UUFSMA Newsletter April 20, 2020

The Mission of this Fellowship is to serve the spirit as each individual understands it; to serve the educational and pastoral needs of our own community; and to serve our multicultural community through actions that further social justice.

Update from your UU COVID-19 Taskforce

Our State is reporting more cases now, and there are local cases in SMA…so we are approaching the time when we need to take the greatest precautions. We hope you have all been practicing good handwashing, social distancing and masks when you are out – but of course the safest policy is to just STAY HOME. You may be tempted to cheat on these guidelines – please don’t!

And remember: the virus won’t come into your house by itself, you need to let it in. So be especially careful about people and objects that enter your home.

If you have a regular doctor here, please make contact with them to find out their preferred methods of communication.

The Fellowship is keeping track of trusted emergency contact information of our members, especially those who live alone here. If you have not yet provided it, or want it updated, please contact Denise by responding to this email.

The new Home Care Guide is now available and the link is listed below This Guide has excellent detailed advice about taking care of yourself or someone in your home,
in case of infection.

Evaluation of more serious COVID-19 symptoms can be done at the local hospitals, and there are many effective treatments (such as IV fluids and oxygen) which can be started there. Our current information is that all SMA hospitals will remain open for non-virus-related medical problems, and that anyone who needs in-patient care for Coronavirus
will be sent to regional hospitals.

Most of us will not need this kind of care, especially if we follow the guidelines and take care of ourselves at home!

The Task Force has also been thinking about how our community can stay connected and share our feelings and experiences with each other. As a first step, we are including links to guidelines for a technique called Active Listening, and to a weekly calendar which may help you find words to express what you are feeling. We hope you find these tools
useful. If you have any questions, please contact Bonney McDowell, member of the Task Force at miko789@gmail.com.

Home Care Guide for COVID-19

Active Listening

Weekly Feelings Chart


Coffee Chat with Tom on Zoom

Join me for coffee/tea and a chat. We will start at 9:30 tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. Hope you will join me and many of your UU friends.

The information for how to connect is below.

Hasta mañana,

Topic: Tom’s Zoom Meeting

Time: April 21, 2020, 09:30 AM Mexico City Time

         Every week on Tuesday
        Apr 28, 2020 09:30 AM
        May 5, 2020 09:30 AM
        May 12, 2020 09:30 AM
        May 19, 2020 09:30 AM
        May 26, 2020 09:30 AM
        Jun 2, 2020 09:30 AM
        Jun 9, 2020 09:30 AM
        Jun 16, 2020 09:30 AM
        Jun 23, 2020 09:30 AM

Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar
Weekly: https://zoom.us/meeting/uZAvdO6spjIvrwG47-_D7L2s05n_BiqtTA/ics?icsToken=98tyKu2srDgtHtyctVztc7AtOdr-bvHIlGNZjfcK0SDBVAwBcVOjON1gO6NrJPmB

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 442 374 895
Password: 724450

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Meeting ID: 442 374 895
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Find your local number:  https://zoom.us/u/a6rk1JziN

Care Team

                                Let’s Meditate! Coping during COVID-19
                                    by Joan Wolf, Care Team Co-chair

Isolation, social distancing, loss of normal, and no clear end in sight, how are you coping?
For me, meditation is a very important practice in establishing equanimity through life’s
changes. I am a child of the sixties, and like many from my generation, we found that Eastern religions offered a kind of wisdom for which we were searching. I learned to meditate in that era. And over the decades there were times when I practiced more regularly than others. In 2013 I became a Buddhist by accepting the Five Mindfulness Trainings at a Thich Nhat Hahn retreat in St. Catherine’s Ontario. That’s when I began a daily meditation practice which I have maintained almost every day since.

Meditation is mainstream now. Scientists have documented the benefits. Doctors and Oprah prescribe it. There is really nothing fringe or woo woo about it. It works. We take care of our bodies with exercise and good nutrition. And we can take care of our minds with meditation and by being aware of what we feed our mind: what kind and how much news, tv shows and internet we consume.

In my practice, I no longer expect to reach some exalted state of enlightenment. When I was in my twenties, that’s what I thought Nirvana was. But now the fruit of my practice is freedom from believing everything I think. When I meditate thoughts come and go. Feelings come and go.

