UUFSMA Newsletter January 21, 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.

On Sunday, January 20, 2019, the UUFSMA kicked off its annual Membership/Pledge Drive. Carolyn Simsarian pointed out the many benefits of giving to the Giver in a talk entitled "The Giver Receives-A Rosy Glow".

The Giver Receives—The Rosy Glow
Ruth Bader Ginsburg—
Be Part of Something Bigger than Yourself 

Carolyn Simsarian January 20, 2019

“I Worried"
I worried a lot.
Will the garden grow,
will the rivers flow in the right direction,
will the earth turn as it was taught,
and if not how shall I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven, can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing,
even the sparrows can do it and I am, well,

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.”
― Mary Oliver, Swan:Poems and Prose Poems

Mary Oliver’s poems give us insight into mindfulness. How we can shut down the noise in our heads and enjoy this beautiful life we have been given and how can we pay back?

As you know, we are entering our Pledge Drive and your donation will help the Fellowship meet its expenses, give over $40,000 to help address issues of poverty in San Miguel, but your donation will also help you.

Let me Explain
There are studies in which donors give their personal responses to questions as to why they give.

Givers report feeling “connected to the world”, a “greater sense of pride and purpose”, donors are “happier and healthier” and have a sense of “positive selfregard”. (Shelby Lemons, The Psychology of Giving) Sounds good doesn’t it?!

If you are passionate about the mission of an organization you are more likely to be a consistent supporter.

The mission of an organization is important. In a 2016 Survey by U.S. Trust— 54% cited mission as a primary motivation for donating to a non-profit. Speaking about this feeling of personal satisfaction, economist James Andreoni reports that 39% of the people surveyed cited “experiencing personal satisfaction, enjoyment, or fulfillment” in giving. People often describe this feeling as “a warm glow”.

What is this Warm Glow?
A study recently published in Nature Communications was conducted by researchers at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. Fifty participants were told they’d each be receiving $100 over a few weeks. Half of the participants were asked to commit to spend the money on themselves, the other half were asked to spend it on someone they knew. Before giving the money, the researchers brought the participants into the lab and asked them to think about a friend they’d like to give a gift and how much they would spend (hypothetically). They then performed fMRI scans to measure the areas of the brain associated with generosity, social behavior, happiness, and decision-making.The 25 participants who were told to use their $100 on someone else showed signs of being happier and more satisfied than those who were told to think about spending money on themselves. Research into the brain is confirming that giving and cooperating with others stimulates the reward areas of the brain. Giving triggers feel-good chemicals like endorphins, dopamine, and oxytocin in the brain. There it is—the “Rosy Glow!

We all know about the role of diet, exercise, and good genes in our overall health, sense of well-being, and in fact our expected life span. Now we can add the act of being generous to the list! A 2003 study at the University of Michigan revealed the positive effects of generosity including improved mental, physical health and increased longevity.

Before the holidays CBS featured a vignette about a businessman who likes to play Secret Santa. He travels across the country passing out $100 bills to people he sees on the street that he thinks could use it. This year, in addition to passing out the money himself, he approached Moses Elder, a homeless man in Phoenix, AZ. He gave Moses $3,000 to pass out to anyone who didn’t just walk by on the street, but gave Moses attention. It was amazing to see the reaction of folks when Moses presented money to people, many who themselves had little to give.

A side benefit, was the impact of giving on Moses to be in the position of the giver. In the end, the Secret Santa also gave Moses $400 which Moses says is life changing as was the experience of giving away the money. To quote Moses, “Today, we changed a lot of people’s lives. But I believe my life was changed the most.”He said even when you’re homeless, it feels so much better to give than to receive.

This vignette illustrates what the latest brain research is telling us giving improves one’s self-esteem. Modern life is often stressful. Stress releases “cortisol” in the body. At the same time, we are biologically wired to give. When we give “time, talent, or treasure” a substance called “oxitocin” is released in the brain which is one of the antidotes to cortisol released by stress. Giving and cooperating with others stimulates the reward areas in the the brain. That “warm glow” “the rosy glow” is a real sensation, a real result of giving. Donors are healthier, happier, and live longer.

People who give have a greater sense of pride and purpose. Giving gives us direction and a reason to get up and see what the day will bring.

In another Michigan study, which traced 2,700 people over 10 years, researchers found that men who did regular volunteer work had death rates two and-one half times lower than men who didn’t. (Lisa Firestone PhD, Compassion Matters) Giving gives us value and purpose. Generosity takes us outside of ourselves combating feelings of isolation and depression and contributing positively to our overall mental health.

When we give we feel connected to the world. Many of you who are actively involved the Fellowship, as well as other non profits here in San Miguel know the huge rewards of not just being a tourist, but feeling part of the Mexican community that we are so fortunate to share.

