UUFSMA Newsletter September 14, 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.

                                   (Part Four)

How We Serve Each Other


This week we describe some ways in which the Fellowship serves its members. Through Member Services, the Children’s Program, and the Care Team, our UU family demonstrates its love and support for one another. Next week, we discuss our service within the larger community.

Member Services

Member Services is a team that looks forward to greeting visitors and members as we arrive at live services. We encourage everyone to wear a name badge, and introduce visitors to regular attendees so they have made at least one acquaintance before the service starts. At coffee hour following the services, our volunteers circulate and extend a warm welcome to visitors. Often these conversations result in the “newbies” stopping by our Information Table to learn about and sign up for an abundance of activities. While we miss connecting with those who visit our Zoom Sunday Services, we appreciate everyone who extends a warm welcome to those who are new.


One of the favorite activities is our monthly Circle Cena (cena implying dinner in Spanish). These opportunities to connect in each other's homes for a few hours have allowed many to develop and deepen relationships and explore more about the workings of our Fellowship and community.  In adjusting to our virtual world, we have just relaunched our Circle Cena: same timeframe, first Monday of each month from 6-8 pm CT. No one needs to rush to sign up as we have unlimited virtual capacity. Look in the upcoming newsletter for connecting information. These gatherings will continue to offer camaraderie for all. Breaking News: This event is changing its name to “UU Mixer Happy Hour.”


We are also very enthused that soon we will have an online password protected Photo Directory of our members. It's always nice to recognize each other!


If any of you have suggestions for supporting membership or want to help us, please direct your comments to our Committee Chair, Chris Chase, at chris.chase1955@gmail.com


Children’s Program 

Perhaps the most magical part of our Fellowship is the joy we feel when children attend each Sunday. Starting with seeing the children before us at a live service, then watching as they carefully carry a flame from our Chalice back to their classroom, we adore watching them blossom. The UU curricula they have been guided through with their regular teachers and assistant have inspired them to live our UU principles, including the recent successful initiation and completion of two social action activities. One of these efforts provided nearly 200 elderly low-income Mexican seniors with rice; the other donated bees to nine families in need so their honey could provide a livelihood for these families. Of course, heartfelt gratitude goes to all the adults in our Fellowship who modelled how UUs like to support social action projects.


Care Team

The UU Fellowship Care Team exists to support members of the Fellowship who are in need due to illness or accident. Care Team members are all volunteers and offer visits, drop off meals and assist with other short-term needs. Our Minister, Rev. Tom Rosiello, is part of the Care Team and available for short term pastoral care. When possible, the Care Team will assist with transportation for doctors’ appointments. The Team also serves as a resource for health-related information: such as doctor names, hospitals, and care giving services available in San Miguel de Allende and has created a resource directory for your use. Please contact Care Team Co-Chairs Francoise Yohalem, francoise.yolahem@gmail.com or Joan Wolf, 415-154-9660, joanwolf@umich.edu .
For pastoral care, please contact Rev. Tom Rosiello, 415-120-2119, tomrosiello@gmail.com


Day of the Dead Virtual Altar

Would you like to memorialize your deceased loved ones who are no longer with us? Let’s
honor them during the Day of the Dead, Sunday, November 1, 2020.

Provide us with digital images of your deceased loved ones for the UUFSMA’s Day of the Dead Virtual Altar. The photos will be available for viewing online before, during, and after the Fellowship’s November 1 Sunday Service and on YouTube. We encourage everyone to participate in the project. Please help to celebrate one of Mexico’s most beloved holidays while honoring your friends and families. If you have images of members and friends from past decades of UUFSMA fellowship, please place them on this altar too. So many members no longer with us deserve to be remembered.

Please provide photo files in JPEG or TIFF formats that will not blur when enlarged to 5 x 7 inches. As a rule of thumb, in size, such files should be larger than 500 kilobytes. Send your images as soon as possible but no later than October 10. Creating the altar with the large number of photographs that we hope to receive will require time. Help this project by providing more time for us to organize your photos and create and decorate the altar. Send photos as soon as you can.

In your email with your photos, include your loved one’s name, dates of birth and death,
(approximate if not exact), relationship, and your name. Please also provide this information in the photo-file name in the following format:
JaneDoe_12.1920 10.2020_mother_AlvinDoe.

Send your image files to joseph.plummer@me.com.

