UUFSMA Newsletter March 30, 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.

On Sunday, April 5th, Mexico will change to Daylight Saving Time. Don't forget to set your clocks ahead one hour before retiring for the night on Saturday. 
The UUFSMA COVID19 Taskforce comprises health professionals and Care Team representatives, and it has been meeting regularly since earlier this month. We will publish regular updates on the pandemic in this newsletter.
As of March 28 there has been one confirmed case reported in SMA, and we know that coronavirus infections and deaths have been increasing in Mexico. We advise everyone to take precautions: Avoid nonessential contacts with people other than immediate household members, wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds, and avoid the many nonscientific recommendations that have spread on social media.
A reliable source of information is the COVID-19 SMA Public Group on Facebook, which is available even for non-Facebook users at:

Here is another helpful resource: Mutual Aid group San Miguel de Allende Covid-19 Community. Lead coordinator is Pattie Hickey Rechtman
pattierechtman@gmail.com phone 415-1518138
Volunteer form for COVID-19 SMA
We are collecting this information knowing that volunteer opportunities will be limited by our need to keep safe. We are planning all of our activities with a commitment to keeping all of us safe. We will limit contact as much as possible while at the same time helping our community as much as we can.
They are taking DONATIONS https://www.smacovid19.com/donations

Below is a useful chart to follow if you have concerning symptoms:
I would also encourage everyone to read the attached document - Covid-19 Stay Home Planning Toolkit.

Read the whole document ... just about everything has been covered. The information will be updated on a regular basis, so check it out every week.

Click here to open the document

                                Changes at the Top

It's almost April 1st and the world has turned upside down. We could not have an official annual meeting, but we now have a change of roles at the Board level, after a membership virtual vote.

John Simsarian, who has been our President for four years (and served as a Board
member before that), and Ellie Goodwin, a Board member for a number of terms, are
both departing. Joanna Kafarowski had to resign because of her move back to Canada.
Dan Neuspiel is taking John's place as President. Joseph Plummer is taking Dan's place as Secretary, Joan Wolf and Jurgen Ahlers are filling the two remaining vacancies.

John Simsarian has overseen tremendous changes in our Fellowship during his four years as President. He has been a strong and steadfast leader, handling many difficult issues with equanimity and humor. He has worked tirelessly to lead the Board and the
Fellowship on matters both large and small. As UUers, we often have differences of
opinion, and John has managed these differences to successful resolutions. John had the
vision to see a path forward, using our limited resources, for the hiring of an Affiliate
Minister. Under his stewardship, the size of our member congregation has more than
doubled, and overseeing the management of this growth has been a particular challenge
for him. His performance has been stellar. Thank you, John, for all you have done.

Although John's shoes may be hard to fill, we are extremely fortunate to have Dan
Neuspiel, a physician and natural-born leader, taking over as President. Dan has already
hit the ground running, taking the lead on becoming a 'virtual' Fellowship, renegotiating
our rent with the Hotel Aldea, and many other things. He also has served on our COVID-
19 Task Force and as chairperson of the Endowment Planning Committee, which laid the
framework for accepting large gifts to our Fellowship. It is doubtful that Dan envisioned
facing this most unusual challenge when he agreed to take over as President. We
should consider ourselves very fortunate to have him at the helm during this difficult

Everyone knows Ellie Goodwin, who has been instrumental in our membership growth.
She greets everyone at Fellowship meetings and probably knows more of our members
and friends than anyone else. Ellie worked tirelessly as Sunday Service chairperson,
piloting the visiting minister initiative. This evolved into the appreciation for professional
ministers (also contributing to growth), and the eventual hiring of Tom Rosiello as
Affiliate Minister. Ellie also has worked tirelessly at member relations, in one capacity or
another, and has been an absolute delight to have as a Board member. Ellie can’t be
thanked enough for all she has contributed for our growth and well being.

Although Joanna Kafarowski's stint as a Board member ended up being short, she made
valuable contributions during that time, and she will be missed.

We welcome our new Board members Joan Wolf, Joseph Plummer and Jurgen Ahlers. And, we thank William Dalsimer, Chris Chase, Jane Wilkinson, Bonney McDowell, Jim Harper, and Rebecca Langrall for their ongoing service. All are very capable and have much to contribute.

Care Team
UU Caring Connection
The Care Team prepared a list of UUFSMA members who live alone in SMA. Then we matched the people on that list with Care Team members. If you live alone in SMA you should have heard from a Care Team member by now, either by phone or email. If you have not been contacted and would like a friendly check-in, please let Diana Amaya know. Diana is maintaining the list.  
We are calling this effort the "UU Caring Connection" because we anticipate the program may grow to include many UUs, not just the Care Team. And perhaps not just people who live alone. If you would like to get involved, Diana will take your name and contact information and identify you as a person who wants to initiate the connection or someone who would like to receive regular messages. Diana's email is di.diana.amaya@gmail.com.


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 has been suspended indefinitely.

Attached is a link to the recording of our Zoom Sunday Service held on March 29, 2020.


Sunday, April 5, 10:30am


Grass Roots Rising & the
Green New Deal

Ronnie Cummins



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).  

