UUFSMA Newsletter October 28, 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.

On Sunday, November 3rd, Canada and the US returns to Standard Time. That will put us back in sync with Mexico time!

Member Profile

Patricia Verplank was raised in various parts of the Midwest and South, before her family finally settled in the Kansas City area. She attended the University of Kansas, received her degree in Education and taught for a year before she headed to Southern California.

After doing her Master’s Degree work at University of Redlands in the Los Angeles area, Patricia taught elementary school and became a principal. It turned out that school administration was not to her liking, so Patricia returned to teaching in the East Bay area of San Francisco.

Patricia had a friend in San Francisco attending Starr King Seminary who introduced her to Unitarian Universalism and she started attending the UU Church of Berkeley in Kensington.

After 17 years in California, Patricia moved to East Tennessee which is where her mother grew up. It is here that she met and married John. She taught for another 25 years there.

When they retired, Patricia and John decided to moved back to Kansas City (John had lived there before, too.) After 3 years they thought “is this all there is?” A friend of theirs told them all about San Miguel de Allende and they were convinced.

In 2016, Patricia and John sold everything they owned and moved (sight unseen!) to SMA. They were glad to find the UU Fellowship here. They have a house in San Antonio where they live with their little dog, Finnegan.

Care Team
David and Silvia Stea are back home after a lengthy stay in the United States for David's back surgery. His recovery will be lengthy and he would enjoy having visitors to help break up the monotony. Please call 152-0825 before going.

Mark Johaninsgsmeir is having shoulder surgery in the U.S. in November. Your well wishes are welcome via markjohaning@gmail.com.

On Wednesday, October 30 at 5 pm, in Sala Quetzal at the Biblioteca, there will be an AMEXCARE meeting. No cost to attend. AMEXCARE helps expats or visitors with medical insurance from their home country avoid paying cash prior to discharge from local Mexican hospitals. If you can't attend, you can contact them at info@amexcare.com or 555-941-4724 for more information.


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, October 29, 10:15 am, Debt: Personal and our country's. Who do we owe and why? How can we pay it off and should we? Will the debt limit just keep rising? 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, October 30, 1:30pm, Ten Ten Pie al Carbon, Stirling Dickinson 5. On right just after Potrero. 

Saturday Women's breakfast group is currently on hiatus.

Saturday Men's breakfast group -  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, December 2, 2019. Please sign up as host or guest at the Welcome Table after Sunday service or contact Arlena Lawrence, lawrencearlena@yahoo.com.


Sunday, November 3, 10:30am


San Miguel Adrift

Cesar Arias



Attorney and human rights activist Cesar Arias warns of the dangers and challenges to San Miguel’s water supply and ecosystems at this Sunday’s Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Service.

“There is a growing concern in local spheres for our World Heritage site’s viability in the coming years,” says Arias. “Beyond the deranged touristic overflow, restlessness is expanding due to the increasing and unprecedented pressure put on our environment and natural common goods that allow life in urban and rural communities. Uncontrolled housing development, the surge of industrial activity, and the extension of predatory agricultural practices are quickly fragmenting and destroying our natural ecosystems and leading to consequent biodiversity loss. But it is on water, our most essential common good, where the most serious impact is felt in its supply and quality for human use.

“The current ‘economic growth’ pattern can only be successful and lasting if it is sustainable based on the conservation of its natural foundation. Current public policies don't seem to be that way at all. The new Municipal Development Plan (PMDUOET) likely to be approved this year by the local government is tailored to favor short-term big business goals. This program summarizes and upgrades the predatory policies that the local and State government is implementing without citizen or NGO participation. Facing this troubling scene, a substantial change is necessary and urgent. Such change is possible but it will only happen when authorities, investors, and decision makers are compelled by the proposals and demands of organized groups in our diverse community. Are we ready to do it?”

Arias is from an old and prominent San Miguel family and a founding member of Amnesty International's Mexican Section. He has been a professor at the Universidad Metropolitana in Mexico City and the University of Veracruz, where he also worked as a journalist. The author of several books and publications on social and environmental issues, he currently serves as President of the Botanical Garden El Charco del Ingenio, where he has worked since its inception in 1990. He has participated in many community projects, such as El Sindicato cultural center, and NGOs, including Va por San Miguel de Allende, with a focus on the defense of the cultural and natural heritage of the city.

For more information about the UUFSMA, including our Sunday morning 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.


Children's Program
Siena and Aisha Lopez made a beautiful ofrenda in the Children's Program, including many sets of sugar animals to go along with the Noah's Ark story they've been learning.

Small Groups

We now have held Neighborhood Connection (NC) gatherings all over town. These are an opportunity for UUs to get together with neighbors for social and care purposes.  If you are interested in being in one and have not received an invitation to a gathering, please send your request to Joan Wolf who is keeping the grouplists current.  Her email address is joanwolf@umich.edu.

Usually a Neighborhood Connection gathers in the home of a volunteer host for a potluck happy hour from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.  All attendees contribute a finger food to share and bring their own beverage.  Many close UU friends are made this way.

If you are willing to host an event, contact Ellie Goodwin at epgoodwin@hotmail.com


Neighborhood Connections Gathering in Centro


If you are a UUFSMA member or friend living in Centro, Balcones, or Atascadero, please come to a social happy hour on Sunday, November 10th from 5-7 p.m. to get to know your UUFSMA neighbors. If you have not already received an email invitation, please contact Dan Neuspiel at dneuspiel@gmail.com to RSVP and for information on the location and other details.
           Join us for US Thanksgiving!

Once again we will be hosting a Thanksgiving Comida Buffet for US members and friends at La Frontera Restaurant.

Thursday, November 28, 2019, 1:30 p.m.

