UUFSMA Newsletter July 13, 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.

Survey Results

Sunday Service Survey Results, by Dan Neuspiel, President, UUFSMA

A few weeks ago, we circulated a survey about our Sunday Zoom services, and we want to share the results. A total of 63 people responded to the survey.

1. How do you hear about services most often?

  • UUFSMA newsletter – 59%
  • Emailed order of service – 21%
  • Google group listserv – 11%
  • Website or other – 9%

2. Specific feedback on services, including speakers, music, Covid-19 taskforce reports, joys and concerns, and breakout rooms was almost uniformly positive. Some suggestions included:

  • Bring back some local musicians with abilities to broadcast on Zoom
  • Provide information on credentials of Covid-19 taskforce
  • Extend period for breakout discussions

3. Have you donated by PayPal during services?

  • Yes – 40%
  • No – 60%

Reasons for not donating:

  • Felt pledge was sufficient – 27%
  • Difficulty using PayPal – 10%
  • Don’t want to interrupt viewing service – 5%
  • Don’t donate over computer – 3%
  • Other – 16%

4. Did you know expenses of service are not fully paid by pledges?

  • Yes – 48%
  • No – 52%

5. Would you prefer alternative ways of donating?

  • No, PayPal is fine – 47%
  • No, I don’t plan to donate on Sundays – 15%
  • Yes, by check or bank transfer – 15%
  • Other – 23% (including several comments requesting information on expenses of services)

We appreciate all your responses and have already made some of the suggested changes. The costs of our Sunday services this year, even with a reduction in rent payments to Hotel Aldea, are approximately $25,000. This includes reduced rent payment to Hotel Aldea, staff and minister payments, Zoom and copyright fees, outside speaker honoraria, and some miscellaneous expenses.

Taking into account our other non-service related expenses and our social action grant program to local NGOs, as well as our pledge income and current rate of Sunday collections, we are running about $7,000 short. The main reason for this shortfall is that our Sunday collections have been about 80% less than what was collected during live services. Our Board of Directors is currently looking at various options to cover this shortfall, and we appreciate the generosity of all of our members and friends.

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


Jovenes 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.


Ninos 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 Ninos – 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. 

Update from your UU COVID-19 Taskforce

First, a quick look at the first 100 days of this Pandemic – are we making any progress? Clearly the spread of the disease is staggering … but also notice that scientists have been working at an unheard-of pace to understand this virus and how to manage it. We now know this is not just a respiratory illness, it can affect almost all body systems – new insights come every day. Doctors on the front lines have ever-improving strategies to manage patients who are seriously ill.

Worldwide, there are 160 vaccine-candidates in various stages of trials. Will we get a successful vaccine? We hope so, but there is no guarantee – and it will probably be at least a year before we know. The WHO is already working on plans and funding for strategic but fair distribution of a vaccine – unfortunately, the US is the only country not participating in this planning.

There has been recent news about the possibility of aerosol or airborne spread of the virus. Do very tiny infectious droplets stay floating around in the air, instead of falling to the ground within 6 feet? Yes, some certainly do. Is this a major source of transmission? Scientists still disagree – it will need more study. It may not be as important as the larger droplets from someone who is too close to you for several minutes …. but may be still important.

Should we change what we do to protect ourselves? Masks and hand-washing are still essential – but it may be that 6 ft distance is not enough, especially in small or poorly-ventilated spaces, and especially in places where people stay for longer periods of time. That would be places like bars, gyms, hair salons, concerts, restaurants. Your goals should be the shortest stay, the fewest people, and the best ventilation possible – outdoors, or large spaces indoors with windows open and fans running. If you have a worker come into your home, open the windows, keep the air moving. DON’T SHARE AIR … any more than absolutely necessary.

As cases continue to rise in SMA – we have over 50 active cases right now, and 22 more suspected – please be sure you are prepared with supplies in case you get sick. Do you have a primary doctor to call if you feel ill? Have you ordered protective masks from the Covid19SMA Facebook group – the types recommended for anyone over 64? Do you have a thermometer, Tylenol, electrolyte solution? Please prepare yourself to take care of the discomforts which can come with this virus. Links to the mask ordering site, and to the Home Care Guide (written by our own Kate Greenaway, RN), are posted below.

