I hope you enjoy this New Year’s edition Chalice Connections.

Look for a new column called How Did You Meet? in which we learn how members of our Fellowship met.

And, of course, Dear Lucy answers your most intimate questions.


Letter from the President

Dear Loving Community,

What a pleasure to be able to see each other in person again! The positive energy at the Fellowship is palpable. In addition, the musical creations by Jim and the improved sound due to the dedicated work of the Tech Team is delightful.

We are grateful to our new Membership Team and the Chief Reservation Organizer (Mary Jane) for their fine efforts! As always, our thanks go out to Bobbie for keeping our outside patio a place where we can gather.

Despite the need to institute guidelines to stay safe during what seems like a never-ending pandemic, we are determined to continue. We are learning how to space ourselves. The red, yellow, green armband system suggested by Mary Jane is genius and lets others know how comfortable we each are with close contact. We are learning that it is OK to say “I prefer an elbow bump.” We will continue to make adjustments as we learn what works best. Suggestions are welcome.

As a reminder, our bathrooms are now gender neutral, and intended for single or family/pod occupancy. We have moved the “Occupied/Vacancy” bathroom signs to the doors of each bathroom.

While it is fantastic to socialize before and after the service, please do so outside where ventilation and personal space is plentiful.

Another wonderful activity is checking out the spectacular creativity displayed in the sanctuary (in socially distanced space, or on a non-service day), with the newest additions hot off the press by one of our members, with all proceeds going to UUFCC!

Behind the scenes:

  • The Board has been moving through the UUA Arbitration Process with Rev. Dan, which will end January 14th.
  • Our financial status is decent, especially considering that we are still in a pandemic and have had a rough year with all the change. We have been working to a reduced budget ($120,000) rather than the much larger approved budget ($150,000) because we did not end up coming close to our original pledge. In addition, we have had legal costs.
  • The good news is that our Treasurer likes to keep a surplus in the operating fund that should cover much of this. In addition, our investment accounts in Boston are growing although the market continues to fluctuate. It’s important to know that the last two years have been very difficult to predict because expenses and income vary widely in a pandemic and some things are impossible to forecast. As of the end of November, we have received approximately 56% of our expected pledges ($120,000). Although a little low on a straight line, we usually increase our revenue in High Season and have resumed passing the collection plate and hope to raise more in fundraising this Spring than last year.

A few weekends ago, we had a very productive half day retreat with Rev. Kathy. She did a splendid job covering a variety of subjects that will help us improve as Board members and best help the Fellowship move forward. We got homework to pre-read a chapter in a book written by Rev. Dan Hotchkiss,a UU Minister: The Job of the Board. After a discussion of some of the take-aways from the reading, we covered additional agenda items including:
  • Types of growth in a Congregation: It’s more than numbers!
  • Congregational sizes and why they matter
  • Ministers: Types, Training, and Expectations
  • Congregational Systems – An Introduction
  • Follow Up on Board Outreach to Fellowship Members and Friends (There will be more of this when Outreach is complete.)

We have been enjoying our individual conversations with Members & Friends and learning a lot. If you have not yet been contacted, give Mary Jane a call or send her an email and she will follow up with the team.

The Reopening Planning Team (including Linda, in her convenient dual role with the choir), Jim, Rev. Kathy, and the Worship Associates worked together to create a wonderful experience for us on Christmas Eve. We all enjoyed the after-covid debut of our Jim & our Choir on the patio! With special guest violinist, Shannon U.

Our Holiday weekend finished with a bang, by a delightful Christmas Story by Dennis, skillfully delivered by Laura A, accompanied by Ken. This was followed by an evening Yule Ceremony with our new Earth-Centered/ pagan group whose celebration moved from the sanctuary to candlelight around the firepit!

Best wishes of all the holidays!

Your Board of Trustees
Sharon, Fred, Helen, Gudrun, Betty, Nancy, Herb, Ted, and Lorrie

Greenhouse gases by Alan Searle

The naturally found gases which are leading to global warming and climate change were identified in the 1800’s. They are carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, ozone, and the most prevalent, water vapor.

The one we are most concerned about is carbon dioxide and levels of this gas have not been as high for at least 3 million years. The carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at the end of the 19th century was 280 parts per million. Now it’s measuring nearer 415 at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii.

We know from firsthand experience the effects water vapor has on the atmosphere. On a humid night the temperature decreases less than on a drier one. As the planet warms the atmosphere can hold even more water vapor and more heat – a positive feedback loop with negative consequences.

In the USA farming practices cause the largest release of nitrous oxide.

Methane is released by fracking, leaks, cattle, and warming permafrost.

