August 7, 2021

Chalice Connections hopes to continue its mission this month of presenting timely articles and views of our Fellowship authored by a wide a range of our friends and members. To view the newsletter archives, click here.

The winner of last month’s cartoon was Cheryl Deuley who submitted the following caption:

Tom, don’t you have anything to do?

Aug 13 – Late announcement – Racial Justice Calls

Our UUFCC has had an active program for many years in which to learn about racial issues and to address them as best we can. Some classes and learning experiences have run for weeks, others for months, even years. We have also tried to reach out and work together with various other groups in our community. Such activities have been conducted at times by our Racial Justice Committee, our Social Justice Committee, most recently by our Immigration Justice Committee, and by special groups organized for a given purpose. Whether as groups or individually, we have had occasions to take some satisfaction and even pride in our efforts and achievements.

Nevertheless, in recent times we have unexpectedly hit what might be described as a big pothole for which we were not prepared at all. Our forward progress has been badly knocked out of alignment. We can choose to lament our losses, walk away, or we can pick ourselves up and try to start over. In any case, racial issues remain to be learned about and to be addressed. They will not simply go away. Racial justice remains to be achieved. It continues to call for action.

Over the years, some of our members have taken part in all or most of these efforts. Others, seldom or never. Once again, we are being called to take up the challenge.

All persons of good will are invited to come together via Zoom on Thursday, Aug. 26, at 4 pm to yet again seek to find our way forward. Click here to join. It will not be any easier.

Ted Zawistowski


An appeal from the editor:

Would you like to tell a short story, or add a bit of humor to Chalice Connections? Let me know and I’ll contact you and make a recording of your contribution and post it in our Surprise section. Would you like me to interview someone? Let me know. Live sound can help make our newsletter come alive.

If you have visited a restaurant you like, drop me a note. Seen an interesting movie recently? Let me know. Such contributions do not have to be long or elaborate. They could be just a few sentences.

Longer articles, and Letters to the Editor, are welcome as well. Whatever your contribution may be please email it to me by Sep 1. A new newsletter will be posted on the first Saturday of each month, but updates will occur during the month.

And remember to submit your idea for a caption to this month’s cartoon and possibly win a free ticket to this year’s auction banquet.

Fred Parmenter, Editor

Climate Realities

Aug 7, 2021

Edward 1st and climate changes

In 1306, Edward 1st, the King of England banned the burning of coal in London.

While we think of the widespread burning of coal as being part of the industrial revolution, it has been used for millennia, and way before Edward’s time. Since chimneys didn’t become popular in London for another 200 years it would have been a good idea to ban coal. However, I doubt if Edward was a model environmentalist, and the effects of his decree didn’t last. Nowadays, it’s not coal which is affecting Londoners but automobile fume pollution.

In the USA an MIT study estimated about 50,000 die prematurely each year from pollution from energy production (a large chunk of which is still dependent on coal) and about the same die from pollution related to automobile use.

For no other reason but to prevent these deaths we should move away from carbon-based fuels. However, we have another reason to do so – the effect that burning these fuels has on our climate.

Comments are encouraged. Please email them to me.
Alan Searle

Art on the Wall

July 29, 2021

Please enjoy the summer member exhibit, but follow all guidelines from the weekly updates.
Try to remember to social distance. Let’s keep each other safe. This member exhibit will remain up through September.

Trudy Gerhardt, Co-chair


Book Group

Aug 7, 2021

The Book Group is in summer hiatus for the next few months. I thought I’d take this opportunity to answer a few questions that always seem to pop up. The question I get most often is how we choose the books that we will read. Our members often suggest a book or two that they feel will be good for the group. I then have a rather strict formula that I follow when making up the schedule. I try to alternate fiction and non-fiction each month. I try to make sure that we have something in each of these major categories each year:
   Social justice
   Classical literature
   International fiction
   People of Color/multicultural
   A recent UUA congregational read or Beacon press publication

After I have chosen those books, I fill in with books that have something else to offer. My goal is to choose books that will generate a good lively discussion and that people might not normally pick up and read. Lat year we read a graphic novel. That is basically a comic book for adults. I think many of our members appreciated the chance to explore a piece of literature that was presented differently than we are used to seeing. Another criteria that we use is that the books chosen need to be readily available at our local libraries or available very inexpensively from Amazon. No one should feel left out because they can’t get a book. I often have the book in ebook digital format and can lend it and a device to anyone who needs it.

