UUFC President’s Letter May 28, 2024

Dear Members and Friends,

When Bill Harlan had to leave town for family, I was glad to fill in for the May 26 Memorial Day service. I knew I could not approach the subject as a person with direct ties to our military community except through family and friends.  But since No Wrong Turns UUFC Cycling Club has been riding around Ft. Moore for years, Bill, Ron and I did something I’d wanted to do for a long time—tour and talk about the Memorial Walk alongside the National Infantry Museum.  It now includes the 2024 installation of the ¾ scale Vietnam War Memorial originally designed by Maya Lin. This one was commissioned in 2017 with funds from the State of Georgia and other donors. It’s made of Georgia granite.  Scores of other memorials have been either moved to or erected in this area.  Several featured our friend, Col Ralph Puckett.  A  Korean War Memorial, just approved last month, will include a life-size statue of Col Puckett, along with three others to represent the heroes of that long war.  I learned a lot about our military community and their families, but my focus for this talk was about the separate installations themselves and how they invite us to see how their designs bring emotion into the message and draw in the viewer.

After another month of excellent programs from our Program Chair, Bill Harlan, we look forward to the upcoming Sunday services and hope you will all attend.  On June 2, Amanda Jones will present “A Historian’s Account of Colonization of East Alabama”; June 9, well-known entertainer Debbie Anderson will present the TAP children’s theater summer program that focuses on religious diversity and spiritual growth through art; on June 16, Author Melissa Pritchard will discuss her novel about Florence Nightingale, whose grandparents were Unitarians; June 23, Meteorologist Kurt Schmitz on “Solving for Zero.” It’s a message of hope in a proposed plan for combating climate change.  This continues to drive social action in UUA and especially at the coming General Assembly.  Our UUA Article II wording may change, but our focus on “the interconnected web of all existence of which we are a part” will not.  

Speaking of UUA, we will have a called Business Meeting immediately after the service on June 9 to vote on Article II changes.  I will attempt to be our delegate to the June 22-24 General Assembly. If anyone else is interested, we’ll make plans for a Watch Party. I’ll ask Brenda to put a copy on the Bulletin Board so that you can see the General Sessions. I hope we will be registered to attend these business meetings (still working on that registration and the ability to have one delegate registered to vote).

We are delighted to see our Fellowship growing with new members who come and find what they are looking for in our religious community. Some do not, and some come infrequently as careers and family demand their attention. We always follow up with visitors and let them know we hope to have them back. Our average Sunday attendance for April was 39 adults and 4-7 children. Our membership now numbers 71, even after purging the membership of those who left our area or who no longer want to receive our emails.  We have many friends, 65 as of this month, and new visitors almost every Sunday.  Part of the reason for this has to do with your Board’s concentrated effort to rebuild a worthy, post-Covid Children’s Program, to design and initiate a brand new Youth and Young Adult (YAYA) program, and to restart our Adult Religious Education group.  These programs in small fellowships and churches usually run for nine months, excluding summer. UUA support materials are designed for this schedule.  We are now searching for a Children’s RE Teacher in order to grow our children’s program.  Bill Harlan designed a flyer for this position.

In addition to all this, we always work to make our building and grounds safe and comfortable.  Imagine our Sunday service without air conditioning next month. Whatley HVAC found a lead during a recent inspection. So Ron met with various repair men for quotes regarding the leak in our north HVAC outdoor unit and then to assist in the repairs and make sure everything functions as it should.  Hal, Orm and Lisa help as well, so our grounds have been checked for poison and for stinging insects.  Let us know if anything needs to be addressed, and please let us know if you would like to join in as volunteers in any capacity.

So, as you plan your summer with beaches and mountains and walks along the river with downtown concerts and festivals, please join our Sunday celebrations of liberal religion in Columbus.  Every Sunday we gather for coffee, conversation, singing, sharing, listening to a thoughtful timely message that supports our values and beliefs, and walking away with opportunities to meet again for discussion, meditation, exercise and community.  You are always welcome and we hope you find your path along with ours.

With kind regards,

Connie Ussery, President

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Columbus GA