Changes in Staff

As many of you know, Hal Gonzales, our church administrator for many years, has retired from his position at First Unitarian.  We wish Hal much happiness in his new adventures in life, and thank him for his service, guidance and structure. 

Carol Foster has joined our staff as our new church administrator.  She can be reached at or at 801-582-8687 ext 201.  Welcome Carol!

Amanda Esko is now the director of Religious Education.  She can be reached at or 801-582-8687 ext 206. Many thanks to Julie Miller for her wonderful service in RE and best wishes to her.

Dave Zabriskie has joined our staff as the Associate Music Director.  He can be reached at or 801-582-8687 ext 209. Welcome Dave! 

You are Invited

Small Group Ministry Sunday Soiree

9 September 6:00 PM Eliot Hall

Meet our group facilitators, current participants and new guests.

Welcome:Tom Goldsmith

Music: Becky Heal and David Owens

Refreshments: Hors d’oeuvres, sandwiches, drinks, Baklava dessert

Space is limited, RSVP to

Theme:   “We believe in what is apparent, in what we can imagine or ‘picture’ in our minds, in what we feel to be true, in what our hearts tell us, in experience, in stories—above all, perhaps, in stories.”  Wendell Berry  Our Only World

What are our life experiences that form the stories that connect us to principles, beliefs, ethics, and each other?  

UU Open Minds Book Club

(Meeting on Third Thursdays 7pm in The Haven), contact:

September - "Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging" by Sebastian Junger



October - "$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America" by Kathryn J. Edin

November - "I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer" by Michelle McNamara



December  - "Bullshit Jobs: A Theory" by David Graeber

January - "Sing, Unburied, Sing" by Jesmyn Ward

February - "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking" by Susan Cain

March - "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness" by Michelle Alexander

April - "Men Explain Things to Me" by Rebecca Solnit 

May - Choose one book from the Great American Reads list 
https://www.pbs.org/the-great-american-read/books/#/

Those amazing workers behind Summer Forum 2018. . .

On eight Sundays this summer, we had a strong team effort: Our Church hosted speakers, presenters and musicians who educated, informed and entertained.  We acknowledge Tim and Cathy Chambless for inviting the speakers, doing introductions and conducting Q&A sessions.  However, many others deserve credit for their essential work that made the Church’s Summer Forum series truly successful.

Becky Heal and Shirley Ray arranged for musicians to perform who magically complemented the tone of the speaker content.  Lee Shuster and his A/V team Don Walton and Joe Herring were there every Sunday to amplify and control sound and record video so others could enjoy remotely. Marc Peterson efficiently handled the volunteer sign-ups and reminders by email. Pauline Higgins, Marion Johnson and Jack Avery ensures there was coffee each Sunday.  Child care was lovingly provided by Anna Fonnesbeck in the pre-school room and playground. The multitude of other roles as ushers, welcome table greeters and coffee makers were filled by the dedicated volunteers (and their committees) listed below:

  • June 24; Colleen Bliss, Adam Mansfield, Tyler Jacobsen, Mark Rothacher, Melanie Hopkinson, Barbara Kreek, Nancy Howard, and Rick Bliss(Small Group Ministry)
  • July 1; Linda Waters, Henry Whiteside, Marc Peterson, CJ Sadiq, Romagosa, Marion Johnson, Greg Johnson
  • July 8; Donnie, Christine, Tara, Diane, Adrienne, Carol, Jana & Aimee (Women’s Sacred Circle) 
  • July 15; Gene Mahalko, Henry Whiteside, Linda Waters, Marc Peterson, Carol Romagosa 
  • July 22; Melanie Hopkinson, Linda Waters, Kira Kilmer, Marc Peterson, C.J. Sadiq, Connie Wilkerson, Marcia Reese
  • July 29; Gene Mahalko, Henry Whiteside, Kira Kilmer, C.J. Sadiq, and John Shavers
  • August 5; Sue Geary, Michele Page, Doug and Sandi Greene, Greg Johnson, Bill and Christine Ashworth, Gene Mahalko (Small Group Ministry)
  • August 12; Melanie Hopkinson, Henry Whiteside, Kira Kilmer, Sylvia Gray, Carol Romagosa

Also, we want to thank everyone who attended the Summer Forums— and asked Todd questions! Please thank each of these individuals when you see them for making our church an exciting, stimulating and welcoming place to be all year long!