Mary Jane Williams

Immigration Justice

Aug 7, 2021

Despite CoVid, despite isolation, despite snowbirds traveling home, the Immigration Justice Committee continues to fulfill its mission: to educate ourselves and others about Immigrastion Policy and to demonstrate for the rights of immigrants and their families to escape poverty and terror in their homeland and to seek new lives. Over this year, we have joined with other like-minded groups to engage in a variety of activities to this end.

Currently, in conjunction with Grannies Respond, we have scheduled several members to meet buses traveling to the east coast of Florida that are carrying immigrant families who have been given temporary permission to enter our country. These families travel under severe distress and anxiety and are grateful for a warm welcome at the thirty minute bus stop in front of Cumberland Farms on Kings Highway and Veterans Blvd. Coffee, sandwiches, diapers, and other needed items – called “Dignity Bags” – are offered to families who are thankful for our kindness and encouraging smiles. This program will run until December 2021 at which time we will re-examine its effectiveness. (See photo of Ruth Volpe and Nicaraguan bus passenger).

In addition, presenting the 9 feet by 9 feet quilts made by US and Mexican artisans depicting the immigrant experience and their struggles was a huge success. This time we bonded with the Visual Art Center, a community and volunteer run art center in Punta Gorda who graciously gave us their patio space free of charge and advertised this event among their members and patrons. This magnificent quilt exhibit had been in Tampa, St. Petersburg and was headed for Ft. Myers, Orlando, Miami, and then ending in the North. This was an imaginative, artistic and uplifting way to tell the immigrant story.

The Immigration Justice Committee of the UUFCC continues to meet the first and third Wednesday of the month. Interested persons please email Betty Barriga to join future Zoom meetings.

Myrna Charry

Worship Team

Aug 7, 2021

Virtual Worship

By the time you read this, we will have been meeting in the sanctuary on Sunday mornings for several weeks. It is possible that you have improved your humming technique. With any luck, we will be in a new routine that feels comfortable and enhances our worship together.

We have done a good job of worshiping together during this ongoing, tedious, and dangerous pandemic. During the past year and a half we have gathered on Zoom where the technology doesn’t always work, the music doesn’t sound as good as it does on YouTube, and we could only see each other’s talking heads.

Now we are able to return to the sanctuary, in person, to worship, the technology and music are still a bit complicated. When you are in sanctuary, you will notice lots of equipment: cameras, microphones, a projector, a computer, and the sound system. The new computer connects all of this and we will have a tech person running the equipment on Sunday morning. The camera has the capability to zoom in on the speaker in the chancel. The sound system connects the microphone from the pulpit so we can capture the sound on the computer as well as over the sound system in the sanctuary. Besides this, we will be able to play music and project music videos on the screen for all to enjoy – both in the sanctuary and online. The computer in the back of the sanctuary is also connected to the internet so it will have the capability of projecting video and audio into the sanctuary. You probably know that some of the worship associates are snowbirds and we have been able to participate in services from afar. We have had guest speakers/ministers/ musicians from out of town and we will still be able to have these because we have the ability to stream the visiting speakers into the sanctuary and project on the big screen. We plan to have at least one person there live – either a speaker or a worship associate but have the option of having one streamed in.

We have been providing the service live on two platforms: Zoom and YouTube Live. The folks who have been zoom directors will be the tech folks at the back of the sanctuary. We will continue to broadcast live on YouTube. Since we seem to be sociable creatures, we will host a Zoom meeting as soon as the service is finished so we will still have this way to connect.

Provide feedback please email us on how the services are going.

Laura Anderson, Co-chair


Caring & Hospitality

Aug 7, 2021


The mission of the Caring Committee is to nurture our members in times of need; this could include hospital and home visits, cards, transportation as provided by volunteers to the Fellowship, doctor’s office, etc., a home cooked meal for those under the weather, or just a phone call. Caring also includes taking time on Sundays to speak to other people and let them know you’re glad to see them. The caring part of our committee is here to help our UUFCC family when the time comes. Contact Helen Sokalski or Roxann Luning should the need arise.

