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November 2022

🫖 Settle in and pour a cup of coffee or tea ☕️ - lots to read this month!

In This Issue

** Get your quilt raffle tickets! **


Windmill Times, one of 3 MVUC newsletters, arrives mid-month and focuses on church life, MVUC programs, and community happenings.

Past Issues:
October 2022 Windmill Times
September 2022 Windmill Times
August 2022 Windmill Times

Past Windmill Spaces
November 2022 Windmill Spaces
October 2022 Windmill Spaces
September 2022 Windmill Spaces

Latest This Week at MVUC
November 9

MVUC Online

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

Get your Quilt Raffle Tickets Here - Drawing will be November 19 at Holiday Shop!

Save the Dates

November 11 - December 29 - Art Exhibit at MVUC - An Eye for Nature
November 12 - Adopt-A-Highway Clean-up
November 19 - Holiday Shop
November 20 - Principles and Sources - Proposed Changes
November 21 - Circle Suppers 2023 Sign-up Deadline
December 3
- Holiday Craft Workshop; Pizza Party and Caroling; MVUC Piñata
December 4
- Jazz Sunday - Worship Service
December 24 - Christmas Eve Services - 4:30pm and 7:00pm
June 21-25, 2023 - UUA General Assembly - Pittsburgh and Online

Stewardship Season is Coming Up

Stewardship means providing ongoing financial support for our church community. When you first join the church, and every year thereafter, during our annual Stewardship Campaign, we ask you to make a pledge of financial support that is both responsible and significant based on your financial situation.

Our plans for the upcoming stewardship season in January 2023 are advancing well.  Our financial position is reasonably sound.  On the positive side, our rental income is up, last year’s stewardship drive was quite successful, and we recently received a COVID-related employee retention credit from the IRS (see below in this Windmill Times for more on that).  On the negative side – the general economy is hurting us.  Inflation is increasing our costs and stock market declines mean we are unable to use the endowment fund as we have in the past.

While we believe we will make it through this year comfortably, we will be challenged in the future.  When our new Minister arrives with lots of enthusiasm and plans, we want to be able to support them.  For next year we will need a renewed stewardship push and the successful implementation of new fundraisers so that this can happen.  

For this year we would appreciate it if you could consider your present financial position and what you can commit to MVUC for the coming year.  For some, the situation is challenging – being on a fixed income in times of inflation is not pleasant and hard choices may have to be made. If your income has enjoyed an inflation adjustment or for other reasons is moving positively, please increase your pledge.  Our Fair Share Pledge Guide is below (click the image to see a larger version). 

This year we are introducing something new – A Volunteer Pledge. We hope this pledge will help meet some opportunities and address some challenges we see at MVUC.  On the opportunity side, we hear there is willingness to do more, but what MVUC offers may not appear to match or be connected to that willingness.  On the challenge side, as is true in virtually every church in the country, our membership is aging and volunteer capacity from this group is declining.  

As a community, we are aiming to reinvigorate volunteerism after the COVID closures, and as part of that reinvigoration we invite you to pledge your time and talent, this year, in addition to your treasure.  This will help our community in many ways. It will identify where folks have capacity to help and will also help identify where folks are overextended.  Other churches that have done such a pledge report that this initiative has been helpful in finding and engaging new volunteers and in matching volunteer opportunities with volunteer capacity in the community.

Please read more about stewardship and giving at MVUC on our website.

Thank you for your ongoing support.
John Speakman, Stewardship Chair

Closed Captions Now Available for YouTube Sunday Services

You can now turn on Closed Captions for the live MVUC service and when viewing the service later on MVUC’s YouTube channel.

To turn on Closed Captions:
  • On your laptop or desktop computer: move the mouse pointer into the service image and click the CC on the bottom row of icons that appear.
  • On your tablet or mobile device: tap the service image and touch the CC icon that appears.
Thanks to our incredible behind-the-scenes volunteer tech team for all the work they do to support MVUC's Sunday worship services and other events at MVUC. If you can help with sound, video, and/or tech support, please contact

Holiday Shop is Nearly Here!

Your Holiday Shop teams remain busy getting everything ready for Saturday, November 19 but we can always use more help. Please look at your calendar and the Sign Up Genius link to see if there is a match, whether it be the week of set-up or on the day.  If it is filled please call Jan Speakman because there are a few special jobs which may suit you. 

