UUFSMA Newsletter August 17, 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.

Support for Online Learning

The Social Action Committee has received two requests to support university students now reliant on online learning to continue their education this fall. The first is for funds to purchase laptops; the second is a request for used laptops that will be refurbished locally in San Miguel.

Next Sunday we will hold a “Blue Plate Special” - one of our special collections for supporting local needs falling outside the Fellowship’s regular grant activity. In the past our “Blue Plate Specials” have been used to purchase chairs for people participating in the So Others May Eat Wednesday lunches; supplies for the migrant shelter ABBA House in Celaya; heirloom seeds for The Seed Bank; and offer support to TOSMA, the Railroad Project, the Biblioteca and other organizations. With a single laptop running around $500, we encourage all our members who are able to give generously next Sunday so that students may continue their education uninterrupted this fall. When sending a donation, please identify that it is for Online Learning support.

For UUF members and friends living locally, if you have unused or discarded devices that fit the following criteria, please consider donating them:

  • Processor Intel i3

  • Memory ram 4 Gb (preferible 8 Gb)

  • Hardware 1Tb

  • Windows 10

  • Ports: HDMI, USB and Ethernet

If it is convenient, you can drop them at Bob Millage’s house (address and contact info below). Just let him know when and he will make himself available. Otherwise, he can pick them up from your home:

Robert Millage

28 de Abril Norte #45

Colonia San Antonio

San Miguel de Allende

Guanajuato 37750

MX cell 415-566-0170

US cell  206-920-8313

For those of you currently in the U.S. and Canada who will be returning to San Miguel, kindly consider activating your local friend and family networks to see if anyone has unused laptops that fit the criteria above.  If you are willing and able to bring them back with you, please contact Bob upon your return to arrange transfer.  Thank you!

Update from your UU COVID-19 Taskforce

Our COVID-19 Task Force recognizes that despite the continuous rise of cases of Covid19 in San Miguel, many of our members and friends have chosen some behaviors that increase their risk of exposure to infection, such as going to restaurants or entertaining guests in our homes.  (We don't mean just going outside the house and walking in a safe manner, with masks and physical distancing -- this is appropriate and recommended.)


After months of seclusion, the motivation for this risk-taking is understandable.  But the risks are real, and we have learned of people who believed they were being safe but still became infected during one of these risky situations.


So I want to discuss how our UU principles can help to bolster public health recommendations to prevent coronavirus infections.


First, since we know we may be contagious before showing signs of infection, we wear masks and adhere to physical distancing because we believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person, so we strive to protect others as well as ourselves.


We advocate these recommendations and explain them to others in a loving way because we believe in justice, equity and compassion in human relations.


As I explained in more detail in my message two months ago, we believe in the value of public health guidance based on scientific evidence because we support a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.


And perhaps most importantly, we know that we are all in this together, since we respect the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.


So please continue to be safe, avoid indoor gatherings, and maintain at least six feet separation when interacting with anyone outside of your immediate sheltering unit.  It’s the UU thing to do.


If you have any questions, please contact Bonney McDowell, member of the Task Force at miko789@gmail.com.


Care Team


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!

Tuesday Coffee Chat with Tom Rosiello (9:30am)
Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar
system. Click here.

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 442 374 895
Password: 724450

Tuesday Discussion group, August 18 (11:00am)

The Tuesday Zoom discussion group is led by Bill Dalsimer and Liz Stone. 
Discussion: Thankfulness and Gratitude: What do you have now to be thankful for and how do you express gratitude?

Link:   https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81997626702


Thursday Discussion group, August 20 (11:30am)
The Thursday Zoom discussion group is led by Trish Snyder. 

Discussion:  Where will you travel first once the pandemic is over?

Link:   https://us02web.zoom.us/j/857215447


If you are interested in joining, please e-mail jane.wilkinson@gmail.com.

Friday Buddhist Group, Sangha of the Heart (10:00am)
All are welcome to participate in a free weekly Zoom sangha with Joan Wolf on Friday mornings from 10:00 to 11:15 AM. Regular participation is encouraged or drop-in when you want.

Please email Joan at joanwolf@umich.edu if you would like to be added to the Sangha of the Heart email list and receive the Zoom link in a weekly reminder.


Saturday Discussion Group for people living alon (4:00pm) 
To join this group, please contact Helen, at helycres@icloud.com  or jane.wilkinson@gmail.com.

The recording for the last Sunday service will be available on the UUFSMA Youtube channel within a few days.

Click Here

Sunday, August 23, 10:30am 


“Despensas During the Pandemic”

Hannah Swenson

The first time Hannah Swenson, UUFSMA’s guest speaker for this Sunday’s online
service, heard her call to public service in Mexico City, the earth literally shook beneath her. The powerful 2017 earthquake created enormous damage and suffering in the federal metropolis of 21 million people. And it also drew Sra. Swenson immediately into the works of Ayuda Mutua, the mutual aid society that became a vital force in sustaining lives shaken apart while the city recovered.

Still a force in the purposefully unstructured and leaderless organization, in the current
Covid-19 pandemic, Sra. Swenson works both ends of the chain of civic assistance, organizing volunteers who deliver basic grocery supplies, diabetes medication and dog food to some 289 families. These weekly despensas provide fresh fruits and vegetables along with staples like rice, beans, and tortillas across the city. At the other end of this emergency provision system, Sra. Swenson also helps Ayuda Mutua to raise money and solicit donations of merchandise. Its online art gallery helps local artists survive difficult times.

