphasis is on the traditional nativity story through our UU lens. We’ll use our manger again this year! I’ve tried to honor non-Christian traditions throughout worship this month, as well as having an earth-based Solstice service at 4:00 pm on December 23. My hope is to allow Solstice, with its powerful message of darkness and light, to stand alone and to allow Christmas Eve to do the same, respecting what they have in common, but also the ways they are different. And so, one of our longtime traditions will change this year. "Hearth and Fire" by Gordon Bok will have a prominent place in our Solstice service. It's a beautiful song of darkness, light, and community, which is exactly what we want to uplift at Solstice. We will also offer this as a prelude sing-along on Christmas Eve, but will not be singing it after the candle-lighting as we have done in the past. Our hope is to allow the beauty and power of Silent Night to be the highlight that night. We know that changes can sometimes be difficult, but we also hope that changes made thoughtfully will provide the opportunity for new traditions to emerge.
Speaking of opportunities, the Fellowship offers an opportunity to give through our Special Collection plate-passing, typically a couple times a month. We will have several Special Collections between December 16 and January 6 and we want you to know that these opportunities to give are just that—opportunities. Feel free to respond to these special collections, or not, however you feel able. These several services provide perfect opportunities to match worthy causes for special collection, but we know that there are many requests for generosity at this time of year. We hope that these requests will be received in the spirit they are offered: without guilt, shame, or burden. If you do plan to give to these special collections, be sure to bring cash or your checkbook. December 16: UU Church of the Larger Fellowship Prison Ministry, December 23: Greater Good, December 24: Shared Sanctuary Ministry Team, December 30: Unidos por un Futuro Mejor, our local Shared Sanctuary partner organization, and Annunciation House, based in El Paso, Texas, January 6: Ministerial Discretionary Fund. 
Upcoming Services
December 16 (9:00 and 10:45 am)
Good to Be Seen by Rev. Christina Leone-Tracy
Our nation incarcerates more people than any other country, when measured any number of ways. We have created a system that strips people of their worth and dignity in the name of perceived safety. We will explore the power of seeing and acknowledging those people that our society has thrown out, through prison ministries and penpal programs
There will be a special collection for the UU Church of the Larger Fellowship Prison Ministry.
December 23 (4:00 pm)
The Return of the Light by Rev. Christina Leone-Tracy
Join us for an afternoon service for all ages of darkness, light, and a story from neo-pagan lore to remind us of the power of nighttime and the hope for the returning sun. There will be a s
pecial collection for the Greater Good program.
December 24 (4:00, 7:00, and 9:00 pm) Heavenly Peace by Rev. Christina Leone-Tracy, Rev. Leah Hart-Landsberg, and Rev. Jim Coakley
Special collection for Shared Sanctuary Ministry Team
Christmas Eve: Calling all children and animals!
At the 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm Christmas Eve services, we will have interactive opportunities for all children to participate. One part will involve the children bringing forward their stuffed animal to warm the baby in the manger. If you have a stuffed animal that you want to bring, please bring it with you that evening! You will be able to take it home at the end. There will be extras available if you choose not to bring one, or in case you forget.

Our 9:00 pm service is a traditional adult service, without stuffed animals. We will, however, be celebrating Christian communion at that service in the spirit of our Transylvanian partner church. There will be regular and gluten-free bread options as well as grape juice for those who don't drink wine.
December 30 (9:00 and 10:45 am) Would You Harbor Me? 
by Fellowship members Heather Westley and Katie Reiser, director of congregational life, Marie Luna, and leader of the Winnebago Worship Group of Friends (Quaker), Marijke van Roojin. There will be a special collection for Unidos por un Futuro Mejor, our local Shared Sanctuary partner organization, and Annunciation House, based in El Paso, Texas
January 6 (9:00 and 10:45 am)
Turning of the Year by Rev. Leah Hart-Landsberg Special collection for the Ministerial Discretionary Fund
Upcoming Programs
Greater Good
Greater Good presentations are complete, and voting is this Sunday, December 16th! The children heard presentations from Pillars, the Fox Valley Literacy Council, and Leaven. If you have pledged to Greater Good, please send in your pledges by December 24th, if possible. The two organizations not chosen by the children will each receive $250 grants from the Fellowship, but if you are able to donate to those organizations separately, your money will be well spent.
The committee was extremely impressed by the quality of the applications this year, and the children's decision is a challenging one. Fox Valley Literacy Council plans to use the Greater Good money to provide enhanced instruction to its students by taking students on trips to places within the community to learn more about community resources and volunteer opportunities. They also hope to purchase learning technology for their students.
Pillars has recently formed out of three community organizations battling homelessness: Fox Valley Warming Shelter, The Housing Partnership of the Fox Cities, and Homeless Connections. Pillars hopes to increase case management services for the adults that utilize the adult shelter, in the hopes that these services would help more clients become self-sufficient.
Leaven's Listen to Learn program would create a mental health peer support outreach program at their resource center. The funds would allow them to provide training to volunteers in Intentional Peer Support, which is a counseling strategy that empowers clients and volunteers and connects members of the community.
As you can see, the children have three great programs to choose from. Although the children get to choose which organization receives Greater Good funds, the Greater Good committee encourages members of the congregation to give to all three of these very worthy projects, if you can.
Justice Connection Saturday, December 15th at 4:30 pm
Have you heard about the Essentials JAM and the opportunities they provide to Fellowship members and friends to live out our faith and the first principle promoting the inherent worth and dignity of every person? Please join us to learn the who, why, what, where, when and how about the Essentials JAM. As part of the program, we will also share information from Pillars, Inc. on the merger of Fox Valley Warming Shelter, Homeless Connections and the Housing Authority. Angie Demers writes,  “I joined the Essentials JAM because along with working at Habitat for Humanity, I also wanted to help out in other aspects in our community.” For more information, contact Angie Miller at

