And now, the usual opening folderol:

It was the best of summer institutes, it was the worst of summer institutes, it was the week of wisdom, it was the week of foolishness, it was the epoch of remembering Kenyon College fondly, it was the epoch of incredulity that we ever liked being at Kenyon, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of OSIRIS, it was the winter of the Kaleidoscope, we had everything before us, we had the cafeteria running out of coffee, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were already there at Oberlin–in short, the period was that of transition and, for good or evil, we are now settled in at Oberlin and ready to go.

I suppose that all of you are wondering what the Dickens was that.  To those of you who haven’t crumpled this newsletter up and thrown it away after that joke, I’ll explain.  Every year, the Summer Institute newsletter greets you at Sunday dinner, welcoming you to another year of worship, intellectual stimulation, and just plain fun.  Every year, it gets harder and harder to find the right words, because you don’t want to repeat last year’s word, you want something new and fresh.

Since I wasn’t going to find that, I decided to paraphrase classics of literature, to celebrate this, our second year at Oberlin, when the shadow of Kenyon no longer obscures the view.  (That’s not a paraphrase.  Its pretension is all my own.)

Call us the OSIRIS.  Last year at this time, we were still the Kaleidoscope, but a contest started on Facebook and finished right here gave us a new name, starting with the letter O, to match Oberlin.  Many people were not happy with this, but the editorial staff liked it, and that’s now the name.

Ah, the editorial staff.  All happy editorial staffs are alike; each unhappy editorial staff is unhappy in its own way.  We’re pretty happy because, with minor variations, we’ve been together for about 13 years.  There are four people you should know –

Honnie Staples of Toledo

Ginny Nagorski of Pittsburgh

~ And myself, Bruce Kent, also of Pittsburgh

The fourth person?  Well, that’s you.  You are a contributor, you are a contributor, you are a contributor.  (Heck, it’s not literature, but it is well known.)  We can’t publish a newsletter without articles, and they come directly from you, the SI attendees.  Anybody can contribute an article, and there’s an incredible likeliness that it will be published.

There are three ways to contribute something:

~ If you have a laptop, you can email us at

~ If you don’t you can hand-write the article (unheard of in this day and age), and drop it in the box in the dining hall.

~ You can come to our office, or grab one of us on campus, and hand it to us.

That’s it.  So we really need your impressions of SI, what your workshop is doing, how you feel about Oberlin, and anything else that you can think of.  We do have standards, but they’re not too tough.  After all, this article made it.

In conclusion, I’d like to quote the immortal words of Mr. Christian Grey: “Submit!”  (Well, I don’t know if he actually said that because I’ve never read the book, but it does make a good place to stop and segue into the rest of the newsletter.)

Bruce Kent



Let’s Create ‘SI Magic’ for the Next Generation!

We all love SI.  Almost every one of us has a story of SI magic:  A new friend, an insight, perhaps even a transformation. As an intentional community, we are creative, multigenerational and full of joy. But we also know that there are financial barriers to participation.  And we know that—as we hope to invite others to enjoy the SI magic–we need to be mindful and faithful about how we grow.

This week, we invite everyone at SI to share their own creative suggestions for how we might be able to keep the SI magic while addressing some of our growing edges:

  • Session 1: SI Culture:  What is essential to the magic of SI?  What must we keep as we move forward?  (Monday at 6:30pm)
  • Session 2: SI Stewardship: How might we re-imagine how we can include people of all economic means while honoring the contributions of the Planning Committee, the workshop leaders and other folks who help create the magic but can’t participate fully in the experience? (Tuesday at 1:30pm)
  • Session 3: SI Covenant: What promises do we need to make to one another to create this next version of SI Magic? (Wednesday at 3:15pm)

Location for all sessions:  Fellowship Hall at First Church

All three sessions will be “World Café” style, facilitated by the Rev. Renee Ruchotzke


Mark Your Calendar for Coming of Age 2.0

Circle this article. Especially this next part: Friday at 3 pm in First Church Fellowship Hall. It’s time to celebrate our brave adults who are about to leap into the world of our youth and write the coming of age statements they never had the chance to write when they were younger. Join our celebration service to hear willing class member’s statements and celebrate their accomplishments. For UUs, it’s never too  late to come of age!


Kendal at Oberlin

invites you to an Open House for an after dinner dessert buffet on Wednesday, July 15th from 6:30-8:30pm.  Come stroll the grounds and take in the three art galleries. Tours and conversation will be available to those interested in learning about this vibrant retirement community.

The community is home to residents from 35 states. It is a diverse and caring community, founded on Quaker values located within walking distance of the Oberlin College campus (less than a mile). With its proximity to the college, Kendal has become a destination community for many. Residents and staff welcome you.

Kendal at Oberlin is just north of Oberlin College at 600 Kendal Drive. For more information, please call Maggie Stark @ 440-775-9810.


SI Mobile Site

While many wish to unplug while at SI, there are certainly opportunities and reasons to remain connected during the week. And with campus-wide wireless, it’s easier than ever. Just make sure you keep your device focused on SI and don’t check your work email.

At you will find a link to the mobile site ( There you can:

See What’s Happening Tonight – Since the evening schedule is different every night, events are highlighted daily.

View the Daily Schedule – See what is happening each day, for both adult and youth programs. With popup maps for locations.

Learn the Latest News – Location changes, cancellations or additions to the schedule, everything that’s on the projector will be here, too. These will also be sent out on twitter, facebook, and google+  if you prefer to get your news there. Now you can submit your own announcements, too.

