Committee & Program News

Communications by Lyn Pearson

Sunday Worship Improvements

You may have noticed some very nice looking Sunday screens. They’re sharp, simple, well-designed and easy to read. The lines of hymns rarely split across lines and are a size that’s readable. This is thanks to one of our new a/v technicians, Mike Yaczko. And if you are experiencing a better listening experience, that’s Chris Neal-Wallace on the soundboard. Elwin Nunn ably handles the camera Sunday after Sunday and his video work a great service to the church.

Speaking at the microphone

Many of us are not used to speaking before a microphone. Some folks are quite by nature. Others say their voices are loud enough for everyone to hear. Wrong. Those sitting in the back of the sanctuary have rows and rows of people sitting in front of them blocking sound and visual cues. Some of us are hard of hearing and any ambient noise only adds to hearing issues. So it is very, very important to speak directly at the microphone on the pulpit. Don’t turn away or look to the side when you speak. If you’re tall and the person speaking before you is shorter, adjust the mic before you speak and vice versa.

Chris Neal-Wallace is going to be working with our service leaders, associates, and everyone who speaks from the pulpit to help them deliver better and more consistent sound levels to the congregation. He will develop a few simple cues to indicate whether the speaker should move closer to the mic or adjust its height. Please work with him so we can have the best possible Sunday services.

Solar Panels

Quite some time ago, the solar panel monitor disconnected from the church network, which means we don’t know how the panels are performing; i.e., how much they are offsetting electrical costs. Charlie Welch, Robert Reno from WeAreIT, and I met briefly on October 24, to develop a plan to fix the problem. The panel monitor should be back online soon.

Texting

We are currently running tests among 50 individuals in the church to determine whether text messaging is a good enhancement to our other means of communication. Texting will not take the place of church emails, The Light, or the website, but it’s a good way to get out very short fast announcements to people who have mobile phones. Right now, our test group is receiving worship reminders Saturday afternoon at 5:00 PM and Roundtable alerts on Sunday at 1 PM.

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram

We are currently bringing these social media accounts up to date and Mike Yaczko and Chris Neal-Wallace are developing strategies for likely audiences, effective messaging and updating.

CUUPS

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Yule: Celebrates the winter solstice
Ostara: Celebrates the spring equinox
Beltane: Celebrates May Day
Litha: Celebrates the summer solstice
Lughnasadh: Celebrates the beginning of the harvest season
Mabon: Celebrates the autumnal equinox
Samhain: Marks the end of summer, and the end of the harvest season. It signals the beginning of winter. On this day, pagans believe the veil between the living and the dead is especially thin.

Facilities by Charlie Scholz

There are times when we seem to be cruising through our everyday maintenance routines, replacing burned out light bulbs and fixing sticking locks. And then things seem to go sideways.

  • Two weeks ago, probably Tuesday night November 11, two of our storage units were broken into. The hasps which held the locks were broken off and a ladder was stolen. In addition, several of the electrical switch boxes on the campus were messed with, turning off the power to the Lobby and Gallery.
  • On Wednesday afternoon, Bill Fitzgerald and I reinforced the doors and attached new sliding bolt latches with integral padlocks.
  • On Thursday morning, Lorenzo Luhan, our groundskeeper, discovered that several electrical outlets in the passage from the Sanctuary to the Religious Education Building had been vandalized. When Bill and I arrived, we also discovered that the lights in the passageway next to the Sanctuary had been ripped off the wall and stolen. Once again the electrical boxes had been messed with.
  • We got one more break-in this past week, but nothing of value was stolen.

With the help of Dave Rice, Bill and I replaced the light fixtures with new ones purchased from Home Depot, put cover plates of the damaged outlets and put padlocks on all of the external electrical boxes.

Fortunately, we now have a camera security system which, with the help of the Allied representative, we were able to capture images of the person(s) doing this damage. Cheri Coffelt forwarded these to the Las Cruses Police along with the burglary report.

We also replaced a half dozen photocells on the security lighting at the back and the sides of the Religious Education Building. It‘s been a busy month.

Hospitality Rotation Schedule

This schedule is now permanently located on the Members page of our website under Sunday Hospitality Rotation.

Leadership Development Committee

Meet Next Year’s Candidates

The UUCLC Leadership Development Committee is pleased to present the 2022 slate of candidates to serve on the Bylaw committees (Board of Trustees, Committee on Ministry and Leadership Development Committee).  These congregationally nominated member candidates will be voted upon, as required by the Bylaws, during the Annual Business Meeting in December. Thank you to the candidates for their willingness to serve the UUCLC community.  Each has prepared a biography to provide you an opportunity to learn of their background and their interest in the positions.

