UUFSMA Newsletter May 18, 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.

Dear Members and Friends of the
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Miguel de Allende,
The Board is happy to announce that our Fellowship has agreed to allocate an additional $5,000 from our cash surplus to provide Matching Funds for donations from UUF Members and Friends to address the continuing food shortage for the neediest within San Miguel during the COVID-19 crisis. We encourage those of you who can, to consider donating part or all of your stimulus check as one option for giving. Most people are spending less now, and the peso’s 25% drop in value over the last two months means that your dollars are going much further here in Mexico.
Donations can be made directly through one of the options listed HERE and through the Fellowship's PayPal portal HERE. Please indicate that your donation is for "Food for SMA."  
The Social Action Committee together with the Board determined BASMA, San Miguel's Food Bank, to be the best choice of a recipient for our donations, as it is an integral part of the efforts of groups like the Amigos al 100, the Bomberos through the Red Cross, and Patronato Pro Ninos to distribute food to the most vulnerable members of our community.
Periodic updates on the status of giving will be posted in the newsletter, Google Groups, Facebook, and through direct communication to the membership. Together we can make an important difference during this difficult time for those in greatest need.

Update from your UU COVID-19 Taskforce

The Fellowship’s COVID-19 TaskForce (a group of medical professionals and Care

Team members who meet weekly) is very pleased with how well we are doing
during this pandemic – staying healthy, staying connected, and supporting each
other. Good work!

There is discussion going on about “re-opening” soon, locally and across states and countries. There are strong political and economic forces pushing this agenda. Is this good news? Does this mean that your risk of getting infected has decreased? No, absolutely not! More people will be out and about … so your risk of exposure will actually increase if you are anywhere except in your house. All the shopkeepers and waiters, all the other shoppers in stores … you don’t know where they’ve been, who they live with, how careful they’ve been … and some of them are not even wearing masks!

So we still advise you to take maximum precautions. Stay home, go out only when truly necessary, and be very careful -- try to reduce your risk of exposure as much as possible. We are all feeling the frustrations of these restrictions, and we all want to get out …. but the risks are still very real, and they are not going away.

Some of you may be tempted to socialize “just a little”. Is it better to be outdoors? Yes, but it’s not risk-free. Is six feet distance enough? It’s a minimum, but maybe not always enough … it depends on the length of time you are together, and whether anyone took their mask off, and the air flow …. there is too much uncertainty, so we must urge you to just keep following the guidelines.

This pandemic going to go on for a while, probably quite a while. But we can protect ourselves, our family and friends with the choices we make every single day. This week the TaskForce reviewed an excellent article in the New Yorker by Atul Gawande, a surgeon and public-health researcher in Boston; we strongly urge you to read it too. It is called “Amid the Coronavirus Crisis, a Regimen for Re-entry”.

He talks about how hospitals have learned how to remain open and stay safe, and how we can apply the same ideas to re-opening our communities safely. He calls it “combination therapy” – four things you already know: hand hygiene, distancing, screening for symptoms, and masks. Each has flaws, but all four used together are quite effective. But there is one more thing needed: a change in our culture, our focus. Rather than worrying primarily about our own safety, we need to shift our focus to keeping each other safe. We need to be more comfortable giving and receiving suggestions to help each other. We need to politely and kindly remind each other to pull the mask back up, to stay home if we have a sore throat. We want to be able to tell a friend “I think what you’re doing is risky – I wouldn’t do that, and here’s why”.

So please, let’s think carefully about what we and our friends are doing, what risks we are taking. Since there is no way for us to tell who might be infected right now, let’s help keep everyone safe.

What we are asking ourselves to do now is very difficult. Please stay in touch with each other, keep communicating, and don’t allow yourself to become isolated. If you need a hand, you can reach out to Tom or the Care Team. We have been doing really well so far -- let’s keep up the good work!

Click here for the Atul Gawande article

The TaskForce also recommends another article, “Quarantine Fatigue is Real”
from the Atlantic. It will download as a pdf from this link.