You will be pleased to contribute to this memorial of loved ones and valued associates who have influenced the lives of today’s members and friends of the Unitarian Universalist
Fellowship of San Miguel de Allende, especially in this year of 2020.

Joseph Plummer
UUFSMA Board Secretary

Any “Big, Hairy, Audacious Ideas”
for our Future?
Members of our Fellowship may be aware that the Board recently established a committee: “Envisioning Our Future.” The committee would like to invite anyone from our Fellowship to provide input, sharing “Big, Hairy (or, modest!), Audacious Ideas” for the committee to consider as we look toward the next 10 years and beyond. It would be important to keep in mind that we would like any of our Core Values to “drive” the idea or project. Please submit to committee chair, Jurgen Ahlers, 1jurgenahlers@gmail.com. Thank you!

Laptops for Students

On Sunday, August 23rd, the UUF collected over $1,000 USD toward the purchase of new laptops for university students as part of our “Blue Plate Special” collection.  The Social Action Committee would like to thank all our donors for their generosity, particularly now. Such giving makes possible the college education students have dreamed about despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.

Another way all of us – whether currently in San Miguel or elsewhere -- can give to this cause is by donating any discarded laptops we may have at home. If the equipment can run at least Windows 7, it would be welcome.  Computadoras Pro Jóvenes (CPJ) will wipe it clean and refurbish it for student use. 

If you are currently in or able to get to San Miguel, you can contact Bob Millage who is part of Computadoras Pro Jóvenes at remillage@msn.com and he will come pick up your laptop/s. If you are currently in the U.S. or Canada, please contact our UUF Administrator Denise Galipeau at denise.uufsma@gmail.com who will forward an address to which your equipment can be sent. Several members of our fellowship are in the U.S. and are planning to return this fall. They have generously offered to collect the equipment and drive it down when they return. 

Time is of the essence! Folks are returning in September, October and November. The earlier we can get students a functional laptop, the greater their chances of succeeding in school. 

Thank you!

Update from your UU COVID-19 Taskforce

Forgive us if we sound like a broken record, but the rates of COVID-19 infection are still increasing in San Miguel and in Guanajuato State – and more expats are getting infected now too. With more cases all around us, we have an increased risk of being exposed any time we leave the house. We can catch this virus from people who have no symptoms, who have no idea they are infected. That could be me – or you! The Task Force urges you to continue all your mask, distance and hand-washing precautions, and limit your activities and contacts outside your home as much as possible. We know some of you are doing a great job protecting yourselves and others. Others are becoming weary of the situation and are more casual, choosing to take some added risks. Restaurants? Dinner on your patio with a few friends? Even outdoors, you take your mask off to eat, so you add to the risk level for everyone present.

Next, a few thoughts about the approaching flu season. The influenzas are a different group of viruses, but they also spread through droplets and aerosols, so the same precautions we take for Covid-19 will be helpful in reducing the spread of influenza. Flu vaccines for this year will be available soon, and all medical societies strongly recommend
that we all get vaccinated. These vaccines are safe, they cannot give you the flu – at worst, you may get a sore arm. Flu vaccines are usually about 50% effective in preventing flu or making an infection milder.

This year, the CDC suggests getting your flu shot as early as you can. Here in SMA, that will probably be in early November. Free flu shots will be available for everyone at the Centro de Salud, the public clinic in La Lejona. A few private doctors and clinics will have the vaccines, and they will charge you - it could be as much as 1200 pesos. Up North there is a High Dose vaccine especially for folks over 65. We don’t know if it will be possible for doctors in Mexico to obtain it (last year most were not able to get it). If the High Dose version is not available this year, the standard dose is recommended – it is much better than nothing. More specific details are in the three links below, from Jessica Frick at the Covid19SMA Facebook group. Please note her suggestion: if you plan to go to a private doctor or clinic, call them very soon to make an appointment, so they count you in the number of doses of vaccine they order. And please make plans for everyone in

your household, including your helpers, to get their flu shots.

Will there be a Covid vaccine any time soon? Don’t hold your breath ... even if the safety and effectiveness tests are finished soon, there are big problems with distribution and actually giving the vaccine to be solved. It is likely that any new vaccine for Covid will need two shots, will need to be repeated every year, and will be only about 50% effective, just like the flu vaccine – so don’t imagine you can put your masks away any
time soon. Sorry!

Please, take good care of each other by staying as safe as possible!