Barbara Jacobs needs to hear from you if baking is your thing. Make something today, wrap them, freeze them and let her know.  

The MVUC Quilters, led by Nancy Barkume, have excelled yet again with their “Bears in the Blueberries” quilt and you may purchase raffle tickets early through Realm. Paper tickets will be available at a later date and also sold on the day. The drawing for the quilt raffle will be in the chapel November 19 at 3.45pm.
Please click on the poster image to download a printable announcement to share with your friends and in your communities!  If you are on Facebook, please share MVUC's Holiday Shop Event link there, as well. 
In community,
Jan Speakman, Our Home Community, MVUC Program Council

Get your Quilt Raffle Tickets Here - Drawing will be November 19 at Holiday Shop!

Denominational News

Top image: Register for General Assembly 2023 - to be held online and in Pittsburgh, PA. If you are thinking you might attend and are interested in learning what it means to be a delegate from MVUC to General Assembly, please contact Communications or Rev. Schmidt - we plan to hold information sessions in early 2023. 

Bottom image: The Article II Study Commission has a proposed replacement draft for the UUA Principles and Sources and is holding feedback sessions this weekend. The draft makes significant changes to Article II. Learn more here

in addition, you can join Rev. Schmidt for a discussion of these proposed changes on November 20 after worship service in the Fireplace Room in Hollin Hall and learn more about what it means for our faith.  Sign up at:  Drop-ins welcome.

Meet Our New Church Administrator

After an extensive search, Reverend Schmidt and the Board of Trustees are pleased to announce that Tami Bass will be joining the MVUC team as our Church Administrator.

Ms. Bass is performance-driven, a hands-on operational leader, an effective advocator, and an excellent communicator.  She brings 24 years of administrative experience with her and has experience with finance, billing, supervision of employees, and handling difficult situations with staff and clients. Tami is a multi-tasker and likes learning new technologies. One of her significant traits is her ability to remain calm and efficient under pressure while independently problem-solving and delegating when needed. And best of all, she is looking for a work community that she can settle into for the rest of her career.

Tami graduated from Western Governors University with a B.S. in Business and Healthcare Management. She is from Michigan and relocated to Virginia to be near family; she is a proud grandmother of three beautiful grandchildren (two girls, one boy) and loves to cook, exercise, travel, sit down to a good book and spend time with family and friends. Tami is known for her baking skills and loves to experiment with recipes to make them healthier.

Special Thanks to the Personnel Committee (Julie Dressing, Linda Bohannon), and the Interview Team (Lisa Blair, Linda Burke, Carolyn Slenska and Reverend Schmidt) for the hundreds of hours they spent to find the perfect fit for our Church. The team received over 85 applications that they pre-screened and found several potentially viable candidates that they interviewed fully.  They were in complete agreement that Tami rose to the top as their first choice.

Thanks to Joan Darrah as well for her skillful management of the Administrator’s multifaceted responsibilities through the entire transition period. It is clear that nothing important was left undone

Please give Tami a warm MVUC welcome as she joins our active community.

Rev. Christian Schmidt, Interim Minister, MVUC
Karen Delmonico, Chair, MVUC Board of Trustees

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

Contact: &

Zlata and Yeva Celebrate Their First Halloween

The Refugee Response Committee (RRC) will continue to provide monthly updates in the Windmill Times about Liza and her daughters, Zlata and Yeva. Thanks to your support, they are doing well and are completely settled into their new temporary home. They frequently come to Sunday Service and many of you have had an opportunity to chat with them and learn more about what they are doing. They feel very welcomed by our church, their school, and their neighbors.  

Liza has just finished training and has started a part-time job at the Hollin Hall Variety Store which is a short walk from their home. 
Zlata and Yeva are doing well in school. Zlata has been enjoying dance and Yeva is learning to play the piano. As you can see from the photo below, the girls dressed up for their first Halloween. 
They speak with their family in Ukraine almost every day. These are very challenging times for everyone in Ukraine and they are preparing for a long winter. Liza’s family is very happy that she and her daughters are safe. 
Thank you for helping to make this difficult time a little easier for this courageous family.
Refugee Response Committee.
Joan Darrah, Chair, Martha Dyckes, Laura Greer, Lynne Kennedy, Tony Morris

Be sure to get the complete Windmill Times! Many email providers cut off this email due to the length. If you use gmail, AOL, etc, please look for a link to the rest of the newsletter at about this point in the newsletter.