Oshkosh Group Solstice Service Wednesday, December 19
Join us at 5:30 pm for dinner followed by an all-ages winter solstice service led by Rev. Jim Coakley starting at 6:30 pm. We’ll contemplate the need to rest, like the trees do this time of year, as we celebrate and welcome the darkest night of the year.
Everyone is welcome, whether or not you live in Oshkosh—this is a great connection to make across Fellowship friends and families
To RSVP for dinner, please complete the form HERE.
The gathering will be, as usual, at B'Nai Israel Congregation (1121 Algoma Blvd, Oshkosh, WI 54901). We will have a catered dinner from Noodles and Co, starting at 5:30 in the social hall downstairs. There is no cost for dinner, but we ask that you RSVP so we know how much food to order, and any dietary restrictions. We will finish dinner at 6:15 and proceed to the upstairs sanctuary for our solstice service at 6:30 pm.
Movie Connection Saturday
December 29, 4:30 pm
Join us as we watch Wonder. From IMDb: "Based on the New York Times bestseller, this movie tells the incredibly inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman, a boy with facial differences who enters the fifth grade, attending a mainstream elementary school for the first time." Popcorn will be served. Bring a blanket and pillow and get comfy.
Wellspring Wednesday
January 9, 6:30-8:00 pm
Lunar Lessons: The Science and Mythology of the Moon with Heather Westley