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

Home Care Guide for COVID-19

Active Listening

Weekly Feelings Chart


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,

Topic: Tom’s Zoom Meeting

Time: Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 09:30 AM Mexico City Time

         Every week on Tuesday
        May 26, 2020 09:30 AM
        Jun 2, 2020 09:30 AM
        Jun 9, 2020 09:30 AM
        Jun 16, 2020 09:30 AM
        Jun 23, 2020 09:30 AM

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

A Simple Act of Kindness: Complete an Emergency Information Form

The UUFSMA Care Team and COVID-19 Task Force would like to encourage you to take a few minutes to complete an Emergency Information Form (EIF). The EIF was updated in May 2020 with questions targeted to members of the fellowship living in SMA. People outside SMA and the fellowship may also find the EIF useful.

Having a completed EIF available is a compassionate act. Should one become unable to
answer these questions due to accident, illness or death, it will be much easier for the health care workers, family, friends, neighbors, or trusted professionals in your life to handle your affairs, as you would like on your behalf.

If you do not have a printer, that does not need to stop you from preparing an EIF. You can open the form on your phone or computer and answer the questions on a separate piece of paper. Or using the questions on the EIF as a guide, open your word processing program and answer them in a new document, thus making it easier for editing. But if you need a hard copy of the EIF, and are unable to get your own, please contact Francoise Yohalem at francoise.yohalem@gmail.com.

Please feel free to add additional information such as your Power of Attorney, the name of a minister or any other information you would want others to know. Once completed, we
recommend you provide copies to a few trusted people, and also keep one posted on your refrigerator. You may not want to give everyone a copy with your financial information, but we recommend you do give it to someone.

The UUFSMA will not keep your EIF. But, if you like, UUFSMA will keep just the names and contact information of the people to whom you have given your EIF. Then if Reverend Tom or anyone else needs to communicate with them, their emails and phone numbers are available.

Please send only the names and contact information of your trusted contacts to Denise. Any other information you may send in addition will be discarded. Here is Denise’s email address: denise.uufsma@gmail.com.

It’s human nature to put off paperwork like this, we all mean to get to it some day. Let’s make some day, today. It’s the right thing to do. Thank you!

Click here for the EIF.


Upcoming Event:

“Preparing for a Thoughtful Death” Workshop Series
First Session: Wednesday, May 27, 10 AM, via Zoom

As you may remember, the Care Team had this group workshop scheduled for March 21 when our “best laid plans” were put asunder by Covid-19. Due to substantial interest in the topic, we have called upon our subject matter experts to join us for a series of Zoom sessions, starting Wednesday, May 27 at 10am for about an hour and a half. There will be one presenter per session for the following several weeks, dates and times to be determined and announced.

These sessions will NOT be related specifically to the Covid situation as our Task Force is
providing us with information on that topic. Our focus will be on the broader consideration of taking a look at how we can indeed 'Prepare for our ownThoughtful Death', with speakers from the local Elizabeth Kubler-Ross Foundation, medical doctors with many years working with elderly clients, and highly trained and experienced professionals who specialize in this fascinating field of current practices in preparing to make our final transition.

We will be providing additional information regarding how to register, speakers and their topics, etc. as we move forward, and we hope you will put the first one on your calendar!  If you have questions, please contact Lydia jane Failing, lydiajane56@gmail.com, organizer and moderator of the workshops. 

Please register by sending an email to Diana Amaya at info.uufsma@gmail.com.

Meanwhile, stay home, stay safe and stay positive, for “This too shall pass” and we’ll all be able to go out and play in our beautiful SMA with all our lovely friends once again!


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!

The Tuesday discussion group that met at Quinta Loreto is now meeting using Zoom.  Liz Stone and Bill Dalsimer are moderators. 

Tuesday Discussion group, May 19 (11:00am)

The Tuesday Zoom discussion group is led by Bill Dalsimer and Liz Stone. 
Topic: What myths did you grow up with or carried into adulthood? What did you believe that you later learned was false? What myths formed who you are?


