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July 2022 - Updates, insights, and connections from the Board, Search Committee, Program Council, and more!

In This Issue

Welcome to the Windmill Times!

There is so much going on at MVUC! This July edition of the Windmill Times is the first of two experimental new newsletters we will be launching this church year. Windmill Times will focus on news and updates from lay leaders and operational staff. Stay tuned for more! 

Please click on linked (underlined) text in the items below for more information or for contact email addresses. 

MVUC Online

MVUC Website MVUC Website
Friends of MVUC on FB Friends of MVUC on FB
MVUC on Youtube MVUC on Youtube
Rentals: Hollin Hall Events Rentals: Hollin Hall Events
Directory, Calendar, and Financials - on Realm Directory, Calendar, and Financials - on Realm
Pledge and Donate to MVUC Pledge and Donate to MVUC

Your 2022-2023 Board of Trustees

picture of MVUC windmill against twilight blue sky with scattered cloudsWelcome to the 2022-2023 church year at MVUC! Your newly-elected Board of Trustees has had a retreat and its first meeting and are gearing up for what promises to be an active, meaningful, and consequential year here at MVUC!  There are a large number of items on the Board's agenda this year already - I'd like to spotlight three of those items for you as this Board begins its work:
  • Supporting the Ministerial Search Committee, Program Council, and all of the other committed lay leaders and staff in their work and in community here at MVUC.
  • Supporting and helping to lay a strong foundation for multi-modal, multi-platform ministry to continue indefinitely into the future, with a special focus on outreach, membership, and communications in our local area and beyond.
  • Understanding, streamlining, and clarifying our governance documents, policies, and processes to be even more mission- and community-focused and to prepare for a new era of ministry ready for whatever challenges and opportunities the next years and decades bring.

Your 2022-2023 Board of Trustees is: 
Karen Delmonico, Chair 
Katherine Tobin, Vice-Chair
Christian Evangelista, Secretary
Lila Reidy, Youth Member
Lisa Blair, Program Council Co-Convener
Caroline D'Aguiar
Sam Longstreet
Richard Roesel
Robin Roberts
Mai Trinh

Working with the Board in appointed roles are:
Oscar Castro, Co-Treasurer
Liz Campbell, Assistant Treasurer
Al Robbert, Finance Committee Chair
Joan Darrah, Endowment Committee Chair and Transitions Committee
John Speakman, Stewardship Committee Chair
Julie Dressing, Personnel Committee

We look forward with excitement to all that this new church year promises to bring.

Preparations are underway for our annual Fall Ingathering to take place at MVUC September 11, 2022. Please mark your calendars!

In the meantime watch this space, the weekly e-news, and the website for other activities and volunteer opportunities. I hope to see everyone soon at an upcoming Sunday Service on the Hill! 

In community, 
Karen Delmonico, MVUC Board Chair

Questions? Contact or 

Updates from the COVID19 Task Force

Dear Friends,
The COVID pandemic, now 2½ years and counting, has been exhausting, frustrating and depressing for everyone. Though things are much better now, as a result of aggressive vaccination programs and an increased emphasis on mask wearing and hand hygiene, the fact is that the pandemic is not over. The COVID virus continues to develop variants that are highly contagious. Though current vaccines have been highly effective in preventing serious illness, they have not been as effective in preventing less severe infections and reinfections. Sadly, the latest Omicron B5 variant now spreading nationwide may be highly resistant to current vaccines. All of us, in concert with others worldwide, will continue to face challenges and uncertainty for some time to come. Nobody likes this, but this is where we are!
The COVID Task Force has worked diligently to advise the Board of Trustees regarding what we feel are prudent measures designed to protect our community, thus acknowledging and sustaining our covenantal commitment to each other. We all want to “open up” and get back to normal, but the fact is that we are adapting to a new “normal,” as dictated by the evolving pandemic, and changes that occur naturally in the virus. Despite everyone’s frustration with this, we should not lose sight of the fact that we must continue to put in place measures to protect ourselves and others. We must continue to adapt, and we must all stick together.
In this regard, the Task Force has developed Personal Care Guidelines that we ask all to utilize when making decisions regarding attending services or other activities at MVUC and in the broader communities in which we live.
Thanks for your shared commitment,
Dan Cohen
MVUC COVID19 Task Force

Click for the latest COVID Task Force Recommendations
"For small creatures such as we, the vastness is made bearable only through love." --Carl Sagan

From the Space Telescope Science Institute: "NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has produced the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe to date. Thousands of galaxies – including the faintest objects ever observed in the infrared – have appeared in Webb’s view for the first time. This slice of the vast universe is approximately the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length by someone on the ground." Image Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI.