But I don’t have to attach. I let them go without furthering the stories that my mind just naturally wants to spin. It’s what our minds do. Just like our hearts beat. Our minds tell us endless, non stop stories. These stories stir up emotions and we go through our days oblivious to what we are constantly telling ourselves. Unless we stop. Sit. And listen to what’s happening in our heads. That’s meditation. Stopping. Being aware. So the big trick when we stop, is not to judge ourselves for any thought or emotion that we notice popping up. Just, aha, thinking of chocolate again, go back to your breath.

Want to give it a try? Here are three simple steps:

1. Pick an object on which to focus. It can be your breath or a mantra.
2. Pick a place in your home. Designate a spot where you can sit on a chair or cushion, with elegant posture, every day. Perhaps make an altar or have flowers or incense.
3. Pick a time of day and an amount of time you will commit. Perhaps first thing in the morning or just before bed. Also decide on the length of time. Set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes to start, and gradually work up to 30 or 40 minutes. The length of time is not as important as doing it every day.

Now, to borrow Nike’s slogan, Just Do It!

Meditation is simple, but it is not easy. Your mind will wander, sometimes you will get sleepy. The practice is to return again, and again, and again to your object of focus. And return without beating yourself up. You will see your mind say “oh I’m no good at this” blah, blah, blah. Just thoughts. Notice them and let them go. You are training your mind to concentrate, and you are learning to be non judgemental and to let go.

For more information, please Google the following names along with the phrase 'how to
meditate'. You will find a treasure trove of wisdom. Enjoy! Thich Nhat Hahn, Sharon Salzburg, Tara Brach, Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield, Norman Fischer, Ram Dass.


If you are in need of assistance or know someone who does please contact Francoise or Joan.

If you are in need of a healthcare professional, you will find a comprehensive listing on DiscoverSMA.com under the Business Directory tab, Medical Services. You can search by specialty and/or name, and read reviews posted by others who have used their care.

For pastoral care, please contact Rev. Tom Rosiello -
415-122-2119,  tomrosiello@gmail.com
Françoise: 415 149 3053, francoise.yohalem@gmail.com
Joan Wolf, 415-154-9660, joanwolf@umich.edu 

Calendar of Activities

All are welcome to attend any and all UUFSMA activities. Please join us!

The Tuesday discussion group that met at Quinta Loreto is now meeting using Zoom.  Liz Stone and Bill Dalsimer are moderators. 

The topic for Tuesday, April 21 is

"Aging.  It can be challenging but also creates opportunities.  Should we "Elders" wake up and think:  what opportunities do I have today?  What new things could I (or should I) do today?  Are we willing to make some of the adjustments now necessary as we age?"


A different discussion group meets on Thursdays, is moderated by Trish Snyder.

The topic for Thursday, April 23 is

“Has this virus made you think more of your own mortality.  If so, how are you responding.” 


Although both groups are very popular, there is room for one or two more in each group.  If you are interested in joining, please e-mail jane.wilkinson@gmail.com


If you'd like to form a third discussion group, perhaps with a different focus, Jane Wilkinson and Diana Amaya can help you. Possible topics are political policy, cinema, sports, religion/spirituality or anything else that interests you and might appeal to a group of other UUers. 

Contact Jane at  jane.wilkinson@gmail.com or Diana at di.diana.amaya@gmail.com.


Wednesday Lunch Bunch has been suspended indefinitely.


Saturday Men's breakfast group has been suspended indefinitely.

The Circle Cena has been suspended indefinitely.

Attached is a link to the recording of our Zoom Sunday Service held on April 19, 2020.

Password: 8P=W1^#l

Sunday, April 26, 10:30am


Networking Earth’s
Interconnected Web

Rev. Tom Rosiello



This service will be transmitted via Zoom. Those interested in viewing this and future Services should either download the Zoom Cloud Meetings app or go to the zoom.us site and click  



Or use the Zoom Cloud Meetings app on your smartphone or tablet

The Meeting ID is 414 604 040, PASSWORD 294513

With the observance of Earth Day as a backdrop, UU Fellowship of SMA Affiliate Minister Rev. Tom Rosiello considers spiritual traditions guiding humanity’s relation to the natural world. Biblical authors present an adversarial conquest of the Earth and the reaping of its gifts without reflecting upon damage to Nature’s system. Native Americans extoll kinship with Mother Earth, Father Sun, Brother Forest, and Sister Sea. In contemporary spirituality, such contradictory spirits reconcile, as in Unitarian Universalism’s seventh principle affirming an interconnected web of existence.

