UUFSMA Newsletter August 25, 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.


What makes us special? During the next eight weeks on the pages of the Newsletter and the Order of 
Service you can read about our Fellowship – its history, community outreach, cultural activities, services, generosity, challenges, and future. In this first article, we remember those who were here first.

                           The Legacy of our UUF: Some Early History

In 1987 a handful of liberal San Miguelenses, bored with Tuesday morning idleness, seeking fellowship as well as mental and spiritual stimulation, took their first tentative steps in the direction of regular organized meetings. Among these founders and earliest members were:

Royal Coyle                           Judy McKay                        Helen Morris
Bill Knutsen                            Joe & Florence Ershun      Ginny Moore
Frederica & Steve Reisch      Tina Lane                           Joanne Marinovich
Bea Minor                               Jean Miller                         Marian wishart
Ruth O'Neil                             Betty & Gordon Jett           Connie Brereton
Doris Rogers                          Elsmarie Norby                  Marge Mallory
Sam Johnson                         Glen Barker                        Michael Wien
Bernie Weisman                     Sandy Brooks                    Marianne Koerner
Bob Hesdorfer & Ann Riley    Peggy & George Bell         Louise & Paul Temple
Helen Rivas-Rose                  Marge Zapp                       Betse Davies
Charlotte Golden                    Frank Timmons                  Dorie Beach
Martha Horton                        Doris Winestsky
Rev. Farley & Virginia Wheelwright

At first, the group met in homes, then tried St. Paul’s Anglican Church, San Francisco Hotel, and Klingerman’s Art Gallery. Early Sunday programs, presented by members, were varied. Some services were play enactments. Sometimes there was more socializing than programming. Early activities included Wednesday Comida and Soul Food and a discussion group, a Film Club, Circle Cenas, and a lending library.

1994: Early in the year, the burgeoning UU assemblage moved into a meeting room on the first floor of the Posada de la Aldea and shared brunch upstairs in the restaurant after Sunday service. On July 4, there was a picnic provided by Aldea staff in the pool area at a cost of 20 pesos a person. Fellowship Thanksgiving celebrations began.

1995: Karma mail began, and the first officers were elected. There were winter officers and summer officers. Serving as summer president over the early years were Peggy Bell and Marge Zapp, rotating. Treasurer for several years was Maurice Lamoree. Winter president was Royal Cloyd. In 1995 George Bell started a fund to purchase the Bosendorfer piano. In November, there was the first concert sponsored by the UUF. Sunday service music was provided by Enrique Prado, Ann Riley, Elsmarie Norby, and George Bell.

1997: On the 10th anniversary, the 60 members could purchase silver pins designed by Bob Hesdorfer. A special collection was taken at Christmas for DIF to help fund Three Kings Day gifts for kids.

1998: Rev. Farley Wheelwright began his long involvement with the Fellowship as a volunteer speaker delivering many Sunday sermons over the years. Gordon Jett delivered rice and beans to the poor elderly and members were invited to decide how Outreach funds would be distributed.

1999: Social Action was formally initiated. The first beneficiary was the San Miguel AIDS group. The UUF helped form Project Esperanza.

2000: Joys, Cares, and Concerns was added to the Sunday service.

2002: Lee Veal joined the Board, became the first chair of Sunday programs and, later, President of the UUF. Marianne Koerner performed at Belles Artes benefiting UU support of Feed the Hungry.

2003: Saturday Breakfast for women and for men; Care Team, with 12 members led by Betse Davies; monthly newsletter by Judy McKay; Jovenes Adelante by Betse Davies, Helen Morris, and Virginia Wheelwright; the Aldea ruled that dogs would no longer be allowed on the premises (still a
controversial edict);

2004: Hospitality time after the Sunday service with juice and cookies was begun; Bob Hesdorfer became president after designing covers of bulletins for years (One of his covers graces today’s publication). One hundred people attended in the winter and 49 became members. Revs. Dennis Hale and Nancy Anderson spoke gratis. Hector Ulloa spoke for the first of many presentations over the years. The Fellowship began to recite the Statement of Purpose (the current covenant) during the service. Liz Stone and Marianne Koerner joined the group of volunteer musicians.

Next Week - The Legacy of our UUF: The Glorious Years

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
Elsmarie Norby, a long time member of our Fellowship,  is recovering at home from knee surgery.  She now lives in Guadiana and is doing well, but  would enjoy hearing from you and would also appreciate some home-cooked meals.

You may contact her at the phone or email below.  Thank you.
Elsmarie Norby, 415 101 7757, Guadiana, Gorrion #24  

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 25 (11:00am)

The Tuesday Zoom discussion group is led by Bill Dalsimer and Liz Stone. 
Discussion: TBA

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


Thursday Discussion group, August 27 (11:30am)
The Thursday Zoom discussion group is led by Trish Snyder. 

Discussion:   What brought you to our UU fellowship and why did you leave your previous religious home? And just for fun - bring a UU joke to share.
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 alone (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 30, 10:30am 


“A World on Fire”

Rev. James Ishmael Ford

This Sunday’s visiting minister, the Reverend James Ishmael Ford, explores the mutual
influences of Japanese Buddhism and Unitarian Universalism, a spiritual meld of liberal
religions committed to social justice. In that construct of human purpose, he counsels his
listeners to discover what he calls the “engaged heart.” 

Rev. Ford has walked a path of spirituality for more than fifty years, on a journey carrying him throughout the world while he learned about the cultural roots of eastern and
western religions. He danced with Sufis, studied with Gnostics, lived in a Buddhist monastery, and became an ordained Zen priest. Then he became an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister and preached from high pulpits in old New England churches. From his journey, he emphasizes that the spirit should affect a practical result and work in the trenches for social justice.

Since the middle of the Nineteenth century there have been contacts between Unitarians
and Universalists and now there is one between Unitarian Universalists and Buddhists. Rev. Ford observes a feed-back loop between these two spiritual traditions as they share perspectives with each other. For Unitarian Universalists, a New England Unitarian journal published the first English translation of a Buddhist text. And for Buddhists, Unitarian spirituality informed late mid-Nineteenth century Japanese Meiji religious reforms. This exchange of influence has enriched both spiritual traditions. Yet neither tradition is aware of how each has influenced the other. For participants in this UUFSMA online Sunday Service, Rev. Ford explores his evolving perspective on this spiritual alliance and “the way of the wise heart” emerging from it.  

Rev. Ford is Minister-Emeritus of the First Unitarian Church in Providence, Rhode Island, and consults with UU congregations in Anaheim and Los Angeles, California. He is the
author of five books on Zen history and practice and the guiding teacher of the Empty Moon Zen Network of three groups practicing in UU congregations.

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.

Read the latest news from Escuela de Educación Especial. Click Here.

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