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A Few Words About Stewardship

Our Thanks for Giving Service on Sunday November 26 was a big success. We asked the Committee Chairs and Program Directors to nominate one or
two people who made a significant contribution this year. We also asked the membership to nominate those members who have made a significant difference in the community. Here they are:

CaringBeth BannisterReligious EducationRenee Beltran, Rebecca Richins
Committee on MinistryRod Sauter, Hale Huber, Lola Wolf, Skip SheltonSocial JusticeJean Gilbert, Gillian Leng
Communications OutreachAnnette TurrentineSunday ServicesCassie Calway, David Steele
FacilitiesSuzy Rossman, Carol WinklerRoundtablePaul O'Connell
GalleryRachel Courtney, Lurene John, Barbara WilliamsGreetersPeggy & Joel Brown, Ilene & David Steele
Leadership DevelopmentTom Dormody, Marie SauterMinisterial SearchRenee Beltran, Peggy Brown, Nora Brown, Rachel Courtney, Elisa Sanchez, Susan Bagby, David Steele
MembershipJoan Dormody, Peggy DevlinThose who work in the communityCasa de Perigrinos: Diane Lee, Karl Kohl, Tom Packard
Humane Society: Jean Gilbert
Mentoring at Conlee Elementary: Judy Licht, Dan Townsend
Resist: Jan Townsend

Thanks to all who helped make this a wonderful celebration.

Charlie Scholz, Chair
Stewardship Committee

Together to Build Beloved Community

As you may know, our Committee on Ministry has been discussing and exploring what we can do as a congregation to build Beloved Community through greater collaboration on racial justice and through multicultural ministries. We are planning to invite our church lay leaders, paid staff and other interested church members and friends to a post-services luncheon to discuss racial justice and multicultural ministries in our congregation and broader community sometime in the new year.

We will work to build Beloved Community through collaboration on racial justice.

We hope that the board, committee chairs and paid staff will play an integral role in this discussion. This work is core to our faith community as Unitarian Universalists, and the Committee on Ministry hopes to build on the conversations begun in the Beyond Categorical Thinking workshop and the follow-up discussion led by the Ministerial Search Committee. We also hope to bring the spiritual energy from our recent experience at the Mosaic Makers Conference in San Diego to help us better minister to our congregation and our community.

We will be working out details over the next few months. We plan to coordinate efforts with the paid staff, the Board and other committee leaders. We will also work to ensure that we find a time on the church calendar that we can hold this luncheon so as to compliment the many other activities of our dynamic congregation!

Please contact me if you have any questions, need more information or would like to collaborate on preparing for this discussion.

Yours in shared ministry,

Rodney Sauter, Chair of Committee on Ministry

We Need a Hearing Loop

In 2011, Will Beattie surveyed 14 people, 8 with hearing aids. Half (7) reported problems hearing the minister at Sunday services, as did 8 from portable microphones. He recommended the purchase of a hearing loop. A few years later the EqUUal Inclusion also recommended the purchase of a hearing loop.

Hearing aids do not work well in large venues, such as a church (Faivre et al., 2016). For one thing, they are effective only to about a six-to-12 foot range (Sterkens, 2017), and turning up the volume may actually cause intelligibility to degrade(ibid).

Hearing Loops are extremely effective, but most people with hearing aids don’t know they exist. Two studies show extremely high satisfaction: Faivre et al. (2016) found 99% of subjects preferred the hearing loop; Kochkin et al. (2014) also found very high satisfaction and that 81% preferred a hearing loop to any other assistive listening device. They observe that “[o]ur findings clearly demonstrate hearing loop systems dramatically improved consumer experiences with their hearing devices…for nearly all participants.” I have found no study reporting less than excellent results.

A hearing loop is a life-changing experience

Many testimonials indicate a life-changing experience. The first time using a hearing loop, composer Richard Einhorn wept uncontrollably at being able to hear again. This was despite being at a musical: “I don’t even like musicals,” he said (Tierney, 2011). Kochkin et al. (2014) found that people were “…so impressed with hearing loop systems that 82% indicated they were ‘very likely’ or ‘extremely likely’ to seek out ticketed venues utilizing hearing loop systems. ” Indeed, being able to hear might be more important than religious denomination: Shaw reports that “some seniors of other denominations attend [Catholic] mass … because of [their church’s] hearing loop” (Shaw, 2012).

There are some difficulties to implementation: First, 20%-30 of hearing aids do not receive the signal. Second, hearing aid users have to be shown how to use the hearing loop function, and health care professionals must adjust the hearing aids for optimal use (Kochkin et al., 2014).

Initially we may only have a few users, though the number should grow as word spreads. “Hearing loops are a word-of-mouth technology, said Juliette Sterkens, AuD” (Shaw, 2012). At least one audiologist believes church attendance levels have been dropping because of hearing issues (Shaw, 2012, citing Dr. Linda Remensnyder), which seems only logical. “‘It’s the equivalent of a wheelchair ramp for people who used to be socially isolated because of their hearing loss,’ said David G. Myers, a professor of psychology at Hope College in Holland, Mich., who is hard of hearing” (Tierney, 2011).

We now have a quote for installation of hearing loops in the sanctuary and the lobby for approximately $2100, if church members help with the installation. It seems a small price for giving access to our members who are hard of hearing.  ARG – The Acoustics Research Group