Helpers among the community of Pittsburgh area UUs. Link to the main Sunnyhill site.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Welcome back! (Message from the board president.)

As we move into the new church year, I’m more thankful than ever that there is a home for liberal religion in the South Hills. Ours is a truly unique community where diverse spiritual beliefs are not only tolerated but warmly accepted for what they really are; each person’s attempt to find deeper meaning in life and to connect with the world we all share. As many of us know, that kind of acceptance can be hard to find.

I’m also thankful for our new Director of Religious Education, Cheryl Kelley, and for our great volunteer teachers and the large, vibrant RE program we enjoy here. My son and daughter love coming to church every Sunday and seeing their friends. The values being taught in their classes reflect my own—love, respect, democracy, environmental stewardship, making good choices and living with the consequences of your choices. Indeed, lessons to truly be thankful for.

I’m thankful for Rod Thompson, our Interim Minister. Besides giving us a fresh perspective from the pulpit, I’m very excited about the series of workshops he has planned for us this year. They’ll help us start building the strong foundation we’ll need to move into the future. First, Rod will lead us through a Right Relations workshop. Many of us believe this should be our number-one priority, so we’re tackling it first. In January, we’ll offer an Identity workshop, where we’ll get to the heart of “who we really are” as a community. In February, we’ll have a Visioning workshop, where everyone will have a chance to tell us where they think we should focus our energy moving forward. In March, I’ll travel to the District Assembly in Cleveland, where I will publicly convey our thanks for the Chalice Lighter grant we’ll receive from the member congregations to help us rebuild after a difficult year. And finally, in April, we will take a thorough look at the church’s Mission in light of all the work we’ve done up to that point. We’ll then turn that mission over to a yet-to-be-formed Strategic Planning Team, who will create a solid action plan to bring our mission to life and ultimately lead us into the critical process of searching for a new minister.

And yes, because it’s that time again, I’m not only thankful, but thrilled about our exciting new Canvass; one that puts monetary contributions into a larger context of giving. It takes much time, talent and treasure to keep a roof over our own heads and food on our tables at home. This church is no different. It takes considerable time, talent and treasure to keep our shared house in order and to feed our own hungry spirits. From RE…to roof leaks. From programs…to plumbing. From staff…to software. We need your many gifts. And most of all, we need you.

In mid-October, you’ll receive your Canvass packet. Between now and then, I urge you to put some real thought into what you can pledge to this community moving forward. Do you want to see it embody everything you know it can be? I know I do. So I ask that, according to your ability and your faith in our future, you make a commitment. Make your voice heard. And by all means, make it resonate.

In Faith,

Jay Pullen

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

P-G blasts out DVD that is 'hate-filled'

A recent Sunday edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette included an obviously expensive, professionally-produced anti-Islamic DVD titled "Obsession." One of our OMD ministers who viewed the DVD frankly called it "hate-filled" and "lie-filled." It was also included in newspapers in Akron, Columbus, Canton, Toledo and other cities in Ohio; and, apparently, in still more cities in "battleground" states in the presidential election. The Cleveland Plain Dealer did not carry the DVD.

Many Unitarian Univeralists in the OMD have already expressed outrage that something which blatantly violates the principles of religious freedom and tolerance could be distributed in our community, and put into the hands of our children, under the label of "advertising". They are writing the newspapers which distributed the DVDs to let them know how they feel.

This is a non-partisan issue. Our congregations and the district are able to express their disgust with this kind of reactive messaging without any risk to their non-profit status. I believe that we are called by our values and principles as Unitarian Universalists to speak out against those who would promote intolerance and fear in our communities.

Some district congregations and the Ohio Council of Churches are organizing around this issue and leading protests. Your congregation can too. If you need assistance, please contact the district office at office at

You can write a letter to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Letters may be mailed to the Editor, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.

Letters may be faxed to (412) 263-2014 or sent via e-mail to or by clicking here

Drummer (newsletter) got a blurb about this space = unofficial blog

Sunday music from both the choir and the folk group, with the new wash tub bass player, are two recent postings at the unofficial Sunnyhill blog. All sorts of chatter is fair game at the unofficial blog. Many have signed up to be contributors. Others are welcome.

The blog allows for a main post and comments to sustain the discussion. Blog postings
are less invasive than blast emails. But, blogs are also able to be seen by others on the internet.

Also, this FORKED blog exists, FWIW,

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Nuff Said

Sunday, September 14, 2008

All World News: My Afternoon With Doug Shields

All World News: My Afternoon With Doug Shields: "'Enough is enough,' he said criticizing Ravenstahl for saying that the settlement was 'protecting the public' while not actually saying what the mayor was protecting the public from. Shields guessed that the mayor's office 'felt panicked' by Ford's resignation letter and questioned Ravenstahl's description of a 'settlement of potential claims.' What claims? he asked. Ravenstahl claimed that Ford's letter was a lie. If that's the case, then why the settlement? Shields asked rhetorically.
Enough is enough of the all D political folly of Pittsburgh.

City council is not an investigative body. Doug is right. However, it is a funding body. It holds the purse strings. The members of council can cut off all pay to the URA and shut it down fully.

Don't pay someone to go away. Rather, have the entire URA go away. Liquidate it. Shut it. End its charter to make any additional transactions. Lay off the employees.

Unitarian Gospel Song -- tune up

From Joe Jencks house concert

Joe Jencks gets tuned up and does part of the introduction to the song, Come With Me. To catch the entire set -- come to our house concert on Wednesday, September 17, 2008. Arrive at 6 or after. Music starts at 7.

Do RSVP to Mark Rauterkus,, 412 298 3432.

From Joe Jencks house concert

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Song at Service

New Minister in town -- and "pre-fired"

The new minister is at Sunnyhill. He comes to us "pre-fired." He is a temporary minister.

From people & vips

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Conference-Big Ideas for Small Congregations(members<175)

OMD Fall Leadership Conference

Big Ideas for Small Congregations

“Whatever size you are, know that there are gifts and challenges all along the way. The trick is to be the best you can be at whatever size you are. Have quality worship, find one social action project to commit to, pay your bills, take care of each other, learn to handle conflict graciously, welcome visitors and love your children. Any congregation can do that. We’ll show you how.”
-from Big Ideas for Small Congregations:
A Friendly Guide for Leaders

Is your smaller congregation (175 members or fewer) energized and poised for growth? Or maybe you would like to grow, but just don’t know how. Or maybe are you a new or potential leader of a mid-size (150-300) congregation who wants to learn more about church leadership. If so, this conference is for you! Presenter Ellen Germann-Melosh, the co-Author of Big Ideas for Small Congregations: A Friendly Guide for Leaders, will present a model that will help put the work of your congregation into perspective and will share success stories of small congregations that became healthy, growing, vital members of their community. The afternoon session will be tailored to address the important issues in our congregations.

October 18, 2008
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
of Wayne County
3186 Burbank Road
Wooster, Ohio 44691
Registration: 9:00-9:30 a.m.
Conference: 9:30 a.m. till 3:00 p.m.
Fee is $25 per person*, including lunch and snacks. Home Hospitality and Childcare can be requested with early registration (by October 3). Fee after October 3 is $35.

*Congregations sending 3 or more members receive a
$5/person discount (early registration only) and get a free copy of the book!
Registration information was sent in your Congregational packet, or may be found at