UUFSMA Newsletter May 25, 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.

Update from your UU COVID-19 Taskforce

"Harm reduction" is a term often used for those with addictions. Many of us are addicted to going out to socialize, especially at one of the great restaurants in town. Normally, this is a healthy dependence, but these are not normal times.


Staying home is the safest choice, but we understand that abstinence doesn’t work for everyone, and as some restaurants start to open, some of you won’t be able to resist the urge to go out, so we want to offer a 12-Step Harm Reduction Program to reduce your risk of coronavirus infection:

Step 1. Bring a mask, hand sanitizer as well as disposable gloves for the bathroom.

Step 2. On the way to the restaurant, wear your mask over both your mouth and nose and…

Step 3. Keep 6 feet away from others on the street. Remember, your mask protects others, social distancing protects you.

Step 4. Be careful not to get hit by traffic as you dodge people who do not respect social distancing.

Step 5. Choose a restaurant with outside seating, and, if possible, one that you know promotes safe sanitary behaviors.

Step 6. As you approach the restaurant, if you see any wait staff not wearing masks over their mouths and noses, pass it by.

Step 7. Be sure you are seated outside and six feet away from anyone who is not part of your quarantining unit.

Step 8. Clean off any objects touched by wait staff with hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes, including the menu.

Step 9. Don’t share food, beverage, or utensils.

Step 10. Sanitize your credit card after it is used, and consider that cash change is contaminated.

Step 11. On leaving the restaurant, take similar street precautions, and be even more careful if you had any alcohol with your meal.

Step 12. To repeat, staying home is safest, but if you need to satisfy your craving and follow these 12 steps, Buen provecho!


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 26, 2020, 09:30 AM Mexico City Time

         Every week on Tuesday
        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

 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, May 26 (11:00am)

The Tuesday Zoom discussion group is led by Bill Dalsimer and Liz Stone. 
Discussion:  Where have you felt like an outsider? Did you want to be an insider? What "club" (symbolically speaking) would you like to have been in? 


Thursday Discussion group, May 28 (11:30am)
The Thursday Zoom discussion group is led by Trish Snyder. 

Check in:  Let's share some laughs with a few jokes.

Discussion:   How can we deal with the notion of long-term confinement? Let’s explore new ideas for our well being and our community's well being. Are we slowly beginning to "cheat" from time to time?


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, (11:00am)

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
May 24, 2020.

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/3_ZkEJPb9j5IZavWwkHDYIkLN5vjeaa8gCUb_aUFxR1_DmxQRb_v4vSpY4cB__FW Password: 1a..s56C

Sunday, May 31, 10:30am


Living in a Pandemic

Matthew Carroll and
Helen Rivas-Rose



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

This Sunday’s online UUFSMA Service will present ways that residents of San Miguel and others are responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. Matthew Carroll and Helen Rivas-Rose, this week’s guest speakers, base their presentation upon brief narratives from individuals in self-quarantine, which they solicited from Atencion readers, members of the UU Fellowship, and other sources. 

With wit and words from many sources, the two members of the Fellowship will present what others are saying about their pandemic experience. The audience joining Carroll and Rivas-Rose online will hear how others in self-quarantine nurture resilience and vanquish feelings of isolation. These times call for inventive approaches to personal maintenance. Hearing what others say about pandemic life, service participants will learn that the experience of self-quarantine can reinvigorate one’s perspective on self-reliance, inner strength, and a shared human experience.

Himself a master of resilience, Carroll began his career as a partner in the Wall Street firm of Steiner, Rouse, Inc., executing orders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. He then became an educator as a teacher in a one-room school in Vermont. He was later principal of elementary and middle schools in Vermont and Connecticut and represented the Nutmeg State during the nationwide transformation of middle school education, known as Turning Points. A resident of San Miguel since 2006, Carroll is the author of “Who Quinn Became,” a memoir.  

Known for her adaptability, Rivas-Rose has taught English, Spanish, and Bridge, prepared income tax returns, directed a working space for alternative artists, and owned and operated a medicinal herb shop. One of the earliest members of UUFSMA, she has lived in San Miguel off and on for nearly three decades. Her memoir “Brave: A Painfully Shy Life” earned sparkling reviews and several literary awards. More recently, she created www.socialisolation.org as an online community for socially isolated and lonely people.

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. 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.


