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A Publication of First Unitarian Church of Omaha

September 2013

Rev. Elations A year ago we were involved in the dance of getting to know one another. You were trying to figure out just who I am, although you had already identified me as your developmental minister, and I was trying to figure out who you are, although I too had already committed myself. We were each cautious; nonetheless, toes were stepped on.

SEPTEMBER SERVICES: WE RETURN TO TWO SERVICES ON 9/8! September 1st - 10:30 am: Water Communion . Bring water from your summer staycation or long trek! September 8 - 9:30 & 11:15 am: “A New Puritanism” by Rev. Frank Rivas September 15 - 9:30 & 11:15 am: “A Service of Memory and Hope” By. Rev. Frank Rivas September 22 - 9:30 & 11:15 am: “The Mything Link” By Frank Rivas September 29 - 9:30 & 11:15 am: “Unitarian Universalism Made Real” by Shawna Foster

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Newsletter we also lift our sight to cocreate a church that will be strong for future generations... The dance this year feels entirely different―not only because we know more about the other, but also because we know more about ourselves. In conversation with you, I have come to know myself better; I hope that the same is true for you. Now I can speak both with greater authenticity and with greater awareness of and respect for the members of this congregation. Now that we’ve begun to know one another, our focus shifts back to the work of the church. Deepening our individual lives as well as our connections one to another. Living out our commitment to children and youth. Making a positive difference in the broader community. Inviting others into this community of faith. Yes, we still have more to learn about one another. Yes, we will continue to step on toes. Yes, we will continue to talk through differences. But now we also lift our sight to cocreate a church that will be strong for future generations and to reach beyond these walls to create a more just, more equitable community. It’s great to be back, great to know one another, and great to share this living tradition. Blessings and love, Frank

The Flame | First Unitarian Church of Omaha |

May your life preach more loudly than your lips. - William Ellery Channing

President’s Letter Yet we make a difference. This is a community, an extended family. This place matters. - Tony Host Board President

Unitarian Universalism, besides being a long name, is challenging. For over 30 years I have heard that we are a non-creedal faith (true) and that you can believe anything you want (false). It is not believing anything you want. It is believing what you must. That makes this a demanding religion. We must be alive and open to the universe around us, experiencing the mystery and wonder of life. We learn from those that have come before us and those who speak to us today. We come to this faith to be better people and to help the world be a better, more just and compassionate place. This is not easy. Yet we make a difference. This is a community, an extended family.

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This place matters. We are committed to our youth group which consists of youth from both First and Second Church. We improve our classroom facilities and nursery. We serve Omaha through community meals and coordinating the Holland Lecture Series. And we have exciting plans for an important part of our community, our youth: a renovated church that will challenge our membership through the 21st century and beyond. It all starts with recognizing what our beliefs are as a congregation and living those beliefs as a community. The journey begins now. In Faith, Tony

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September Services Join us! September 1st, at 10:30 Water Ceremony Our traditional time in which we bring waters from our staycations and summer treks. Blending the waters together symbolizes us all being blended together in one community while sharing the journeys we have been on this summer. A wonderful interactive service!

September 8th, 9:30 and 11:15 am “A New Puritanism” by Rev. Frank Rivas The core of religion is not hymn-singing or lighting a chalice, nor it is a belief in God, heaven or hell. Like our Puritan ancestors, we are called to redefine religion for a new age. (note to parents: this service contains a story not appropriate for children.)

September 15th, 9:30 and 11:15 am “A Service of Memory and Hope” By Frank Rivas Using the Days of Aw as a model, we recall loved ones who have died and we name the ways in which their lives continue to inform ours.

September 22nd, 9:30 and 11:15 am ”The Mything Link” By Rev. Frank Rivas We examine the interpertation of myth through both The Empire Strikes Back and the second creation story in Genesis. Vibraphonist Steve Rabine will perform throughout the service.

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September 29th, 9:30 and 11:15 am “Unitarian Universalism Made Real” By Shawna Foster As a people who often espouse “Deeds Not Creeds” why is what we do just as important as what we believe? Join Shawna Foster, Meadville Lombard Theological School graduate and our social justice coordinator, to be uplifted by our religious tradition’s works in the world.

