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  • 2020-2021 Budget Drive Continues: Let’s Keep Dancing! When we kicked off our annual Stewardship Drive a month ago, we chose the theme “Let it be a Dance.” Little did we know the fancy footwork that we all would be doing just a few short weeks later!  Despite COVID-19, the Stewardship Campaign is still on. If you have already pledged, THANK YOU!!  Over 50% of our pledges have been received, amounting to about half of the anticipated budget for the coming year.  Now we need to hear from the rest of you.  We are extending the Pledge Drive to April 5 to allow time for the last round of pledges to come in before building our budget Some of us are worried about our own economic well-being in the coming months, and all of our financial commitments may have to change. Of course, that’s okay. You can let us know by your new pledge, whatever the size.  Please keep in mind that every single pledge–no matter the amount–makes a difference to our congregation’s well-being    Those of us who can are encouraged to give somewhat more than we’d planned, which can help make up the difference. Together we can do this. Ways to Pledge There are three ways to pledge: Online via REALM (preferred) Log in to your REALM account, using this link:  https://onrealm.org/uufa/ If you haven’t registered on REALM yet, contact Shaye Gambrell, UUFA Administrator, who will then send you an invitation to Realm. Once your account is set up, continue with the next steps. Click on “Giving” tab on the left-hand menu, Click on “+PLEDGE,” Enter your yearly total amount in the first box and choose either “as can” or “yearly.” (Ignore the other options.) Paper pledge form Complete the paper pledge form that will be in the mailing coming soon to all individuals who haven’t already pledged or simply write your yearly pledge amount, your name, address, email, and phone number in a note. Mail your form or note to UUFA (780 Timothy Road, Athens, GA 30606). Our staff is routinely checking our mail. Get human help Contact Shaye Gambrill by email (any day) or phone in the office (Tues-Fri) (uufa@uuathensga.org, (706) 546-7914). Contact Thrane Jensen, Treasurer, directly by email (thrane@zjensens.com). If you would like to learn more about the goals for the 20-21 Program Year click here. Thank you in advance for your continuing commitment to the Fellowship.  Now let’s keep dancing! ————————————————————————————-
  • Ministry Council Wants to Keep You Connected!! Now, perhaps more than ever we need to feel the light of truth, the warmth of community, and the fire of commitment…UUFA and the connections made here can continue to support us through these uncertain times even if the format is new and different. Join us for daily opportunities to connect online. We invite you, our congregants, to join us for socializing and fellowship while the building is closed, and we must maintain physical distance. Using technology, we can maintain and nurture the connections that sustain. Stay tuned for more information as we will be ready to roll this out early next week. Some of our offerings will include morning and evening meditations, story-time (for children, and adults are welcome, too!), coffee hour, and happy hour virtual meetups. The technology is simple to grasp. With the click of a link, you are connected. We look forward to seeing you in virtual space.  ————————————————————————————–
  • View This Sunday’s Service Online! (Click for the link.) Visit this page for the live stream link on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and other UUFA videos: https://www.uuathensga.org/online/ ——————————————————————————-
  • Limiting Pastoral Visits In keeping with coronavirus-recommended restrictions on retirement communities and hospitals, the Pastoral Care Team will not be visiting seniors in their homes or retirement communities until further notice. Further, we advise self-identified seniors not to attend services for the time being. We will be making arrangements for worship services online, and we’ll be calling to check in occasionally. We want our seniors safe! ————————————————————————————-
  • UUFA Fall Retreat Registration Open Registration online for our Fall Retreat (October 2 through 4) is now open. To register go to The Mountain website themountainrlc.org, click on “All Events,” scroll down to events taking place in October, then select “UU Fellowship of Athens Biennial Retreat.”  Select “Learn More and Register”. Then follow the prompts.  If you find that you need help, click on “Contact Us.” Early registration, which saves $20 and makes the cost $170.00, is open from now until July 31.  Keep in mind that housing is assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.  If you need a particular type of housing, registering early is a good idea. The retreat is a Fun and Fellowship activity. For more information, contact Carol-Lee Baker (carlee1945@gmail.com or 706-483-2314). ———————————————————————————-
  • Are You a Live-Streamer? Friends, While there were some miscues and some people who had trouble getting to the live video, we had 62 watchers during our first attempt at streaming Sunday-morning worship. We are still processing the experience, gathering feedback from members of the Worship Arts and Celebrations Team, and will be working this week to improve our process for next Sunday. For details and links for this Sunday, go to uuathensga.org/online. Meanwhile, many thanks to Paul Eskildsen who overcame a pretty steep A/V and streaming technology learning curve to operate our camera and to Neil, Brent, and Jean for the music. If you have experience with webinar setup/execution and would like to help our small team please contact Lee Cornell (uufa.lee@gmail.com). We wish we could see you all next Sunday, but you will see us. Until we can gather once more may health, love, and peace be with you and your families. Lee Cornell, Lay Minister ——————————————————————————
