UUFSMA Newsletter September 27, 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 six)


How They See Us:
Testimonials from NGOs


In our first article about the UUF SMA’s Social Action Committee we shared some of its history along with the long list of grantees that the Fellowship’s generosity has supported over the years.  In this article we offer the voices of three of our recent grantees who describe how UUF grant monies are currently used and the ends to which they would be put with additional funding, should it someday become available.

Casita Linda
“On behalf of the Board of Directors of Casita Linda, our heartfelt thanks for the very generous grant we received from UUFSMA.  The funding will continue our work in the community of Landeta by conducting the workshops that are so important to our families. The men and women of the communities we serve
gain such valuable information from the workshops conducted by our social worker Magda Perez and board member Guadalupe Alessio, who is also a social worker.
“These workshops in the ejidos are incredibly important to the families for they learn the basics of living a healthy life.  Their lives and the lives of their children are enhanced by understanding the need for good hygiene, family planning, nutrition, education and so much more. Additionally, the workshops help us to vet the families as they are told they must attend these sessions twice a week for nine months before they are selected to receive a home.  It helps us immensely to understand the families who are serious about improving their lives. We have found over the years that the participants eagerly look forward to their classes and put into practice all of the knowledge that they have gained. 
“We install rainwater harvesting systems in each home we build at a cost of 20,000 pesos each.  It is vitally important for our families to have clean drinking water and clean water to cook with.  Although providing a rainwater harvesting system has increased the cost of each home we build, it is a necessary component of our mission.  The water in the regions we serve is contaminated with arsenic and fluoride and presents a health problem to the families.   
“The Board of Casita Linda feels that any additional income that we receive should go toward the rainwater harvesting system. The support we receive from UUFSMA is incredible.  Please convey our thanks to your congregation.” -- Louise Gilliam, President
El Charco del Ingenio
“We are truly thankful about your Committee's decision to grant funds for El Charco's new Interpretative Center, currently in its building process, even more so in these uncertain times. I hope we can soon, after this overwhelming global crisis, reset the Garden and be able to show you the Interpretative Center's progress. 
“We are certainly needing and struggling to get additional funds to complete the construction as well as a professional exhibit design inside and outside the new pavilion, including the surrounding gardening of the whole set. These would be our priorities during the following months.  We are planning our opening around Spring 2021 -- celebrating El Charco´s 30th anniversary.” 
- Cesar Arias

Escuela de Educación Especial
“Once again these funds play a very big part in supporting and sustaining the school's programs and in particular the continued staffing of the Academic Director's position at the school.” “If additional funds were to become available we would propose that [they] would support the future
development of the Deaf Culture Centre and Deaf Resource Centre in San Miguel de Allende in order to promote improved education and access to information for the Deaf. As we are all aware, the standard of delivering education in Mexico has room for improvement and the delivery of special education, particularly deaf education, barely exists. Establishment of these two centers will foster advancements in teaching technology, improvements to deaf communication, while attracting professionals and specialists from throughout Mexico, as well as from other parts of the world, to offer their knowledge, experience and new ideas. The Centers will also provide a better appreciation of cultural works of the Deaf community, and future support of cultural initiatives of the Deaf community in the State ofGuanajuato.

As long as there are deaf people on Earth, we will have signs, and as long as we have literature, folklore and films, sign language can be preserved. It is our hope that through the establishment of a Deaf Resource Centre and a Deaf Culture Centre we will guard the history and customs of sign language as
the noblest gift God has given to deaf people.”
- John Doherty, President


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

Our ZOOM Sunday Services ... MAGIC?                                                      

By Paula Peace

Chair, UUFSMA Sunday Services Committee

What happens behind the scenes to produce the virtual services by Zoom for our Fellowship? Come with me and I’ll give you a peek behind the scenes and share some of our secret stories.


But first … meet the Sunday Zoom Team who week after week hold down the important responsibilities which are critical for successful Zoom Sunday services:


Dan Neuspiel (Zoom Host who introduced us to Zoom, UUFSMA Board President, COVID Task Force member, frequent announcer of Community/COVID/Covenant/Offering portions)

Rev. Tom Rosiello (UUFSMA Minister, frequent speaker, presenter of Joys & Concerns, frequent contributor of words and readings to others’ services)

Diego Vargas (Audio-visual technician who runs Zoom Sunday services by screen sharing still shots and videos, spotlights speakers, edits music videos in advance, coaches local musicians and speakers on how to record themselves)

Cathy Cánepa (Sunday Service Committee Vice-Chair who coordinates many aspects of service content and personnel, is a frequent Service Leader and Spanish Covenant leader, and much-valued mental health coach for all who know her)

Diana Amaya (UUF Administrator, backup for Diego as Zoom technical director, coordinator of Zoom weekday meetings and calendar, co-manager of UUF Facebook page, manager of on-line donations)

Joseph Plummer (Lead writer of weekly Atención articles, manager of music licensing with Christian Copyright Solutions, co-manager of the UUF Facebook page, video editor of Zoom videos for posting on YouTube channel)

Bonney McDowell (co-announcer of COVID Task Force, Community & Offering portions)

Malcolm Halliday (pianist, organist, vocalist extraordinaire)

And yours truly, Paula Peace (Sunday Service Committee Chair who coordinates any and all aspects of service content and personnel, frequent service pianist, editor assistant for Atención articles, producer of weekly Order Of Service and weekly Run Of Show for Sunday Zoom team)


These above are the folks who – along with any guest speakers and service leaders – get together by Zoom each Friday at noon for our weekly Zoom Practice, to go through the “Run Of Show” with all the details of videos, music, chimes or bells, candles, readings, speakers, and who says what when.

