As we move into the Thanksgiving holiday, it is easy to get caught up in the cooking and cleaning and the conversation. Others of us spend time alone with little to eat and friends who turn their attention elsewhere on the holiday. Remember, you have a community at St. John’s to join on Thanksgiving Day. That’s something to be grateful for! What I really hope will happen is that we spend time in gratitude, in THANKS giving.
Sometimes, we also get caught up in the myth surrounding the holiday and respond to it with anger at the harm done by the fantasy of everyone just getting along. When we do get in that space of despair about our history, maybe we can use that reaction to learn something about ourselves, learning to live lives of truth telling and authenticity.
Indigenous author Steven Charleston in his book Ladder to the Light writes about truth in an essay called Sacred vision is our inheritance. “Long ago, the maker of all things gave each tribe of creation a special gift. To the bears went strength. To the eagles, wisdom. To the deer, grace and beauty. The human beings had none of these gifts, for they were not as strong, wise, or beautiful as other animals. But they were given one thing that was special to them: vision, the ability to see both what is now and what is coming to be. Sacred vision is our holy inheritance. Not how strong we are, not how wise we are, not how beautiful we are—only what we can see through the eyes of the Spirit, for what we see is what we will become.”
What are you grateful for? What is your vision for the future? How might we live into that vision for an authentic St. John’s? Please send me an email or text with your vision for an authentic St. John’s; I will gather them for an upcoming service.
~ Rev. Alice Diebel
Learn, Grow & Be Together
Working Toward Interpersonal Harmony 4-part program starts Nov. 21
The Adult Faith Formation Committee and Rev. Alice Diebel are hosting a four-part, on-line (Zoom) program called, Working Toward Interpersonal Harmony: In groups where there is tension and conflict, what are some of the tools we could use to do better?
Please join us for an experiential time of sharing and learning from one another to build the kind of community we want to have.
The meetings will be on Mondays from 7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. beginning Nov. 21.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. For more information, please contact Rev. Alice at email@example.com.
Men's Group meets Dec. 4
Join the St John’s men's group in making their bold yearly predictions- at our monthly meeting on Dec. 4 in Krolfifer Hall. Dinner starts at 6 p.m. with the program at 7 p.m. Find out how good the guys’ predictions were last year. Participate in making new predictions. Will the Bengals make the playoffs this year? Brian Snape and Rich Dreifuss of First UU Church will be our chefs.
E-mail Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org by 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1, to reserve your place for dinner. Bring your own beverage.
For those who don't like to wrap gifts and those who like it so much they're happy to wrap more. We'll partner you up at this party, 6-9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16, in Krolfifer Hall. More details to come. Check with Nicole Stanforth with questions.
"Building the World We Dream About" starts Jan. 10
The UU Council of Greater Cincinnati invites Unitarian Universalists from all six local congregations to participate in the Winter 2023 Anti-Racism Circle, “Building the World We Dream About.” This 12-week interactive workshop is designed to help UUs from all levels of multicultural experience to welcome, include and build community across diverse ethnicities, races and cultures, both in congregational life and when working in interfaith and community coalitions.
“Building the World We Dream About,” will run on Zoom 7-9 p.m. on the second, third and fourth Tuesdays from Jan. 10-April 25. Participants are not required to attend all sessions although it helps to benefit fully from the curriculum that builds from week to week.
Join Rev. Alice Diebel at 12:30 p.m. for the first of three classes and lunch in Krolfifer Hall.
Come to one or all three: Dec. 11, Jan. 8 and Feb. 12.
Please RSVP for lunch to Patbrown3250@gmail.com 862-703-0289
Thanksgiving day potluck at church!
We will enjoy a meal and play games.
If you'd like, bring something you'd enjoy eating or contact Rebecca Crone and she can let you know what may be a needed dish. But, there is always plenty, so please do not feel obligated to do so.
Also, feel free to bring games to share.
We will have holiday family-friendly music and shows also available.
Doors open at 2 p.m. and snacks will be available
Turkey is served at 4
Clean-up of food is 6 p.m.
We are free to linger about and socialize til 8 p.m.
Help is needed to prep and set up and clean up.
If you'd like to help, the doors will be open at noon.
This Spirit Award goes to Nicole Stanforth, our rainbow-haired burst of enthusiasm. We honor her for the outstanding job she’s done over the years in teaching us about how to understand and fight suicide. This year alone, representing St. John’s, her walking team, “Side with Love,” raised $2,234.00 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
When Nicole is not busy raising her two children, running her business, “Bookaholic Bookkeeping,” reading, participating in money raisers or organizing impromptu walks, Nicole hangs out at the Ohio Pet Sanctuary. Not only does she volunteer there, but she also brings cats home to foster. At St. John’s, she counts the attendees of services and is a regular at our game night. She particularly enjoys playing Tripoley (a card and poker chip game) and is willing to take on all comers.
With her bright smile, loving heart, and her uplifting spirit, she is an especially inspiring Mental Health Advocate. As one friend reported, “When you feel broken, it’s easier to push through if you have a good girlfriend like Nicole around.”
Thank you, Nicole, for the difference you make.
Can St. John’s really raise a million dollars??
Yes, we can! We already have commitments from 57 individuals/households and they have pledged a total of more than $850,000. This table shows what our consultant said we will need in order to reach our big goal, and the red columns shows our progress.
There is a giving level that is right for everyone. All gifts are treasured!
Our 26 amazing stewards are still contacting members and friends. When it is your turn we hope you will welcome them for an opportunity to learn more about what we will achieve when we reach (or exceed?) our goal and how you can help build our future. Your steward will explain that there are many ways to make your gift (cash, stock, IRA) and flexible payment timeframes (now, later, annually, monthly) between now and 2025.
