“Little Congregation – Big Heart”

July 2017

From the President:

General Assembly 2017

This was the second UUA General Assembly (GA) for your three representatives to attend. Betsy Sales, Cathy Abernathy and I joyfully participated in the five-day conference with over 4,000 UUs from all around the world. I know of nothing more uplifting than worshiping in that setting with live music and shared respect for our Principles and faith. In the coming weeks and months, we will be using much of the wisdom gained to shape our beloved NRUUF.

Quoting from a UUA email release: “Among the important things that happened:

• The UUA Board of Trustees reaffirmed its commitment of $5.3 million in funding for Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism (BLUU).

• The Board also appointed the six members of the Commission on Institutional Change.

• In the closing session, GA delegates voted for a study to consider adoption of an 8th Principle to address multicultural diversity and dismantling racism.

In addition, remarkable preachers and speakers called us to focus on impact, to get proximate, to show up for loving.

The Rev. Bill Sinkford remarked …

Change must come if our faith is to thrive. It is our culture and not our theology that has been our biggest obstacle. There is a fundamental hope in our values and our aspirations that speaks to persons across the boundaries of race and culture and language and economic circumstance and ability.

April Puzzuoli



Committee Reports

NRUUF Facility

Repairs are continuing to the 911 So. Kanawha Street building. We now have a roof that does not leak in the storage room areas, and new painting. Next week we will be having electrical work done. Also, thanks to a very generous donation by April Puzzuoli, we have newly-laid gravel in our parking lot, with lines drawn by Detlef Ulfers and Seby Bell. MANY thanks to both them and ALL the other workers during this time of restoration – Dave Thompson, Bob and Molly Lahman, Randy Grumpelt, Andre Williams, Lance Hunter, April Puzzuoli, Teresa Rose, and Cathy Abernathy.


BREAKING NEWS!! Starting in September, there will be TWO coffeehouses each month. The First Friday Coffeehouse will continue to be hosted by Seby Bell and Detlef Ulfers, and now there will be a Third Friday Coffeehouse, hosted by Marcia Bastian and April Puzzuoli. Please join them for fun, light snacks/coffee, and fellowship!

RE Committee

Unfortunately, Jo Frost has had to resign as RE Director due to family commitments. We will begin a search for a new Director in the fall – if you know of anyone who might be interested, please have them contact April Puzzuoli at

Treasurer’s Report

As of the end of June (which is also the end of our fiscal year), we had a total of $51,033.72 in our checking/petty cash accounts. In June, we took in $74.30, and spent $4,265.41. The bulk of the expenses was related to ongoing Sanctuary repairs, which have been neglected for some time.Overall, we have taken in $4,212.01 in budgeted income (73% of what we budgeted) and spent $13,004.65 (101% of budged expenses) during this past fiscal year. We continue to need better stabilization of our income, which we hope will come from attracting new members.

Worship Committee
We are pleased to announce that the Rev. Joe Farruggia, recently moved into the area, will be presenting three services this fall/winter. Rev. Farruggia is an ordained Methodist minister who is in the process of applying for UU ordination. The NRUUF is also working with Rev. Farruggia to develop a campus ministry program at WVU Tech -Beckley campus, when it opens this fall. Welcome, Rev. Farruggia!




Regular services begin at 11 am.

CUUPS (UU Pagans) now part of regular service

NO RE classes for summer

We are looking for RE teacher for fall

7/23   “A UU Principle” – Betsy Sales

7/30  Jo Frost - Intergenerational

8/4   Coffeehouse – 6-9 pm

8/6 “Anthropomorphism” – Randy Grumpelt

8/13 “The Wedge Document and Intelligent Design” – Marcia Bastian

8/20 Kayla Parker, Charleston UU Minister

8/27 Church Picnic - Little Beaver State Park, Shelter #1

9/1 Coffeehouse – 6-9 pm

9/15 Coffeehouse – 6-9 pm

9/17 Rev. Joe Farruggia
         Potluck and Board Meeting

10/6 Coffeehouse – 6-9 pm

10/13 Coffeehouse – 6-9 pm

10/15 Beth Casebolt
           Potluck Luncheon

Please consult the calendar on our webpage for updated services announcements.

The following is the message of the service Seby Bell gave on 6/4/17 – used with permission:

What Is Sanctuary?

Sanctuary is something we all seek, but we may not all agree on what, exactly, sanctuary means.