This program is for the skeptic and mystic alike. We will demonstrate why we only see the light half of the moon, which then results in the moon phases. We will also talk about how agriculture, tides and menstruation are connected to the moon cycles. Then we will dive into the moon’s mysteries, its impact on culture, and our personal experiences.
Heather Westley discovered she was a pagan more than 20 years ago. After coming to the Fellowship in 2004 and discovering that Unitarian Universalism and Paganism had compatible theology, she began sharing earth centered spirituality with the community. She enjoys studying Druidry and Astrology and The Four Elements. She follows the sun and moon cycles through ritual and reflection.
Sign up for childcare by contacting Cyndi at or at the Sign Up Spot at the Fellowship.
The Fellowship Men's Group will be gathering again this winter for our Annual Retreat at Camp Helen Brachman, located west of Waupaca. The retreat is a chance to connect more deeply with other men while exploring our ideas and feelings on a chosen topic. There will also be time for reflection, cards and games, and hiking and cross-country skiing.This year the group discussions and activities will begin Friday evening, January 18, and finish at 1:00 pm on Sunday, January 20, 2019. Please save the dates if you are interested in attending. Further information will be forthcoming. If you are not on the Men's Group email list, please contact John Duffin at to be added to the retreat mailing list.
Noteworthy News
The Fellowship is seeking a part time Facilities Maintenance Technician to join our team.
Do you have basic knowledge of carpentry, painting, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and a general mechanical aptitude? Responsibilities include but not limited to; repair of electrical & plumbing fixtures, flooring, painting, preventative building maintenance, working with outside vendors, non-routine indoor and outdoor building cleaning and grounds maintenance, assisting with event set up, and other tasks as assigned. Please click HERE for a more detailed job description.
High school diploma or equivalent, along with 2-3 years building maintenance experience required. Related degree from a technical college preferred, but not required. Applicant must possess a valid driver’s license.
Position is approximately 10 hours per week. Schedule is flexible, with the ability to work occasional evenings and weekends.
To apply email your resume, cover letter and references to,, Attn: Phyllis Schmitt, Business Administrator, with Facilities Maintenance Technician in the subject line. Applications will be accepted through January 15, 2019, with an anticipated start date of early February, 2019. Members and friends of the Fellowship will be considered, but will not be given preference.
No Spiritual Connection Saturday in December – New format coming in January 2019
For the month of December, our Spiritual Connection Saturday program (previously scheduled for December 8 and 22) will take a pause, and re-start in January with a  different, more relaxed format. This program is new this year, so we’re trying different things to see what works best! Soup Saturday (1st Saturday) and Justice Saturday (3rd Saturday) will continue in December and into 2019. The 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month will start again in January with a pizza dinner, including gluten-free, and time for deep conversation about various topics of spiritual and ethical importance. There will still be chalice lighting and extinguishing, and time for joys and concerns, but the format will no longer include music or ancestor information. Come give it a try in January!
A year end note from our Business Administrator: If you have not yet made your monthly, quarterly, or annual contribution to the Fellowship, it is not too late to make a contribution for the 2018 tax year. The office will be closed for general business from December 25, 2018 through January 1, 2019. However, I will be in the office and available Wednesday December 26 - Friday, December 28 between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. to receive your contribution payments. All contributions received in the office by 2:00 p.m. on Friday, December 28, 2018, through the collection basket on Sunday December 30, 2018, or received in the mail postmarked December 31, 2018 will be credited to tax year 2018. Any contributions received after that time will be credited to tax year 2019. If you have any questions about your current 2018-2019 pledge, please contact me at the Fellowship office, 920.731.0849, or Thank you for your generous support! -Phyllis Schmitt
Accidents Happen!
We are looking for young child sized (ages two - three) pairs of pants to replenish our collection of spare “wear home” clothes. If you have pants to donate, please put them outside of Kim Hartman’s office door at any time. Thank you!
Save the Date: Birthday Party Bash
Saturday, February 2nd at 4:30 pm
Celebrating everyone’s birthday!
Community Office Hours
Join Rev. Christina for her bimonthly Community Office Hours at local coffee shops throughout the Fox Valley! This year Rev. Christina will have two each month, once on a Wednesday afternoon from 2-4:00 pm and once on a Thursday morning from 8-10:00 am. No RSVP needed, come for part of the time or stay the entire time! Topics of conversation will depend on who joins us; there is no agenda. Come enjoy coffee and conversation!
December 20; 8:00-10:00 am– Your Daily Grind, 204 Main St., Menasha
Ministry Minute
This Christmas, we remember a story of a family fleeing persecution and a child born when there was no room, no welcome for them anywhere, and a woman whose story of her conception was rarely believed. Our congregation posted these signs as a reminder of our historical UU connection to the nativity story, and as a proclamation of our this-worldly values. Rev. Christina shared this poem at the yard sign dedication by Erin Wathen:
Contact Us
Click the image for our mailing address and staff email addresses.
Click here for the current financial report.
Click here for the current Governing Board meeting agenda.
Thank you for reading The Weekly Scroll, and pardon any typos.
Rev. Leah Hart-Landsberg, Associate Minister (On sabbatical until 12/24)
Rev. Jim Coakley, Assistant Sabbatical Minister
Phyllis Schmitt, Business Administrator
Kim Hartman, Director of Religious Education
Marie Luna, Director of Congregational Life
Steve Sieck, Music Director
Eve Rosera, Religious Education Assistant
Cyndi Polakowski, Secretary
Quick Links
Joys and Concerns
As your faith community, we want to celebrate your joys with you and support you through times of concern.
To share a joy or concern with our ministers and/or at services, please email Rev. Jim at
To be added to the Joys and Concerns email list, contact Cyndi Polakowski at
Justice Connection Saturday - December 15. Click HERE for more information.

Weekly Calendar 

Saturday, December 15
6:30am Joyful Mind Zen Sangha
4:30pm Justice Connection Saturday
Sunday, December 16
9:00 &10:45am Worship Service
10:00am U-Youth Choir
10:45am Youth Breakfast Club
6:00pm Smiling Dandelion Sangha
Monday, December 17
9:00am Goddess Group
6:00pm Partner Churches
Tuesday, December 18
6:30pm Tuesday Night Meditation
7:00pm Men's Group
Wednesday, December 19
5:30pm Fellowship Choir
Thursday, December 20
6:30pm Spill it Sister
7:00pm UU Book Club
Book Club Books
First Thursday Book Club 
December: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
January: Daughters of the Dragon by William Andrews
UU Book Club   
December: My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem
January: The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben
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