Special Edition, Late December 2020

Worship this Sunday

Sunday, December 27, 2020, 10:30 a.m. on Zoom

Thoughts from a UU Long-hauler

The Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta is going through a difficult time of transition. As the current President of the Board of Trustees, Ben Friedell will offer the view of a long-time UUSO member and a lifelong Unitarian Universalist.

Ben is joined by Cathi Wiltsey as the Worship Associate, Michael and Dorothy Fry-Hunt performing the music, and Beth Small as the Zoom tech. Most worship services include a Time for All Ages, where all ages are welcome, though all services are family friendly. Worship will be followed by online social time.

The December weekly offering will be shared with Saturday's Bread.

Order of Service

Worship through Zoom:
Worship by Phone:  (929)205-6099
Meeting ID:  284 917 5144 

Christmas Eve Service

Thursday, December 24, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom
By Phone: (929)205-6099; Meeting ID: 896 3073 1100

All are welcome to the Christmas Eve Worship Service. This service will feature the traditional story of the birth of Jesus, modern interpretations of the story, and beloved Christmas carols. This will be a meditative service, closing with lighting candles while singing Silent Night in the gallery view. If you are inspired, you are welcome to dress up and come to your screen as any of the characters in the Christmas story. Candles may be picked up in the side entrance foyer of the church offices, located at 16 Ford Avenue. 
The Zoom link is hyperlinked above and is on the UUSO.ORG website.

Order of Service

UUSO Financial Fitness

At the annual budget review meeting held on October 18, 2020, there was much good discussion among the participants about ways to manage the church finances as we find our way through this year of a fiscal deficit, the effects of the pandemic, and long-term financial health. It was not the time to go deep into that topic, but the Board of Trustees and Finance Committee felt that a separate meeting devoted just to that issue would be beneficial for the congregation.  

We have scheduled this meeting for Sunday, January 10, 2021 after the service. Please plan to attend to learn about our financial status and hear congregants’ suggestions for going forward. This will be an informational and brainstorming session. All ideas are welcome.

Small groups of two or three people will be formed to research and study each idea. These groups will report back to the congregation at a second meeting on Sunday, January 31, 2021. The information these groups develop will be submitted to the Board of Trustees for review and action. Trustees will be participating in both meetings.

Notes from the Finance Committee

We are quickly coming to the end of 2020 and making a donation or pledge payment before December 31, 2020 could be both advantageous for tax purposes and very helpful for the church!
A win-win situation!

As of December 12, we had received 44% of the amount pledged, which was $166,515. Statements showing the amount of your pledge that you have paid will be mailed in mid-January.

The Year-End Appeal is moving along well, but we have not yet met the goal in several of the Funds. Please consider a generous donation to the fund of your choice.

Gifts and Gratitude

We can now say goodbye to a year of hardship and heartbreak. We can look forward to 2021—blessed with a vaccine and some government financial support for many in need. We can also count all those things we are grateful for—with our beloved UUSO as our anchor.

We are continuing an exciting and thought-provoking interim period. As we reconsider our vision and mission, we know that much of it will depend on our financial support. If you are able, please consider making a year-end gift, to one of the specified funds or to general support.

It is easy to make a donation to the year-end appeal, Share Our Plate or pledge payment online through this link.

Please consider setting up monthly pledge payments and/or Share Our Plate donations on the website. It is an easy process and can be changed or stopped if needed. Save the UUSO bank fees by having the payments come from your checking account instead of credit or debit card.

Thank you for all the ways you support our beloved community.
With hope for the New Year,
The Stewardship and Fundraising Committee

The Mali Education Project

The Mali Education Project is comprised of a team of fourteen congregational members who have been sponsoring children in a school outside of Bamako, Mali, since 2006. Three trips have been made to the school by various group members over the years to meet with the founder and director of the school, Mr. Youchaou Traore. He has made three trips to Oneonta. As sponsorship coordinator, I stay in frequent touch with Youchaou by email. He has become a very dear friend to many of us. Our membership is open to anyone, and if you are interested in joining us as a member or as a sponsor—or both!—please don't hesitate to contact us.

Youchaou reports that because of the pandemic, as well, as ongoing public teacher strikes, public schools are still finishing up the last school year. But luckily private schools, like Youchaou's, began their new school year in October. They are only a little behind the traditional schedule. The National Exams were given in November, and the results for the public schools were dismal. But Youchaou is happy to report that his ninth graders scored 97% with only one student not passing! That is certainly reason to celebrate!