Locate a Map – Customized google map with our locations highlighted, and if you’re really lost, the ‘Where am I?’ button.

Find the Weather – See the current forecast for Oberlin

Ask those Frequently Asked Questions – Helpful info that you don’t know you need until you need it 😉


From the RE committee:

Hello and welcome to all of our wonderful teachers, students, and parents for the 2015 Religious Exploration at Summer Institute!!

The teachers will be in their rooms in the RE wing of the UCC (aka First Church) from 4 to 5 p.m. on Sunday to welcome you and answer any questions you may have. First timers are strongly encouraged to come, see the space, and meet your child’s teachers. Thanks!

All classes are held from 9:15 to noon, Monday through Friday this week. Bring your children to the base of the stairs in the hallway near the First Church administrative office every morning after the worship service. The teachers will meet you there.

You are responsible for your children this week. If they don’t show up for class, we will make a reasonable attempt to reach you to find out what happened. Please call us if you know your child will not be attending class that day. The teachers will share their phone numbers with you, or you can call me, Kat Gibbons, at 330-317-3733, or Kim Mosyjowski, at 330-754-7152.

We are looking forward to meeting all of you!
Kat Gibbons, leader of the DREam Team for 2015!


Youth Stuff: The Beginning

Hello SIers!

The Youth Program is excited to       welcome you all to the 2015 Summer Institute! We are happy to announce some new additions to our program.

We will now have a permanent space for youth and young adults to mix with, dubbed the YAY space, located in Bailey lounge. In addition to this we have a variety of mixers for incoming and exiting youth to help the transitions between programs and communities. We will be having a Young Adult and Youth mixer open to all senior high youth on Monday night in the YAY space from 6:30 to 8:15pm,  followed by a Youth and Rising 6th grader mixer Tuesday night in the basement lounge of the UCC church from 7:15 to 8:15pm. We hope to see you all at the respective mixers!

Also, in the interest of communication, SIYP now has text alerts for youth and their parents as another method of communication as needed. To sign up youth simply must text @siyouth to 81010, parents can text the same number with @siparent. We will also have a Q&A session with the youth panel Tuesday during and after lunch, located in Stevie.

We are excited to see you all at SI this year, and are looking forward to a fantastic week. Also, don’t forget to attend 6th grade to youth bridging after opening ceremony, in the back of the sanctuary!


SI Youth Panel


Young Adult News

This year the Young Adults are spicing up Monte Carlo night by moving the festivities outdoors!  Come one, come all and enjoy fun outdoor activities such as sacko, can jam, and kung foo, in addition to old Monte Carlo favorites such as rock-paper-scissors, black jack, and more on Tuesday at 6:30 on the quad.  Another new innovation will be Young Adult specific work shifts, where in addition to our community assigned work shifts we have created small assignments to help improve efficiency allowing more time for fun.  Finally, the Young Adults have added a HIT A YOUNG ADULT IN THE FACE WITH A PIE TO RAISE MONEY FOR THE SCHOLARSHIP FUND, which will be taking place on Thursday at 5:45 on the quad.  It is our greatest hope to have Alan Halperin be an honorary young adult so we can show him our community’s love and affection.



Art Space

Hopefully everyone is ready for another fun and creative week at Art Space!  Once again we will have themed days and crafts for kids, adults, and adults who are kids at heart.  We’ve got something planned for everyone, every day!  Tomorrow stop on by to decorate your name tag, make colorful pinwheels, and repurpose some old glass jars into portable chalices!

And even though no one wants to think about it, we’ve got something really fun planned to end out the week.  On Friday we will be making individual time capsules for you to take home and open up anytime you need a little SI magic.  So we ask that you start collecting things through out your week.  Hear something at vespers that resonated with you, or see something funny? Write it down!  Find a cool SI rock while wandering around? Pick it up!  Bring it all with you to Art Space on Friday so you can make something to remind you of that SI magic til next year!

Ali Cottom and Lauren Straubhaar


Small Ensemble Participants Needing Accompaniment

For those who would like to participate in Small Ensembles but still need a piano accompanist – please contact Hal Dixler (, 412-225-6270, or Facebook message). Hal would prefer that you have the printed music available, if possible. In an emergency he could try to obtain it from a music store in Oberlin..

GA Doings

Hopefully you will notice a different chalice at SI this week.  It is the chalice used at General Assembly (also known as GA).  This is the annual conference of the congregations with the UU Associations.  Like many other conferences there are workshops, keynote speech (Ware Lecture), and business meetings.  In addition there is spirited worship services and music.  The chalice was made by Mordecai Roth of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Surprise, Ariz.  Below, he is pictured lighting it at GA 2012 in Phoenix.

The exciting news is the next General Assembly will be in Columbus Ohio June 22 through June 26th 2016.  This is the opportunity to see and hear exciting ministers and experience worship in a variety of ways.  Contact Laura Howe at to have the GA chalice your UU event.

Mordecai Roth, who made the chalice the UUA has used for General Assemblies since 2005, lights the chalice at Friday’s plenary. (©Nancy Pierce)

See more at:

Some Thoughts from the Registration Team

  1. You will be getting your dining card and keys in a small envelope. Hang on to it, because you have to return the card and keys in it.
  2. If you lose either, you should deal directly with Conference Services. Their office is in the cafeteria building.
  3. If you find a key or dining card, please return it to Conferencce Services.


PDF Version

Osiris Sunday 2015