Seasonal Flu Shots Part 1
Seasonal Flu Shots Part 2
Seasonal Flu Shots Part 3


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


Care Team
Preparing for a Thoughtful Death series
Once a month on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, 11:00am, CDT

Next Meeting, Wednesday, September 16th

Topic, Contemplation and discussion with Alan Gamble, president of the Mits Aoki Legacy Foundation. Dr. Aoki was a friend of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, and they shared the vision of Hospice in Hawai'i, which they worked throughout their lives to make come true. We will discuss Dr. Aoki's documentary, Living Your Dying.

Documentary to view before our session:

Learn more about Living Your Dying here:

We will provide questions for contemplation when we send you the Zoom link for the event. To receive the link for this presentation, send an email to: ekrmexicocentro@gmail.com.
If you have registered for earlier presentations of the Preparing for a Thoughtful Death series, you are on our list and you will receive 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 Coffee Chat with Tom Rosiello (9:30am)
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

Tuesday Discussion group, September 15 (11:00am)

The Tuesday Zoom discussion group is led by Bill Dalsimer and Liz Stone. 
Topic:  An important early life lesson.

Link:   https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81997626702


Thursday Discussion group, September 17 (11:30am)
The Thursday Zoom discussion group is led by Trish Snyder. 

Topic:  Life lessons: What have we learned after all our years of living, loving, working and making mistakes?  New members and visitors to our Sunday program are especially invited.
Link:   https://us02web.zoom.us/j/857215447


If you are interested in joining, please e-mail jane.wilkinson@gmail.com.

Friday Buddhist Group, Sangha of the Heart (10:00am)
Regular participation is encouraged or drop-in when you want.

Please email Joan at joanwolf@umich.edu if you would like to be added to the Sangha of the Heart email list and receive the Zoom link in a weekly reminder.


Saturday Discussion Group for people living alone (4:00pm) 
To join this group, please contact Helen, at helycres@icloud.com  or jane.wilkinson@gmail.com.

The recording for the last Sunday service will be available on the UUFSMA Youtube channel within a few days.

Click Here to connect to our Utube site.

Sunday, September 20, 10:30am 


“What About Prayer?”

Rev. Tom Rosiello

Some people find that praying is a natural and comfortable practice that becomes a part
of every day or a fervent appeal in difficult times. Many such prayers are petitionary, asking a God to intervene and cause something to happen or not happen. For those who do not believe in an interceding God, prayer may seem silly or a waste of time at best. Some feel prayer is superstitious and that today people are too advanced for such a practice. But is it? Or is praying rewarding for everyone? Is prayer something to practice, regardless of belief? Are there benefits in praying? The Reverend Tom Rosiello, Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Miguel de Allende, will explore these questions in the Fellowship’s September 20 online Service.

Alfred Lord Tennyson once wrote that "more things are wrought by prayer than this
world dreams of." Rev Rosiello believes that there is truth in that statement. "I can't say if prayer changes God,” Rev. Rosiello admits. However, he recognizes that in important ways prayer often change the praying person. “Perhaps we transform ourselves by praying," he suggests. 

After all, prayer can be many different things. It can be ancient words recited by rote. Or,
as Unitarian Minister Ralph Waldo Emerson described it, prayer can be "the contemplation of the facts of life from the highest point of view." Or as Mary Oliver described it in her poem The Blue Iris, prayer can express a few words patched together that allow one to enter through a doorway into a space where another voice may speak. 

This Sunday’s multimedia-enriched Zoom service will explore the theme of prayer in
several ways, including through music from various traditions and styles. Gospel singers and opera divas will add not only a message about prayer but also energy and beauty to the service.

Singing will include hymns that express Unitarian Universalism’s traditions and approaches to prayer. Likewise, musician Malcolm Halliday will perform prayerful music on the great organ at the First Unitarian Church of Worcester, Massachusetts.


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 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 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. 

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 budget. 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.


What is your legacy?  How do you wish to be remembered?  All your life you have worked hard and supported the causes you care about – don’t let that be forgotten. 

If you are thinking about including the UUFSMA in your legacy, contact Steve Singer, Chair of the Endowment Committee, stevesingermx@gmail.com, to discuss the benefits of giving a current or future gift to the Fellowship.

Thank you.


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, Board President.

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

Endowment Committee
Steve Singer, stevesingermx@gmail.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 Cánepa, 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