Whether interconnected web or whirlwind of destruction, humanity can lose control of their place in nature, as CoViD-19 demonstrates. Then Dr. Martin Luther King Jr sounds almost clairvoyant, "For we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.”  

For these times, Rev. Rosiello reflects upon the goodwill, ingenuity and steep learning curve that enables the UU Fellowship, like many other organizations, to continue pastoral and social work. Online media, he notes, make Dr. King’s “network of mutuality” uncannily tangible. As in this presentation, on five previous Sunday mornings, Rosiello speaks to the Fellowship from his San Miguel home as more than 120 households turn on electronic devices that Zoom into Rosiello’s living room. In a cautionary foreshadowing of global climate risks, Rev. Rosiello reminds us that humankind has the tools at hand to nourish the human spirit even when nature asserts dominance of Earth’s interconnected web.   

The Fellowship likewise reaches out virtually online to continue almost every other service to which it committed resources before the pandemic. Its online CoViD-19 Task Force distributes science-based information to the Fellowship. The UU Care Team meets online each week, sustains virtual contact with members living alone or managing illnesses, and supports the needs of the unwell for contact with other services. A UU Women’s Group meets every week online. UU discussion groups assemble by Zoom at their individual venues. Members who return to the United States and Canada can continue to participate. The busy UU Fellowship is committed to serving and connecting members with each other during these challenging times of isolation.

Pianist Paula Peace will share music to celebrate the Earth, including “From a Distance” and Kim Oler's "For the Earth Forever Turning,” a movement from Paul Winter's Missa Gaia/Earth Mass. 

To participate in the online service, members and visitors are invited to download the Zoom Cloud Meetings app through their smartphone, tablet, or on a laptop or desktop computer at https://zoom.us/download. Join the service at https://zoom.us/j/414604040. The password is 294513. Sign-in between 10:15-10:25 am. The UU Fellowship welcomes people of all ages, races, religions, sexual orientation, and gender identity. For additional information, visit www.uufsma.org.


Options for Sending Money to UUFSMA

(including from your IRA fund) in U.S. Dollars


  1. Do a Zelle interbank transfer. This is a free transfer system involving most national banks and many regional banks. Go online to your bank account and find a "send money" tab, or equivalent. Information should indicate that it's part of the Zelle system.  Send the money to uufsma.treasurer@gmail.com.  It will automatically go into our Frost Bank account in Texas.  You don't even need our account number.
  2. Do an electronic transfer to our account at Frost Bank, Account #:  610227587.  The routing number is 114000093.  The name on the account is Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Miguel de Allende, but UUFSMA should suffice.  There should be no fee for this.
  3. Send a check (paper or electronic bill pay), made out to UUFSMA, to our Frost Bank account as follows:

          Frost Bank
          Bank by Mail Dept.
          P.O. Box 2919
          San Antonio, TX

       * Make sure there's a notation to deposit in Account #610227587. Usually there's a 
         box for the account number if you are using electronic bill pay.


  1. Send money via PayPal to uufsma.treasurer@gmail.com. There is a 2.9% charge for this service.
  2. Put a paper check in the Sunday collection basket. (when we resume services)

If you want to contribute from a charitable trust, that must go through the UUA in Boston.  Please contact uufsma.treasurer@gmail.com for more information.


If you contribute from your IRA, please let our treasurer know, as the information our bank gives us doesn't always include the donor's name.  Please write to uufsma.treasurer@gmail.com



Social Action
The UUFSMA Social Action Committee (SAC) has been in existence since 2002. A large part of its work has involved reviewing and making funding recommendations on grant proposals from local Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs). These grants help improve the quality of life for Mexicans living in and around San Miguel. In 2019 the UUFSMA provided financial support to 11 NGOs with $45,000 USD in grants, representing about half of the Fellowship’s annual income. In addition, each quarter, the SAC and the Congregation help identify organizations with special, often one-time needs, for which the entire Sunday offering is given. We call these donations our “Blue Plate Specials.”