COVENANT GROUPS FORMING IN THE FALL The intent of Covenant Groups is to meet individual needs for spiritual intimacy and connection and to strengthen and support the larger church community. Covenant Groups foster community, learning, spirituality, and service all in one program. A Covenant Group is:    • Supportive and yet not a support group or therapy;     • Not a formal class and yet is an opportunity to learn from peers;     • Reverent and yet is not a formal worship experience;     • Not a social club and is still an opportunity to make and deepen friendships; and     • Not pastoral care and yet it is caring.   Look for information in the coming weeks on the dates and times of the Covenant Groups forming this Fall.  If you have questions in the meantime, please speak with Maria Wallace or Julia Thompson.  You can also send an email to

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Religious Education Hour at 10:30am starting on Sept. 8th! We will have religious education in between services at 10:30. This is so teachers can enjoy the service, the kids can be with their friends, and parents get an extra 45 minutes of mingling with their peers during the religious education hour. We encourage everyone, of all ages, to be in the services. We will have a nursery for those who haven’t started kindergarten and it may be too much of a challenge to sit during a service. We are giving a choice to kids and their parents that if they would rather have them spend time in an all-ages “community hour” during the service in the common room. 9:30am Community Hour - Social Justice If your children decide not to go to the service, they can learn about social justice. They will have fun activities that help the church and their community. 10:30 Religious Education Hour

exciting Tapestry of Faith program, sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Association. 11:15 Community Hour - Art and Music Again, if your children are decide not to go to the service, they can come to the common room. On the 1st and 3rd Sundays they will explore religious art themes. On the 2nd and 4th Sundays they will sing with the kids’ choir. The 5th Sunday the kids will have fun with board games. So Many Choices! We hope that this gives your family plenty of options so that your children can meet with their friends and pursue their interests while discovering Unitarian Universalism. I have enjoyed meeting every single one of you and look forward to seeing our kids bloom in the community of our church family. With Joy, Jan Religious Education Director

At 10:30, when the adults are coming down for coffee hour, children and teens will go to their age-level classes. Here they will meet their team of teachers, and pursue their study of our UU Faith.  Our curriculum is derived from the

Never lose a holy curiosity. - Albert Einstein

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Holland Lecture October 9 Bringing internationally recognized speakers to Omaha, these lectures provide open discussion of provocative ideas that are not usually heard in Nebraska.

Free tickets available 9/16 by calling 402-345-0606 or by visiting

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On Wednesday, October 9th, the church will sponsor the 18th lecture in the Holland Lecture Series. The speaker will be Eric Liu, author, educator and civic entrepreneur. The topic of his lecture is “Responsible Citizenship in the 21st Century.” The lecture will be given at the Holland Center and will begin at 7pm. Liu is a graduate of Yale University and the Harvard Law School and is currently a lecturer at the University of Washington. He served as a speechwriter and deputy domestic policy advisor in the Clinton administration. Along with his co-author, Nick Hanauer, Liu has written two books on the topic of responsible citizenship:

freedom costs a little freedom. Similarly, to work best for the whole society, free markets need some tending -- just as a garden needs to be tended in order to be healthy and productive. In his books, Liu does not promote one grand narrative or ideology, but points out that each of us needs to take more responsibility for the outcomes in our communities and our country. At a time when political gridlock is increasingly yielding a dysfunctional system of governance, Liu has some ideas and metaphors that are thoughtprovoking and may help change people’s thinking about themselves, the economy and the government.

The True Patriot (2005) and Gardens of Democracy: The New American Story of Citizenship, the Economy and the Role of Government (2011). They propose a new conceptual approach to thinking about our economic and political situation: that of a garden in which all elements of our society share a common ecosystem and in which self-interest is mutual interest and vice versa. They argue that unfettered freedom and free market capitalism ought not be the primary values of a healthy society, but rather that enlightened citizenship involves placing country over self, contribution above consumption, purpose through sacrifice and service, and a fair shot for all. In short that we’re all better off when we’re all better off. They believe that freedom comes with responsibility, and that real

BOOK CLUB SEPTEMBER 30, 7PM   Our book for September is The Gardens of Democracy: A New American Story of Citizenship, the Economy and the Role of Government by Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer.   That discussion will be in preparation for the Holland Lecture to be given on October 9th by the co-author Eric Liu.

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CHURCH PICNIC ON SEPTEMBER 7TH, 2-9PM At Halleck Park: 816 E Halleck St, Papillion, NE 68046 Join us for rousing games of baseball and volleyball and horseshoes (equipment furnished). Go fishing in the lake with your little ones(catch and release)and be sure to bring your own fishing poles and bait. Bring your bikes--a great chance to ride or race. There is shady and fun playground equipment.  At 6pm gather at the pavilion--bring your potluck food to share and please bring utensils and maybe a tablecloth. Lemonade, water, iced tea, paper plates, cups and napkins provided. Enjoy the food and friendship! Together again! Good-bye Summer! *Please note: No alcohol is allowed at the park. 