Click here to read more

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

The number of new cases in San Miguel is still going up, not down. As Dr Fauci said recently: “We need to hunker down and get through this fall and winter, because it’s not going to be easy.” You may have heard that there is an outbreak of Covid-19 at ALMA, the nursing home in San Miguel. They had made excellent preparations for handling an outbreak, but did not have
funds for PPE supplies. The Covid-19 Facebook group asked the community to step up, and money was raised very quickly to purchase and deliver medical masks, gowns and other supplies adequate for at least the next 6 weeks. Thanks to all who participated!

Last week we had a request for guidance about travelling, especially flying. Is it safe to fly? The CDC says clearly “Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19”. Too many risks involved. Getting to the airport, waiting in lines, sitting in an enclosed space for the length of the trip, getting your bags, etc.

At every step there are people around you, a few of whom are likely contagious with COVID. They don’t know it, the airline can’t possibly know it – but you are sharing air with them. Is everyone else taking maximum precautions? No. Can you protect yourself 100%? No. You might even be the one with Covid-19, bringing it to a new location and the people you visit.

But if you really must fly, you can improve your safety in several ways: Choose an airline which is using alternate seats, choose a window seat, wear an N95 mask and a face shield. Wipe down your area, then sanitize your hands. Don’t eat or drink on the plane – keep your mask on. Use restrooms very carefully.

And when you get where you’re going, however you travel, of course you’ll need to quarantine for 14 days to be sure you didn’t get infected on the trip – that means really staying isolated, no close contact with anyone at the new location. Maybe better to stay home!

This pandemic is a long-distance event with no finish-line in sight– we have no idea when it will really be over, or even what that means. It’s stressful to look into the unknown and feel unable to make realistic plans for the future. One way we can help ourselves cope is to stay grounded in the present moment – take the best possible care of yourself today, take the most careful precautions today. Please don’t give in to the temptation to socialize unsafely – you might get lucky this time, but next time could be the time you and your friends get sick, with potentially very serious consequences.

Finally, we remind you to consider where you will get your flu shot. Please contact the doc or clinic you plan to use, so they can include you in the count for their vaccine order. Details were in last week’s Newsletter, and we will update you as more information comes in.

Stay safe, everyone!


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


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!


UU Mixer and Happy Hour*
Monday, October 5, 6-8 pm, Central Time
This is an opportunity to chat online with others in our Fellowship. We extend a very warm welcome to newcomers. There is no prescribed topic, and we use breakout groups to ensure everyone attending is heard. 


Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/98806410239?pwd=UlpOamYyVWphSTVObUhkU0dMVE0rZz09
Meeting ID: 988 0641 0239 Passcode: 929811


*Previously revived as Circle Cena; renamed for greater accuracy.

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 29 (11:00am)

The Tuesday Zoom discussion group is led by Bill Dalsimer and Liz Stone. 
Topic:  An important book from your childhood: What lessons did you learn from that story that have served you throughout your life?

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


Thursday Discussion group, October 1 (11:30am)
The Thursday Zoom discussion group is led by Trish Snyder. 

Topic:  How San Miguel has changed since we got here.
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.

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, October 4, 10:30am 


“Racism in Mexico”

Silvia Elguea

In this Sunday´s UUFSMA online service, philosopher Silvia Elguea notes that many of her fellow Mexican citizens continue to deny the malign influence of racism. However, she also observes growing numbers who recognize its potency and oppose racism’s corrosion of Mexican politics and society.

An encapsulated history of racism in Mexico often attributes its origin to the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, 1519-1521, and its ending to the Mexican War of Independence, 1810-12, and eventual expulsion of Spanish royalists throughout the 1820s. Unfortunately, racism remained rooted after Independence despite the efforts of Republican governments to establish racial equality and obviate social inequity. Indeed, its roots deepened during the dictatorial Porfirio Diaz era of the later 1800s. Even after the 1910-20 Revolution, while many Mexicans enjoyed lives relatively free of racism and social classification, many other Mexicans, even today, continue to suffer from its impact on everyday life.

Despite Mexico’s population of mixed ethnicities, racism here exhibits a preference for whiter people and rates them as more handsome than people with darker complexions. Many dark-skinned Mexicans deny their indigenous ancestry, present themselves as racially mixed, reject notions of pride as descendants of native Meso-Americans, and resent as an insult being called “Indians,” even while Mexico’s population celebrates the people of pre-Hispanic Mexico.

Ms. Elguea also studies social networks and public media where talk about racism is often tinged with racism. Nonetheless, she believes that outright racism is trending in a socially beneficial direction. “I hope that current trends are putting this part of Mexican history behind us and pointing toward the eventual elimination of racism from Mexican society,” she concludes.

Ms. Elguea, also known to many as Silvia Elguea Véjar and Mrs. Silvia Stea, was a full Professor at Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Azcapotzalco in Mexico City. She holds an advanced degree in Philosophy from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and also received an advanced degree in Spanish from Texas State University-San Marcos.

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 at least fifty percent of its budget 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 Donate button. Now more than ever, your support is essential.

Due to the coronavirus, UUFSMA has suspended in-person Sunday services and other gatherings. A growing collection of previous online services can be found on the UUFSMA’s YouTube channel. Go to https://www.youtube.com/ and enter UUFSMA in the search box. 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