These are very uncertain times, worldwide – and our human minds are not constructed to deal with these levels of uncertainty very well. So please reach out and stay connected to your friends and family, and your fellow UUs – we’re here to help each other, and we will get through this together. Stay Safe!

To order masks: https://covid19sma.knack.com/covidmasks#start/english/ Instructions for use and care of masks:

The Home Care Guide: https://www.covid19sma.com/homeandcareguide


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



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,

Tom’s Zoom Meeting

Tuesday, July 14, 2020, 09:30 AM Mexico City Time

         Every week on Tuesday
        July 21
        July 28
        August 4
        August 11
        August 18
        August 25

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

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 Discussion group, July 14 (11:00am)

The Tuesday Zoom discussion group is led by Bill Dalsimer and Liz Stone. 
Discussion:  Let's celebrate the importance of animals in our lives.  Share favorite memories of childhood pets, farm animals, service animals, zoo memories or perhaps current pets helping you during the Covid-19 isolation lockdown.


Thursday Discussion group, July 16 (11:30am)
The Thursday Zoom discussion group is led by Trish Snyder. 

Discussion:  How has NAFTA impacted Mexico, Canada and the US? What are the positives and negatives?


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

UUFSMA Buddhist Group, Sangha of the Heart every Friday
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. Here is the link, meeting ID and password:

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, (11:00am)

This Zoom group is for the mutual support of people living alone in these anxious times. Participants can connect with others similarly situated to share resources, concerns, and tribulations. Helen Rivas-Rose is the moderator. To join this group, please contact Helen, at helycres@icloud.com or jane.wilkinson@gmail.com.

Attached is a link to the recording of our Zoom Sunday Service held on
July 12, 2020.

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/5tIoHo_eqHtOc4nxsh7QVbAGD4LrX6a82icaqfAJzxuNR4dFD_p8bA00Bx_nMM1b Password: 4y!!$A^4 

Sunday, July 19, 10:30am



“What Sustains Me? Beauty, Art
and Connectedness”

Paula Peace and Cathy Cánepa

In this era of social distancing, we cling to family and close friends for support. How else can one be sustained? In this Sunday’s online service of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Miguel de Allende, fellowship members Paula Peace and Cathy Cánepa share their personal sources of sustenance and remind us of resources we can all access. In music, dance, and meditation, the service will speak to our hearts.

The arts provide a sturdy bridge to the magic and mystery of the universe, rewarding any consumer or participant. Written poetry and prose, creations in visual media, bodies dancing through space, and sounds in time creating music all offer resources to sustain and connect us.    

“What sustains me is the art of music,” Paula Peace says. “Through beautiful music, I feel connected to others’ pathos, ecstasy, and passion -- an entire range of human emotion. A great composer can connect my heart to all human hearts, the energy of the universe, and, one could say, to the divine love of one’s god or goddess.”

Pianist Paula Peace performed for almost four decades with the Atlanta Chamber Players, in hundreds of concerts, radio broadcasts, and educational programs in more than 150 cities in the US, Europe, and Mexico. In 2016 the State of Georgia granted her the Governor’s Award in the Arts.

“Among the things that sustain me,” says Cathy Cánepa, “are dance, science and the vision of a solidaristic human community. My mother, a dancer, and my father, a painter, were deeply spiritual atheists, raising me with reverence for nature and beauty, the arts, and commitment to an egalitarian society. These values sustain my life.”

A retired psychiatrist and psychotherapist, Dr. Cathy Cánepa trained and worked with underserved populations in NYC, working on Jacobi Hospital’s Monolingual Hispanic Inpatient Psychiatric Unit and later as Director of the St. Vincent’s Partial Hospital Program.

Joan Wolf, a Buddhist in the Thich Nhat Hahn tradition, will also offer a guided meditation. 

Chilean musician Ya Ya Fuentes will share mesmerizing music performed on the hang, an instrumental cousin to the steel drum.

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. 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 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 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”.

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.


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