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YRUU - Youth Group Wednesday, September 4th is the Youth Group kick-off for all youth and parents at 6pm. Youth group will meet every Wednesday at 6pm starting September 11th.

September Teen Movie Night In September, our teen movie night will be held with the youth group of Beth El Synagogue. We will meet at 5pm at the synagogue at 14506 California Street on Sunday, September 15. We’ll make kosher pizza together and then watch the movie, “Keeping the Faith” (rated PG.) The discussion afterwards will focus on the religious stereotypes that are portrayed in the movie, and perhaps explore the differences and similarities between the Unitarian Universalist and Jewish faiths. Questions may be addressed to Anita Jeck at or 402-572-7520, or to Rev. Scott. Teens (7th-12th grades) from both First Unitarian and Second Unitarian are invited.

DOMA STRIKEDOWN FAMILY CONCERT WEAR YOUR STANDING ON THE SIDE OF LOVE SHIRT! Join the River City Mixed Chorus and the Early Morning Risers on September 14th at 3pm for a family concert. Free bouncehouse! Cheap snocones! We’re celebrating how the strikedown creates equality for families and asking how the ruling affects you! For more information, contact Shawna Foster:

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The Flame | First Unitarian Church of Omaha |

New Member News Amy Barlow and Nathan Kramer were first attracted to First Unitarian by Rev. Rohde’s sermons posted on the church website. They returned because they found a home filled with people who embraced and challenged different ideas. They have been perpetual visitors and active in the church for the past 2½ years, becoming members on May 26. Both Amy & Nathan were raised as Lutherans. Amy grew up in Lawrence, Kansas, and attended the California Nanny College in Sacramento. In her work as a career nanny, she has helped raise 10 children over the past 28 years. She enjoys sewing, quilting and picnicking and loves to can meats, vegetables and fruits. Nathan is a farm boy from Eastern Colorado who came to Nebraska to attend Dana College in Blair where he received a degree in fine arts. He is interested in genealogy, art, wine, photography, classical music, and Danish design and cuisine. He loves cooking and entertaining and believes that “good relationships are often enhanced around the dinner table.” They share a passion for gardening, antiques and travel, and they are both avid fans of the television show M*A*S*H. Together they have been involved in the Heart & Hand Auction and the Tolerant Atheists Discussion Group. Nathan is active with the Organ Heritage Society, helps coordinate art exhibits in the Worcester Gallery, and enjoys working with the Archives Team. He would like to be more involved with graphic arts, website development, and planning social events. Next April they plan to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary with a music concert at the church.

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Amy says she is “passionate about living in an environment of cleverness.” If you have spent any time with Amy and Nathan, you know that they do just that! Please get to know them and welcome them into membership.

YOUNG ADULT GAME NIGHT! It’s back! Come Friday, September 20th at 7pm. Bring a snack to share, a game, a lively anecdote, or just your delightful self. If you identify as a young adult, please join this delightfully zany community. Email with questions and childcare needs.

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On exhibit in the Worcester Gallery... On exhibit in the Worcester Gallery in the Common Room starting this month is the art of Brian Gennardo. Brian and his family have been visitors to the church this summer. Born and raised in the south side of Chicago, Brian Gennardo left home at 14 and made his way to Portland, then Tucson, and maybe a few other stops on the way back to Chicago for a brief period before finally and accidentally landing in Omaha on his way to Vancouver (he never quite made it there, needless to say). He’s spent 10 years off and on working for the Medical Center (there were two years in there unwittingly working for the FBI even), seven years in various kinds of social work, four years in a carpentry apprenticeship while working as an artist as well. And this is where it gets interesting. Two years ago he decided to finally get his actual GED and go to school at MCC, in which he is currently enrolled and still hasn’t decided what he is going to be, but today it is an artist, husband, dad. Not necessarily in that order.

NEW VISITOR AND MEMBERS CLASS “Wow, it is Fall!” UU&You Class Wednesday Evening September 11 Visitors, newcomers, and the just curious are cordially invited to this introduction to Unitarian Universalism through this class that meets on Wednesday evening September 11 at 7pm in the Merritt Lounge. UU&You classes provide an intro to Unitarian Universalism and to our church along with an opportunity to share our religious journeys in a theologically diverse “safe” place. Conversation will include some history of Unitarian Universalism and our church, what the church does, how it functions, its opportunities. RSVP or questions can be addressed to or call class facilitator Jaime Alexander 712-328-7550.