Click for July 3 and July 10 Sunday Services

Program Council - So Much Going On!

MVUC's 2022-2023 Program Council will have its first meeting on July 25. Numerous activities, councils, and committees are continuing to work hard as we launch into a new church year. A sample of some of the activities underway from each Council is below: 

* Membership - MVUC has continued to welcome new visitors and members even during this challenging pandemic time. We welcome volunteers to provide a warm welcome to new visitors on Sunday mornings. The commitment is one Sunday a month, mainly before the service begins. Instruction and assistance will be given to those who haven’t greeted before or in a while. Please contact
Linda Burke if you can help out!

* Lifespan Spiritual Growth - The nursery is once again open for Sunday Services on Sundays for vaccinated children 6 months to 3 years old. Planning is underway for new and expanded adult religious education classes this fall. If you are interested in teaching children's or youth RE in the fall, please contact
Ann Richards as soon as possible. Program Council contacts: Marty Bredeck and Caroline Laise

* Property - Weddings are taking place in the refreshed Walled Garden this summer! Visit Hollin Hall Rentals for more information if you or someone you know might want to rent our beautiful spaces for an event.  Separately, please note that the costs for interment in the MVUC Memorial Walks have increased (see recent Weekly E-news for details.) A new Columbarium is being installed this summer. Program Council contact: Leah Choudhury. (Photo by Amanda Casey.) 

* Communications - We hope to launch two monthly newsletters in the next few months as well as overhaul and update our website in preparation for the ministerial candidates (who are probably already looking at it!) If you can help with newsletters or the website, with sound or video tech on Sunday mornings, or with social media, please contact Lyn Millett

* Our Home Community - Planning for the 60th Annual MVUC Holiday Shop to be held November 19 is already underway! Only a scant few months until November! Activities and Volunteer fairs are being planned for September 18 and September 25 after Sunday Services. These fairs are an opportunity to learn more about the numerous activities going on at MVUC and the many volunteer opportunities to offer time, talent, and service to our community.  Mark your calendars! Program Council contact: Jan Speakman

* Social Justice - A Board Task Force exploring options for increased social justice outreach and support at MVUC is underway. Please contact Glenn Sheffield if you are interested in participating. A trip to Richmond in the coming months to advocate for gun violence prevention is being considered. MVUC participated in a recent multi-congregational service hosted by All Souls DC focused on reproductive justice and a small (although hopefully growing!) group has begun meeting about steps to take in Virginia to protect reproductive rights. Contact Laura MacCleery for more details. Program Council contact: Linda Doyle.
white coffee cup with black coffee and coffee beans nearby
* Sunday Services Thank you to all of our guest and lay speakers and musicians for this summer's services and an extra shout-out to our stalwart sound and video crews ensuring we can all worship in-person or online, as needed. We are delighted that candle lighting is once again available during in-person services and plans are underway to reboot "coffee hour" on Sundays, too. Stay tuned! Program Council contact: Becky Brandt.

Ministerial Search is Underway

MVUC is in a time of interim ministry, preparing to call a new minister. Rev. Christian Schmidt joined us last summer as our Interim Minister after the departure of our previous settled minister Rev. Kate Walker.  In May, we voted for and appointed our 7-member ministerial search committee.  They are already working diligently, having had several meetings and attended an extensive workshop with search teams from other UU congregations across the country to learn about the ministerial search and candidating process. 

There will be many opportunities for members to be involved in the search process.  A congregational survey will be distributed in the early fall and in-person meetings and discussions will be scheduled, along with a workshop on moving beyond categorical thinking. To learn more about the modern search process for Unitarian Universalist ministers, please explore the many resources available at the UUA website.  Watch this space and the Weekly E-news for details on scheduling and for more updates about MVUC's ministerial search process.