Cathy and Tim Chambless

It's that time of year again !! Rehearsals will resume for The Junior Singers on Sunday, September 30th. We meet in the Choir Room ( Room 210 ) each Sunday from 10:15 am to 10:45 am. Prompt arrival and committed and consistent attendance is crucial for the cohesion of the group and the development and learning of the musical aspects of this church community. Ages for participation are 6 to 12 years old. ( Children need to be able to read and stay focused for a 30 minute rehearsal. ) In addition to singing in a Church Service about once every  1 to 2 months, there is also the opportunity to join in song in a number of special events throughout the church year. This is a great chance for our youngsters to learn more about their musical skills as well as offer their gift of sweet song to the larger congregation. Please come join us!! If you have any questions, contact David Owens at 801-390-0488.

Welcome back!  As the ease of summer days falls into the routines of fall, we look to places, like First Church, to provide our families with the centering connection of community. When RE marches into the sanctuary during Ingathering, take a moment to marvel at this community.  Our youth are artists, athletes, activists. And just like their adult counterparts, they are committed to social justice, spiritual growth, and their friendships here at First Church. Welcome our youth back into the sanctuary. Thank their parents and teachers for bringing them, teaching them, and being an integral part of our First Church community. As an RE team, we’re all so glad you’re here. 

 

Teacher Recognition

Our RE program could not function without the time and talent of our amazing volunteer teachers. Our teachers are parents, non-parents, and grandparents in our community. They dedicate themselves to the care and love of our youth. Please thank them when you see them in Eliot Hall!

Kindergarten/First Grade- Carrie Black, Kira Kilmer

Second/Third Grade- Melissa Bond, Kevin Emmerson

Fourth/Fifth Grade- Kendra Smith, Raleigh Smith

Sixth/Seventh Grade- Karin Baumgartner, Kris Lander, Adam Mansfield, Brie Pinales, Usha Spaulding

Eighth/Ninth Grade- Heather Heaton, Erin Johnson, Nancy Moos, Phil Moos, Marlin Taylor

Tenth-Twelfth Grade- Cooper, Derek Gersdorf, Jennica Davis-Hockett, Kristin Quinn, Dot Verbrugge 

 

Thank You!

A big thanks goes out to Steve Quinn for leading a basic first aid training for RE teachers during teacher training. Thanks Steve! 

 

RE Registration Is Up!

Please register your youth for RE today! Registration gives us updated family information, allows us to make accurate class rolls, and helps us plan activities. Follow this link to register! 

 

Ingathering

Ingathering is September 9th! Please meet your youth’s class on the plaza, so we can all march into the sanctuary together. Look for your teacher holding your class flag!

 

OWL

8th/9th Grade-  OWL parent orientation is on September 11th at 6:30 pm in Eliot Hall. This meeting is MANDATORY. Additionally, if you have friends who are interested in having youth participate, they need to email Amanda at as soon as possible. Due to the nature of the class, new students will not be able to register after September 23rd. 

 

Kindergarten- 2nd Grade- Two sessions of Kindergarten- 2nd grade OWL will be offered this year! The first session starts on September 30th and goes until November 18th, and the second session will run from January 27th to March 17th. Follow this link to register for either session. Priority is given to families registered in our RE program, but we welcome and encourage friends to participate as well! Please register as soon as possible for either session. 

 

Classroom Volunteers

Each family is required to volunteer in classes in the lower school. Parent volunteers do a variety of tasks, from helping take roll, to assisting with activities, to gathering snack. No preparation is required, just a willing spirit. Parent volunteers will meet the teacher in Little Chapel just prior to class. Follow the links to sign-up to volunteer in your youth's class!

Preschool

Kindergarten/1st Grade

Second/ Third Grade

Fourth/Fifth Grade

“There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have. And if you cannot hear it, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls.”
—Howard Thurman

Many of us grew up with the concept of a “calling”. For some of us, it was a sense that our ideal career path would feel like a perfect fit, as though we had been nudged by every academic decision toward a destiny prearranged by the heavens. Our best gifts and talents would find their fullest expression in our life’s work, and our greatness would be easy to see.


For others, “calling” was understood in a strictly religious sense, that God had a plan for each person, and that our task was to listen really hard to hear what that calling was. For some, the calling was heard by someone else, an authority figure such as a religious leader or a parent, and given to you with the understanding that their wisdom was sufficient to guide you.


The gold standard of call stories is the story of Samuel, the Hebrew prophet who, as a child, was awakened in the middle of the night by the voice of God. And I don’t want to deny that some people experience a calling with just as much certainty as Samuel. While I can’t say that I heard the voice of God calling me to the ministry, I can say that it was an idea that, once it got under my skin, became so loud and so obnoxious that I felt I had no choice but to respond. It was less a still, small voice in the night, than the whine of a persistent mosquito!


