UUFSMA Newsletter December 16, 2019

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.

Next Sunday’s Offering for The

Minster’s Discretionary Fund

Dear Members and Friends,


We are in the midst of the gift-giving season. It makes us all feel good to give a gift to a person or organization that really needs it. I am proud to be part of a fellowship that regularly gives generous gifts to help the greater community. But since becoming your affiliate minister, it has become clear to me that from time to time there are needs within our own community that require some financial resources in order to help our own folks in a meaningful way. There are folks who are experiencing difficult times or have an emergency situation but lack sufficient resources. Sometimes it might be a bag of groceries towards the end of the month when a social security check is running out; or a little help with rent in a month where there were unexpected medical bills; or maybe help with necessary medicine or transportation. We want to be able to say “yes” when our folks need our help.


As this kind of expense is not part of our regular budget, the Board unanimously approved the creation of a Minister’s Discretionary Fund for this purpose, and authorized that the collection next Sunday, December 22 will go to that fund. The use of the fund will be confidential and determined by the minister. There will be a committee of three, appointed by the board, to assist the minister and oversee the use of the fund. 


With the giving spirit of the season in your heart, I hope all who are able, will make a generous contribution towards this fund. What better gift could you give this year?


Best wishes for a holiday season of peace, joy, and love,


Tom Rosiello

Affiliate Minister

Circus performance and UUs enjoying Ethiopian food!
Welcome to Kyla Duffy and Brook Eshetu

Q What months do you live in San Miguel? 

A We live here year-round.

Q How many years have you been here? 
A We moved here four months ago.
Q Where did you live before here? 
A We were mostly living in Japan, but Brook is from Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), and I'm from New Jersey / Colorado.
Q What was/is your occupation?
A  We were circus performers. Now, we run Comida AfroAllende, the only Ethiopian food restaurant / delivery in San Miguel de Allende (and possibly in Mexico!).
Q What activities do you enjoy?
A We have been LOVING doing house parties for people with our food or having people join us for a meal up on our terrace. It's been such a great opportunity to get to know the community here! In our free time, we like hanging out with our dog, Carol, and we both continue to train on various circus apparatus.
Q Family? 
A Here? Carol the pug! :) Everyone else is in the USA and Ethiopia.

Q UU history?

A Not before SMA. But Brook is ready to start a UU Fellowship in Addis!

Care Team
Lee Knox had successful surgery in Mexico City on Friday to remove a cancerous tumor. It was robotic surgery which means that Lee has three small incisions on her right side where the robotic arms went in (versus the old days of a 10 inch incision and rib spreader). 

Lee will be released from hospital in a few days and will return to SMA after a follow up appointment on December 20. Of course, Lyn has been at her side throughout! You can contact Lee by email - lee@leeknox.com.

Members of the Care Team wish you a healthy and Happy Holiday Season. Please don’t forget that we are here to help, and let us know if you need us.

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 Discussion Group, December 17, 10:15 am, What do you hope to have in a celebration of your life? Join us for these meaningful discussions led by Liz Stone. The group meets at the Quinta Loreto restaurant at Loreto 15. We will take a two week break over Christmas and New Year's.


Wednesday Lunch Bunch, December 18, 1:30pm, Turk, Salida a Celaya 20.

Women's Saturday Breakfast: Watch this space for breakfast gatherings beginning in early January.

Saturday Men's breakfast group -  Men meet in the Jardin at 9:30am in front of the Parroquia and decide where to eat. The regular guys would like some new faces to join them!

Circle Cena - The Circle Cena is a social gathering for people who meet at a host's house once a month for either a pot luck of botanas and dessert or a full course dinner. The hosts coordinate the event as to how many guests they can accommodate and who brings what food to share. As the groups change from cena to cena, it’s a wonderful opportunity to get to know other UUs.

The next Circle Cena is Monday, January 6, 2020. Please sign up as host or guest at the Welcome Table after Sunday service or contact Arlena Lawrence, lawrencearlena@yahoo.com.


Sunday, December 22, 10:30am


The Season of Light



This is the season of light and at this Sunday’s UUFSMA service, we will explore the many holidays of light celebrated at this time of year. Our service appropriately falls on the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year when the earth is poised to tilt and welcome the return of the light. 

As we walk through town, we see the beautiful lights of the holiday season. Perhaps we hang light in our home or light candles in our windows or on our table. Our fireplaces are burning on the chilly evenings, warming our homes, and we look up and see the stars glittering in the clear night sky. In the words of Tony Perrino:


Candles, fire, and stars

These are the symbols of this most blessed of seasons:

Candles for the banishing of darkness;

Fires to warm hearth and home;

Stars to beckon us, guiding our footsteps to the holiest.