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Sarah Joslyn Society Below you will find a list of current members of the Sarah Joslyn Society; which was created to recognize and honor those members of First Unitarian Church who have made a commitment to leave a bequest to the church. There are now 69 members who will be guests at a luncheon on October 13.

Is your name here? Jaime Alexander ♦ Jacqueline Anderegg ♦ Bill Bruns ♦ Sandi Bruns ♦ Linda Buehlmann ♦ Eddith Buis ♦ Carol Christensen ♦ Dean Christensen ♦ Sharon Conlon ♦ Deb Duggan ♦ Tim Duggan ♦ Olive Erickson ♦ Margot Fetrow ♦ Richard Fetrow ♦ Audrey Freyer ♦ Dale Freyer ♦ Larry Goeser ♦ John Goldner ♦ Kay Lynn Goldner ♦ Megan Gustafson ♦ Lana Hammel ♦ Jack Heidel ♦ Wendy Hessler ♦ Joe Hoagbin ♦ Dick Holland ♦ Mary Holland ♦ Betty Holloway ♦ John Hruska ♦ Debbie Hunsberger ♦ Louise Jeffrey ♦ Walt Jesteadt ♦ Bob Jones ♦ Diane Jones ♦ Dick Joslin ♦ Anne Knapp ♦ Ron Knapp ♦ Dixie Lemon ♦ Harriet Major ♦ Katherine Bester McClure ♦ Carolyn McNamara ♦ Donna Neff ♦ Dave Nicklin ♦ Ruth Nicklin ♦ Frank Norris ♦ Lois Norris ♦ Bob Perrin ♦ Jack Perry ♦ Yvonne Price ♦ Cella Quinn ♦ Jim Rogers ♦ Raija Rogers ♦ Ellen Shurson ♦ Jim Simon ♦ Kim Simon ♦ Liz Stawycznyj ♦ Gretchen Thomas ♦ John Thomas ♦ John Wagner ♦ Elaine Wells ♦ Janet West ♦ Jim Wigton ♦ Judy Wigton ♦ Pat Will ♦ Edith Wilson ♦ Sid Wilson ♦ Judith Wright ♦ Anonymous I ♦ Anonymous II ♦ Anonymous III

YOU ARE INVITED Our Minister Emeritus Ron Knapp and his wife, Anne, are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary and you are invited to an open house on Sunday, Sept. 8 at the Lied Lodge (2700 Sylvan Rd. Nebraska City, NE)

If you would like to see your name here, all you have to do is include a bequest to the church or in your will or add a codicil specifying that. For the specifics, talk to Dixie Lemon (402-393-2882) or any member of the Finance Team and then join us at the luncheon.

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from 1 to 4pm. No gifts please. You are asked to bring or send a favorite memory, poem or verse to share.

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FIRST UNITARIAN HISTORY The second of three articles on member Sarah Joslyn by Archives leader Dave Richardson.

Sarah Joslyn (1851-1940) Sarah devotes herself to civic improvements. Sarah Joslyn contributed much more than just her name and her wealth to the development of our community. Her name appears frequently in the records of the Women’s Alliance of the First Unitarian Church of Omaha as an active committee member and leader. Other church The Early Days of Child Saving Institute publications from that era reveal that her role in church activities was extensive. Also her philanthropic activities in the community at large go way beyond just writing large checks. She was often involved with the founding and operation of many of our city’s lasting institutions dedicated to the arts, education, child welfare, the humane treatment of animals and many others. At the end of WWI Sarah found herself in charge of the largest single family fortune in Omaha. Her husband George had died on October 4, 1916. His will left endowments to several organizations he and Sarah had helped found and support. But, even after subtracting those bequests and inheritance taxes, the estate was worth well over five million dollars (about 150 million in today’s dollars.) Sarah continued her philanthropic and organizational work with her favorite institutions throughout the remainder of her life. During the latter part of the 19th century as George built the family business Sarah was building a reputation for community improvement. Sarah’s involvement with philanthropic and civic activities began in 1887 when she and seven other women founded the Omaha Board of Charities. Her work included serving on the board of the Trans-Mississippi Exposition of 1898 which helped put Omaha on the map by showing we were an “event town” a term which has re-emerged recently, as proof that we are a town growing culturally as well as economically. She helped found the Omaha Humane Society, joining its board in 1888 and serving into the 1920s. At the National convention in 1912 held in Omaha at the Fontenelle Hotel she was elected 3rd Vice President. This may not sound like a very prestigious honor, but when we note that the title of First Vice President was held by President William Howard Taft and the second by Thomas Marshall, vice-president of the US we see she was in very elite company. Perhaps Sarah’s greatest passion was the protection of homeless and underprivileged children. She was on the board of The Child Saving Institute beginning in 1912. George and Sarah had donated the major portion of the money used to build the CSI’s first location at 42nd and Jackson The area is now part of UNMC. In our next and final installment we will look at her work in the last ten years of her life and at her overall legacy to our church and our city.

