And now, a message from Scott Piepho, our fearless leader, who wrote this and submitted it too late for  yesterday’s issue.

As this year’s SI planning began last August, I had one wish: for a really boring planning year.  After 2014 which saw a new venue, change in theme speaker, transition away from a paper brochure, and new procedures for youth housing, among many other changes, I was hoping for a little more stability, a little less excitement.

We came close.  We did once again need to launch a search for a new theme speaker, but mostly this year is about tweaking things after last year’s shakedown cruise at Oberlin.

This year we are bringing the footprint of the community still closer together.  Last year afternoons on the North Quad provided a visual representation of everything SI is about.  People were tie-dying, body arting, playing music, watching the kids’ activities or just enjoying the scene, all within sight of each other.  This year we will add Art Space and Duct Tape to the mix, placing those workshops in tents on the North Quad.

We are also continuing our efforts to improve the financial health of Summer Institute, so that we can continue to create this special community for generations to come.

Toward that end, we are trying to take better advantage of the free (or at least already paid for) spaces at Oberlin.  Oberlin’s rental model is different than Kenyon’s.  At Oberlin we pay for each classroom or other university room we use each day we use it.  That does not apply to lounges in dorms that we are residing in — those come with the price of the sleeping rooms that we rent. This year we are working to put more seminars, workshops and meetings in dorm lounges. We are also going to try to make greater use of First Church.

We are also continuing to use technology to save more money.  We have fully migrated the brochure online, reducing what we send out to a quadfold mailer.  We have, however, found that to still be expensive, dubiously useful and less than green.  We are planning to create a generic “This Is SI” brochure for in-church promotions and keep everything else paperless.

With the continued evolution and growth of the SI community comes a set of questions – Is this where we want to go? How do we manage the change? What can we be doing better?  How do we pay for it all? We are inviting the community to a series of “World Café” style conversations to share information and gather community sentiment on these and a host of other questions.  Look for the World Cafes on the schedule Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

As you read this, we are days away.  See you in Oberlin.


A Word from the Registration Team

Opening ceremonies proved a great start to the week. The community has been introduced to participating congregations, SIPC, clergy, and we got a taste of the awesome music that will fill our week.
Working as part of the registration team has allowed us to become familiar with your names and needs. It is a pleasure to serve this community.

It is important to us that OMD staff member, Beth Casebolt, is recognized. Though the emails you receive from the registration team only contain the names Amy, Kim and Geneva, the truth must be told. If Amy is the captain of the ship, Beth is the anchor, uh and the net.
Beth is always willing to provide trouble shooting, problem solving, communication help, tech assistance,  office supplies, even refrigeration needs. Really, the list of things that Beth does for our community is incredibly long and full of very important things. Many of our attendees probably don’t realize all that Beth does. Trust us: she’s wonderful. We need her, we love her, we are beyond grateful for all she does

Amy, Kim, Geneva


An Important Announcement

Heather Dinklage (the phrenology quack) and Matty Travis (the phrenology apprentice) will be offering exams to people to raise money for the scholarship fund.  Phrenology is an old* science developed through research**.  Using the bumps and low spots on your skull, we can tell you which regions of your brain*** are more and less developed****.  If you want to learn more about yourself*****, find Heather or Matty!  For $2, we will do a quick reading for you.  For $10, you’ll get a report emailed to you with all the interpretative information about what your head’s bumps (and divots) mean******.  Every single dollar goes to the scholarship fund*******!



**poorly executed

***incorrectly identified

****wrong, wrong, wrong.

*****inaccuracies about yourself

******We think you get the picture.

*******There’s nothing inaccurate about that, at least.



Al-Anon – Tuesday, July 14, 1:30 – 2:30

Barnard Hall Lounge

Barnard Hall is directly across the street

from the Stevenson Dining Hall



And Now, a Word from the Perennial Winners of the Church with the Most People at SI Non-Contest

(This Year’s Winner is Yet to be Announced)

We’re Doin’ It!

Q:  What’s bigger than a breadbox but too small to hold the Kent congregation?

A:  The Kent church!


Hi SI friends,

Those of you who have visited the Kent church know we have to shoehorn our 200 members and 100 kids into our small church.  So we are excited to announce that we are launching a capital campaign to expand and renovate our church facilities.  In a 3 phase plan we will: construct a new building with a social hall, kitchen and classrooms; renovate our basement into RE space; and renovate the sanctuary space (more space for Hal Walker’s musical groups!).  We officially launch the capital campaign in the Fall, and the project will cost over $1,000,000.  Interested in helping to jumpstart the campaign with a donation?  You can do so through our website:   Under “Giving”, click on “Make a donation”, and you can check that the donation is for the Capital Campaign; if you put “SI” in instructions it will help us track your donation.


Any donations will be gratefully received! And we look forward to welcoming you into our new space for district events.


Kathy Kerns and Dave Smeltzer, UU Church of Kent Capital Campaign Team


The Seven Principles Happened Here

The 7 Principles Happened Here is a new walking workshop in the Late Afternoon that will consist of the stories and sights of Oberlin.  We leave from the front porch of Wilder at 3:15 and then head out.  You might want umbrellas some days, but we’re going rain or shine.  (I do have some indoor treasures to present, so schedule may vary with weather).  The outline looks like this:


Monday: The Founding Vision of Oberlin and Education for All

Tuesday: The Interconnected Web of Life in current Oberlin with a tour of The Living Machine at our Environmental Building.

Wednesday: First Church and other “firsts.”

Thursday: Did Oberlin really start the Civil War?