This year the SAC has expanded its activities in several ways by:

* Providing updates to the Congregation before each Sunday offering, detailing progress
grantees are making on the projects the UUFSMA has helped to fund.
* Acting as a conduit to the Board of Directors with information about local social justice
initiatives such as Climate Strikes and Calls to Action on the Migrant Crisis.
* Partnering with members of the Congregation and local organizations to provide small
group discussions and action steps members can take to address Climate Action – the 13th of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development goals.

If you are visiting San Miguel or live here part time, we are interested in learning about the
social action/social justice work of your US or Canada-based congregation. Please feel free to take a flyer from the Welcome Table, share it with folks, and act as a bridge between your congregation and us, so that we can learn more about them and possibly find ways to partner with each other. Thank you!

Meetings are held on the first Thursday of the month at 1:00 PM and all are welcome. For
more information, please contact Rebecca Langrall (rlangrall22@gmail.com).
Third in a series of talks on water in
the time of coronavirus.

Please click on the link below to read the message.

Non Profit Organizations Supported
by the UUFSMA in 2020
We understand that these are difficult and uncertain times due to the COVID-19.
We acknowledge that there may be a need to be flexible with the grant funding to address emergent needs. We have awarded $55,000 USD in grants in 2020.
Caminos de Agua provides open-source solutions related to water quality and quantity for communities at risk on our aquifer in Central Mexico. Grant will fund a full time Community Outreach and Education specialist.  Grant Amount: $5855 USD. ($112,416 pesos). https://caminosdeagua.org/

Click on this link for Caminos de Agua's Year End 2019 Message - https://mailchi.mp/2d0d6306e560/do-twice-as-much-good-4724697?e=e29714f28e
Caminamos Juntos helps meet the needs of Mexican nationals deported from the US. Grant will fund efforts to expand radio outreach and community assessment efforts. Grant Amount: No new funds. $5,000 USD rollover from 2019. 

Caminamos Juntos Newsletter
CJ Annual Report 2019

Casita Linda builds houses and provides workshops to help improve life for those living in poverty. Grant will fund 62 workshops in life quality enhancement such as self-esteem building, organic gardening, and family communication. Grant Amount: $3,135USD. ($60,192 pesos)

Click on this link for 2019 Year End News  https://mail.google.com/mail/u/1?ui=2&ik=918a4a7f08&view=lg&permmsgid=msg-f:1651959914596773209
CEDESA organizes communities for sustainable living in rural areas. Grant will fund six promodores to provide workshops on identity building, the construction of dry toilets, rainwater catchment systems, organic gardening, and community leadership. Grant Amount: $8,628 USD. ($165,658 pesos)

Centro Infantil de los Angeles provides high quality childcare (including health and educational needs) to low-income mothers allowing them to earn a living. Grant will fund scholarships for free childcare (infants of three months to four years) for 10 children. Grant Amount: $5,000 USD.  ($96,000 pesos) 

El Charco del Ingenio protects and preserves the territory and ecosystem of El Charco, providing ecological, scenic, educational, and historic value to the region. Grant will contribute to the development of a new Interpretive Center to encourage more visitors, particularly students. Grant Amount: $3,500 USD. ($67,200 pesos) 

Click on this link to read the latest on El Charco del Ingenio https://gem.godaddy.com/p/8d42801?pact=88239-157688863-11196302084-3492e196c2d1273a56e8f97c2e4794d296da1a64

Escuela de Educación Especial offers education to those with hearing impairment aimed at ensuring they become independent, literate, and productive citizens.  Grant would go toward part of the salary of the Academic Director, setting up a new hearing clinic, and training teachers to educate a child who is both deaf and blind. Grant Amount: $3,600 USD. ($69,120 pesos) 

Click on this link to read the latest EEESMA newsletter. https://conta.cc/34pNLDJ

Feed the Hungry offers school meals, family nutrition education, and community development programs. Grant will fund the purchase of food for 13,000 meals for two schools (20 mothers and 30 toddlers). Grant Amount: $2,225 USD. (42,720 pesos) 

