Fourth annual Association Sunday events to begin

The fourth annual Association Sunday fund drive and celebration of Unitarian Universalism begins this fall. Many congregations will hold Association Sunday worship services on October 3, but congregations are free to pick other dates as well, said Katrina Bergmann, director of donor relations and individual giving for the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Stewardship and Development staff group.

Bergmann said more than 520 congregations have signed up to hold events this year, a number consistent with previous years. Funds raised this year will support the UUA’s new Leap of Faith Initiative, a plan that gets underway in November to encourage numerical growth by developing mentoring relationships among congregations. The money will also support events in 2011 in honor of the UUA’s 50th anniversary. The Association Sunday theme is “Celebrating 50 Years and the Future of Our Faith.”

Association Sunday resources, including tips for organizing a service, and promotional materials, are available at the Association Sunday website. Questions may be sent to In an effort to conserve resources, information on Association Sunday will not be mailed to congregations this year.

In encouraging congregations to participate, the Rev. Stephan Papa, special assistant to the president for growth funding, said in a letter, “Our fiftieth anniversary is an opportunity to express our gratitude for the religion we have been given and to deepen our faith in its transforming power. The consolidation of the American Unitarian Association and the Universalist Church of America is a success. We have developed the gifts of both traditions and brought them into a balance of head and heart, social action and spirituality, individual freedom and community responsibility. We are coming together this year to honor the past and to grow our faith into the future.”

UUA Bookstore offers fundraising book suggestions

A list of books useful to congregational leaders engaged with giving and stewardship is available from the UUA Bookstore (PDF). The books include the UUA’s primary stewardship guide, Beyond Fundraising: The Complete Guide to Congregational Stewardship, by Dr. Wayne B. Clark, the UUA’s director of Congregational Stewardship Services.

Other books include two by church consultant Michael Durall, Beyond the Collection Plate: Overcoming Obstacles to Faithful Giving and Creating Congregations of Generous People.

The bookstore also has The Abundance of Our Faith, a collection of award-winning sermons about stewardship, edited by the Rev. Terry Sweetser and the Rev. Susan Milnor. Also on the list is Offerings: Remarks on Passing the Plate, by the Rev. Robert Thayer, collected anecdotes and reflections for use before the offering plate is passed.

Letter: Be aware of scent sensitivities

Dear InterConnections,

I would like to see an article about dealing with scent sensitivities. It’s difficult for those of us with this problem as we are at the mercy of our fellow congregants. Some people, like me, hesitate even mentioning our problem. We hate to be complainers or aren’t used to asking for our needs to be met. I feel bad when I tell someone that their beautiful scent is making me sick. It is obvious that they put pride into the way they look and smell and I hate to make them feel badly. Usually I suffer in silence or leave if it is too overpowering.

Additional problems arise when one sings in the choir. It is difficult to insist that the choir be scent-free, even though someone like me cannot participate if it is not.
There are different degrees of scent sensitivity. Some people get a little choked up, some get hives, some become faint.

Thank you,
Katherine Wilson


Congregations can educate themselves on this issue with this article from How Accessible is your Congregation for People with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities? And with this InterConnections article, Church Can be Perilous for Those With Allergies. I hope this is helpful.

Don Skinner,
Editor, InterConnections

Christmas Eve youth productions

During his years at the UU Fellowship of Ames, Iowa, (ending last spring) the Rev. Brian Eslinger wrote scripts for Christmas Eve productions by youth. The scripts are now collected in the book Winter Play: Scripts to Inspire Seasonal Celebrations, which is available for free from the fellowship. More information is available at

Military meditation manual available

Bless All Who Serve: Sources of Hope, Courage and Faith for Military Personnel and Their Families, a new pocket-size book of readings and songs from many faith traditions, plus reflections by veterans and military chaplains, is available free to military chaplains, ministers, and enlisted men and women of all faiths.

Chaplains and ministers should email Julie Shaw for copies. Other military personnel and their families may email Lorraine Dennis at the Church of the Larger Fellowship for a free copy. All others can purchase it for $8 from the UUA Bookstore.

Bless All Who Serve was written by the Rev. Matthew Tittle and Gail Tittle, both military veterans, and published by Skinner House Books.