This month of our Pledge Drive is our opportunity to support the mission of our fellowship, to give talent, time and treasure. Pick up a pledge form fill it out, become a member of the Fellowship and reap the rewards. You too can get “the Rosy Glow” of Giving. You too can go out into the morning and Sing!

Strategic Planning

The Fellowship has begun a three-month strategic planning process that will help shape planning for our shared future. Earlier this month current members of the UUFSMA received a brief survey via email. If you haven’t already, please fill it out -- it takes about 15 minutes -- and return to Jennifer Butz. Jen’s contact information will be in the email you receive.


Starting yesterday and for the next four Sundays, Ellie Goodwin and Jennifer will be holding focus groups at Ellie's house in the mid-afternoon. Sign-up sheets for these focus groups are available on the Welcome Table.


Not a UUFSMA Member, but want to participate? Yesterday was the first day of the Pledge Drive so now is the time to become an official Member of this Fellowship! There is always membership information at the Welcome Table.

We have a new team of  Ambassadors to welcome people at the Sunday 
service and social time.  These Ambassadors have a butterfly posted on their nametags.  Look for those butterflies and walk right up to ask 
questions, make suggestions, give feedback, etc.

Care Team

Never believe that a few caring people cannot change the world. For, indee, that's all who ever have. - Margaret Mead

The Care Team is having its next team meeting on January 24th.  If you have been wondering about the work we are doing and who we serve, or would like more information, you are welcome to attend the meeting.
Please contact Françoise at  Francoise.yohalem@gmail.com for more details or to let her know of your interest.
The Care Team has initiated a new "Circle of Life" window here for announcements of special importance and interest to our Fellowship, such as births, marriages, and deaths.  If you have such information you would like to share with the full Fellowship, please send the pertinent details to either Lydia Jane or Francoise for inclusion in our on-going and never-ending Circle of Life. Sharing is a vital thread of our community, keeping us all connected and informed. Your input will be greatly appreciated.

If you are in need of assistance or know someone who does, please contact either Francoise or Lydia Jane.
Françoise: 415 149 3053
Lydia Jane: 415 149 3784  

For a copy of the Medical Resource directory, contact either Lydia or Francoise.

Calendar of Activities

Tuesday Discussion Group, January 22, 10:15 am, Words do make a difference.  Words can help and heal as well as hurt.  You can change meaning in part by how you say it. Can you think of an often used phrase that could have dual meaning depending on how you say it? Join us for these meaningful discussions led by Liz Stone. The group meets at the Quinta Loreto restaurant at the sunny end, Loreto 15. 

Wednesday Lunch Bunch, January 23, 1:30pm, Vivali, Hernandez Macias 66.


Women's breakfast group meets at Oso Azul, Zacateros 17 at 9:30 each Saturday morning. As the weather gets cooler, be sure to seek out the group in one of the inside spaces. All women are warmly invited. 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, February 4, 2019. Please sign up as host or guest at the Welcome Table after Sunday service or contact Arlena Lawrence,   lawrencearlena@yahoo.com.

Sunday, January 27, 10:30am  


Let Your Light Shine

Rev. Debra Faulk



At this Sunday’s Unitarian Universalist Fellowship service, The Rev. Debra Faulk addresses how we limit ourselves by giving into fear and not recognizing our own strength and power.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?" Actually who are you not to be? … As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

The quote comes from Marianne Williamson’s, A Return to Love, though it has often been credited to Nelson Mandela because he used it in his inaugural speech upon taking leadership in South Africa following the decision to end apartheid. The service will use this quote in its entirety as the inspirational diving board.

What is it that we fear about or own light and power? Rev. Faulk explores some of the things that might limit us, including culturally mandated biases, certain social pressures, and even denominational confines that have withheld the full expression of our unique and universal greatness that would add to the overall flourishing of life and goodness on this planet. This is a time when we are being invited to recognize our own power and privilege, and to use it for the greater good.

Rev. Faulk holds a BA in psychology and anthropology from the University of Victoria and a Masters of Divinity from Vancouver School of Theology. She has served as a chaplain at Vancouver General Hospital, Director of Religious Education in Victoria, and as Parish Minister to congregations in BC, Ontario. She is now in her ninth year as Minister of the Unitarian Church of Calgary.

She is a member of the UU Ministers Association’s Collegial Development Team. This past summer she participated in a pilgrimage to Transylvania for the 450th anniversary of the Diet of Torda, said to be the first recorded document of religious freedom. Her greatest passions are inter-faith dialogue and action, building community of all ages and perspectives, addressing issues of equity, and protecting the environment. Her two adult children and five grandchildren were born, raised and still live on the west coast of Canada.

For more information on the UUFSMA, including our Children's Religious Education Program, Social Action  Outreach, weekly discussion groups, social activities and Care Team, join us any Sunday at 10:30am at the Hotel La Aldea or check out our website at www.uufsma.org. 