Friday: TBD by group interest…


Questions are welcome.


Nancy Boutilier, workshop leader


Here are the Chaplains for SI this Summer:

Caitlin Ballinger (young adult chaplain)

George Buchanan

Mary Grigolia (youth chaplain)

Kristen Rohm 805-452-9797
Caleb Thurman (young adult chaplain)




 Answers to Yesterday’s Puzzle


  1. Rubber Duckie
  2. Wake Up Little Susie
  3. Louie Louie
  4. Blue Suede Shoes
  5. I Would Die 4 U
  6. Under Pressure
  7. Tutti Frutti
  8. You Can’t Always Get What You Want
  9. Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys
  10. Roundabout



Hogwarts News

For Monday

Voldemort is after the Philosopher’s Stone! Nicholas Flamel has broken it into pieces, hopefully to prevent Voldemort from finding the whole thing. Now Nicholas has gone missing and it’s up to you to find the pieces before Voldemort does.


Here is your clue:


To find the stones you must beware and look around you if you dare.

Bees of gold and silver toads

transformed themselves to pointy loads

Just to save the world you see;

they might be hanging with a tree.



Art Space

It’s music day tomorrow at Art Space! We’ll be making Kazoo’s and Windchimes. Stop by and make something musical with us. Don’t forget to keep collecting things for your time capsules!

Ali and Lauren



In the magical, musical world of Summer Institute, Small Ensembles is an extravaganza of collaborative instrumental and/or vocal musical performances, put on by regular people just like you! Small Ensembles is all about getting together with other performers and having fun while collectively putting a diverse and entertaining program. You might be an old pro, or you might never have been on a stage before in your life—either way, there is a place for you in Small Ensembles!

That sounds like fun—what kinds of acts are you looking for?

  • Any performing arts that include a live musical component are welcome. Other than a song, an example might be a dance or poetry set to live music.
  • Musically (and otherwise), there are no limits to genre—go ahead, be creative!
  • Obviously, all content should be positive and UU-principled.
  • Don’t present the same piece you have presented in the last 4 years.
  • Acts should be about 3 minutes in length.


How do I meet other folks and get matched up with my collaborators?

  • Alan Halperin &/or Carol Gould will be in Stevenson Dining Hall at an identified lunch table each day 12:30-1:00 to discuss Small Ensembles, meet with people interested in performing, then we’ll be by the sign-up sheet on the bulletin board from around 1:00 to 1:15.
  • Stop by, discuss possible acts, and meet others who might be interested in joining an act.
  • Another good place to meet potential collaborators is in the pub, or over lunch, or down the hall in your dormitory.
  • Each group organizes their own, arranges their own rehearsal times, equipment and locations, agrees on what night to perform, and if they need to be early or late on the schedule, then notes this on the signup sheet, and gets the performers to the performance on time.

Okay, my friends and I have an act we want to do—now what?

  • Sign up on the Small Ensembles sheet posted on the bulletin board in Stevenson.
  • Find or call Alan or Carol with any questions or concerns.

Yikes, now we need to rehearse—when do we have to be ready?

  • Small Ensembles will take place on Thursday & Friday nights at 9:30pm. Wednesday at 8:30pm is commit time: Whatever is on the signup sheet for your act at that time will be in the program. If you cannot commit due to conflicting obligations or whatever, let us know you might be able to perform. (Be aware that Sr Youth/Young Adult bridging is scheduled for 9:15pm Friday evening, just outside First Church—our venue for that night.) See us the day you want to perform. We’ll try to work you in, but there are no guarantees if you cannot commit by Wednesday night.
  • The show will be in Fairchild Chapel in Bosworth Hall on Thursday and First Church on Friday, if you want to check out the venue ahead of time. Rehearsal space will have to be a “catch as catch can” basis. Look for unoccupied space in First Church (not during morning programs or vespers, please) or in dorm lounges.
  • Be sure to tell all your friends and dorm neighbors that you’re performing!

Alan Halperin 412-609-6355

Carol Gould 330-687-8370


Theme Speaker

By Carrie Buchanan

Change is happening in the world of religion, organized and otherwise. And Unitarian Universalists need to be ready to deal with it.

That was the opening message from our theme speaker, Rev. Joan VanBecelaere, whose topic for the week is “Faith, Evolving: How American Religion is Changing and What it Means for Unitarian Universalism.”

VanBecelaere presented data from a May 2015 report by the Pew Research Center on Religion and Public Life, showing that the number of Christians in the U.S. dropped sharply between 2007 and 2014, from 78 to 71 percent of the population. And within that Christian segment, the number who are “unaffiliated” with a particular church or denomination has grown dramatically, from 16 to 23 percent.

Many of those unaffiliated folks are potential UUs, VanBecelaere said. In the coming week, she will present not just lectures, but also stories, videos, discussions and other insights on who we are, who those unaffiliated folks are, and how we can appeal to those who might want to become affiliated with us.

Changing demographics in America, broadly, were VanBecelaere’s first order of business. Monday afternoon, she was scheduled to present a video and discussion focusing on changing attitudes toward homosexuality and the role of UU congregations in welcoming that social group. We’ll have more news on that in tomorrow’s edition.

VanBecelaere is the District Executive for Ohio Meadville, a position she has held since 2007. Previously, she taught and was vice president for student services at Iliff Theological School in Denver, Colorado. She has worked extensively with UU congregations and the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association. In her current role as DA, she continues to teach, providing courses in leadership development to denominational leaders.


PDF Version

Osiris Monday 2015