Once you’ve had your visit with a volunteer steward, please complete your pledge form and return it to your steward or to the team: Joetta Prost, Bill Luerssen, Nancy Johnson or Monica Pellman. Commitments from all members are needed in order for us to reach our big goal.
Thank you to all who have already pledged!
Sanctuary Congregations Coalition Ready for a New Family!
Following the successful support and “graduation” of the Kaziala family from the shelter at Clifton United Methodist Church, the apartment there has been prepared and is ready to welcome a new family seeking asylum, the Danquahs from Ghana.
St. John’s is a member of the Cincinnati Sanctuary Congregations Coalition through which these families are supported. Among successes of the Kaziala family, father Pepe is employed and has purchased a car and daughter Regina is thriving in elementary school.
Amy Monson, our liaison to the coalition, has made a Sign-Up Genius form (see the linked letter) to make sure the family had some warm clothes when they arrive. She will be adding more onto the site once we talk with the family and see their needs.
St. John's will be hosting the family the week of Dec. 18. Our responsibilities that week will be getting the family to any appointments they have, possibly to the grocery and other things that might come up. The new family, the Danquahs, speak English.
Amy plans to invite the family to her family’s large Christmas Eve celebration but other St. Johners are welcome to invite them, too. Another congregation will host them the week starting on Christmas.
If you are interested and able to help with the appointments/grocery trips, and if anyone would like to host them for Christmas Eve, please contact Amy Monson by email or phone, 859-356-7921.
Thank you for "welcoming the stranger."
Hearing Loss Help during the Holidays
The Hearing Loss Association of America has gathered top suggestions from people with hearing loss to do better during the holidays, which often have large gatherings that can be very difficult for people with hearing loss.
For the one in seven of us who has hearing loss, these events can be challenging listening environments that often cause stress and anxiety.
Their suggests planning ahead to ensure the best communication experience during gatherings.
Member Charles Spencer collected the association's “Hear For the Holidays Plan” tips and you can find them in amember blog on our website.
Start planning for our Mittens and More Tree!
Our annual Mittens and More tree this year will collect hats, mittens, socks, etc. to help immigrants through the Willows Project that St. John's Sanctuary and Immigration Team supports. The tree will be up by Dec. 11 and last until Dec. 30.
Please bring gloves, mittens, hats, scarves, socks or underwear for children of all sizes and for men and women sizes small and medium. Thanks as always for generously aiding our neighbors during cold weather.
November Split-the-Plate Recipient: Women Helping Women
Established in 1973 by students at the University of Cincinnati, Women Helping Women’s mission is to prevent gender-based violence and to empower ALL survivors, regardless of gender identity or expression. In 2021, WHW provided 26,083 services to 7,051 survivors and trained 4,982 members of the community.
The agency accomplishes this work thanks to the many donors, volunteers, and community leaders who empower advocates and educators to bring expert crisis intervention services and evidence-based prevention education programs to every corner of our community. Together, our region can rise beyond violence.
If you would like to learn more, please follow this link to a video about its DVERT program, which the UC School of Criminal Justice has called a model that should be adopted nationally:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLE8U48w6-Qor contact WHW’s development team at 513-381-5610.
Split-the-plate collections are taken the third Sunday of the month during service, though online donations can occur any time during the month.
To make an online donation that is split 50/50, go tohttps://stjohnsuu.org/donate/. If you want your entire contribution to go to WHW, make out a check to St. John’s noting “Women Helping Women 100%” in the subject line. Update: We collected $489.05 for the Cincinnati Recycle/Reuse Hub, our Split-the-Plate recipient for October. Thanks!
Two Items about Found House
1. St. John's board on Nov. 2 approved a proposal for St. John’s to become a host congregation for Found House/IHNin 2023. They want you to have an opportunity to share questions, concerns and ideas at an informal meeting after church Sunday, Dec. 4. Members of the board will be there, along with Wanda Crawford, our Found House coordinator. Please see this list of FAQs for more information.
2. Since July, many St. Johners have provided meals for unhoused families in the Found House/IHN program. The next opportunity to do so is Friday, Dec. 9. Families are staying at a church, so volunteers can share a meal and hang out with the parents and children. If this sounds like a fun and rewarding way to spend a Friday night, sign up here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040b49aaa62aa75-found.
Contact Wanda Crawford with questions. This is a social justice activity that parents and kids can do together!
A survey on promoting Democracy
We know a lot of us contributed to registering voters, sharing voter information and working for Boards of Elections. To learn more about how much St. Johners participated in democracy, we created a short survey that we hope you'll take so we can gain a picture and likely have something to brag about. Please check out the survey. Voting is among the options you can check. Thank you!
Article II is the section of the UUA Bylaws that includes our statement of Purpose, the seven Principles and Sources, our Inclusion clause, and our Freedom of Belief clause. The Commission has been charged by the UUA Board to consider possible amendments to this Article which has not been updated since 1987.
The Commission will make revisions and the final proposed draft will be placed on the General Assembly Agenda in May. There will be a series of votes by congregational delegates. St. John’s will have 5 voting
delegates for General Assembly in Pittsburgh June 21 – 25, 2023.
Delegates will be selected in April.
For questions or more information, contact Joetta Prost, Wider UU World team leader, email@example.com.
In the Community
Relationship Building Training
As we move forward in building Dr. King’s beloved community, it’s imperative to slow down and take the time to build authentic, 1-to-1, powerful relationships with one another. Relationships have the ability to unite strangers around a common cause so that our collective, diverse voices cannot be ignored.
Leaders from the Immigrant Dignity Coalition have come forward to help shape a new relationship building training offered by IJPC, taking place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. The in-person training will help participants articulate why relationship building is important, understand the difference between public and private relationships, unpack the concept of self-interest, and practice the skill of 1-to-1 meetings.