Social Action
 Escuela de Educación Especial Upcoming Event - February 6th, 2019
The 2017 Academy Award Winning Short Film,The Silent Child, will have one of its two screenings in San Miguel on February 6th, 2019. You won’t want to miss experiencing this insightful short story inspired by the real life experiences of a deaf child. Observing one of the loneliest and also avoidable struggles that deaf children face, in Mexico and around the globe, is very moving. Almost 80% of deaf children attend main stream schools with no specialized support in place. This is reflected in the grades of these children as well as their mental health and well being.

Prior to the screening, short remarks will be made by our special guest, Dr. Margaret Finnegan, PhD., Coordinator, Education of the Deaf MA Program and Online Instructor in Deaf Education MA Program at Flagler College, St. Augustine, FL. Margaret speaks not only from many years of professional deaf education experience but also from personal experiences, being herself the mother of a deaf child. 

Please come join us and show your encouragement and support for the children and young adults attending Escuela de Educación Especial de San Miguel de Allende. This very special school is a nonprofit association where a bilingual model of Mexican Sign Language and written Spanish is used to provide an education to deaf children from preschool through high school, as well as building dreams and hope for the future.

Date: Wednesday, Feb 6th, 2019
Time: 5:30pm
Place: Teatro Santa Ana, Biblioteca Publica, SMA
Tickets: MXN$250
Includes a wIne and cheese reception following the 20 minute film and open questions and discussion.

More details to come closer to the date. Please mark your calendar to attend this unique and perception-altering event and send an RSVP to John at  jd98lv@hotmail.com
Welcome Table

At the Welcome Table we have, for your reading pleasure, the Community Connections brochure. It is filled with everything you ever wanted to know about the UUFSMA - a bit of history, events, who we are and what we do. Pick one up next Sunday.

Altar Flowers

Flowers are a lovely way to remember or honor someone dear to you. If you wish to have the Sunday flowers dedicated to someone special, please contact Cynthia Sterling at sterlingsilver33@gmail.com.

Electronic Payments

We are set up for electronic funds transfers and electronic bill pay payments for your pledges and other donations. For instructions, please contact jane.wilkinson@gmail.com.

And, now we have a link on our website for PayPal under the heading 'donations”.

To use PayPal or a credit card immediately, just click below!


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 2018-2019 (as of April 1, 2018)

John Simsarian, President, 154-4771, jcsimsarian@yahoo.com
Judith Rosenthal, 1st VP, 154-9659, judithr@mail.fresnostate.edu
Chris Chase, 2nd VP, 170-4544, Chris.Chase1955@gmail.com

Jane Wilkinson, Treasurer, 152-8019, jane.wilkinson@gmail.com
William Dalsimer, Secretary, 917-991-7841, wrdalsimer@gmail.com
Eleanor Goodwin, 152-5700, epgoodwin@hotmail.com
Jim Harper, 152-2380, smaharper@yahoo.com
Paula Peace, 102-1072, paulapeace@bellsouth.net 
Peter Podesta, 101-0904, parlino27@gmail.com

Dick Snyder, 121-0612, rcs39@aol.com

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

                    Committee Chairs and Activity

Pledge Team
Trish Snyder, trishsnyder49@gmail.com
Carolyn Simsarian,  jcsimsarian@yahoo.com
Jane Wilkinson, Treasurer, jane.wilkinson@gmail.com
Nominating Committee
Cynthia Claus, cclaus731@gmail.com

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


Care Team
Lydia Jane Failing, l ydiajane56@gmail.com
Francoise Yohalem, francoise.yohalem@gmail.com

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

Circle Cena
Arlena Lawrence, lawrencearlena@yahoo.com

Discussion Group
Liz Stone, elmendorf7@aol.com

Sunday Service Co-Chairs
Paula Peace, paulapeace@bellsouth.net
Diana Ekizian, djekizian@gmail.com

Coffee Hour
Peter Podesta, parlino27@gmail.com

Cynthia Sterling, sterlingsilver33@gmail.com

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

Special Music
Jon Sievert, jon@humblepress.com

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


Social Action, Outreach and Publicity
Christie McGue, 231-342-6960, clmcgue@gmail.com

Social Action Committee
Dick Snyder, 121-0612, rcs39@aol.com 

Denise Galipeau, denise.uufsma@gmail.com

Members regularly post updates and information on this site. You will need to create a Yahoo email address before joining.

To join our Yahoo group site create a Yahoo email account, then click on this link:


Then click on “Membership”and follow the directions.


Facebook: “Like” us at: UU Fellowship of SMA. Website: www.UUFSMA.Org

Mail address: Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of SMA, Apdo 798, San Miguel de Allende 37700 Guanajuato, Mexico.

San Miguel de Allende, GTO, Mexico