We will light an Advent wreath, a Hanukkiah (Hanukkah menorah), and a Christmas candle and reflect on the star that guided the magi and the bonfires and Yule logs that burned on the Solstice in ancient times. It will be a service full of wonderful music and poetry and reflection on the many different holidays that celebrate the coming or the return of the light. Music from Advent chorales and familiar Christmas carols to Jewish folks tunes, from solos and a chorus from Handel’s Messiah to carols we will all sing, will enrich our service. Our musicians include pianists Paula Peace and Malcolm Halliday, soloists and some chorus members from Chorale San Miguel, and violinist George Figueroa. Our worship leader will be the Fellowship’s Affiliate Minister, The Rev. Tom Rosiello.

Come and receive the beauty and inspiring messages of this most blessed of seasons, and be uplifted by the holiday music and words. Families with children are most welcome, and the morning program includes special activities for them. Whatever tradition or traditions you celebrate at this time of year, we hope that this Sunday you will do so with us. The offering for this service will help fund the newly created Minister’s Discretionary fund to help people in the Fellowship who are experiencing difficult times.   

For more information about the UUFSMA, including our Sunday morning Children’s Religious Education program, Social Action outreach, weekly discussion groups, social activities, and Care Team, join us any Sunday at 10:30 a.m. at the Hotel La Aldea or check out our website at uufsma.org.

Alone for the Holidays?
Come join our UU Fellowship Christmas Day at the Hotel Quinta Loreto Restaurant on Calle Loreto at 2:00 pm for a delicious turkey dinner, including a selection of the Quinta's famous desserts and a free glass of wine! 

Cost is $450 pesos plus tip, to be paid at the restaurant. A good time will be had by all!
Sign up at the red table at the Sunday service or call Cynthia Sterling at (415)
120-2046. Our limit is 30 people so sign up ASAP!
Menu for Christmas Day -
Fresh Jelly Cranberry Salad
Cream of Squash Soup with Goat Cheese
Roast Turkey with Cornbread Stuffing and Gravy with Jalapenos, served with Glazed Sweet Potatoes, Fresh Vegetables and Cranberry Jelly.
Pumpkin Pecan Pie or Apple Pie or Golden Pecan Pie or Fruit Cake served with a topping of ice cream

UUA Annual Meeting - June 24-28, 2020 in Providence, RI
Worship, Witness, Learn, Connect
Policy-making through the democratic process

Rooted, Inspired and Ready!

*Interested in becoming one of UUFSMA's three voting delegates?

*Interested in joining fellow UUFSMA members Tom Rosiello and others?

For More information visit the UUA website - www. UUA/Annual/Meeting.org or speak with one of UUFSMA's prior delegates - Lynn and Lee Knox, Dianna Daily or Bob Doupe.

Please contact Board President, John Simsarian, if interested in attending. We have limited funds available for attending delegates. And, there is a 20% discount for early registration by March 15th.

There will be a Neighborhood Connection gathering of Centro - Colonias Centro, Balcones, Atascadero and above on Tuesday, January 7. 

If you live in 
one of these colonias and have not received an invitation, let Ellie
Goodwin know, epgoodwin@hotmail.com.

We now have held Neighborhood Connection (NC) gatherings all over town. These are an opportunity for UUs to get together with neighbors for social and care purposes.  If you are interested in being in one and have not received an invitation to a gathering, please send your request to Joan Wolf who is keeping the grouplists current.  Her email address is joanwolf@umich.edu.


Usually a Neighborhood Connection gathers in the home of a volunteer host for a potluck happy hour from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.  All attendees contribute a finger food to share and bring their own beverage.  Many close UU friends are made this way.

If you are willing to host an event, contact Ellie Goodwin at epgoodwin@hotmail.com

Small Group Discussions 

The book We: Reviving Social Hope by philosopher Ron Aronson will be the
focus of a UU discussion group the first week in February, organized by the Social
Action Committee.The author will be our Sunday speaker on February 2. His
book is a message to save us from the despair, cynicism and defeatism that
paralyzes too many in these troubled times.

Aronson argues that social hope is born from collective action, a 'we', not just 'I'. It
is in a movement that 'we become members of a larger entity, drawing power from
it, having responsibility to it, and experiencing ourselves within it.' Through
collective action 'the formerly powerless can generate something new, social hope,
by acting together.' And this can change not only the world in which we live, we
also change ourselves.

If you would like to participate in discussion with the author, sign up with Cliff
DuRand by email to global.justice.cliff@gmail.com. You are expected to have
read the 180 page book in advance. Order your copy now.


If you have an idea about a new group, please pass your suggestions to Chris Chase, chris.chase1955@gmail.com or John Verplank, jandpverplank@gmail.com, co-chairs of the Member Services Team.

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 third Thursday of the month at 1:00 PM and all are welcome. For
more information, please contact Rebecca Langrall (rlangrall22@gmail.com) or Dick Snyder (rcs39@aol.com), Co-Chairs.
The Social Action Committee sponsors an ongoing food and supply drive for the migrants on the train tracks in Comonfort and those sheltered at ABBA House in Celaya.  More and more families are in need of help, especially with these items:

Items Needed:
Multi-use powdered soap, Cloro, Knorr suiza  (chicken bullion), Salt, Sugar, cooking oil
pasta along with can or carton of tomato sauce, Instant coffee, Bandaids, talcum powder, socks (a never ending supply is needed), Sanitary napkins, Underwear (men's and women's).

