UUFSMA Newsletter September 21, 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 Five)

              How We Serve Our Community

                               1987 – 2020

This week’s article is the first of two on Social Action. UUFSMA has been making contributions to the SMA community for 33 years. Formally established in 2002, the work of the Social Action Committee (SAC) has garnered international attention, including recognition from the UU Association for outstanding contributions to social

A large part of the SAC’s work involves vetting, reviewing and funding local Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). These grants help improve the quality of life for Mexicans living in and around San Miguel and, for many years, have represented at least 50% of our annual projected operating budget. Indeed, this year that has grown to 59%, or nearly $59,000, benefiting citizens with the greatest need through the well monitored work of more than 30 organizations, including:


ABBA House


Ninos de Autismo


El Charco del Ingenio

Ojala Ninos                  

Apoyo a Gente Emprendedora

El Salvadoran Peace Team

Patronato Pro Ninos


Escuela de Educación Especial


Caminos de Agua

Feed the Hungry

Railroad Project

Caminamos Juntos

Fundacion de Apollo Infantil

Santuario Hogar Guadalupano             


Jovenes Adelante!

Seed Bank

Casita Linda

Latin American Relief Fund

SMA Literary Sala


Libros para Todos

So Others May Eat


Lions Club


Centro Infantil de Los Angeles

Mujeres en Cambio                                                             

Tsuru for Solidarity

Climate Action Strike




Bold Ital indicates current grantees.


In addition, each quarter the SAC identifies organizations with special, often one-time needs, for which the entire Sunday offering is given. In 2019, contributions from these four “Blue Plate Specials” totaled over $3,000.


For more information, contact SAC Committee Chair and Board Member Rebecca Langrall at 415.151.0065 (Mexico) and/or rlangrall22@gmail.com.


Watch for the next story full of gratitude from some of our grantees who will share how our generous grants have benefited the SMA community.


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

 Feeling a Little Zoom Frustrated Sometimes?

Are you ever finding Zoom a bit challenging? Do you ever have trouble with your audio or video… or perhaps you have virtual background-envy of friends who have those lovely photo scenes behind them or wear funny hats …?

We are offering two new Zoom classes this Wednesday, September 23 and the following Wednesday, both at 11:30am CDT with UUFSMA Administrator Diana Amaya and Audio-Tech
wizard Diego Vargas. They have prepared a two-part class to guide you how to improve your internet and operate the Zoom basics of mute, gallery view, installing important updates, and using the chat, etc., etc.! Whether you’re in
San Miguel, the US, or Canada – you are welcome to sign up. (Just note the correct time for your time zone.)

Please contact Diana by Tuesday noon to register for these free tutorial classes: info.uufsma@gmail.com

See you this Wednesday at 11:30am CDT!!

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

Cases have been rising in San Miguel for a few weeks, and we expect an unfortunate uptick in deaths to follow shortly. Our good practices have helped to maintain the continued lack of COVID cases among our members here.

We ask you to remember 4 Cs: 3 to avoid and 1 to continue. The Cs to avoid are Closed spaces, Crowds, and Close contact settings.  The one to maintain is Covering of your mouth and nose when you anticipate contact with non-household members. And I’d like to add a 5th and 6th C: Covenant and Community.  As UUs we should Covenant to follow these recommendations and set an example for the wider Community! 

Thank you and stay safe!


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


Care Team
Gloria Fatsrup has undergone her second successful hip surgery and is recovering at home.  She is feeling fine and appreciates all the good wishes…  Jerry is taking good care of her!

Judy McKay is getting much stronger and is approaching the end of her 2 week quarantine. She appreciates The Care Team being in touch, and is looking forward to venturing out, very carefully!

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 22 (11:00am)

The Tuesday Zoom discussion group is led by Bill Dalsimer and Liz Stone. 
Topic:  Let’s Count our Blessings - What am I Grateful for? Compassion, Community, Goodwill, Selflessness, Loving Kindness, Generosity, Openness, Awareness, Coffee Ice Cream, Chocolate?   It’s a good time to count those things that make our glass half-full rather than half-empty.

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


Thursday Discussion group, September 24 (11:30am)
The Thursday Zoom discussion group is led by Trish Snyder. 

Topic:   Fear: What are you afraid of on a personal level and on a political level? Is this fear rational? When is it useful? How can you keep it in perspective so it doesn’t overwhelm you? How can you help dispel fear in others? 
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 (11:00am) 
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 27, 10:30am 


“Return to Your Best Self”

Judith Jenya

With the Jewish High Holidays nearing the end of the ten days which Rosh Hashanah inaugurates and Yom Kippur closes, Judith Jenya, Sunday’s UUFSMA Zoom Service guest speaker, will focus on her awe for the mysteries of life and death that the two events inscribe in Jewish tradition.

Three days for opening the Jewish New Year, as Rosh Hashanah is also known, and a two-day-long Day of Atonement, better known as Yom Kippur, to end these Days of Awe may sound like a grand stretch of social celebration. Jenya notes that is only partially true. Jewish tradition commends this period as one of necessary introspection for every person who participates. The purpose of these celebrations is to “return to your best self”.

“We reflect on our own lives,” she says, “what we have done or not done, who we have helped, and who we have hurt. Then we seek ways to turn in a new direction.” Starting the Jewish New Year thus requires taking stock of one’s recent past and adjusting the course ahead as needed. Jenya believes these themes are especially relevant this year amid a pandemic, historic social unrest, and racial reckoning.

Where do each of us stand? What have we done or failed to do to make ourselves and the world better? Or did we miss our aim? Can we again live in love and truth? Will we be recognized for kindness and forgiveness? Will we accept responsibly new concerns for everyone’s health when helping our neighbor?

Such questions motivate both Judaism and Unitarian Universalism and Sunday’s speaker comes well prepared to address them. Judith Jenya is a member of the UU Fellowship and the Jewish community of San Miguel. She holds a  Juris Doctor degree, a Master of Social Work, and a Master of Fine Arts in Teaching. An attorney, psychotherapist, and educator, she was named International Humanist of the Year in 2002, nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for work as founder-director of Global Children's Organization and programs for children in the war-torn Balkans and Northern Ireland. She lives with her husband Mark Johaningsmeier in San Miguel, writes poetry, paints, and is active in community work.

The service will also offer live piano music, sounds of the sacred shofar, and a magnificent performance of “Kol Nidrei.”


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
John Simsarian, jcsimsarian@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
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