It’s easy to admire those who know from childhood how they want to serve the world, and seem perfectly equipped from birth to do so. Most of us, however, have to flail about for a while, trying things, failing at them, trying something else, driving everybody around us crazy while we figure things out. What we sometimes lose sight of is that this, too, is work. This trying and failing is one way that we are listening to the world – gradually removing, one by one, the barriers to knowing who we are.


What if the question isn’t about what kind of work we are suited for, but rather, what sort of work will allow us to get out of our own way and serve the world with generosity and joy? What kind of work frees us from the cycles of endless self-examination, to observe the world around us and its suffering? That is true calling: it’s not a voice from above, but the voices all around us, asking for help. It’s noticing that we are all trying to get free, and the only way we get free is by helping one another.


Thurman says that the true guide is “the voice of the genuine in yourself”. I believe that what is truly genuine in each of us is our common humanity, our common struggle to be who we are. Each person we meet, no matter how strong or “together” they seem to be, is carrying a heavy load, and longs to share it with someone else. When we are able to share our load with someone else, and help them carry their load, we find our true calling. My wish for you this year is that you will find part of your calling in our community of hope and love, and that you will be fulfilled in this work we are doing together.

Back in 1984 I received an unexpected call from The Boston Herald inviting me to join their Op-Ed team. I felt incredulous by their offer of a weekly column on liberal perspectives every Sunday. I was not to write about religion, which was certainly all right with me. They were even going to pay me.

A short while later my assistant minister asked if I received any offers from the million publications to which he submitted my writing unbeknownst to me. He was an older fellow, receiving his divinity degree at age 70, and he liked what I wrote. He owned WCRB radio, the only FM classical music station in the Boston Area. He may have had some clout.

I may have preferred an offer from the Boston Globe, but they certainly didn’t need another liberal on staff. So the Herald, with a circulation of 500,000 throughout New England, aimed mostly at blue-collar conservatives, felt the need to balance their perspective. I was definitely their token liberal, writing for readers who probably today would mostly have voted for Donald Trump.

I recall this chapter of my life, writing for three years before moving to Salt Lake City, because I received two death threats during that period. It’s a disquieting feeling, knowing that the threat was probably meant to intimidate…probably. Today, journalists from all media outlets have their lives threatened routinely in far more serious tones. Some, like Don Lemon from CNN who was labeled as “real dumb” by our president, needs bodyguards around the clock. When the president alludes to the press as “the enemy of the people,” then eliminating the enemy might be construed as a patriotic act.

Public figures who share their opinions have been targets for a long time. But currently there is a chill in the air as freedom of the press comes at a heavy price. I wonder if my old readership might now be counted among the angry white nationalists whose threshold for tolerance has diminished to nothing. The times have changed to where we hardly recognize ourselves anymore as a civil society.

As we ready ourselves to begin a new church year in these frightening times, I wonder how we as a progressive community will continue to respond to the assaults on our basic freedoms we have taken for granted our entire lives.

We may not appear regularly in print or TV or radio, but as a church we have a voice. We give expression to what we believe, and to the values we want our children to adopt. We publicly present our moral justifications for affirming the value and dignity of all people. We give voice to healing the earth and to safeguarding all freedoms intrinsic to human rights for everyone.

Our church needs to speak with a strong voice, and also model what it means to honor every person in a diverse society. Unitarian Universalism has long been challenged to make good on its rhetoric. This year I feel it more acutely than ever before. You may well feel the same way. My wish for the church year is that we all come together in a show of strength. Our commitment to First Church feels especially crucial. We need to support one another emotionally, and fuel the spirit that lifts us beyond the confusions of our day.

Our church has never felt more relevant to our lives. We will need each other this year like never before. It’s time to show up, be generous, and give voice to our cherished values. They can easily disappear. TRG

Family Fun Night:  Join us on September 10th at 6 p.m. for Family Fun Night

Artists Discussing Art: Last Monday of every month Artists gather in the Haven at 7 pm to discuss each others art. This discussion is open to all visual artist, watercolor, acrylic oil, mixed media, fused glass, and clay. Bring work to discuss or just come to listen. Bring a light refreshment to share. Please contact Bill Reed at with questions.