Minister Search Update - Preparing the Congregational Record

With the assistance of members of the MVUC Congregation, the Search Committee is preparing a “congregational record” - a collection of information about our history, make-up, property, finances, and views. This is information that ministers in search of a congregation would like to know to help them decide which congregations they would like to consider them.

The Search Committee will complete our congregational record by late November. Ours, along with records of other UU congregations in search of a settled minister, will be made available to candidate ministers in December. We then submit an extensive supporting package of MVUC supplementary materials (by-laws, annual reports, etc.) in early December.

After completing the congregational record and documents package, which is an intense and time-sensitive project, we will share a summary of results of the congregational survey, cottage meetings, and focus group meetings with the congregation.

Much of the Search Committee’s work thereafter, until early (or mid) April, will be confidential. The process is designed to be fair to both searching congregations and searching ministers. The UUA Transitions Office facilitates interaction of churches and ministers during the process. Without confidentiality and without the UUA’s role, interactions of prospective ministers and searching churches would be a public matter.

Rest assured, your Search Committee is committed to serving MVUC diligently. We will do our best to inform you about non-confidential aspects of the search process and to present you the best available candidate in April 2023 for your consideration.

Please Mark Your Calendars to Attend an In-Person Workshop THIS WEEKEND November 12: Beyond Categorical Thinking

The Ministerial Search Committee and the MVUC Board of Trustees invite you to join us for an in-person workshop to identify and lower barriers to thinking inclusively about the search for our next minister. To assist congregations in addressing and mitigating sources of harmful bias in the search for a minister, the Unitarian Universalist Association provides congregations doing a search with support through the Beyond Categorical Thinking program, to promote inclusive thinking and help to prevent unfair discrimination in the search process.

Please register to attend at this link:

November 12, 2022 at MVUC, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. A light breakfast will be served at 8:15, as well as snacks during the mid-morning break.
With our appreciation, the workshop will be led by Carol Carter Walker (she, her), who has been a Unitarian Universalist (UU) since 1987 when she became a charter member of Sojourner Truth UU Congregation in Washington, DC. Carol joined Paint Branch UU Church in Adelphi, MD in 2002. She also belongs to Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism, the Church of the Larger Fellowship, and Diverse and Revolutionary UU Multicultural Ministries (DRUUMM). Carol is currently co-chair of the Central East Region’s Chalice Lighter [Grants] Program Committee; member of the Committee on Ministry for a community minister; facilitator for the UUA Beyond Categorical Thinking Programs; Board Secretary, Sister SoUUrce; and a member of the Black Lives of UU Council of Elders.

MVUC Ministerial Search Committee
To contact the MVUC ministerial search committee, email

An Eye for Nature - Art Exhibit at MVUC

MVUC member Nina Tisara and Steven Halperson have teamed up for an exhibition of their nature-themed art at MVUC, November 11 – December 29.
Nina Tisara retired from Tisara Photography in 2007 and began creating mosaics which are now widely collected. Tisara’s mosaics begin with small squares of unglazed porcelain tile which are nipped into a variety of shapes and formed into intricate designs.  Each mosaic is signed with a small silver gecko representing change and transformation.
With over 30 years’ experience in portrait and event photography, Steven Halperson owns and manages the Tisara Photography studio. For this exhibit, he has returned to his roots in fine art photography and is making use of digital camera software to explore new ways of seeing and portraying images of nature.
In addition to Sundays, the exhibit may be seen from 10 a.m. to noon, Mondays and Tuesdays and 7 – 9 p.m. on Thursdays except for Thanksgiving. To schedule other hours contact

In Case You Missed It

Top Left: MVUC has a refreshed website - have a look around and contact if you spot anything missing or that needs to be corrected

Top Right: MVUC's Climate Action Team led an inspiring worship service on October 23 - check out the Youtube archive if you missed it - or just watch it again!

Bottom Left: Great Decisions is coming back to MVUC - Stay tuned for more information and a sign-up sheet shortly after New Year's. 

Bottom Right: Adopt-A-Highway - clean-up THIS WEEKEND - meet at Sherwood Hall Library at 10:00am. 

For All Ages: And Now for Something Completely Different!