Board of Trustees

Carol Stanfill (3 year term)

In 2000, I joined the Unitarian Universalist Church of Hot Springs, AR. In that small church, about 30-35 members, I was Board secretary, then president for 7 years. Because we were small, I organized RE for kids, published the monthly newsletter, represented our congregation in the community, and participated in most committees. Our little church hosted the Unitarian Universalist Women’s Conference in Hot Springs, AR for 250 women from the district. We participated twice a year in “Arkansas Cluster” meetings of Unitarian Universalist churches. Over the past 22 years I have gone to General Assembly four times, attended Unitarian Universalist family camps 8 times, attended the Dwight Brown Leadership Experience at Texas A and M for a week, and taken numerous workshops in Unitarian Universalist leadership. We moved to Las Cruces in 2021. I have the time and passion to be more involved as a Board member of our church. 

Jan Thompson (3 year term)

Jan had the privilege of being born a Unitarian Universalist and was very active in Unitarian Universalist churches in Detroit and Southfield, Michigan. She has held just about every position available in those churches and currently serves as a member of the UUCLC Board of Trustees as Treasurer. Born in Detroit, she and her partner moved to Las Cruces 15 years ago and quickly joined the church here. In addition to service at the local level, Jan has also served the denomination by working on some Unitarian Universalist Association committees – Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC), a special funding panel, and the Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Immigration Action Team.

Rabbitt Loring  (2 year term)

In an earlier life, I served as a Bahá’í “missionary” for over twenty years. After leaving that faith, I longed for a community where my efforts would be appreciated, a faith community I could believe in. When I became a member of the UUCLC congregation four years ago, I jumped right into activity and service and felt very much at home. I joined a covenant group and began developing life-long friends.  The library begged for a new librarian,  which I took on as a labor of love. I have volunteered for more activities than I can count. I am currently finishing a term on the Leadership Development Committee and would now like to offer my services as a member of the Board of Trustees.

Jeanne Gilbert (1 year term)

Jeanne Gilbert is a longtime UUCLC member.  She has served on a variety of committees such as Hospitality and Social Justice, to include the Animal Advocates subcommittee, and on the Religious Education committee.  Jeanne has led the holiday box fundraiser for UUCLC for several years as part of SJC/AA work. She takes part in many extracurricular activities with the church including attendance at annual auctions and activities associated with the auction. She is currently a regular attendee at Death Café sessions offered at UUCLC. She has participated in litter clean-ups associated with Social Justice Committee work and regularly donates items for the Little Free Pantry. Jeanne is retired from the Gadsden Independent School District where she was an elementary and special education teacher for over 20 years. Jeanne currently serves as a volunteer, teaching humane education in Las Cruces area schools.

Jennifer Trantham (1 year term)

I have been part of the Las Cruces Unitarian Universalist community for 41 years since I moved here as a 12 year old in 1982. I am a mother to 2 sons, and a grandmother to 3 beautiful granddaughters. For the past 20+ years, I have been an elementary educator, including several years as an instructional coach. Over the years, I have served the UUCLC in various ways, including several stints as an RE teacher, OWL co-teacher, secretary of the Board, co-organizer of Community Night, and member of Committee on Ministry to name a few. Recently, I volunteered to serve in a temporary capacity on the Board of Trustees when a member needed to step down. I am looking forward to the opportunity to continue to serve my Las Cruces UU family as a Board of Trustees member.  

Committee on Ministry

Katie Fitzgerald (3 year term)

Since joining the church five years ago, Katie has been involved in the Caring, Finance, Auction and Sunday Services committees.  She has served as chair of Finance for the past 18 months with the support of Shirley Davis.  She and Charlie Scholz have co-chaired the Sunday Services committee for the past 8 months. Katie is determined to use the knowledge and experience gained as a K-12 public school administrator and consultant to support the UUCLC any way that she can.  The Committee on Ministry seems an ideal way to work behind the scenes to help individuals and committees work more effectively for the good of the whole congregation. 