Dinner and Dialogue:  Meet other UUs on a more personal level over a potluck dinner.  Sign up at the Congregational Life table in Eliot Hall to host or Join a group.  Contact with questions

Harvest for Hunger:  Do you have a food garden? If you have a vegetable garden or fruit trees in your yard we need you to join Harvest for Hunger's network of gardeners! We will have a cooler in Eliot Hall during coffee hour each Sunday for you to bring your excess produce so that it can be donated to local shelters, soup kitchens, and families who have trouble putting food on the table. Contact Heather Heaton with any questions:

Lunch Bunch:

  • September 2, 2018: Roots Cafe, 3474 S 2300 E, East Millcreek, UT, 801-277-6499, www.rootscafeslc.com, Noon
  • September 9, 2018: Hub and Spoke Diner, 1291 S 1100 E, SLC UT, 801-487-0698, www.hubandspokediner.com, 1 pm
  • September 16, 2018: Amour Cafe, 1329 S 500 E, SLC UT, 801-467-2947, www.amourslc.com, 1pm
  • September 30, 2018: Squatters Restaurant, 147 W Broadway, SLC, Ut, 801-363-2739, www.squatters.com, 1pm

Mindfulness Group:  Meditation is held Sundays at 9am during the summer schedule, 10am starting Sept 9th.  We gather in the Parlor, up the stairs at the south side of Eliot Hall.  Mindfulness practice is shared, then followed by 20 minutes of guided meditation, and closing with loving kindness. All are welcome for the first time, to investigate or to maintain mindfulness practice.  For more information, contact  

UU Open Minds Book Club:  First book discussion of the season will be Thursday September 20th 7pm in The Haven, "Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging" by Sebastian Junger. For mroe information, contact

Sanctuary:  To volunteer to be a Sanctuary host, sign up here:  https://slcsanctuary.org/volunteer/     Sanctuary Training: one-on-one - once you sign up.   Questions:  Stop by the Sanctuary Information Table in Eliot Hall on Sundays after services.

Coming Up!

Family Fun Night August 6th 6pm, weather permitting we will be outside.  Forget cooking and hang out with us!

RE Teacher Training August 19th

Here are some things to put on your calendar for next year!

OWL- Next year we are offering Kindergarten-2nd OWL in the fall and the winter! 8th-9th grade OWL will run during RE(11-12:00) all year. If you have friends who are interested in signing up for these programs, please have them email Amanda at , as soon as possible. We will have a few open spots in each class for visitors!

Back to RE- Our Back to RE night will be September 10th during Family Fun Night. Join us to find out all about next years programming!

MDD Fall Con- For our high school youth, MDD Fall Con is going to be held at First Church for the first time EVER! The Con will be on October 19th-21st. For more information or if you want to help, email Amanda at or Lissa at . Stipends are available for people willing to organize and manage food!

Teachers Needed!

Did you leave our Coming of Age and High School service feeling inspired by our youth? Are you a grandparent missing your grandbabies and want to stay connected with youth? Come and work with Religious Education in the fall! We’re looking for volunteer for several age groups. Have a passion for bible literacy? Join our 2nd and 3rd graders! Want to explore Unitarian Universalist traditions and values? Hang out with our Kindergarten and 1st grade! Think exploring other faith traditions leads to a deeper understanding of your own faith and world, especially in this time of global crisis? Our 6th and 7th graders will be doing just that!We are always able to work around schedules and vacations. Please email Amanda Esko at for more information!

Social Justice Throughout the Summer

Our volunteer commitments do not end simply because it’s summer! In continuation with our work with the VOA Homeless Youth Shelter,  we will continue to make sack lunches, but during Family Fun Night. Not able to make it to Family Fun Night but would like to contribute? We have the answer! If you would like to donate supplies(such as bread, meat, chips, etc.), please visit our signup page: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080b4baead28a6fc1-summer . Labeled donations can be left the the RE fridge on the Sunday before Family Fun Night. 

Due to the increased need in the summer, we will also be collecting cases of bottled water for the VOA. Please leave any cases on the stage in Little Chapel. Cases of water can be left throughout the week. 

Questions? Email Amanda Esko at for more information!

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UUA 2018-2019 District High School Youth Event Dates


9th-12th grade youth are invited to Mountain Desert District youth events. Please contact Jessy Hennesy, MDD Youth Conference Coordinator, with questions, at .


  • October 19-21, 2018 - Fall Con, First Unitarian Church, Salt Lake City, Utah (bus will be available from Denver Metro)
  • November 9-11, 2018 - Leadershop Development Con (limited space available), First Universalist Church, Denver Colorado
  • January 19-21, 2019 - MLK Con, First Unitarian Society of Denver, Colorado
  • February 8-10, 2019 - Worship Arts Training (limited space available), Jefferson Unitarian Church, Golden, Colorado
  • April 12-14, 2019 - Spring Con, Foothills Unitarian Church, Fort Collins, Colorado
  • June 30-July 6 - QUUest Camp (and Spirit QUUest Camp for middle school youth), La Foret Conference and Retreat Center, Colorado Springs, Colorado