Breaking News!

Special to the OSIRIS!

OBERLIN, OH, sometime early in the morning of July 16, 2015:  There is a travesty happening in our community. A long-standing tradition threatens to go … ummm … untraditionalized.

While many of us, myself included, consider ourselves to be pacifists and promote peace within our communities, there is a time when a person needs to take a stand for what is right, by force if necessary. That is why I, Nathan Staples, challenge Alan Halperin to a match of the sport of kings … arm wrestling.

While Mr. Halperin has certainly enjoyed a certain amount of success in the past, my research has led me to believe that there is a reason for this, a secret weapon if you will. “Eagle Eyes” Halperin uses his superior sense of sight to ascertain and exploit his opponent’s weaknesses. To this end, if Mr. Halperin sees fit to participate, we shall both be blindfolded to even the playing field.

I understand that Mr. Halperin is a very busy man but I hope he can find the time in between his reruns of Matlock and yelling at the paperboy to keep off his lawn to accept my challenge.

I await your reply sir.


“Super” Nathan Staples



Alan Halperin, found leaving the dining hall this morning, had this to say:  “I think they’re adding steps.  They sneak around at night, and add steps.”  Stumbling down those added steps, he refused to mention Mr. Staples by name.

Joel Slater, last year’s Cinderella-story victor, having defeated Mr. Halperin after losing seventeen times in a row, was unavailable for comment, having opted to keep his crown by the cowardly method of not attending SI this year.

Scott Piepho, this year’s SIPC chair, stated categorically, “Alan who?”

Amy Kent, noted SI Registrar, declined to comment, saying that she’d rather be at Disney.


A Joy of SI!

We all know what SI really stands for: SOFT ICE CREAM!

How could we possibly do without this SI staple? It’s also a very intergenerational experience, an opportunity to stand in line, showing great patience, while waiting for the creamy concoction. The younger members have shown me many creative ways to use the toppings, and yes, we don’t really care to know what’s in the stuff!

This bliss only lasts a week, so enjoy!

Marianne Hawson


Theme Speaker Report

By Carrie Buchanan

American churches could be having a “Kodak moment,” but not the kind the expression used to mean, theme speaker Rev. Joan Van  Becelaere told her morning audience Thursday.

As the world changes around us, including a sharp rise in the diversity of the U.S. population, many churches are sticking with old, tried-and-true methods and ideas. That’s exactly what Kodak, Inc. did when one of its engineers came up with a new kind of camera back in the mid-1970s: the digital camera.

At the time, Kodak had 89 percent of the market for film in the U.S. and didn’t want to lose that. So they told the engineer to keep quiet about his invention. And they proceeded to ignore the digital revolution.

And that led to Kodak’s demise. The company declared bankruptcy in 2012.

Thom Schultz, author of the blog “Holy Soup” and the book “Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore, originated the Kodak parallel with the decline of American churches. He explained it in a video shown at this morning theme talk.

He said fear keeps us clinging to things that have worked in the past, when what we really need to do is “not tweak, but revolutionize.”

One key parallel, Van Becelaere noted, is recognizing what business you’re in. Kodak thought it was in the film business, rather than seeing their mission as image creation. Churches also need to be clear about what their mission is.

Van Becelaere promised to talk about ideas for reform on Friday, along with examples of churches that are currently doing innovative, successful things.

A major area of change is diversity, and Van Becelaere spent time exploring that on Thursday morning as well.

The U.S. is on track to have a “majority of minorities” by 2043 and, within four years, people belonging to racial and ethnic minorities are expected to be a majority among children in this country. Already, the Millennial generation, born between 1980 and the early 2000s, is 43 percent people of color.

Yet despite the fact our children are increasingly surrounded and comfortable with children of different races and cultures, Sunday morning is  the most segregated hour of the week in     Christian America, Van Becelaere noted, showing another video illustrating the situation.


Resources to take back the “Faith Evolving” Theme Talks back to your congregation


If you have found Rev. Joan’s theme talks enlightening, you can share the following resources with others in your congregation who didn’t have the opportunity to be at SI.

The UUA website has curated resources (articles, videos, webinars, etc.)  on the changing context of religion in America:

The UU Leadership Institute offers inexpensive courses on how to strategically respond to the changes:

There are also free on-demand webinars available from the Central East Region:

(From Renee Ruchotzke)



Please have your Wizards and Witches ready at 8:00; we will meet in front of the youth dorm (Barrows) Tree  They will be facing their fears!! Dementors, werewolves, death eaters, Voldemort himself will probably be there. They may decide they aren’t ready yet, or want to go with a friend or a parent. This is all fine. Regardless, they will all receive a glow wand!!