I frequently get comments about enjoying a particular Story for All Ages that was done live in the chapel.  I enjoy those too; I like to be able to interact with the kids, and include the adults.  I find that just standing there telling a story isn’t very interesting, and best practices advise using pictures, props, puppets, participant involvement, music, and any other things that can add sensory stimulus to the experience.  One might think that’s because a child’s brain becomes engaged and can better process the story and remember the details.  In fact, ALL brains become engaged when sensory stimulus is used, regardless of the age!

Logistics and Practicalities
Currently we are working with technological constraints because we want to make sure that viewers at home also have a rewarding worship experience.  This can change how we present stories during the service.  For example, if I have a picture book with beautiful illustrations I want to use, I need to pre-record it.  If I were to show the pictures on the screen in front of the chapel, the cameras wouldn’t pick them up well and those at home wouldn’t be able to see them clearly.  I can go ahead and record the book, or I can tell the story instead, using props or puppets, or some other method to illustrate it.  

In a way this is good:  I try to do something a little different each week like play a game, explain a science lesson, wear a costume, etc.  Even if I’m recording a book to be shown later, I try to do it a little different each time.   Sometimes I leave the words on the picture so the participants can read along.  I may use different voices for the characters, or act it out in the chapel while the story is playing in homes.  Being eclectic is more fun for the listeners, and way more fun for me!

Purpose in Worship
Stories are chosen each week by the officiant.  When Rev. Schmidt and I work together, he tells me what the theme of the service is and describes the sort of thing he’s looking for.  I’ll then give him a suggestion or two or three, and he chooses between them.  If we can’t find something that fits with the worship service, we’ll write one.  You’ll see an example of that at Thanksgiving and at the Holiday Pageant. 

I know some congregations don’t use a story for all ages each week.  In my opinion, it’s their loss.  This is truly a story for ALL ages, and I try to use ones that have a metaphor or humorous element that is aimed at adults.  I want the story for all ages be the introduction to the service, so adult participants can learn in elemental terms about the concept the service is exploring, and then dive deeper into that concept with the sermon, readings and music.

Ways You Can Help
As of January I’ll be on sabbatical, and a member of the Lifespan Spiritual Growth Council will be coordinating Stories for All Ages while I’m gone.  If you are willing to read a story or lead an activity appropriate for everyone during service, let me know (  I’ll be happy to put you on the list of people that will be helping out while I’m gone. 

Happy reading, and I’ll see you next week at story time!
Ann Richards
Director of Lifespan Spiritual Growth
MVUC Gives!

Our share-the-plate recipient for October was No Child Goes Hungry. which received $2878. Thank you for your generosity!

November Share-the-Plate contributions will go to Neighborhood Health.

Employee Retention Credit - An Infusion of Cash and Where it Will Likely Go

As part of its efforts to buoy the economy during the COVID pandemic, the US Government offered employee retention credits to organizations whose operations were fully or partially suspended due to a government order or experienced a significant decline in gross receipts.  MVUC applied for and has received $125,490.77 in payments for these credits.  

These funds were placed in our property major maintenance (PMM) account rather than being shown as revenue to the operating fund.  They partially offset a deficit that had been built up in the PMM account due to some significant property maintenance costs over many years, such as reroofing parts of Hollin Hall, for which there had not been sufficient resources in the operating fund budget. We hope that most of these funds will remain available for upcoming major property maintenance expenses; however we anticipate that some of this funding may need to be shifted to the operating fund to meet this year’s operating expenses. 

The original purpose of the PMM was to set aside a calculated amount of funding from the operating budget each year to pay for future replacement of roofs, HVAC systems, the parking lot and other major property items as they reached the end of their useful lives.  For many years, tight budgets have precluded these set-asides into PMM and a large balance that had been built up in the past was completely consumed for various property maintenance expenses.  

Al Robbert, Chair, Finance Committee 
Windmill Times

Windmill Times, arriving mid-month - focuses on church life, MVUC programs, and community happenings.

As of August 2022, we reach more than 790 subscribers with news of our congregation and community. Let's keep growing!  For more information about our newsletters and to subscribe, see our website.

If you have announcements for This Week at MVUC, please fill out the announcement request form on MVUC's website by noon on Monday of each week. 

If you'd like to contribute to Windmill Times or Spaces (ideas, articles, photos, art, links, video, poems, or editing), please contact

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