Thursday Discussion group, May 21 (11:30am)
The Thursday Zoom discussion group is led by Trish Snyder. 

Topic: Why has the pandemic become so political (and this is true all over the world)? How can we understand divergent viewpoints?


Although both groups are very popular, there is room for one or two more in each group.  If you are interested in joining, please e-mail jane.wilkinson@gmail.com


Saturday Discussion Group for people living alone, May 23, (11:30am)

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
May 17, 2020.

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/5c50Jfb99W9JRNbyxHiBZbElIa3fT6a80CkZ-KIMn04_JdfUhd8t2gzqDNuo9VQp Password: 3Z@9e#36

Sunday, May 24, 10:30am


The Gathering Storm

Rev. Jurgen Ahlers and
Rev. Mark Johaningsmeir



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  



Or use the Zoom Cloud Meetings app on your smartphone or tablet

The Meeting ID is 414 604 040, PASSWORD 294513

In this Sunday’s UUFSMA service, two retired ministers converse with each other about several crises unfolding in the world and, as a team, suggest responses to strengthen personal and communal resistance to a dystopian future.

In its individual elements, the storm that Rev. Jurgen Ahlers and Rev. Mark Johaningsmeir see gathering will be familiar to their audience. Millions of people already experience the warming of planet Earth, and its foreboding acceleration generates news reports almost every day. With less notice than in the past, a corporate stranglehold on timely information now limits public exposure to unbiased, science-based information about issues affecting health and security. Political leaders and partisan intellectuals ignore the deadly consequences of recent decades of neo-liberal policymaking on human, animal and plant life. Decades of concentration of global wealth in the pockets of fewer owners result in shrinking economic benefits for more and more workers. This we know about too.

These global trends find mirrors in millions of refugees who are made homeless by war, famine, social violence, massive shocks of unemployment, and natural disasters. Emphasizing the necessity of hope, Rev. Ahlers and Rev. Johanigsmeir will reflect upon the synergy of these crises gathering together in their effects on humanity.

Both of this Sunday’s presenters are UUFSMA members, retired, and living in San Miguel. Rev. Ahlers was ordained in the United Presbyterian Church and Rev. Johaningsmeir in the United Methodist Church. After years of experience in the pulpit, Rev. Ahlers also served as an advisor to executives in the Ritz-Carlton Company and other multinational corporations. He has lived in San Miguel since 2018. 

Rev. Johaningsmeir led congregations in Minnesota and Colorado and is known for his work with individuals and their families in the final months of a loved one’s life. A full-time resident here, Rev. Johaningsmeir moved to San Miguel in 2011.

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 home page’s Donate button. Now more than ever, 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, such as the Centers for Disease Control, and to contact our Affiliate 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 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. 

  We Invite You to Share Your Feelings!

The UU Fellowship of SMA is building a repository of individuals’ feelings and experiences during this pandemic. Tell us what and how you are doing that would be helpful to others during this difficult time. Submissions and excerpts will be read at the upcoming
Sunday, May 31st service.

We live amid an event that is more stressful than most of us have ever experienced. This straight-from-hell coronavirus landed upon the world seemingly out of nowhere. Being largely confined indoors, we don’t live our lives as usual. To make it worse, every time we turn on the media we see and hear the suffering and sorrow of people everywhere in the world. We all need help and comfort.

Please email your experiences in 250 words or less to mqcarroll@gmail.com before Friday, May 8th. You may include a photograph or illustration. Also, please know your work may be edited and will be shared with the public.

Organized by UUFSMA Sunday Service Committee Members,

Matthew Carroll
Helen Rivas-Rose
Hilary Toyryla

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.

Only One Month to go to Fund & Select Our 2020 Class

Our ongoing students will invariably experience financial challenges due to the current Covid 19 crisis. We will give them all the support we can as they navigate the times.

Our incoming applicants still have their hopes, and we fully intend to support 25-30 of these eager young students!

Any of these funds, or just being a Friend of Jovenes Adelante will be appreciated. No amount is too small, and convenient payment options are available.

Thank you for giving!


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,  LBoard 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