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Military Covenant Group Forming Warriors are not what you think of as warriors. The warrior is not someone who fights, because no one has the right to take another life. The warrior, for us, is one who sacrifices himself for the good of others. His task is to take care of the elderly, the defenseless, those who cannot provide for themselves, and above all, the children, the future of humanity. -Tatanka Iyotaka (Sitting Bull)

These words attributed to the great Lakota leader speak to me both as a member of our nation’s military and as a Unitarian Universalist. For some, though, I know these two things may seem to disconnect. Rev. Bill Sinkford, past president of the UUA, tells the story of a conflict at General Assembly in 2008 when, for the first time in the denomination's history, he recognized several UU chaplains and he was rather taken aback when they were met by some with more criticism than gratitude ( 184981.shtml). That’s not that long ago, but I am happy to say that I have never experienced this in my time at First Unitarian Church of Omaha. I have always felt welcome and see this church as family. I am glad to see a growing number of military members, veterans and their families joining our liberal religious community, and though I have yet to meet one myself, I am thrilled to know that the number of UU military chaplains continues to grow.

seem to be happening, though, is a small group ministry for military members and veterans to address the question of whether a UU can be true to our shared principles while serving in uniform. We have the opportunity to blaze that trail. As Unitarian Universalists we are called to honor "The inherent worth and dignity of every person;" to commit to "Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;" and to act with "Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part." As soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines we strive for similar ideals of integrity, loyalty and a desire to protect. We dedicate ourselves to duty, honor, and country, but when it comes down to it our mission often is ‘killing people and breaking things.’ It’s no wonder, then, that we may feel some disconnect – some cognitive dissonance. How can we be true to both our UU principles and to our solemn oath as military members? In an effort to help with a free and responsible search for truth and meaning, I am inviting military members and veterans to form a covenant group to explore just what it means to be a UU warrior. More details will follow in the weeks to come, but I hope to start things up soon. Please let me know if you are interested in joining this group via email at

In communities from Norfolk, VA, to San Diego, CA, there are exciting programs to help bridge divides and serve military members and their families in a number of ways. What doesn’t

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The Flame | First Unitarian Church of Omaha |

Women’s Alliance Monthly dinners for women of First and Second Unitarian will start on September 9 Our get-together includes socializing and beverages at 6:30pm, dinner at 7pm and an entertaining, short program at 8pm. Our guest speaker will be Kabin Thomas. After serving in the Marines and the Navy, Thomas earned his undergraduate degree at University of Michigan and graduate degree from University of Wisconsin. He is a former music professor who went to Los Angeles to work as an actor for a number of years, and just moved to Omaha after spending one year as a game show host at Ferrari World (the world’s largest indoor amusement park) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He has written an entertaining collection of stories about his adventures – and misadventures – during his time in the UAE that have led to important life lessons. Thomas will share a humorous, honest, and insightful story he wrote about being a game show host in the UAE.   Dinner will be our traditional September soup and salad bar meal, with a variety of soups to try, including vegetarian options. We ask for $12 which goes to the cost of the meal and our education fund.   If this will be your first time attending a WA dinner, please be our guest. Dinner reservations must be made no later than noon on Friday, September 6 by contacting Mary Bort via a personal message on Facebook, email message at or calling 402-201-0970. Please indicate if you are vegetarian so we can plan accordingly.   Free childcare will be available to those who let us know of their childcare needs by Wednesday, September 4th.

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SOUL-FULL THURSDAYS IN SEPTEMBER Adult religious education happens on Thursday nights when we explore religious themes as a community. Our first set of Autumn Soul-Full Thursdays will consist of four History Channel specials dealing with the Roots of Christianity. One 45-50 minute special will be presented with discussion time afterwards.  Specials are on the following topics: Sep. 5:  The First Christians  Sep. 12:  Jesus’ Jerusalem Sep. 19:  The Holy Grail Sep. 26:  The Dead Sea Scrolls Soul-Full Thursdays start at 6pm with a brown bag lunch and fellowship.  The specials and discussion will be from 7 – 9 pm.     RSVP to Crystal DiGiorgi at with questions, childcare needs or to sign up.