And then there are man-made gases such as sulfa hexafluoride and fluorocarbons which are thousands of times more powerful and more persistent, pound for pound, than carbon dioxide.

However, if we didn’t have greenhouse gases at all the earth would be an ice planet with average surface temperatures of around zero Fahrenheit.


“To have great pain is to have certainty;
to hear about pain is to have doubt.”

The idea for this month’s illustration comes from Fred.
The art work was drawn by Tom Deuley with much appreciation.
The quote is from Elaine Searry’s 1985 book The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World.

The Honeybee by Sharon Whitehill

Don’t accuse
The honeybee
Of being like
Those other three:
The hornet, wasp,
And bumblebee.
Here’s the news:
They’re not alike!
So try to see
Their shapes and hues,
For that’s the key—
And don’t abuse
The honeybee.

Dear Lucy

My wife and I are getting on in age.  We have begun working on our wills. And we don’t know what to do.

You see we have two children who are quire different.  Brian is successful and earns lots of money.  Skipper is, well, why mix words, a sod – one disastrous relationship after another.  No steady job.  No source of income. Lives down in the basement.

So, Lucy, should we treat them equally in our will or give more money to Skipper because he needs it more? 

A troubled parent

Dear troubled Parent,

The Animal Welfare League would be so thrilled for you to leave them a legacy, invested with the dividends being paid to them monthly.  You gave life to your boys and shouldn’t have to give them a living.


Hometown Grill – A Review by Lisa Roberts

Have you been searching for an inexpensive breakfast joint that is hometown friendly and not a chain? Well, Hometown Grill is the place to go! It is located at 1931 Tamiami Trail, unit 10, in the LTM strip mall.

The grill serves breakfast and lunch and opens at 6:30 am weekdays and 7 a.m. weekends.

It closes at 1:30. I enjoyed a Veggie Lover’s omelette and AL had the Corned beef hash and toast.

We asked for well done hash browns and they came out beautifully! The veggies in the omelette were cooked perfectly, as was the eggs. The great thing about this restaurant is that you can customize your order by the amount of eggs you would like with your meal.

We were impressed with the prices and service. We will be back. Hope you will give it a try.

Financial info – members only

Our financial data is password protected.

To view the pledge charts click here.
To view our income vs expenses, click here.

How did you meet?

This month we start a new column about how some of our friends met. We begin with Alice and George:

Out & About

The Guitar Army plays every Thursday night at Gilchrist Park in Punta Gorda. They start around 6PM, rain or shine. It’s a delightful experience to watch and listen to them play. Very casual. No tickets. No reservations. Just show up and enjoy a bit of an old time experience. Bring a comfortable chair. Here’s 16 seconds of them playing:

The Light Touch

This month we learn a little bit about more about John Lee:

Past issues

You may access past issues of the UUFCC’s newsletters by clicking on the month of interest. The following issues highlighted in purple were created by Ginger during her tenure as editor, and the others highlighted in green were created by Fred during his tenure as editor:

12 A M/J J/A S O N
13 J F M M/J J/A O N
14 J M M/J J/A S O N
15 J F M A M/J J/A S O N D
16 J F M A M/J J/A O N D
17 F J/A O N D
18 J F M A M/J J/A S N D
19 J F M A M/J J/A S O N D
20 J F M M J/J A/S O N D
21 J F M J A S O N D



Imagine for a minute that you are walking down the street talking with your spouse about what you need to buy for dinner. It’s a sidewalk in Punta Gorda on a Saturday morning with people going this way and that way as they make their way toward the Farmers’ Market. Suddenly you stop, turn around and call out, “Mrs Morrison?” And sure enough, it is Mrs Morrison your high school history teacher.

How did this happen? You haven’t thought about her, or seen her, in thirty years. You barely even saw her. It must have been your peripheral vision that caught her going the other way. How could it be that while talking about dinner fixings that your eyes caught the sight of this lady, recognized her as Mrs. Morrison, and then brought that to your attention?

Was your mind doing this for every other person on the street? And it doesn’t have to be a person – you could have passed a store and noticed a display similar to one you remember growing up. Or a special smell. Or you overhear someone’s voice from 30 years ago, the brain remembers that voice, and then calls your attention to it.

Does this mean that as we are walking along that brain is taking in every person, every smell, every sound, every image and trying to find a match it from our store house of memories? The computational prowess to manage that would be staggering.

And the problem gets even more difficult as we realize that Mrs Morrison has aged. Now the brain has an even more remarkable challenge. It has to compare every person we pass with all the people we have met and then determine if the person on the sidewalk matches an “aged” version of one in our memory! Isn’t that a miracle?

Would you like to submit a miracle? Click here.

Fred Parmenter, Editor
To view the newsletter archives, click here.