Fundación de Apoyo Infantil supports positive lifelong habits through classes for children in environmental education, organic gardening, and recycling. Grant will fund two rainwater catchment systems and 12 ceramic water filters for 12 classrooms in two of SMA’s poorest elementary schools and help to support workshops. Grant Amount: $2,297 USD. ($44,201 pesos) 

Update of activities 2019
Jóvenes Adelante provides university scholarships and support to financially challenged youth.  Grant will fund 4 students for a year.  Length of time in university is 4 – 5 years, depending on their field of study. Grant Amount: $7,735 USD. (148,512 pesos) 

Mujeres en Cambio provides scholarships to girls and young women in rural communities to keep them in school and help them attend college. Grant will fund 13 girls through one more year of junior high school or high school. Grant Amount: $4,000 USD. ($76,800 pesos) 

Ninos Con Autismo Identifies, evaluates, devises treatment plans, and assesses progress for children with autism. As a new organization, the grantee has requested flexibility to direct funds where most needed. Grant amount: $4,790 USD.  ($91,968 pesos)


Patronato Pro Niños provides medical, dental, psychological and nutritional care for children and adolescents from economically deprived families in the municipality of SMA. Grant will fund the Public Health Information Campaign and the funding of a psychologist at the clinic. Grant Amount: $4,000 USD. ($76,800 pesos)

The UUFSMA Newsletter is produced each week for members and friends of the congregation. Information should be submitted by Wednesday each week to denise.uufsma@gmail.com

Contact Us!

Board of Directors 2020-2021 (as of April 1, 2020)

Dan Neuspiel, President, 415-154-5021, dneuspiel@gmail.com
William Dalsimer, 1st VP, 917-991-7841, wrdalsimer@gmail.com
Chris Chase, 2nd VP, 170-4544, Chris.Chase1955@gmail.com

Jane Wilkinson, Treasurer, 152-8019, jane.wilkinson@gmail.com
Joseph Plummer, Secretary, 412-371-0237, wordfisher@gmail.com 
Bonney McDowell, 415-145-7689, miko789@gmail.com
Jim Harper, 152-2380, smaharper@yahoo.com
Rebecca Langrall, 415-151-0065, rlangrall22@gmail.com
Joan Wolf, 
415-154-9660, joanwolf@umich.edu

Jurgen Ahlers, 
415-167-1203, 1jurgenahlers@gmail.com

If you would like a copy of minutes from a Board of Directors meeting, please contact
Dan Neuspiel,  President.

Affiliate Minister, Rev. Tom Rosiello, tomrosiello@gmail.com 

                    Committee Chairs and Activity


Pledge Team
Trish Snyder, trishsnyder49@gmail.com
Carolyn Simsarian, 

Finance Committee
Margo Johnson, margoj325@outlook.com

Nominating Committee
Francoise Yohalem, francoise.yohalem@gmail.com

Administrator (OOS, website, newsletter, committee & board support)
Denise Galipeau, denise.uufsma@gmail.com 


Care Team
Francoise Yohalem, francoise.yohalem@gmail.com
Joan Wolf

Children's Program
Chris Chase, chris.chase1955@gmail.com

Circle Cena
Arlena Lawrence, lawrencearlena@yahoo.com

Tuesday Discussion Group
Liz Stone, elmendorf7@aol.com

Sunday Services
Paula Peace, paulapeace@bellsouth.net
Cathy Canepa, ccanepamd@gmail.com

Coffee Hour
Peter Podesta, parlino27@gmail.com

Cynthia Sterling, sterlingsilver33@gmail.com

Greetings & Name Tags
Jim Harper, smaharper@yahoo.com 

Membership Services
Chris Chase, chris.chase1955@gmail.com

Neighborhood Groups
Eleanor Goodwin, epgoodwin@hotmail.com 

Order of Service
Denise Galipeau, denise.uufsma@gmail.com

Peter Podesta, parlino27@gmail.com 

Social Action, Outreach and Publicity
Christie McGue, clmcgue@gmail.com

Social Action Committee
Rebecca Langrall, rlangrall22@gmail.com 

Denise Galipeau, denise.uufsma@gmail.com

San Miguel de Allende, GTO, Mexico