What brings a person forward to meet the needs of people whom governments and
institutions fail to assist? How is it that ordinary people come together to help one another? This Sunday Sra. Swenson will share her insights into these timely questions with the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship here in San Miguel. She will offer these insights to a service that forms a covenant around such values and so provides vital financial support for despensas that support families in San Miguel who are left without income by the pandemic.

To participate in our online Sunday Service, visit the Fellowship’s website at
www.uufsma.org and click on the Zoom Service button displayed on the home page. If
requested, enter password: 294513. Sign-in between 10:15-10:25 am.

Through grants and awards, UUFSMA donates fifty percent of all income it receives to
support nonprofit organizations that provide health, educational, and environmental services for underserved communities in the San Miguel region. Please support this work by clicking on the website home page’s Donate button. Now more than ever, your support is essential.

Due to the arrival of the coronavirus in San Miguel de Allende, UUFSMA has
indefinitely suspended in-person Sunday services and other gatherings. We advise members and friends to follow the advice of reputable public health authorities, such as the Centers for Disease Control, and to contact our Minister or Care Team for needed assistance. The UU Fellowship welcomes people of all ages, races, religions, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

If you would like to have a joy, sorrow, or concern shared during the service on Sunday,  please email it to me at tomrosiello@gmail.com and I will share it for you. 

Social Action

The UUFSMA Social Action Committee solicits, reviews, and recommends funding for grant proposals from local Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) aimed at improving the quality of life for Mexicans living in and around San Miguel. In 2020 the UUFSMA provided financial support to 13 NGOs with over $54,000 in grants, representing more than half of the Fellowship’s annual budget. 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”.

Meetings are held on the first Thursday of the month at 1:00 PM and all are welcome. For
additional information, please visit our webpage at http://www.uufsma.org/social-action.html and/or contact Committee Chair, Rebecca Langrall (rlangrall22@gmail.com).

Click on the links below to view the documents.


SMA Community

Volunteer Opportunities

(click on the name of the NGO to learn more about the organization)


Caminamos JuntosVolunteers needed to help make connections in the private sector of education and possibly fundraise for individual children to be able to attend a school that will meet their needs.  Contact Cathy Canepa at ccanpamd@gmail.com.

Caminos de Agua – Volunteers interested in offering translation support should contact Director Dylan Terrell at dylan@caminosdeagua.org.  Volunteers interested in providing technical support (chemists, engineers, and other scientists) should contact Director of Technology, Allie Reiling at alexandra@caminosdeagua.org. Volunteers interested in providing fund-raising and event coordination/planning should contact Associate Director Paco Guajuardo at paco@caminosdeagua.org.


Centro Infantil de Los Angeles – Help with the day-to-day operations of children’s daycare.  Contact Skylar to set up the short training at skylar@centroinfantil.org, +1-205-873-4038.


El Charco del Ingenio – Volunteers needed to work with plants in the botanical collection; propagate plants in the nursery; prune native vegetation; assist at the Visitor Center; guide visits; help with the environmental education program; engage in library and office work; support publicity, marketing and fundraising; assist with membership; help with workshops and events; and more.  Contact Volunteer Coordinator Naomi Zerriffi at nzerriffi@yahoo.com. Click HERE to download the form for volunteers to complete and send to Naomi.


Escuela de Educacion Especial – Volunteers needed to help staff the school store.  Contact Director John Doherty at jd98lv@hotmail.com.


Feed the Hungry – Post-pandemic, volunteers are needed to pack and deliver food. Contact Jonna Stratton at jonnainmex@gmail.com.


Fundación de Apoyo Infantil – Volunteers are needed to work directly with students on lessons related to environmental education.  Two-day training, two-week commitment, Spanish required.  Contact Fabiola Berenice Morales Llamas at beleo2d@yahoo.com.mx


Jóvenes Adelante – Volunteers needed to mentor a student.  2 – 5 year commitment. Click HERE for more information.  If interested, please contact Nora Weaver at noraweaver@jovenesadelante.org.


Libros Para Todos - Volunteers who speak Spanish are needed to accompany leaders on school visits to read to children and help them with their reading, usually one-on-one or in a small group. 3-hour commitment during a weekday morning.  Transportation not required though sometimes helpful because the truck only fits 2 people. Other volunteering includes help planning author events, ushering at concerts, evaluating submissions for a summer writing contest, and helping out at workshops. Contact Daniela Franco, danielaelenafranco@gmail.com.


Mujeres En Cambio – Volunteers needed to distribute scholarships (becas), some in the campo.  Contact Rhea Calkins at rheabcalkins@yahoo.com, 152-0858.


Niños Con Autismo - Volunteers needed to help identify possible children needing services and assist with event planning. Contact Joyce Grenis at joyce.grenis@gmail.com


Patronato Pro Niños – Volunteers needed to deliver/pick up supplies/materials each 4th of July; deliver flyers each Feb. and Nov regarding oral health campaigns; seasonal needs based on existing programs; writers/creatives; calling campaigns; help with this year's 5th Anniversary celebrations; help with the database; committee work by non-board members. Contact Claudia Briones at wawis18@hotmail.com, 415-152-7796. 

What is your legacy?  How do you wish to be remembered?  All your life you have worked hard and supported the causes you care about – don’t let that be forgotten. 

If you are thinking about including the UUFSMA in your legacy, contact Steve Singer, Chair of the Endowment Committee, stevesingermx@gmail.com, to discuss the benefits of giving a current or future gift to the Fellowship.

Thank you.


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, Board 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

Endowment Committee
Steve Singer, stevesingermx@gmail.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