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Rev. Kati Arrives October 7! Our Partner Church Minister from Transylvania will visit us October 7 - 14

Church. While in Corvallis, Rev. Kati will attend a Women’s Conference, meet members and friends of the church, and with Boti see the sites of Oregon.  

The tickets have been purchased and Rev. Kati and Boti (the translator) have their Hungarian passports. Why Hungarian passports?  Because the Unitarians in Romania are ethnically Hungarians and their family language is Hungarian.  There are few Unitarians in Hungary and the Unitarian Bishop is in Kolosvar (Cluj), Romania. The Unitarian seminary for both Romanian seminarians and Hungarian seminarians is also in Kolosvar. 

While in Omaha, Rev. Kati is most interested in meeting the members and friends of First Unitarian Church. There is an all-church potluck scheduled for Friday, October 11. There will be many smaller events at the houses of the members of the Partner Church Team. Rev. Kati is particularly interested in Religious Education. She will be meeting with our Director of Religious Education, Jan Wilson, and the Religious Education Council. Rev. Kati will also attend the Alliance Dinner on October 14. 

Rev. Kati and Boti will first visit the Unitarian Universalist Church Fellowship in Corvallis, Oregon. First Unitarian Church of Omaha and the Corvallis church share Rev. Kati in that the Corvallis Partner Church is in a village near our Partner

Rev. Kati is interested in how we organize church activities and our governance. So she will meet with Rev. Frank, Tony Host, Jan Wilson and others on the subject.

As we get closer to October 7, the Partner Church Team will provide the congregation with additional information about special activities.

Partner Church Offering Plate in September The money donated to the Partner Church Fund during September will be used to pay the travel expenses to bring Rev. Kati, her husband and Boti to Omaha from Transylvania. The expenses for bringing them here is being shared with the Unitarian Universalist Church Fellowship of Corvallis, Oregon.  Rev. Kati is also the minister of the Corvallis church’s partner church.  If you write a check to help support the Partner Church Fund, write “Partner Church” in the memo line.  If giving paper currency to the fund, place the currency in the pew envelope and write Partner Church Fund on the blue card in the envelope.  Surplus funds will be used to provide scholarships for the teens in the village. Thanks to Ron Knapp and the Fundraising Team for raising money for the travel expenses of our visitors from Transylvania.

The Transylvanian Unitarian Crest

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COME JOIN SPIRIT CIRCLE Join us as we have a night of discussing Divination and what methods or mediums you enjoy using, and how much ritual or ceremony different people put into their readings. There will not be a potluck this month, but tea will be provided. Meet us in the Merritt Lounge on Sunday, September 1st at 7pm. Questions? Feel free to contact Anne Wilder at

Did you know... In addition to paid staff, it takes an army of volunteers to keep our church going. Just take a look at these numbers. Keep in mind that many volunteers belong to multiple teams!

Did you know that volunteering for two hours a week increases your overall happiness? We thank all our volunteers who make themselves happy at First Unitarian!

Board of Trustees 10 Capital Trust Fund 3 Nominating Committee 5 Religious Education 40 Archives Team 8 Caring Team 24 Choir 26 Chalice Guild 8 Communications Team 3 Community Meals 30 Early Morning Risers 8 Fellowship Team 30 Finance Team 8 FUNdraising Team 60 Holland Lecture Series 5 House and Grounds Team 5 Membership Team 14 Office Team 23 Partner Church Team 7 Religious Services Team 8 Sarah Joslyn Society 10 Women’s Alliance 14

You can be happy too find out about all these important ministries at our:

Volunteer Fair September 8 All of our ministry teams will present their important services at the Volunteer Fair. You’ll have an opportunity to learn more about what they do and how you can get involved during both coffee hours on September 8th!

COMMUNITY NIGHT AT THE PICNIC Instead of gathering at church on the first Friday in September, Community Night will be held at the Halleck Park Picnic on September 7th, from 2-9pm. We hope to see you there! (Read more about the picnic on page 6.)