  • Solar Energy Coming Soon to UUFA We are in the middle of an exciting project to install solar panels on the roof of UUFA buildings.  How did this happen? Jackie and Bill Pierson decided that they would like to see UUFA have solar power and were willing to fund it.  When they approached Kate Blane and Dan Everett, members of the Green Sanctuary Committee, the project came to life.  Kate and Dan did some exploring and got a quote but had a previously scheduled trip to Europe and had to set the solar-panel project aside.   Barb Shell, President of the Board, not wanting the project to languish, brought it to the Board of Trustees whereupon Lyndall Tunnell volunteered and was assigned the task of moving the project along by researching and getting quotes for various systems from contractors. Bids from several companies and for different system sizes were presented to the Board, the Green Sanctuary Committee, and the Finance Committee.  Consensus was reached to contract with Solar Sun World for a 51 kilowatt system.  Lyndall was charged with negotiations and solicited advice from Thrane Jensen and Harold Weaver.  The contract was signed on February 12, 2020; and materials were delivered to the warehouse of the contractor on March 16, 2020. When the Board of Trustees gave final approval for the project, Lyndall was assigned the task of managing installation, and he is soliciting advice from Iva King and Harold Weber.  Depending on weather, installation should begin sometime in April and last about three weeks. We certainly look forward to staying cool this summer, using energy from solar panels rather than fossil fuels.  It is expected that on sunny summer days, the solar system will meet or nearly meet our peak energy demands.  We will certainly see lower electricity bills and expect to sell energy in excess of our needs to the power company. A huge thanks to Jackie and Bill Pierson for making this exciting project possible. ———————————————————————————-
  • Share Your Joys, Sorrows, and Milestones (Click here for link.) Stay In Touch! Although we are sheltering in place and keeping physically distant from each other, we need not sever all connections. Please follow this link to communicate your Joys, Sorrows, and Milestones to Rev. Alison and the Pastoral Care Team. We’re all concerned about what’s happening, but is there something special you’re joyful about? Or sorrowful? Or have you reached a significant milestone? If so, please let Rev. Alison know by filling out the linked form. On Sunday morning during our virtual services, any messages you want shared will be announced by Rev. Alison. She’ll continue to post those you want posted on our collective Joy, Sorrow & Milestone page, too, so stay in touch! Be well, keep your distance, and enjoy your time at home as best you can. _________________________________________________
  • UUFA President’s Podcast: Ordinary Lives in Extraordinary Times Click below to view a new message from UUFA President Barb Schell with updates on goings on of board members and other UUFA folk during these extraordinary times. To view it in the best video quality, please use the Chrome browser. (Download Chrome here.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lw-rWp5kw_Y&feature=youtu.be ————————————————————————————
  • Email Phishing Scam Hits Congregations Many congregations are reporting that their members have received “phishing” emails appearing to come from their ministers asking for help.  The email addresses look like legitimate gmail addresses but are not the ones used by the ministers. Please be aware that no one from UUFA will ever ask you to share sensitive or financial information via personal email. All UUFA business is conducted using secure and authorized UUFA channels. What can you do? If you would like to help fight the scam emails, you can report this incident from your email account or file a phishing report using Google’s online form, which will help us get this account blocked ASAP. If you ever receive a suspicious email using “UUFA”  or the name of a staff member, please alert Congregational Administrator Shaye Gambrell at uufa@uuathensga.org. You can find the correct emails for all staff at https://www.uuathensga.org/uufa/ministers-and-staff/ ———————————————————————————
  • Joys, Sorrows, Milestones – Spring 2020 Recently Shared In keeping with our “Sharing Our Joys, Sorrows, and Milestones” procedure (click on the blue link for details), the following people asked to have their notes from a recent Sunday service shared with you. Notes from the last four weeks are posted. Week of March 15, 2020 Debbie Hardegree shares the sorrow of my precious Mama’s death on March 13 was lessened by the many emails, cards, comments and phone calls from my UUFA friends. Thank you all so much. Helene Brittain writes, “Recently, I began wearing a continuous glucose monitor. This is an innovation for diabetes management. It is a milestone in my 50 years with type 1 diabetes, and I am grateful to have it.” Rosemary Wood reports that just two weeks after writing an obituary for her late brother, her sister suddenly died. She is now the only surviving sibling in her family.   