UUFSMA Newsletter March 23, 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.

From John Simsarian, President UUFSMA

Given the onset of the CODIV-19 (coronavirus) we must make adjustments and
work together. We are committed to maintaining the role of the Fellowship by
providing ongoing support to our membership, friends, and our Mexican

This Sunday we launched our first live streaming of a Sunday Service. This was a
highly successful first Zoom service and, as always, we will continually work toward
improving this weekly event. The Board of Directors and its committees will be
meeting on an on-going and formal basis using the internet or telephone platforms
to conduct the business of the Fellowship. The Care Team will continue to provide
support to our membership, but will do so using safe practices. Our important
“support groups” have either already met or will hopefully meet in the future using
an internet platform. It is expected that the Fellowship will maintain its strength
during this time and emerge stronger after the virus has passed.

Due to the cancellation of the Membership Annual Meeting that was scheduled for
March 22:

  • An email vote was taken of the active members (those who have made a pledge for 2020) to act on the report from the Nominating Committee. This vote was for the slate for the Board of Directors and the slate for the Nominating Committee. Their terms will start effective April 1, 2020. 59 members voted with all the votes being in favor of the two slates.
  • We are appreciative of the work of the Nominating Committee to assure the on-going strength of the Fellowship by producing slates for the Board of Directors and Nominating Committee.

The following were elected to the Board:

  • President, Dan Neuspiel (two-year term—moved from Secretary position)
  • 2 nd Vice President, Chris Chase (reappointment to two-year term)
  • Secretary, Joseph Plummer (one-year term—to fill vacancy from Dan’s move)
  • Joan Wolf (two-year term)
  • Jurgen Ahlers (two-year term)
  • Bonney McDowell (reappointment to two-year term)

The following were elected to the Nominating Committee:

  • Two-year term:

                - John Simsarian
                - Ellie Goodwin
                - Francoise Yohalem (reappointment to a second two-year term)

  • One-year term to March 2021 to fill a resignation:

                - Ed Short (reappointment to a one-year term)

  • The Board of Directors held a conference call meeting on March 20 with full participation of Board members. The Board unanimously passed the budget which was submitted to the membership for the Annual Meeting as a “Provisional Budget for 2020”. With this vote the Fellowship will award the grants to the NGOs recommended by the Social Action Committee and the Board of Directors. At such time as there is a Membership Meeting, the budget can be reviewed and voted on by the membership.

Thank you to Ellie Goodwin and Joanna Kafarowski, whose terms have expired and are leaving the Board of Directors, for their service to the Fellowship. I am also leaving the Board as my term has expired. I have enjoyed serving as president during my last four years on the Board. Also, thank you to Cliff Durand, as his term on the Nominating Committee has expired.

During this difficult time the Fellowship is fortunate to have the support of so many competent volunteers, our Affiliate Minister, Tom Rosiello, and our Administrative Assistants, Denise Galipeau and Diana Amaya.

Thank you for your on-going support of the Fellowship.

Care Team
Ordering meals delivered from local restaurants is a good way to enjoy the food you love while maintaining isolation. And it helps our SMA businesses. 

If you are a Facebook user, check out the VIP Club San Miguel page. They have great pictures, constantly update, and list delivery hours and menus.  If your favorite restaurant is not listed, encourage them to contact vipsma@gmail.com and send in their info. The VIP Club will be monitoring their Facebook page daily throughout the crisis. 

Other sources of information for food delivery are the Discover SMA website: discoversma.com and Uber Eats at: ubereats.com.

Also good to know, La Comer offers grocery delivery service.  Their website is lacomer.com

Buen Provecho!

If you are concerned about the safety of delivered food please read the article below by clicking on the link:

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 Groups have been suspended indefinitely.


Wednesday Lunch Bunch has been suspended indefinitely.


Saturday Men's breakfast group has been suspended indefinitely.

The Circle Cena scheduled for Monday, April 6, 2020 has been cancelled. We will advise you when they resume. If you have any questions, please contact Arlena Lawrence, lawrencearlena@yahoo.com.

A partial recording of our first Zoom Sunday Service held on March 22, 2020 is at the following link. Technical problems caused the omission of the very beginning of the service:


Sunday, March 29, 10:30am


Feminism in Mexico

Ilithya Guevara



This service will be transmitted via Zoom. Those interested in viewing this and future Services should either download the Zoom Cloud Meetings app or go to the zoom.us site and click https://zoom.us/j/8101921501 to join (best to sign in at 10:15-10:25am).  

During this Sunday’s online service, Anthropologist Ilithya Guevara asks why it is so difficult to be a feminist in Mexico, seeking gender equality in a nation whose history reflects centuries of discrimination, multi-racial ethnicity and economic classism? 