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The Flame | First Unitarian Church of Omaha |

Who Is The Ministry Team? It’s not just the minister. The ministry team is made up of all of the individual teams that serve the church and its mission — hence the name. There are about 23 teams that do the day-to-day work of the church; ensuring that all of the parts fit together and work smoothly. Do we need this level of bureaucracy? We use the model of church governance we adopted four years ago, which leaves room for flexibility in how churches adapt it to their own needs. We used the same general model under our former minister (it was called Program Council), but the decision-making power was vested in the Senior Staff (the Minister, the Director of Religious Education and the Office Administrator). This current iteration is our attempt to see that the broadest possible representation of the congregation has a significant voice in the operation of the church. This group is different from the Board, which is supposed to take a broader, more long-term and goal setting approach. So who is in charge? According to its Charter, approved by both the Ministry Team and the Board, leadership of the Ministry Team is in the hands of the Ministry Team Council. This small group is comprised of the Minister; the President-Elect chosen by the congregation (this year Louise Jeffrey); a person appointed by the Board for a two-year term (Carolyn McNamara); and a person elected by the Ministry Team for a two-year term (Janet West). The terms of the Board appointee and the Ministry Team appointee will alternate. The Council will provide direction and leadership, leaving most of the decision making in the hands of the Ministry Team. How will we know what the Ministry Team is doing? The Ministry Team has and will continue to meet regularly to discuss new ideas, share concerns, solve problems, set goals, plan church activities, coordinate fundraising events, manage the church calendar, and give support to the individual teams. The next meeting is Saturday, September 28 and anyone is welcome to attend.

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Between meetings, we will connect through our newsletter “Voluntary Servitude” which is emailed to all team leaders each month but is available to anyone. If you are interested in receiving this newsletter, contact the church office at In addition, we will be reporting on decisions and activities with regular articles in The Flame. Questions and concerns that you may have once taken to the Board can now go to the Ministry Team Council. They can be reached at

RECENT MINISTRY TEAM DISCUSSIONS: • Welcome back gathering/picnic at Halleck Park on 9/7 • Volunteer Team Fair after both services on 9/8 • Explanation of Share-the-Plate offering • Upcoming visit by Partner Church • Updated Leaders Handbook • Fundraising coordination and priorities • Upcoming services • Coordination of church calendar • Introducing Hospitality Teams • Update on Religious Education format • Coordination of activities of the Teams

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Where does your Sunday Offering go? At First Unitarian, We Share The Offering! Paper Currency: Half of the paper currency in the offering plate is automatically applied toward the church operating budget. The other half is given to our Share-the-Plate Beneficiary of the month. The beneficiary so designated must be a taxexempt organization making an impact in our local community. A description of the current beneficiary can be found on the back of your Order of Service. To make sure that the money you place in the offering plate finds the right home, please put your dollars in a contribution envelope available in the pew pocket and indicate your intention on the blue form found inside. You may want the entire amount to be applied to the operating budget or to that month’s beneficiary but the office will not know if you don’t indicate your intention on the blue form. We want to make sure you get credit for your contribution. Checks: Any check made payable to First Unitarian Church that is not otherwise designated will be applied to the church operating budget and credited to your pledge. Again, we want you to get credit for your contribution. If you write a check for any other reason, please remember to note its purpose on the check memo line. Your check should then be put into a contribution envelope before placing it in the offering plate. Change for Change: Loose change placed in the offering plate will be used to fund the children's social justice projects determined by the Director of Religious Education.

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Ministry Team Meeting Update Our Ministry Team had a meeting at church on Saturday, July 27. The Ministry Team is made up of all our church team leaders and meets regularly to help the teams and leadership stay in touch. Each month an email newsletter called “Voluntary Servitude” is emailed to team leaders and to anyone else who signs up for it. If you are interested in receiving this newsletter email the church office at Everyone in our church is invited to join the volunteer email newsletter list or to attend the Ministry Team meetings. The next one is scheduled for Saturday, September 28 at 2pm in the Common Room. The meetings last about an hour and half. At these meetings the teams plan out church activities, discuss new ideas, answer questions that arise, and work together to make the church the best place it can be. The Ministry Team is headed up by the Ministry Team Council. The MTC (as it’s known) is made up of the minister, Rev. Frank Rivas; a person selected by the board, Carolyn McNamara; the president-elect of the board, Louise Jeffrey; and a team leader selected by the Ministry Team, Janet West. These positions are temporary. To learn more about the Ministry Team and the Ministry Team Council check out the article on the previous page. Questions and concerns that you may have once taken to the board, can go to the MTC. They can be reached by emailing