La Frontera, Refugio Sur #28, Colonia San Antonio
Tickets: $450 pesos

Sign up at the Welcome Table after the service. Seating is limited, so don't delay!

Small Group Discussions 

A new ongoing UUF Women's Group is getting organized. The first meeting will be on October 28 from 3 to 5 p.m.

The group will be self governing, will choose topics of interest for future meetings, and might choose another day and time to meet in the future. The first Women's Group has chosen to meet every week for two hours in the homes of members with topics selected by the hostess. The hostess also facilitates the meeting.

Spaces will be limited in order to keep the group small enough to provide mutual support.  If you are interested in joining this group or have questions, please contact Ellie by email at epgoodwin@hotmail.com



If you have an idea about a new group, please pass your suggestions to Ellie Goodwin, epgoodwin@hotmail.com or Joanna Kafarowski, joannakafarowski@gmail.com, co-chairs of the Member Services Team.

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 third Thursday of the month at 1:00 PM and all are welcome. For
more information, please contact Rebecca Langrall (rlangrall22@gmail.com) or Dick Snyder (rcs39@aol.com), Co-Chairs.
The Social Action Committee sponsors an ongoing food and supply drive for the migrants on the train tracks in Comonfort and those sheltered at ABBA House in Celaya.  More and more families are in need of help, especially with these items:

Items Needed:
Multi-use powdered soap, Cloro, Knorr suiza  (chicken bullion), Salt, Sugar, cooking oil
pasta along with can or carton of tomato sauce, Instant coffee, Bandaids, talcum powder, socks (a never ending supply is needed), Sanitary napkins, Underwear (men's and women's).

Medications needed:
Omeprazol (gastrointestinal)
Contac &  Agrifen (cold medications)
Paracetamol (pain & fever)
Ketarolaco (pain, anti-inflammatory) 
Naproxeno (pain, anti-inflammatory) 
Miconazol crema (skin infections)
Vitacilina (anti-bacterial, skin infections)

Members and friends are encouraged to bring what you can each Sunday and drop it into the two large plastic bins near the sign-in table. Stan Allen and Luisa Field will take the items after the service each week to distribute to those in need. Thanks to all for your continued support of ABBA House and the migrants. Together, we can make an important difference in the comfort of these families as they journey toward a better future.
Non Profit Organizations Supported by the UUFSMA
Apoyo a Gente Emprendedora provides micro-lending, education programs and sustainability projects to rural communities. This year’s funding will support the educational component of the micro lending program. http://apoyo.mx/
Caminos de Agua provides open-source solutions for communities at-risk on our aquifer in Central Mexico. The funding will pay for a community engagement fellow. https://caminosdeagua.org/.

Caminamos Juntos helps meet the needs of Mexican Nationals deported from the United States.A network service coordinator will be hired to lead a complex effort to provide safe return services to deportees. https://www.cjsma.org/.


Casita Linda builds houses, helps create a sustainable environment, and provides workshops to help improve life for those living in poverty. The grant will pay for workshops to prepare families that are receiving a house on subjects such as community building, recycling, home maintenance and related issues. https://casitalinda.org/.
CEDESA organizes communities for sustainable living in rural areas and will use their grant to support three community development specialists that train and lead communities in building cisterns, recycling, composting, community gardens and more.
Escuela de Educación Especial is a school for persons with hearing impairment. Their  mission is to ensure that all SMA children who are deaf become literate, independent, and productive citizens who set and achieve life goals. The grant will partially pay the salary of the Academic Director/Administrator. http://www.eeesma.com/.
Fundación de Apoyo Infantil facilitates learning processes, using participatory methodologies to promote children’s rights and the protection of their environment. The grant will help pay for classroom recycling bins. http://faiguanajuato.org/ 

Update of activities 2019
Jóvenes Adelante provides university scholarships and support to financially challenged youth. The grant of $4,845 USD will continue to pay for the scholarship of four university students. A one time grant of $10,000 USD will be used to strengthen the Betse Davies Special Star Fund. http://www.jovenesadelante.org/
Mujeres en Cambio provides scholarships to girls in rural communities to keep them in school.The grant will pay for five junior high and two high school students’ needs such as uniforms and suppllies. https://www.mujeresencambio.org/
Patronato Pro Niños provides medical and dental care to area children. This year’s grant will help pay for radio announcements to inform rural communities where the dental clinics will be each day. http://www.patronatoproninos.org/
San Miguel Literary Sala, Libros Para Todos promotes reading among children in rural communities. The grant will provide a special book for elementary children to read and then bring the author to town to meet the recipient students. https://sanmiguelliterarysala.org/community-projects/.

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, 

Jane Wilkinson, Treasurer, jane.wilkinson@gmail.com

Nominating Committee
Chris Kellogg, christopher_louro@yahoo.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

Coffee Hour
Peter Podesta, parlino27@gmail.com

Cynthia Sterling, sterlingsilver33@gmail.com

Greetings & Name Tags
Jim Harper, smaharper@yahoo.com 

Membership Services
Ellie Goodwin, epgoodwin@hotmail.com
Joanna Kafarowski, j

Neighborhood Groups
Ellie Goodwin, epgoodwin@hotmail.com 

Special Music
Jon Sievert, jon@humblepress.com

Order of Service
Denise Galipeau, denise.uufsma@gmail.com

Small Group Discussions
Ellie Goodwin, epgoodwin@hotmail.com 
Joanna Kafarowski, joannakafarowski@gmail.com

Peter Podesta, parlino27@gmail.com 

Social Action, Outreach and Publicity
Christie McGue, clmcgue@gmail.com

Social Action Committee
Dick Snyder, rcs39@aol.com 
Rebecca Langrall, rlangrall22@gmail.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