In this Sunday’s online service, Ronnie Cummins, co-founder of the Organic Consumers Association, its Mexican counterpart Via Organica, and Regeneration International, will discuss practical solutions for surviving—and thriving—in catastrophic times.

Author of the ground-breaking book, Grassroots Rising: A Call to Action on Climate, Farming, Food, and A Green New Deal, Cummins brings to San Miguel his passionate call for global action that would change agricultural practices worldwide and prevent the collapse of Earth’s life-sustaining environment. He will share with the UU community an outline of his blueprint for super-charging consumer awareness, farmland innovation, political dynamics, and financial investment in order to regenerate the natural environment and avoid world-wide ecological catastrophe.

While more and more people recognize the urgent need for reducing greenhouse gases that drive our overheating global climate, fewer citizens recognize that every consumer can help to force a transformation of the world’s broken food system. He urges people everywhere to understand that industrial agriculture is a major contributor to climate change. Regenerative agriculture, he argues, can sequester massive amounts of carbon in the soil, thus reversing global warming. Cummins asserts that, through the transformation of our broken food system, the solution lies right beneath our feet and at the end of our forks. 

A prolific writer and activist since the 1960s, Cummins has extensive experience in public education and grassroots mobilization. He has mounted campaigns in the United States and around the world to advance standards for organic farming and its products, food safety, genetic engineering, and factory farming. 

Calling both Minnesota and San Miguel de Allende his home, Cummins shares his active life with his wife and 21-year-old son. For online information about the Cummins organizations, visit www.OCA.org, www.viaorganica.org and www.RegenerationInternational.org.

To avoid transmission of the Covid-19 virus, the UU Fellowship will offer an online Sunday Service at 10:30 am. The Fellowship has canceled on-site services until the virus 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 on a laptop or desktop computer at https://zoom.us/download. Join the service at https://zoom.us/j/8101921501. Sign-in between 10:15-10:25 am. 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).
Virtual Talk: Consuming the Future

Please click on the link below for details of this event

Covid 19 - a most unsettling historic period
There can be no question that we are in a most unsettling historic period. Many are unsure as to how to deal with the uncertainty that surrounds us and our loved ones. At Feed the Hungry San Miguel, we are much like you. We have families we need to protect and support, but we also must consider what will happen to the more than 4,500 children who we have been feeding more than 5,000 meals each school day.

As the government has rightfully decided to close all schools, we have had to close all our 36 school kitchens, and consequently, for an undefined period, these children will go hungry.

To support these communities and our team members, we have decided not to furlough any of our cooks, nutritionists, kitchen supervisors, or administrative staff, but instead have challenged them, along with our Trustees, to explore new ways we can aid the children during this difficult  time. We have already assured the seven SMA charities we support that the food supplies will continue to flow. However, given unknown parameters, logistics, and funding problems, whatever we do for the school children will be less efficient and more costly than our proven operational systems.

In addition, we have canceled our planned fundraising events for the remainder of 2020, since they normally involve groups of people and long-term commitments to suppliers. We expect a large strain on our already tight budget.

Therefore, we hope that while you “stay in place”, you reflect on the needs of those who are innocently affected and will needlessly suffer hunger if not aided by our dedication and commitment to them. Please help us to help them by continuing your support. Go to feedthehungrysma.org to donate online or to find information on how to donate by check. 

Many thanks and stay well,

Al Kocourek
President, Feed the Hungry San Miguel, Inc.
Non Profit Organizations Supported
by the UUFSMA in 2020
We understand that these are difficult and uncertain times due to the COVID-19.
We acknowledge that there may be a need to be flexible with the grant funding to address emergent needs.
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.  Grant Amount: $5855 USD. ($112,416 pesos). 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 US. Grant will fund efforts to expand radio outreach and community assessment efforts. Grant Amount: No new funds. $5,000 USD rollover from 2019. 

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. Grant Amount: $3,135USD. ($60,192 pesos)

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. Grant Amount: $8,628 USD. ($165,658 pesos)

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 10 children. Grant Amount: $5,000 USD.  ($96,000 pesos) 

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 students. Grant Amount: $3,500 USD. ($67,200 pesos) 

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. Grant Amount: $3,600 USD. ($69,120 pesos) 

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). Grant Amount: $2,225 USD. (42,720 pesos) 

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 and help to support workshops. Grant Amount: $2,297 USD. ($44,201 pesos) 

Update of activities 2019
Jóvenes Adelante provides university scholarships and support to financially challenged youth.  Grant will fund 4 students for a year.  Length of time in university is 4 – 5 years, depending on their field of study. Grant Amount: $7,735 USD. (148,512 pesos) 

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. Grant Amount: $4,000 USD. ($76,800 pesos) 

Ninos Con Autismo Identifies, evaluates, devises treatment plans, and assesses progress for children with autism. As a new organization, the grantee has requested flexibility to direct funds where most needed. Grant amount: $4,790 USD.  ($91,968 pesos)


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 the funding of a psychologist at the clinic. Grant Amount: $4,000 USD. ($76,800 pesos)

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