UUFSMA Newsletter March 25, 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.

UUFSMA President, John Simsarian, presiding at Annual Meeting 2019 and congregation voting.
Report of UUFSMA Annual General Meeting 
March 24, 2019

                                                                              by Lee Knox

Our fellowship held its annual meeting on Sunday March 24th, 2019 after the Sunday service at the Posada de la Aldea with 62 members in attendance. The meeting was opened shortly after noon with opening remarks by Tom Rosiello, our Affiliate Minister, reminding us that we embrace the democratic process in all congregational endeavors.

Our Board President, John Simsarian, reported that our congregation is strong, has a defined value base, and enjoys robust lay-led volunteer engagement. John stated that our recent pledge-drive produced 60,000 USD, up from last year; and our count of pledging members is now at 140, also up from last year. With this additional revenue, John announced that our congregation will be able to award 45,000 USD in grants to local non-profits that benefit the surrounding Mexican community. John also revealed that members Bob Doupe and Diane Dailey will represent us at the UUA General Assembly in Spokane, Washington this summer.

Jane Wilkinson, our Treasurer, reviewed the proposed 2019 budget and after lengthy discussion it was approved unanimously; though several members asked that next year the proposed budget be listed along-side of the actual figures from the previous year, as well as a balance sheet.

The chair of the Nominating Committee, Cynthia Claus, read the slate of new proposed Board Members for two-year terms:

Bill Dalsimer for 1st Vice President
Jane Wilkinson for Treasurer
Dan Neuspiel for Secretary
Jim Harper and Becky Langrall

These were voted in unanimously.

Also, nominated to be added to the Nominating Committee were Elisa Gonzalez, Chris Kellogg and Bill Wilkinson. All were approved unanimously.

Next was a report from Steve Singer, the chair of the Minister Search Committee. He outlined their process which began 2 years ago. They identified 40 candidates, interviewed a number of those and narrowed it down to 3 candidates, ultimately selecting Tom Rosiello, who received unanimous Board approval in November 2018. Tom began his new role as part-time Affiliate Minister on January 1st.

Joanna Kafarowski, from the Strategic Planning Committee, spoke about the results of the online survey that was sent to all members in January, as well as the results of the focus groups held earlier this year. She reported that five recommendations emerged from these endeavors:

  1. Become an official “Welcoming Congregation.” This is a UUA designation for a congregation that has undergone a training program to ensure that all people feel safe and welcome within our congregation. It is especially geared toward welcoming people of the LGBTQ community.
  2. Create more intentionally-small groups. As our congregation grows, we lose some of the intimacy that can enrich our lives. Small gatherings, such as our Wednesday Lunch Group, Tuesday morning discussion group, and Circle Cena are examples of this idea. We would like to create more.
  3. Educate the Fellowship. Not only to learn more about who we are as UUs, but to learn more about the Mexican community around us.
  4. Educate the Community. Employ a variety of means to acquaint the San Miguel population at large as to where we fit into the community.
  5. Connect with the Mexican Community. While our Social Action grants connect us to the poorer, rural Mexicans, many in the focus groups expressed a desire to connect with the English-speaking local Mexicans who may enjoy becoming visitors or members.

The final business of the meeting was to discuss and vote on creating an Endowment Fund to receive any gifts and bequests that people may wish to designate to our fellowship. Bob Doupe, a member of the Bequests and Endowment Fund Committee, reported that the fund would be set up using the UUA’s Common Endowment Fund which has a very low administration fee, enjoys high yields and invests only in socially responsible investment vehicles. There were discussions about how complicated this process could be, but in the end the members voted for the idea with only one person voting against.

The meeting was adjourned at 1:30. Thank you to all participants for another successful annual meeting.


Board of Director Membership,  
John Simsarian, President, UUFSMA 
Paula Peace and Peter Podesta have unfortunately decided to resign their positions on the Board of Directors. The Board has voted to fill their unexpired one additional year terms with Joanna Kafarowski and Bonney McDowell.  
After completing many years as Board members, the terms for Dick Snyder and Judy Rosenthal expire and they are leaving the Board effective the end of March.  The Fellowship has greatly benefited from the Board membership of Dick Snyder, Judy Rosenthal, Paula Peace, and Peter Podesta.  
With the election that took place at the March 24 Annual Meeting, Dan Neuspiel, and Becky Langrall were appointed as new board members and the reappointment of Bill Dalsimer, Jane Wilkinson and Jim Harper. The following are the members of the Board of Directors effective April 1, 2019:
John Simsarian, President
Bill Dalsimer, 1st Vice President
Chris Chase, 2nd Vice President
Jane Wilkinson, Treasurer
Dan Neuspiel, Secretary
Ellie Goodwin, Member
Jim Harper, Member
Becky Langrall, Member
Joanna Kafarowski, Member
Bonney McDowell, Member
The Fellowship is fortunate to have the benefit of such a knowledgeable, dedicated and competent Board of Directors.  As the current President of the Fellowship, it has been a pleasure to work with the Board and I am looking forward to working with the new Board, which takes effect on April 1.
Thanks to Cynthia Claus, pictured here, for sharing her previous church experience of signing a Membership book. The UUFSMA Board thought this was a good idea to enhance our Fellowship. 