Sunday, March 8, 2020 Barbara Leissner shares “When I was a little girl in the early 30’s, I learned to sing “This Little Light of Mine” in a Swedish summer camp. It brings back fond memories. Rosalie Solheim has a milestone birthday this week and becomes a nonagenarian! Happy Birthday, Rosalie. Elizabeth Bishop-Martin celebrated the life of her brother, Richard Bishop, in Urbana, Illinois, last weekend. His children created a wonderful memorial service where we sang two hymns from the UU hymnal.   Sunday, March 1, 2020 Rosemary Wood let us know her brother died in late February after a long, arduous journey for his family and himself. He was diagnosed in December 2018, and she is relieved he is no longer in pain. A private graveside funeral will take place Sunday. Deb Brenner has a trip planned to Gothenburg, Sweden, this week to see her son, daughter-in-law and grand children. Her family has been researching and seriously considering whether it is wise for her to travel internationally. They hope to make a decision this afternoon. ___________________________________________________
  • CANCELLED: April 3-5: High School Spring Con According to The Mountain website “due to the current climate, and public health concerns, Spring Youth CONs, and March Events have been cancelled.” ————————————————————————————
  • CANCELLED–March 19 to noon on March 28: Advance Voting for 2020-21 Causes of the Month All members of UUFA are invited to vote for the 2020-21 Causes of the Month either through advance voting (March 19 through noon on March 28) or through in-person voting on March 29. Click here for advance voting online for 2020-21 Causes of the Month. Click here for a paper ballot, also be available on the Ways to Engage table in the Welcoming Hall with the “official” ballot box.  Paper ballots must be received at UUFA by noon on March 28, when advance voting closes. In-person voting will occur on Sunday, March 29, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Eskildsen Room. For further information, contact Deb Brenner (dbrennercbrenner@gmail.com) ————————————————————————————
  • March Spotlight Volunteers We are so pleased to honor Janet and Mark Hodges for their coordination of our UUFA’s support of Family Promise (formerly known as Interfaith Hospitality Network of Athens). The Hodges have a long-term interest in programs that assist the homeless, so Family Promise attracted them as soon as they heard about it.  They were impressed to find a program that provides families with temporary housing so that they can earn the money needed to find a home of their own.  They began as volunteers, and Mark became the UUFA coordinator several years ago.  Four weeks a year, UUFA volunteers assist Holy Cross Lutheran in hosting several families with children, where they provide meals as well as overnight hosting, evening hosting, and Sunday morning hosting.  In addition, they occasionally assist families in moving their belongings into their new homes. The Hodges say participating in a program in which a small time commitment results in major life changes for the beneficiaries of the assistance is gratifying. Thank you, Janet and Mark, for your leadership in this important endeavor. ——————————————————————————–
  • Nominees and Voting for 2020-21 Causes of the Month (Click here for links to websites of the nominated organizations.) A new procedure for selecting the 2020-21 Causes of the Month for UUFA’s Share the Plate program invites all members of UUFA (rather than just those individuals attending the Social Action Committee meetings) to be part of the voting process. In-person voting will occur on Sunday, March 29, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Eskildsen Room. Early (advance) voting (either online or by paper ballot) for the 2020-21 Causes of the Month will occur from March 19 to noon on March 28. Members will have an opportunity to vote for up to 12 organizations. The following organizations have been nominated. Click on each name to visit organization’s website. The Ark The Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement Athens Queer Collective Books for Keeps (BFK) Circle of Friends Animal Society (COFAS) The Cottage Dignidad Inmigrante en Athens (DIA) Dolly Parton Imagination Library in Athens Economic Justice Coalition (EJC) Food 2 Kids/Food 2 Tots Friends of Advantage Friends of Brooklyn Cemetery Georgia Conflict Center Hands In! HEART Music Sandy Creek Nature Center Support for Immigrant Families in Crisis (SIFIC)  Sweet Olive Animal Sanctuary UUFA’s Partner Church Wheels of Hope FYI–If you nominated an organization and it is not listed above OR if you have questions about the 2020-21 Cause of the Month voting process, please contact Karen Solheim (uufa.karensolheim@gmail.com). ————————————————————————————-
  • Save the Date–October 26 through November 1–ICUU Council Meeting and Conference Connect with the international U/U community to explore the many ways in which we each practice and embody our shared faith and the art of living as a religious liberal in the world and share the experience of our global faith. PROGRAM We are planning to bring practitioners of music, art, movement and sacred text to help lead us in meaningful and transformative experiences of our diverse, shared faith. October 26 through November 1 Montreal, Canada Click here for more information about this event. Click here for more information about ICUU. ——————————————————————————

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