MVUC's ministerial search committee: 
Donna Gold, Chair
Tony Barkume, Vice-Chair
Oscar Castro
Carolyn Evangelista
Tom Griffin
Laura MacCleery
Evan Wallach

To contact the MVUC ministerial search committee, email

Nina Tisara on MVUC Gardens in Zebra

In the July issue of The Zebra in Alexandria, Virginia, MVUC member Nina Tisara has an article called "On a Secret Garden" that recounts some of the history of Hollin Hall and the gardens and MVUC's first sexton. She also spotlights the recent boxwood blight challenge and the work MVUC volunteers have been doing to revitalize the gardens. You can read the complete article online. Thank you, Nina!

Screenshot of news article with title "On a Secret Garden"

Barbershop is Back! August 14, 3:00pm

The Harmony Heritage Singers return to MVUC with their annual Sunday afternoon concert. This year, because of Covid, it’s outside on the fully shaded patio at 3:00 pm on August 14. No tickets are needed; an offering will be taken to benefit Alice’s Kids. For more information, contact Ron Brandt, 703-765-4779.

General Assembly 2023 - Meeting the Moment

The theme for this year's Unitarian Universalist General Assembly held June 22-26, 2022,  was "Meet the Moment: Reimagining Radical Faith Community." After two years of fully virtual GAs, this year's event was the first multi-platform General Assembly. The UUA reported that

"More than 3,300 souls gathered for our first multiplatform General Assembly. Almost 400 delegates used the new business-only registration option to participate in General Sessions during GA. More than 1,500 more joined in as full virtual participants, forming over 100 community discussion boards on Whova [the online app registrants used to participate]. And 1,400 more gathered in-person in Portland, Oregon, including nearly 100 youth and children."

Six MVUC members attended virtually as voting delegates: Barb Bacon, Karen Delmonico, Linda Doyle, Sally Henrehan, Lyn Millett, & Richard Roesel.  Ann Richards, MVUC's Director of Lifespan Spiritual Growth and MVUC member Barry Finkelstein presented a workshop on Stewardship as a Family Spiritual Practice

All of the business sessions of the general assembly, which included presentations from the ongoing Article II Study Commission, are available for viewing or reading online. In addition, several other events are available, as well, including the President's Report and the Sunday morning worship, which included a wonderful sermon by the Rev. Gretchen Haley. UUA President Susan Frederick-Gray spoke on Friday morning about the Supreme Court's ruling that day overturning Roe v. Wade and how Unitarian Universalists are responding. 

Next year's General Assembly is scheduled to be held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 21-25, 2023 - perhaps an MVUC carpool or two will be planned for some MVUCers to attend in person!

Betty Jo Middleton - Poetry Reading at the Athenaeum

MVUC Minister Emeritus Betty Jo Middleton has a new book of poetry out: Senior Moments: Poems and will be reading with three other poets at the Athenaeum in Alexandria on the evening of August 4. Her book includes light verse and more serious poetry about aspects of aging, especially during a pandemic. Free verse and formal poems are included. It is available in paperback and as an eBook from Amazon. For more information, see this eventbrite link

Brian McDonald - Book Signing on the Patio

MVUC Member Brian McDonald signing copies of his new book The Long Surrender: A Memoir about Losing My Religion at MVUC on July 10. See the video of the reading and Q&A at Brian's author page on Facebook.

"A truly thought-provoking and engaging discussion; the excerpts .. triggered thoughts about our own spiritual and religious journeys." -Board Member Katherine Tobin

Fresh Paint in the Parking Lot

The final major phase of our parking lot project is done and new striping has been applied. 
Windmill Times is the first of two new experimental monthly newsletters at MVUC for the church year 2022-2023. The second (anticipated in August) will focus on MVUC ministries and insights from our religious professional staff. These newsletters will be sent out monthly in addition to the weekly E-news which comes out weekly. If you'd like to contribute (articles, photos, art, links, video, poems, or editing), please contact
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