SI World Café

By Rev. Renee Ruchotzke


The third and final SI World Café met on Wednesday, July 15.  The participants focused on covenant – how might we make explicit promises to create explicit expectations so that the SI community will continue to have the ethos (i.e. the underlying sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, or practices of a group) that embodies the magic of UU Beloved Community for a special week each year?


Here is a broad-brush overview of what was suggested:


  • We should make foundational our first UU principle of honoring the inherent worth and dignity of each person
  • When our covenant is broken, our response should be to find a way to repair the covenant
  • Our community asks a generosity of spirit so that each of us will share our talents so that meaningful activities will be available to the whole community.
  • Our community has a cooperative spirit so that we all serve one another and that no one has a sense of entitlement to special treatment.
  • Our community has a commitment to economic justice.  This means that we will find ways to make SI accessible to people of all economic means.
  • Our community has a commitment to a wider spirit of justice.  We will find ways for our beloved SI community to connect to wider social justice issues
  • Our Beloved SI Community is co-created.  Each participant has an obligation to serve the Beloved Community by contributing their gifts of time and talent, both big and small.  (We have traditionally called these gifts camperships and workshifts, but that understanding may evolve.)
  • We should promise to make the effort to engage with people who are new to us (to build community)
  • We will institutionalize ways for the SI community to be inclusive
  • As an intentionally intergenerational community, we need to develop an intentional and embodied culture of safety
  • We need to develop the virtues of patience, flexibility, humor, and helpfulness
  • We need to develop habits of deep, thorough and relevant communications; before, during and after SI.
  • We need to develop the practice of “active listening.”
  • We commit to respecting our host’s space by keeping and returning it to its original condition.
  • We will be patient when things are less than perfect.
  • We will strive to create processes that are transparent and democratic, in service of the values of the SI Beloved Community


UUA General Assembly

General Assembly is our largest gathering of Unitarian Universalists in America. Any large gathering of people brings unique challenges. 

Here are some tidbits from


General Assembly 2015 sustainability efforts have:

  • Prevented wasting energy use sufficient to power 11 American homes for a year.
  • Conserved water sufficient to fill over 2.2 million individual water bottles.
  • Reduced waste sufficient to fill 2 garbage trucks.
  • Avoided carbon equivalent to keeping 1,343 cars off the road for a year.
  • Offset 6,381 metric tons of carbon emissions, equal to the greenhouse gas emissions from burning 14,840 barrels of oil.


The General Assembly Planning Committee is committed to addressing the inclusion of all people, whatever their abilities might be, in all GA activities.

  • Accessibility Services—Even if you are someone who doesn’t usually use assistive equipment, you might really be helped by the available services, from mobility and hearing equipment to advice and orientation services.
  • Commitment to Inclusion—Beyond the physical accessibility of the facilities we use—ramps, captioning, seating cut-outs, etc.—we endeavor to take the next step: to truly welcome people with disabilities into every facet of GA.
  • Anti-Racism, Anti-Oppression, Multiculturalism—The UUA affirms its commitment to maintain an environment free of discrimination and harassment based on race, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, or disability.
  • Economic Accessibility—The GA Planning committee is focused on creating opportunities to participate, including financial aid and subsidized child care.

Laura Howe



Heard at SI

Sending good vibes and lots of good magic her way because Tanya Nagorski was overheard in the ER yesterday saying: “The SI magic hasn’t worked for me this week.” Make sure you watch out for her as she lumbers along slowly thru campus on stiff legs and give her the magic of a smile!


Lost: Bike Chain Bracelet

Likely lost near the Bubble Station on the Quad. If found, please contact Linda Coulter. I’m on Facebook. Thanks!


Collage Workshop is Awesome!

I love my collage class.  We are strong women in the zone.  Time passes and I am not aware.

I have no artistic skill or technique, but I am creative and need an outlet.  Our leader is Denise Dechenes and she brought several boatloads of materials for us to ravish.  It’s like Christmas.  My eyes rolled back in my head when I approached the table of endless stuff including scissors, glue sticks, feathers and glitter!