The Flame | First Unitarian Church of Omaha |

Event Calendar Sunday, 9/1 Water Ceremony 10:30am Prayer Group 11:30 am Spirit Circle 7pm Monday, 9/2 Church Office Closed Wednesday, 9/4 Choir Rehearsal 7pm Parent/Youth Group Meeting 7pm Thursday, 9/5 Women’s Religious Studies 1pm Adult Religious Education (Soulfull Thursday) 6pm Saturday, 9/7 Halleck Park Picnic 2-7pm Sunday, 9/8 TWO SERVICES Early Service 9:30am RE Hour 10:30am Late Service 11:15am Volunteer Fair, 10:30am and 12:15pm Monday, 9/9 Women’s Alliance 6:30pm Tuesday, 9/10 Board Meeting 7pm Wednesday, 9/11 Choir Rehearsal 7pm Youth Group 7pm New Visitors Class 7pm

Sunday, 9/15 FLAME DEADLINE Early Service 9:30am RE Hour 10:30am Late Service 11:15am Wednesday, 9/18 Choir Rehearsal 7pm Youth Group 7pm Thursday, 9/19 Women’s Religious Studies 1pm Adult Religious Education (Soulfull Thursday) 6pm Friday, 9/20 Young Adult Game Night 7pm Saturday, 9/21 Community Meals (off-site) 9am-1pm YoUU Retreat 10am Sunday, 9/22 Early Service 9:30am RE Hour 10:30am Late Service 11:15am Bridge Group 12:30pm Monday, 9/23 Book Club 7pm Thursday, 9/24 Religious Services Meeting 6:30pm Wednesday, 9/25 Choir Rehearsal 7pm Youth Group 7pm

Thursday, 9/12 Women’s Religious Studies 1pm Adult Religious Education (Soulfull Thursday) 6pm

Thursday, 9/26 Women’s Religious Study 1pm Adult Religious Education (Soulfull Thursday) 6pm

Saturday, 9/14 Celebration for ALL Families Concert 3pm -6pm Wear your Standing on the Side of Love Shirts!

Sunday, 9/29 Early Service 9:30am RE Hour 10:30am Late Service 11:15am

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The Flame | First Unitarian Church of Omaha |

First Unitarian Leadership Board Members Tony Host - Board President Dean Christensen, Lana Hammel, Lynette Ryder, Louise Jeffrey (president-elect), Stephen Meister, Ron Withem, John Wagner

Trustees of the Capital Trust Tim Duggan (2016) Steve Hutchinson (2014) Sandy Host (2015)

Pastoral Advisory Team Jaime Alexander Joe Schaaf Susan Thomas Alan Vovolka

Staff Frank Rivas - Minister Jan Wilson - Director of Religious Education Catharine Dixon - Office Administrator Pat Will - Organist Bob McMeen - Choir Director Mary Marion - Nursery Aide Bobby Medrano - Custodian Ronald Knapp - Minister Emeritus

Ministry Team Leaders Crystal DiGiorgi - Adult RE Dave Richardson - Archives Douglas Lee-Regier - Caring Kay Lynn Goldner - Chalice Guild Louise Jeffrey - Community Meals Nadine Keith, Judith Wright - Fellowship Walt Jesteadt - Finance Donna Neff, Kathi Oliver - Fundraising Alex Nather - Governance Dave Rosser - House and Grounds Jackie Anderegg - Membership Carolyn McNamara - Office Janet West - Partner Church Donna Neff, Kate Wiig - Religious Education Megan Gustafason - Religious Services TBA - Sister Church Shawna Foster - Social Justice Mary Bort - Women’s Alliance Maria Wallace - Young Adult Group Ben Wallace, Shawn Coonfare - YRUU (Youth Group)


Submissions, Deadlines Deadline is the 15th of every month. Editor Shawna Foster. Proofreaders Catharine Dixon, Cyndi Nather, Lana Hammel, Scott Kemper Board Meetings Held on the 2nd Tuesday of every month and is open to all members. Contact First Unitarian Church of Omaha 3114 Harney Street, Omaha, NE, 68131 Tel: 402-345-3039

Fax: 402-346-2662

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The Flame | First Unitarian Church of Omaha |

Volunteer Fair September 8 During both coffee hours, our awesome volunteers are going to show off their wonderful ministry at a volunteer fair. Expect wonderful baked goods, zany costumes, and fun displays. Service to our congregation and community is one of the best things to do at First Unitarian. Be sure to have a good time while learning about all the important ways that First Unitarian changes lives for our members, visitors, and neighbors. Join our vision of a transformational church volunteer! Questions? Contact Carolyn McNamara at or Louise Jeffrey at


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The Flame | First Unitarian Church of Omaha |

The Flame -September  

The September issue of The Flame, published by First Unitarian Church of Omaha