Politically, things are still far from stable. Malians live in a constant state of uncertainty and insecurity. I can't even imagine the chaos in which they must live, which makes Youchaou's ongoing commitment to a quality education even more admirable and inspirational.

All of us at the Mali Education Project are so very grateful to learn that we are one of the suggested donations for the Year End Appeal. A huge thank you to those responsible for making this happen.

I thought you might like to hear right from our dear Youchaou as to what things our donations might help purchase. He says our donations will help with the following:
Renewal of tables for students. We need about 30 tables for this year. Each table cost at least $73
Purchase of games, educational materials, textbooks for students from Kindergarten to junior school; (no specific cost)
Purchase of 2 laptops for kindergarten and fundamental school; ($548 per unit)
Purchase of a video projector; ($458/unit)
purchase of a TV for the kindergarten; ($458)
purchase of some desktops for the computer room because they are all broke now. They were second hands given by the Australians in 2007. ($275/unit for second hands)

We would be enormously grateful, as, of course, would Youchaou, for any donation, large or small, that you can find in your hearts and pocketbooks to support!

All my best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season,
Shirley Ferguson, Sponsorship Coordinator, The Mali Education Project

Rev. Rachel on Leave

Rev. Rachel Baker will be on a combination holiday, study leave, and vacation December 25, 2020 through January 3, 2021. She will not be responding to email. If something important comes up you may reach out to Ben Friedell, Board President.

Coming Up at UUSO

Food for Thought

Sunday, January 24, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. on Zoom 

The UUSO Social Action Team will present a Food for Thought program. UUSO member Adrienne Martini will discuss her book: "SOMEBODY'S GOTTA DO IT: Why Cursing at the News Won't Save the Nation, But Your Name on a Local Ballot Can."

Every Week at UUSO

Sunday Worship

Sundays at 10:30 a.m. on Zoom:; or phone: (929)205-6099; meeting ID: 284 917 5144

Chat and Chew on Zoom

Wednesdays at 12:00 noon on Zoom with this link; or phone in with (929)205-6099; meeting ID: 886 8859 6804
Drop into the weekly Zoom gathering, “Chat and Chew.” Bring your lunch, if you like. There is no specific agenda, except fellowship and getting to know each other better during this time of physical distancing. Everyone is welcome, whether you have been here forever or it is your first visit.

Share Our Plate

Each month the congregation shares the Sunday morning offering with a local organization that manifests Unitarian Universalist principles in the greater community.

The weekly, Share Our Plate, offering in December will be shared with Saturday’s Bread, providing a free hot meal program since 1992. Saturday’s Bread exists to feed the hungry, but also to provide a setting in which people can meet across the differences which often divide us whatever those might be. Offerings may be given to the church in the following ways:
Give by Mail:  UUSO, 16 Ford Ave, Oneonta, NY 13820
Give Online:  UUSO website, donations page
Give by Text:  (833)937-0789, type FUNDS

Good to Know about UUSO

Sounding Board

The Sounding Board is one way to share ideas, ask questions, or raise concerns to the Board of Trustees. The Board reviews and responds to the Sounding Board issues each month. When you email the Sounding Board, your email will be forwarded to the Board member who is monitoring the Sounding Board for the month.


Give to UUSO

Give by Mail:  UUSO, 16 Ford Ave, Oneonta, NY 13820
Give Online:  UUSO website, donations page
Give by Text:  (833)937-0789, type FUNDS


Request events for the calendar and Zoom room

Worship Service Recordings

Past services are available on podcast. Visit

Submissions to the Newsletter

Send UUSO-related event invitations and brief relevant articles to NEWSLETTER@UUSO.ORG. The deadline is Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.; the newsletter will be sent out on Fridays. Edit your submissions for clarity and proofread. Do not use acronyms. Include full names and UUSO association, leadership role, or title. Assume that many who are reading your submission will not know what you are talking about; write accordingly.

Also, please note, we are entering a search for a new office administrator. In the meantime, the newsletter will be created by a member of the congregation. The schedule, explained here, for the newsletter may need to be changed to accommodate the schedule of the temporary newsletter compiler.

Questions? Email Rev. Rachel Baker
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