I met Sibyl McNulty which knocked me out for two reasons.  First, she shared this cool idea with all of us where she takes small blank squares, puts a mini collage on the front and a meaningful quote on the back for her friends.  Secondly, I found out that Sibyl used to go to my small but mighty UU church, East Suburban in Murrysville, PA.  I had only seen pictures of her since we are planning our 50th anniversary celebration for 2016.  She is a celebrity at my church and will be invited to our party.

I have to stop now to go to my class.

Marylyn Devlin


Shout out to “Mr. Music” Marfy

I certainly hope you didn’t miss the fun dance we had last evening – especially given the absence of the ever-popular “Mikey and the U-Tones” pick up band. The dance floor never lacked for revelers of all ages. There were “newies” “boomers” and “oldies” in the mix of tunes that were played and the ice water was flowing to keep every busy dance-person hydrated. I saw some traditional 2-step, some gymnastic dance moves and some group dancing along with a mix of traditional and not-so traditional dancing. There were line dances, The Cupid Shuffle and the Electric Slide to mention but 2, and there was the Limbo as well as other oldies and more current music of the day. Children and adults were happy at the mix of music that was played and there was never any downtime. Thanks for stepping up DJ Extraordinaire Marfy!

All sorts of couples were seen dancing on the Carnegie dance floor, couples danced, parents danced with children, friends danced with friends, and a great time was had by all.

An Abundance of Chickens

My name is Drumstick and, for those who haven’t yet met me, I am assisting in Worship Services this week. You may have seen me riding on Rev. Lynn Kerr’s head. I’ve realized that there is a community of chickens at SI this week and, although I am the only non-rubber chicken in the group, the other chickens have been inclusive and warmly welcoming to me.

I would like to inform you of several concerns that we in the SI chicken community have been discussing in our touch group this week.  (By the way, a soft, fluffy chicken like me is much more pleasing to touch than a rubber chicken, but that’s a different topic.)

Several members of our poultry touch group have expressed that they feel a bit nervous about joining you for meals in the dining hall. Perhaps that‘s because chicken is often on the menu. If you see my fellow chickens around campus, perhaps you could gently remind them that, because they are made of rubber, they will almost certainly not appear on someone’s dinner plate, smothered in Sriracha sauce. They are particularly worried about this because they recently saw the Charlie Chaplin movie, “The Gold Rush,” and remembered that, in the movie, he ate his boot and shoelaces for dinner.

In addition, it has come to my attention that at First Church there is a collection box for Campbell’s product labels. While we representatives of SI Poultry Nation are in favor of this sort of fundraising effort, we would like to make you aware that a label for Campbell’s Cream of Chicken soup is glued to the top of the collection box. There has been a suggestion among us to Occupy this box as an Act of Social Witness.

Finally, as a measure of public safety, we would like to advise you that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recently issued a warning not to hug or kiss your (or anyone else’s) pet chickens to prevent the spread of salmonella. Since I’ve observed that UUs like to be touchy-feely sometimes,please know that we are not being standoffish if we merely tip our beaks to you in greeting.

May your roots hold you close and your wings set you free. See you at the tie-dye station!




All Cat Ladies Go To Heaven

By Felis Catus

President, SPCL (Society for the Protection of Cat Ladies) and

Board Chair, First Feline UU Congregation of Columbus, Ohio

As a UU-identifying feline, I am moved to lift up the worth and dignity of every Cat Person (gender-neutral terminology) of any (or no) gender. These enlightened beings are actively living out the UU principle of the interconnected web of life. They demonstrate responsible stewardship of the earth’s treasures. Remember that, in ancient times, cats were worshipped as gods!

It is an accepted truth (although certainly not dogma) in the feline UUniverse that cats can perceive an aura, and sometimes even an energy field, around humans who possess cat consciousness. Felines, who can sense this through their whiskers, then glom onto these folks like moss to a stone. This is the unexamined privilege of the empowered feline. It is a myth that people accumulate cats; instead, felines take ownership of these individuals. Some cats believe that these people are, in fact, part feline.

We UU felines, at our next Annual Assembly, hope to adopt a resolution for an Act of Immediate Witness affirming the worth and dignity of every Crazy Cat Person.

The feline in me sees and affirms the feline in you.




Apache Blessing

May the sun bring you new energy by day,

May the moon softly restore you by night,

May the rain wash away your worries,

May the breeze blow new strength into your being,

May you walk gently through the world and know its beauty all the days of your life.


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Osiris Thursday 2015