“It’s impossible to discuss feminism without mentioning that we live in a multi-cultural society where ethnicity has been one of the many faces of inequality,” says Dr. Guevara, research professor at the Autonomous University of Querétaro. “Poverty, socioeconomic class and racism add to the complexity of what it means to be a woman.”

From years of research, Guevara developed profound insight into the role of women in rural Mexico, economic development’s empowering impact on women, and the role of gender-rooted inequality in Mexico’s daily life. Equality for women, she says, starts with understanding that feminists must fight a culture of machismo and implicit support for gendered violence and social impunity for crimes against women. Today Mexican women face gender violence in ways rarely seen. Torture, mutilation, defacement, sexual assault, and dumping women’s bodies in public places have become common trends. Among the top 25 countries for femicide, 50 percent of those crimes occur in Latin America. Discouragingly, Mexico ranks second in Latin America for its rate of femicides, which totaled 976 murders of female domestic partners in 2019. Ten women are killed each day in Mexico while only 6 percent of perpetrators are sent to prison.

To end this horrific violence, Dr. Guevara calls for a new definition of Mexican manhood that accepts women as equal partners with men and rejects suppression of women in the home, at work, and on the street. Real men must treat female partners with equality, maintain their families as dependable parents who share child-rearing and household chores, and manifest a clear example that all women’s lives matter.

  To protect members and visitors from transmission of the highly contagious virus Covid-19, the UU Fellowship will offer an online Sunday Service at 10:30 am on March 29, 2020 and plans to continue this broadcast service at the same time on future Sundays until further notice. Concurrently, the Fellowship will cancel on-site Sunday Services until Covid-19 is contained. 

To participate in the online service, members and visitors are invited to download the Zoom Cloud Meetings app through their smartphone, tablet, or at https://zoom.us/download, or go to https://zoom.us on your laptop or desktop, and then join the service at https://zoom.us/j/8101921501.Sign-in between 10:15-10:25 am to receive the broadcast. The UU Fellowship welcomes people of all ages, races, religions, sexual orientation, and gender identity. For additional information, visit www.uufsma.org.

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 first Thursday of the month at 1:00 PM and all are welcome. For
more information, please contact Rebecca Langrall (rlangrall22@gmail.com).
Proposed Non Profit Organizations Supported
by the UUFSMA in 2020
Caminos de Agua provides open-source solutions related to water quality and quantity for communities at risk on our aquifer in Central Mexico. Grant will fund a full time Community Outreach and Education specialist.

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 US. Grant will fund efforts to expand radio outreach and community assessment efforts.

Caminamos Juntos Newsletter
CJ Annual Report 2019

Casita Linda builds houses and provides workshops to help improve life for those living in poverty. Grant will fund 62 workshops in life quality enhancement such as self-esteem building, organic gardening, and family communication.
. 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. Grant will fund six promodores to provide workshops on identity building, the construction of dry toilets, rainwater catchment systems, organic gardening, and community leadership.

Centro Infantil de los Angeles provides high quality childcare (including health and educational needs) to low-income mothers allowing them to earn a living. Grant will fund scholarships for free childcare (infants of three months to four years) for seven children.

El Charco del Ingenio protects and preserves the territory and ecosystem of El Charco, providing ecological, scenic, educational, and historic value to the region. Grant will contribute to the development of a new Interpretive Center to encourage more visitors, particularly

Escuela de Educación Especial offers education to those with hearing impairment aimed at ensuring they become independent, literate, and productive citizens. Grant would go toward part of the salary of the Academic Director, setting up a new hearing clinic, and training

teachers to educate a child who is both deaf and blind.


Feed the Hungry offers school meals, family nutrition education, and community development programs. Grant will fund the purchase of food for 13,000 meals for two schools (20 mothers and 30 toddlers).

Fundación de Apoyo Infantil supports positive lifelong habits through classes for children in environmental education, organic gardening, and recycling. Grant will fund two rainwater catchment systems and 12 ceramic water filters for 12 classrooms in two of SMA’s poorest elementary schools.

Update of activities 2019
Jóvenes Adelante provides university scholarships and support to financially challenged youth. Grant will fund four students who will graduate in 4 – 5 years, depending on their field of study, including the cost of credentialing.

Mujeres en Cambio provides scholarships to girls and young women in rural communities to keep them in school and help them attend college. Grant will fund 13 girls through one more year of junior high school or high school.

Ninos Con Autismo identifies, evaluates, devises treatment plans, and assesses progress for children with autism. As a new organization, these funds will assist with startup expenses.

Patronato Pro Niños provides medical, dental, psychological and nutritional care for children and adolescents from economically deprived families in the municipality of SMA. Grant will fund the Public Health Information Campaign and funding of a psychologist at the clinic.

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, 

Finance Committee
Margo Johnson, margoj325@outlook.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