Un Abrazo Fuerte for your kind and generous support of ABBA House

I am so lucky to be a member of the UUFSMA. This community walks the walk with a big, generous heart of caring and activism. When we say, “We respect the interdependent web of life and work for a just and peaceful world”, those words have profound meaning in our daily lives and the choices we make. I want to sincerely and loudly thank you for not just the unending support of ABBA House and the work of Pastor Ignacio, but the many causes championed by the UUFSMA that benefit, enrich, support and create opportunities for the citizens and neighbors of our adopted Mexican home. I am so aware that
despite our differences, we all made a personal and conscious decision to live here in another country. Our decision to live here comes with responsibilities that UU takes seriously.

I want to thank all the donors who generously gave to the Latin American Relief Fund and my GofundMe Page to raise funds for the purchase of ABBA House in Celaya. In 4 ½ years, ABBA has provided humanitarian care for over 33,000 migrants seeking safety and opportunity. In a very short and challenging time, we have raised with the help of a matching donor more than enough to purchase the building with a cushion for start-up costs. Already ABBA is benefitting from soon to be ownership.

Pastor Ignacio with the help of ACNUR (High Commission of the United Nations Office of Refugees) is getting ready to install solar panels that will save money and be a reliable source of energy. I want to thank all who helped turn this ambitious project into a reality. I also want to thank the UUFSMA for hosting last Sunday’s Zoom meeting, “Migrants in Crisis”. Over 115 people attended from as far away as Spain and England. A very big shout out to Diana Amaya, and Diego Vargas for their technical skill in making magic and so much respect for Bill Dalsimer as an excellent moderator. It was another great
example how UU creates concerned, informed, caring and active community. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Stan Allen

We are so grateful for all of the compassionate support that the UUFSMA and the SMA community has given to Caminamos Juntos! Thank you!

We want you to know how your generosity is being put to use specifically during the pandemic. After managing the stress and trauma of deportation and settlement most of our participants found work and were just beginning to feel some semblance of relief as they settled into their new home here in San Miguel. When the pandemic hit all but four of our twenty-three current participants lost their jobs, and half have families to support here in San MIguel.

Since the COVID-19 quarantine began staff has been working from home and exclusively on line. The silver lining of this limitation is that it has allowed us to reallocate portions of our budget in order to direct funds to give our participants the support they need in this emergency.

Each month the families that have lost jobs receive a stipend that helps with rent, food and other basics, and face masks are now included in our monthly “dispensas” of food and household supply packages.

                                                         * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Caminamos Juntos has also joined the Corazones Unidos campaign, which aims to collect in kind and economic donations; all key players come together to provide various resources, which include infrastructure, human or economic support to deliver the needed aid without the recipients needing to leave their homes. This effort impacts more than 540 communities which make up the municipality of San Miguel de Allende.

                                                         * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The children have given us some joy and hope in the midst of all the hardship. Missy Luna, the coordinator of our Language Program has continued to operate her program virtually. Thanks to a grant from the Athena Foundation, we were able to obtain tablets for our children. Each child or family now has a tablet with a downloaded on-line language program so that they can continue their studies at home.

Please see our emailed newsletter for more information on activities and videos of some of the children’s project thanking healthcare workers. If you did not receive our newsletter please let us know you would like to be added to the mailing list at: caminamosjuntos@cjsma.org.

Wishing everyone to stay safe and healthy!

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.
Interested in Climate Justice?
Check out GreenFaith

GreenFaith is an international, interfaith environmental NGO — one of the oldest organizations of its kind in the world. Unitarian Universalists are among their members and leaders. They have a long history of working with diverse religious and spiritual communities, educating about the moral and sacred basis for protecting the environment, helping these communities green their operations, and mobilizing passionate people for environmental advocacy and campaigns.

Since 1992, they have worked with spiritual and religious communities representing diverse traditions and cultures around the world. The mission of GreenFaith is to inspire, educate, organize, and mobilize people of diverse religious and spiritual backgrounds globally for environmental action. Its work is based on beliefs shared by the world’s religious and spiritual traditions. They believe that protecting the Earth is a sacred act, and that environmental stewardship is a moral responsibility.

Because the Earth and all people are sacred and at risk, GreenFaith is building a global,
multifaith climate and environmental movement. Together their members create communities to transform themselves, their spiritual institutions, and society to protect the planet and create a compassionate, loving and just world.

GreenFaith sponsors weekly Thursday Zoom calls of care and resilience at 10am and 3pm SMA time. There, you can connect with people around the world and seek to be bold for climate justice in the work of Covid19. You can sign up for these calls at www.greenfaith.org. Come for a time of spiritual respite with a spiritual speaker and stay in breakout discussions to connect with others and learn more about what they are doing--together, we are better!

For more information, contact Dan Neuspiel: dneuspiel@gmail.com or check out the sites


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