The hospitality part of our committee enriches the Caring Committee by supporting social functions that bring people together. Potluck, lunch bunch, memorial services, and other special occasions are part of their purpose.  Greeting newcomers and regular members on Sundays is also an important part of the job.

Our members are: Helen Sokalski, Chairperson of our committee; Debbie Conrad, Secretary, Alice Clattenberg, Trudy Gerhardt, Gudrun Matthaus, Jackie Williamson, Mary Howard, Roxann Luning, and Herb Levin. Their contact information is listed in our directory.

Helen Sokalski, Chair


To the Editor:

For well over a year now UUFCC has been supportive of three food pantries in our county to assist those who have been so impacted by the pandemic as to have difficulty in feeding those in their homes. I worried for them last year,and continue to worry for them today.

Circumstances have changed with time. Vaccinations, government assistance checks, masks, hiring, and rehiring. We all felt, recently, that we were getting ahead of the pandemic curve. It appears that we breathed that sigh of relief a bit too soon. In spite of support checks for children in the household under 18, and salaries that have risen for many jobs to an almost tolerable minimum, there are offsetting circumstances. Unemployment checks are disappearing in Florida. Their regularity was comforting, even given that the absence of jobs was the source. And then there is the unwillingness to vaccinate, placing breadwinners in peril.

And now, an additional element contributing to the uneasiness. With the upcoming termination of Federal regulations allowing renters to occupy even when unable to pay their rent, there may be disastrous outcomes. People will be doubling up. People will put all available funds toward rent, thereby reducing the ability to pay for ever more-expensive food. People will be gambling with their health as the nutrition of the young and the aging is placed in jeopardy.

All this to say that if you think people might be in a better position than they were say, six months ago, I ask you to think again. Many are still having and will continue to have, for the foreseeable future, difficulty in putting the right food on the table, both in quantity and nutritional value.

The Second Helping of UUFCC will continue to help Harry Chapin, C.H.A.P.S. and Meals on Wheels for the foreseeable future. The impact that we have is directly proportional to your willingness and generosity. Please consider giving what you can as frequently as you can. Checks can be made out to UUFCC, annotated Second Helping. Venmo also works.

On behalf of all those that we help, my deepest gratitude.

Herb Levin
July 30, 2021

Something fun

Aug 7, 2021

Limerick #2 for a Soft Reopening

We’ve worked hard not to let Covid foil it,
so don’t you be the one who will spoil it:
no shouting, no singing,
no eating no clinging—
and just one at a time in the toilet!

By Sharon Whitehill


Something novel

Aug 7, 2021

This month’s excerpt comes from Bob Taylor, long time member of our UUFCC, who now lives in Colorado. An interview with Bob and his wife Sue can be found in the surprise section of this newsletter. Bob was Treasurer of the UUFCC for years and also dabbled in the art of humorist and auctioneer from tiem to time. He kindly sent us an excerpt from his latest book, The Laws of Small Projects:

Humorous and profound, The Laws of Small Projects is a distillation of life lessons learned while waiting for my thumbnail to grow back. It postulates immutable laws about small projects which fill the gap in human understanding left by the sages Parkinson, Peter and Murphy half a century ago. With several cartoon illustrations in the style of The New Yorker, it illuminates what small projects can teach us about ourselves and the meaning of life.

While never articulated until now, you innately know the truth of the First Law: there are no small projects. You also know that you won’t have all the parts or tools you need to get started. You might search your junk drawer—that ubiquitous repository of delayed decisions, promises, and futile hopes—expecting that what you need will be spontaneously generated in that gallimaufry mess. But it is inevitable, you will have to make at least one trip to the hardware store.

In the sharp-edged busyness of our modern lives, it’s hard to relate to the wisdom of the ancient Zen proverb—chop wood, carry water. Those simple tasks have been relegated to a weekend at the cabin and long-bearded survivalists in plaid shirts. We are often overwhelmed by the tyranny of our to-do lists. Better we should set aside time to do nothing, an age-old practice now gaining renewed popularity.