Leadership Development Committee

Mark Hohnstreiter (2 year term)

Mark has had a 40-year career in not-for-profit development and fundraising, having raised millions of dollars for several of the nation’s leading universities and hospitals. More recently, however, he has found a calling working with organizations that serve low-income clients, often in extraordinary need. This includes work at El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank, and later, Community Action Agency in Las Cruces. He recently joined the Unitarian Universalist Church, particularly because of its affinity for social justice concerns as well as gender diversity. He is a member of the LGBTQ community and was married through the church. He attended the University of Chicago, and personal interests include the violin, oil landscape painting, and horseback riding. 

Jason Galbraith (2 year)

I have worshipped in Unitarian Universalist churches not only when there was one in my county, but when there was one in an adjacent county, since 1987, when I was 15 years old.  I interrupted my higher education to serve in the Navy from 1994 to 1998 and got my law degree from the University of Tulsa in 2006.  The year after that, I became a prosecutor in Gallup, New Mexico.  I was assigned as Children’s Court Attorney, the same position I currently hold here in Las Cruces. 

Library by Rabbitt Loring

No article this month.

Membership by Lyn Pearson

Lyn Pearson, chair, and the Reverend Nancy Anderson, Cathy Cox, Jeff Harris, Lori Miller, Lindsay Neal, Carol Stanfill, and Mark Sukontarak are your Membership Committee. We meet every other Tuesday morning for an hour and a half.

Circle Suppers

This community building project will kick off in January and thereafter, will occur in April, July and October. Look for signup sheets at the beginning of December.

These meals will be held at various times and places around town. Hosts will provide a main course and refreshments; guests will bring other parts of the meal. Hosts will tell attendees what additional food items they need and you can provide something homemade or store-bought.

Because time is running short for the January Circle Suppers, you may expect one or more email notifications about the first event.

New Member Bios and Pictures

Carol Stanfill is in charge of getting new member pictures and a very brief bio posted on the board in the church lobby. It’s on the post between the kitchen and the rest rooms.

New UU Class

Voted a success by the folks attending the Reverend Nancy Anderson’s outstanding introduction to Unitarian Universalist and our church. There will be more of these classes in the future.

If your address, email address, or phone number(s) has changed you can update them in InFellowship or simply contact Cathy Cox by email or phone.

Social Justice

Change for Change Selection Zoom on December 4

Members and friends of UU Church LC are invited to participate in a Zoom meeting on Sunday, December 4 (2 PM; the Roundtable slot on the calendar).  The purpose of this Zoom is to present information about charities which have been nominated to receive our Change for Change offerings for the coming five quarters AND to hold a poll which will select the top five.

Nominations which were received by the November 22 deadline will be considered.

Questions about the Selection Zoom should be directed to David Rice, Chairperson of the Social Justice Committee.  (dr45236@gmail.com)

Little Free Pantry

The UUCLC Little Free Pantry continues to serve the unhoused in our community because ALL people deserve humane treatment and to have their basic needs met. Unitarian Universalists believe in the inherent worth and dignity of all and see our moral obligation to provide some of those basic needs.

We need your help. First, we need 2 more volunteers who would help refresh the pantry one day a week. We will gladly show you the procedure and will welcome you to the “Pantry Crew.”

Second, feeding the hungry is costly. Food prices have risen so that it is costing us about $250-300 per month to keep the pantry stocked. Your donations of goods are most appreciated. Alternatively, we are happy to do the shopping for you. You may contribute by check with a note in the memo line that it is for the pantry or donate online to Social Justice and choose the sub-group of Little Free Pantry. If you choose to do your own purchasing, please remember that we are serving the homeless who have no means to cook and store items. They don’t even have can openers, so just easy-open tops, prepared soups (not condensed), single-serving sizes, etc. Leave your donations in the little blue wagon in the Library on Tuesdays and Thursdays or in the Lobby Sunday mornings.

Your participation as a volunteer or as a donor for this all-church social justice project is greatly appreciated. The Pantry Crew

Sunday Services by Katie Fitzgerald

The UUCLC now has a complete roster of planned Sunday Services for the remainder of 2022 (drumroll, please). We’re looking ahead to January of 2023 — the theme for that month is finding the center. If you have an idea for a homily or sermon or complete service that fits this theme, please contact Charlie Schultz or Katie Fitzgerald. We would like to hear from you! We are all in this together and it is important that we, the committee, stay responsive to what the congregation values for Sunday service.

Just a reminder that this year Christmas falls on a Sunday so we will have our traditional Christmas Eve service with carols, the Christmas story, and candle lighting at 6 PM on Christmas Eve followed by at 10:00 o’clock service on Christmas morning. Please note these dates on your calendar and join us.