The book, handmade by a local artisan, was made available to our members for signing after the Annual Meeting. The Membership book will remain on the Welcome Table for all members to sign upon making their annual pledge. If your name is not yet there for 2019, please stop by to add it. One member on her way out was heard to say, "That made me feel really good!"
The Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Dianna Thornhill-Miller and Kimberly Fairbanks (pictured at right with Carolyn Simsarian) have designed and created an artistic mosaic presentation plate for the Chalice and for candles during Joys and Concerns.  The warmth of pottery, the colors of Mexico, and the sand of the earth will all contribute to a meaningful, aesthetically-pleasing installation that symbolizes the four elements of earth, fire, air and water and complements the leather mosaic mandala in its design.

Care Team

It is not how much you do, but how much love you put in the doing.
-  Mother Teresa

The Care Team is meeting this Thursday for the first time since its successful training… New members have joined and we are continuing our planning to operate more efficiently and better server clients.
Great news!  
A  great caring welcome to Lee Veal who came to the UU Service this Sunday!  It is great to have you back, Lee, but don’t overdo it! 
If you are in need of assistance or know someone who does, please contact Francoise or Lydia Jane.

For pastoral care, please contact Rev. Tom Rosiello, 415-120-2119,  tomrosiello@gmail.com
Françoise: 415 149 3053,  francoise.yohalem@gmail.com
Lydia Jane: 415 149 3784,  lydiajafa@yahoo.com
On Friday, March 22, our dear friend Roger Hind passed away. He had returned to Canberra, Australia in late 2018 for cancer treatment. Roger was an active member of the UUF and shared his brilliant intelligence and witty sarcasm in an unforgettable style with everyone. His daughter in Australia is Natalie and she can be reached at 
There will be a Celebration of life for David Garrity, husband of Ellie Goodwin, at the Aldea on April 10th, from 3:00pm to 5:00pm. Rev. Tom Rosiello, Paula Peace, and Malcolm Halliday are planning a lovely service. There will be a casual tea-time reception following the service.

David loved children and reading. Donations in his memory will be accepted with gratitude by Libros Para Todos using this link:  https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/big-read-for-children-in-rural-mexico/

Children's Program
In the Children's Program this week the story was about a chameleon that wanted to be like everyone else, ultimately learning how good it is to be oneself.  Pictured is art by Sedona showing how the chameleon looked when including parts of many.

Calendar of Activities

Tuesday Discussion Group, March 26, 10:15 am,  To what degree do we define ourselves by what we want other people to see? 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, March 27, 1:30pm, OKO, Plaza la Alhondiga Local 1F, across from La Comer.


Women's breakfast group meets at Oso Azul, Zacateros 17 at 9:30 each Saturday morning. 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, May 6, 2019. Please sign up as host or guest at the Welcome Table after Sunday service or contact Arlena Lawrence,   lawrencearlena@yahoo.com.

Sunday, March 31, 10:30am  

Women in Political Transition

Laura Carlsen



Journalist Laura Carlsen examines the progress of women under the new administration of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) at this week’s Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Service.      

Obrador came into office on the promise, among other things, of gender equality in government. In numbers, it has complied; the MORENA-dominated Congress and the new cabinet have made history by being comprised of close to half women. Mexico's government is now one of the most equal in the world in terms of women's representation. 

But we know that parity is not enough to fight patriarchy, especially in a country with a deep-seated macho culture and epidemic levels of violence against women. So far, the government's demonstrated commitment to advancing women's rights and well-being has been erratic and caused some confusion. The withdrawal of subsidies for women's shelters sent up an outcry, although it was later explained that funding would continue. There is concern that other vital services to address violence will be cut back in the face of austerity measures and indications that the new government has emphasized women in government over real policy change.

The major speeches of AMLO’s new administration seldom mention gender equality or women's rights, and there have been few major policy announcements in this area. The agenda for women's equality is long and urgent: guaranteeing full exercise of citizenship and access to politics on all levels, gender perspectives in policy and implementation, an end to sexual abuse and harassment, and the elimination of violence against women in all spheres. Do the policies and actions of the new government reflect the commitment to gender justice? What has been done and what more needs to be done?

Laura Carlsen is currently the director of the Americas Program of the Center for International Policy and holds an interdisciplinary Bachelors Degree in women's studies and a Masters in Latin American Studies from Stanford University. She has written extensively on Mexican politics and gender justice and is an advisor to the Global Fund for Women, the Nobel Women's Initiative and Just Associates, an international feminist movement-building organization, and a founding member of the Mexican Network of Women Human rights Defenders. She will also speak to the Center for Global Justice on Obrador’s first four months in office this Saturday at the Biblioteca Publica.