Medications needed:
Omeprazol (gastrointestinal)
Contac &  Agrifen (cold medications)
Paracetamol (pain & fever)
Ketarolaco (pain, anti-inflammatory) 
Naproxeno (pain, anti-inflammatory) 
Miconazol crema (skin infections)
Vitacilina (anti-bacterial, skin infections)

Members and friends are encouraged to bring what you can each Sunday and drop it into the two large plastic bins near the sign-in table. Stan Allen and Luisa Field will take the items after the service each week to distribute to those in need. Thanks to all for your continued support of ABBA House and the migrants. Together, we can make an important difference in the comfort of these families as they journey toward a better future.

Join Eli Hans & Joseph Bennett in
collecting donations for those living/working
at the city dump.
For the past 12 years or more, Eli and Joseph and a host of volunteers have organized an annual collection of food, blankets, water, toiletries and toys for some of San Miguel's poorest of the poor — those who work at the city dumps, scavenging for items to eat, sell, make shelter with or wear.

If you would like to support this event by donating items, the following will be collected at the Fellowship on Sunday, the 22nd: beans, rice, eggs, 4 liter bottles of water (or larger), boxes of juice, instant coffee, hot chocolate, fresh veggies, cereal, tuna, fruit, non-battery operated toys, piñatas, toilet paper, toothpaste and tooth brushes, etc. As of this writing, plenty of clothing has already been donated.

A complete list of needed items are posted at sublimeguys.com/community 
Thank you so much for your support! 
Non Profit Organizations Supported by the UUFSMA
Apoyo a Gente Emprendedora provides micro-lending, education programs and sustainability projects to rural communities. This year’s funding will support the educational component of the micro lending program. http://apoyo.mx/
Caminos de Agua provides open-source solutions for communities at-risk on our aquifer in Central Mexico. The funding will pay for a community engagement fellow. 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 United States.A network service coordinator will be hired to lead a complex effort to provide safe return services to deportees. https://www.cjsma.org/.


Caminamos Juntos Newsletter

Casita Linda builds houses, helps create a sustainable environment, and provides workshops to help improve life for those living in poverty. The grant will pay for workshops to prepare families that are receiving a house on subjects such as community building, recycling, home maintenance and related issues. https://casitalinda.org/.

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 and will use their grant to support three community development specialists that train and lead communities in building cisterns, recycling, composting, community gardens and more.
Escuela de Educación Especial is a school for persons with hearing impairment. Their  mission is to ensure that all SMA children who are deaf become literate, independent, and productive citizens who set and achieve life goals. The grant will partially pay the salary of the Academic Director/Administrator. http://www.eeesma.com/.
Fundación de Apoyo Infantil facilitates learning processes, using participatory methodologies to promote children’s rights and the protection of their environment. The grant will help pay for classroom recycling bins. http://faiguanajuato.org/ 

Update of activities 2019
Jóvenes Adelante provides university scholarships and support to financially challenged youth. The grant of $4,845 USD will continue to pay for the scholarship of four university students. A one time grant of $10,000 USD will be used to strengthen the Betse Davies Special Star Fund. http://www.jovenesadelante.org/

Read the latest JA newsletter by clicking on this link - 
Mujeres en Cambio provides scholarships to girls in rural communities to keep them in school.The grant will pay for five junior high and two high school students’ needs such as uniforms and suppllies. https://www.mujeresencambio.org/
Patronato Pro Niños provides medical and dental care to area children. This year’s grant will help pay for radio announcements to inform rural communities where the dental clinics will be each day. http://www.patronatoproninos.org/
San Miguel Literary Sala, Libros Para Todos promotes reading among children in rural communities. The grant will provide a special book for elementary children to read and then bring the author to town to meet the recipient students. https://sanmiguelliterarysala.org/community-projects/.

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 2019-2020 (as of April 1, 2019)

John Simsarian, President, 154-4771, jcsimsarian@yahoo.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
Dan Neuspiel, Secretary, 415-154-5021, dneuspiel@gmail.com 
Bonney McDowell, 415-145-7689, miko789@gmail.com
Eleanor Goodwin, 152-5700, epgoodwin@hotmail.com
Jim Harper, 152-2380, smaharper@yahoo.com
Joanna Kafarowski, 415 152 6111, joannakafarowski@gmail.com 
Rebecca Langrall, 415-151-0065, rlangrall22@gmail.com 

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

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

                    Committee Chairs and Activity

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

Jane Wilkinson, Treasurer, jane.wilkinson@gmail.com

Nominating Committee
Chris Kellogg, christopher_louro@yahoo.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
Ellie Goodwin, epgoodwin@hotmail.com 

Special Music
Jon Sievert, jon@humblepress.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
Dick Snyder, rcs39@aol.com 
Rebecca Langrall, rlangrall22@gmail.com 

Denise Galipeau, denise.uufsma@gmail.com

San Miguel de Allende, GTO, Mexico