A few months ago, I was here, at the Fellowship. Service was getting ready to start and, as usual, many friends were gathered in the ‘Sanctuary’, exchanging greetings and catching up with each other. Some of them were doing so rather loudly.

April came into the room and looking around with a sigh, she said “This place will never be a sanctuary”.

While I don’t think she meant her words to be particularly negative, it sparked a conversation in my mind as to what, exactly, sanctuary IS and whether this Fellowship of ours IS, in fact, a sanctuary for those who come here.

Sanctuary is defined as “A place of refuge, or safety”, it is also defined as “a holy place, a temple or church”.

In reading those definitions, I can immediate see some contradictions that come to mind. What constitutes a ‘holy place’ or a ‘church’ to one person, might be a nightmare for another.

What is it that makes people feel safe? For some people, it’s a quiet place with soft cotton batting. For some people, it’s a big warm hug. For some people, it’s a place where they have plenty of personal space with no fear of being touched by other people. Some people find a feeling of safety in a crowd, other people only feel safe when they are alone.

People feel safe when they are able to express themselves without fear of retribution, but people also feel safe when they are able to be in a place without fear of being attacked, berated, punished, criticized or sometimes even controlled.

A sanctuary is a place where animals can live without fear of being hunted and persecuted, but a sanctuary may also be a place where hunters can seek their prey without fear from certain laws, or other hunters, because it is a private, regulated area.

To some groups, a sanctuary is a place that is sacred or holy, and that can mean a place where ‘unclean’ people are not welcome.

A sanctuary can be defined as a ‘man cave’, a ‘woman cave’, or even a mental institution.

In all of these definitions and more, the common thread is a place where the person seeking sanctuary can feel safe in some way, but there is a difference between FEELING safe and actually BEING safe or, in the classic words of Logan 5 “There Is No Sanctuary” and I think many people relate to that sentiment.

Hoarders create a sanctuary with their physical possessions. It might be someone who doesn’t feel safe unless they have several years’ worth of food and supplies stored away, ‘just in case’, or it might be someone who just doesn’t feel right about throwing anything away, including little pieces of paper and things that most people would consider to be ‘trash’.

People may be stuck in abusive situations because they are brainwashed into feeling so insecure that their abuser actually becomes their idea of sanctuary. It’s possible for the source of a person’s pain to FEEL like their safety net.

Some people feel safe if they are eating.

Some people feel safe if they are listening to music, or creating it, or only if they are creating it where no one else can see or hear them.

This entire Country could be considered as a Sanctuary from some perspectives, and a threat from other perspectives. We have, traditionally, been a Country with unofficial ‘Sanctuary Cities’, such as New York, Seattle, Chicago and San Francisco who refuse to fully comply with immigration authorities. They do their best to protect families and good people who work hard to be productive members of this society, even if they do not have legal status as citizens.

Here is a short piece that was written by a 13-year-old girl who had been to several foster homes about feeling safe:

I know someone cares about my well-being by how inviting they are. When you first get to their home, everyone invites you in and makes you feel at home.

But the question is, do you feel invited? Do you feel in a safe environment?

Another way is by how they act and what they do to show they care.

Well-being is your happiness, so if you think about it, it's saying, "How do they make you happy?" By taking you on trips, having fun, and including you in everything!

Everyone makes mistakes, right? But after you made that mistake and got your punishment it's pretty much time to move on. But if your parents or foster parents go on and on about what happened a long time ago, that's kind of putting you down and not really making you happy.

Would you really want someone to make you remember a one-time mistake every day?

That's what I thought. No one does.

It feels great to know someone cares. When you've settled in and became a part of the family it's really not different from your real family. No matter if they are white and you're black, or they're black and you're white. You can still feel they care.

Even after this some people will still ask, but what does it feel like?

Well, I told you all you need to know. The rest is up to you. If you love or dislike the place you are at, that's how you know. No one can tell you what it feels like because they're not there. They can't answer questions that were meant for you.

At the end of the day it's up to you to decide whether that person or persons care about you.

The bottom line, is that each and every one of us has a different definition of what Sanctuary is to us and while this Fellowship may not meet all of those definitions, I do like to think that most of us are able to feel safe here and that we are among friends. I think we are continuing to work on ways to improve that feeling of safety for most, if not all of our members and visitors and I hope that no matter who we are, we can feel safe in calling this Fellowship, Sanctuary.

Seby Bell