For more information about 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 10:30 a.m. at the Hotel La Aldea or check out our website at uufsma.org.

Small Group Discuussion 

The first of our new series of discussions to be held on April 2 is already filled. Hopefully Karen Woolhouse and David Lewis will host another when they return in the fall.

Coming up next is -

'It’s Always Something'…Change, Loss, & Resilience, Monday, April 15, 2:00-4:00pm.
Most people know that change and loss are inherent to life but being comfortable with that reality can challenge all of us. Let’s talk about adaptations to change or loss that you’ve observed in others or yourself. What does resiliency look like in times of challenge? What are the spiritual characteristics we need to cultivate to get us through difficult times?

This discussion will be led by guest minister, Rev. Claudia Frost, at Sue Edelstein and Bill Spence’s house at Privada San Rafael Norte 3, Col. San Antonio, 

'Two Kinds of Happiness', Wednesday, April 17, 2:00-4:00pm

There is happiness that depends on outer conditions. This kind of happiness is fleeting. The great wisdom traditions claim that there is a happiness that is deeper and not really dependent on outer circumstances. What that happiness is and how we can obtain it will be the topic of our discussion.This discussion will be led by visiting minister Rev. Arvid Straube at Privada San Rafael Norte 3, Col. San Antonio.

Reservations can be made with  epgoodwin@hotmail.com

If you are interested in hosting or leading a small group discussion in your home, please contact Ellie Goodwin at  the email above.

Social Action
Ser Mujer Events

Wednesday, March 27, 5:00pm, Teatro Santa Ana

Film: Chavela, $100 pesos

Known only as “Chavela,” Isabel Vargas was born in Costa Rica in 1919 and moved to Mexico at a young age, eventually becoming a Mexican citizen. The throaty ranchero singer and guitarist dressed as a man, smoked cigars, drank heavily, carried a gun, and was known for her characteristic red jorongo, a kind of androgynous red blanket poncho, which she always wore in performances until old.
Vargas’ impact on Mexican music is hard to overstate. She is known as much for her haunting, hoarse voice as she is for defying the gender conventions and mores of the 1950s Mexican society, flaunting her homosexuality, singing love songs to women and coming out publicly at the age of 81 in her autobiography “Y si quieres saber de mi pasado”. She became a fixture of the art and bohemian scene in Mexico City, embraced by the exploding artistic and intellectual community of the time – including Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Juan Rulfo, and Agustin Lara. In the final years in her life she became a muse to filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar, earned a Lifetime Achievement Grammy, and sold out performances at prestigious concert halls around the world.

Prior to the film San Miguel singer and musician Yoremen Jacobi will perform a selection of songs written by Chavela.

The "Plastic Madness" (La Locura del Plastico) Exhibition that opened at Casa Europa on San Francisco on March 4, has been extended to April 6. In the exhibition 30 area artists express their concern and raise awareness about our planet's plastic crisis by creating innovative art from cast off plastics. The Exhibition is open daily 11:00am to 5:00pm.
    A Day of Fun and Games in the Countryside
To Celebrate Feed the Hungry’s 35th Anniversary 
Your participation will help us continue to provide nutritious lunches every school day
to more than 4,500 disadvantaged children in San Miguel de Allende
Sunday, March 31 - 10:30am- 3:30pm
  •     Tennis Tournament
  •     Bridge Tournament
  •     Bocce Ball
  •     Board Games
  •     Fashion Show by Isabella Blue Boutique
  •     Drinks, Snacks, and Lunch

La Esperanza Villas & Tennis
Camino a Tirado #6, Col. La Esperanza, San Miguel de Allende
Only 3km from Centro, La Esperanza is an idyllic two-hectare property of beautiful gardens, the perfect location to escape the noise and busy streets of San Miguel.  **Free parking.** 
All for 1,200 pesos/$60US per person
Buy your ticket online via PayPal.
Tickets are also available at Solutions, Recreo 11, Centro, San Miguel de Allende. Open 9-6 Monday-Friday; 9-2 Saturday.
Exclusive Offer! Portraits by Dan Rueffert
Acclaimed San Miguel artist Dan Rueffert will paint portraits at the event for US$375. All proceeds are being generously donated to Feed the Hungry. You’ll receive a 9x12 oil painting plus the knowledge that you’ve funded a school meal for 750 children! This exclusive offer is limited to the first FOUR people who pay online for a portrait.  Buy online via PayPal.
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
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 MeDowell, 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 
Becky Langrall, 503-860-3115, 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,  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, clmcgue@gmail.com

Social Action Committee
Dick Snyder, 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:


On the bottom right corner, click on 'Join Group' 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