Still, you know you will be tempted to take on a project that is beyond your competency, working on a steep learning curve—there’s nothing more exciting and it may be a step toward enlightenment—but it’s not a formula for quick, error-free results. Collateral damage is inescapable: the seductive danger of ladders, the inevitability of paint spills, and the risk of bonding your eyelids closed with super glue.

But be brave, your larger purpose, your more satisfied self, can be found in the tasks you relish, those projects that stretch your competencies, where errors are opportunities for greater achievement, where time disappears. When you consider their potential to make your life more fulfilling, there are no small projects.

Bob & Sue Taylor

A few minutes with Sue & Bob Taylor

June 22, 2021


The light touch

Aug 7, 2021



Aug 7, 2021

Here is the cartoon for this month. To win a free ticket to the banquet auction this year
please email me your best idea of a caption.

All entries will be submitted to the a panel of secret judges for their review. The deadline for submissions is Aug 30 with the winning caption to be announced In next month’s issue of Chalice Connections

Cartoon created by Joanne Collins

June 25, 2021

Theater review

My review is of Young Frankenstein, a play put on at Venice theater, Book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Mehhan, Music and Lyrics by Mel Brooks. I saw it twice. What a show: singing, music, dancing. Comedy and creative set changes. The cast was made up of high school and college students basically. Music by the talented Michelle Kasanofsky. Many funny scenes I recognize from the movie. Of course there was the scene with the monster entering the home of the blind man, with comical situations. Many fine performances, Igor played by Lauren Wickerson was one of the favorites.

I encourage all to look at their future schedules and see if anything strikes your fancy.

That is all for now Keep looking for entertainment. We need laughter. Escapism and fun. Til next time. You Beautiful People in the Dark.

Patrick Eaton


Restaurant review

Aug 7, 2021

Lisa & Allen Roberts continue this month telling us about another of their favorite eateries:

We decided to try a new hidden restaurant, Blu Grotto past Paulson, heading North on Tamiami trail.

Upon entering, it was dim, with blue lights, giving off a romantic aura. We were asked if we had reservations, but were taken right to a table.

We shared a delicious bruschetta with four generous pieces, perfectly seasoned with garlic,herbs and a wonderful balsamic reduction. To our surprise, a house salad came with the entrée. It was fresh with a tasty house dressing. My favorite food, which I order often, is eggplant parmigiana.

This one had nicely breaded pieces, however the tomato sauce was chunky and heavily herbed, which overpowered the tomato flavor.

I would try something different next time. Allen enjoyed the chicken francaise, the seasoning, sauce, capers and the perfect portion size. There were three vegetarian options listed.

Owner Lisa Deslauriers stopped by our table and was quite welcoming. She had her husband also purchased another restaurant in Englewood.

We believe this is an interesting special occasion, moderately-priced restaurant. It may be worth a try!

Ollie’s Pond

Aug 7, 2021

Ollie’s Pond is located at 18235 Avon Ave. in Port Charlotte. There is one loop around the pond. It is never crowded. Dogs are welcome, but we don’t see them very often. There are a couple of benches you can sit on as walk around the pond, but no picnic tables. It’s a lovely place to go for a walk, or a run, as the dirt path is relatively wide and OK for people with balance problems. But it would not be the place to go and meet people for a picnic and/or chat. I’d say it is about one mile around. One time we came across a mother turtle heading across our path to lay eggs. You can also see the occasional snake and witness lots of bird activity. From the air Google Maps shows Ollie’s Pond looking like:

One day while walking around the Pond we were on La Croix Ave and a woman was reaching out the window of her car with one of those huge cameras with a long lens. She motioned to us and point upwards. And then we saw what she saw. A huge bald eagle standing on a lone branch. The eagle stayed there for a long time during which she told us that last year she won a prize in the Ft. Myers Photography Contest by posting a picture of a pair in the same location.

Fred & Dorothy Parmenter

Soft Opening

Jul 25, 2021

Tom Deuley supplied the following photos from the Fellowship’s first soft opening:


Mardi Gras Party Cancelled

Aug 13, 2021

Due to the wide spread of the COVID virus and Delta variance, the Mardi Gras event that was scheduled for October 22nd, 2021 is cancelled. We hope to revisit the idea sometime after the first of the year, hopefully the COVID epidemic will be just a bad memory by then. Please stay safe and uninfected.

Roxann Luning