Event Calendar


Our fiscal year starts April 1 and ends March 31. Our stewardship campaign (sometimes called a pledge drive) starts this week. As I do every year, I will be pledging 5 percent of my income, a little more than $4,000. I invite you to join me. Let me add that we do not care most about your money, we care most about you. A few people, because of financial difficulties, can only give a few hundred dollars. Most of us give more because we want the church available to everyone regardless of income.

When I arrived in August 2011, we had about 300 members. Today we are approaching 550 members, with the same size staff we had in 2011. Besides expanding the hours of our support staff, if we raise the money, we will look for an additional part-time minister for the fall of 2018. No final decisions have been made about a position description, but in January, board members suggested that "sermons and worship" and "visiting and counseling" are priorities for a second part-time minister.  We do not know whether we can find the right person for this position. If we raise the money, we will work to attract excellent candidates and look for a good match for this congregation.

As for my own plans, I will definitely retire on my 70th birthday, January 20, 2021. YET THAT DAY COULD COME SOONER. If for any reason (health or other reasons) my effectiveness as your minister starts to decline before then, I will retire. I want to leave a strong, healthy church.



* 10:00 and 11:30 a.m.  Sermon by Rev. Roger Fritts

* 10:00 a.m. Music:  Choir, Don Bryn piano
* 11:30 a.m. Music:  Mindy Simmons, guitar and vocals; Ed Kinder, piano

* 10:15 a.m. Forum: "Exploration or Exploitation -- The Ethics of Human Exploration of Space"

Is space the new frontier, and is it our manifest destiny to conquer, occupy and exploit these new realms for America and humankind? What about the risks, and the costs -- to us and to the places we explore and one day may colonize? And how is it we are entitled to exploit these places? These are among ethical questions related to human space exploration that will be discussed by Dr. Linda Billings, consultant to NASA's Astrobiology Program and Planetary Defense Coordination Office, National Institute of Aerospace.  Moderator, Don Diddams.

* 11:30 a.m. TED Talk Discovery and Discussion: "The Story of Bottled Water," Susan Eisman, Moderator.

Is bottled water better than tap water? How has manufactured demand played a role in consumption?  Does down cycling work? What happens when you test bottled water against tap water? Does Fiji really have better water than Cleveland? We will explore these questions and more, as we examine the material system of manufacturing "Bottled Water," and then discuss the steps we can take to turn the problems into solutions.

Unitarian Universalists of Lakewood Ranch

* 10:00 a.m. "Conspiracy," sermon by Henry Warren, who invites us to form a 'Conspiracy' to understand the source and nurturing of our spiritual breathing, our inspiration.  

* 10:00 a.m. Music: Jan Dorsett, piano


Nursery:  Loving care for infants and toddlers is available during the 10:00 a.m. and the 11:30 a.m. service.
RE Classes:  A religious education program is available for children and youth during the 10:00 a.m. Service.  Child Care for children 10 and under is available during the 11:30 a.m. service. 

* RE Program, Sunday, February 18, 10:00 a.m.

This Sunday, the children will be meeting by age/grade in the West Wing for our Tapestry of Faith curriculum. Child care is also available for infants and toddlers.

* Our Whole Lives (OWL) Classes for Youth - Teen Room, 10:30 a.m.
OWL is a comprehensive sexuality education curriculum for youth.  A Parental/Guardian consent form is required to participate in this program. Please contact Susan ( if you are interested in having your teen attend the program but have not signed the consent form.   

* Gratitudes: Thank you to everyone who provided snacks and volunteered for our Valentine Party. Big thanks to Nanette (Zoran & Ella's mom) for providing the leather crafts.


* Don’t miss this Sunday's opening reception for "Abstractions by Bet Cummings" -- at 11:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., immediately following both of the Sunday services. Bet -- a painter and UUCS member -- says, "until recently I have been a representational painter, meaning that you can recognize my subject matter easily. These paintings are different. They are full of unexpected and joyful bursts of colors and color combinations. You cannot easily recognize the subject matter, although they are all based on places and activities I have experienced."
Please stop in after the service, meet Bet (she'll be the one with the ribbon!) and see her work.

* You are invited by Roy Ingham, our church member, to attend a program on February 18, "Overdosing on Intellect?" to be held in the Sanctuary from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Free admission
o  Part 1 of the program is a theatrical reading by a cast of 6, in which ideas are presented and their pros and cons discussed.
o  Part 2 is an opportunity for the audience to ask questions and make comments about the ideas presented in Part 1.
The ideas to be presented suggest that, unless humans change their way of being in the world,  they will become extinct prior to the time this event would occur from natural causes.  Another idea is that for the human species to avoid a premature extinction will require it to stop being guided almost exclusively by intellect, and to give equal influence over its behavior to the qualities of compassion, humility, love, faith, intuition, and humor.

* Join us on our next See Sarasota and More adventure on Wednesday, February 28. We will be going to the Acropolis Greek Taverna for lunch before we go to the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg. We will have a docent tour of approximately 1 1/2 hours seeing one-of-a-kind artifacts, memoirs and articles of the Holocaust that encourage us to use lessons from the past to help create a better future for all. We will meet at church at 10:50 and leave church by 11:00 for our lunch and tour and we expect to be back to church by 4:30 p.m. The cost for the trip is $25 per person which includes the cost of lunch, a beverage, tax, tip, a group rate at the museum and gas and toll money for the driver.  Please have $25 in cash or write a check for $25 to Kathy Cook. We will be signing people up after each service on February 18.  Please contact Kathy Cook ( or Lois Lee ( if you have questions.

* The following slate of officers for the church year 2018-2019 will be presented by the Nominating Committee at the Annual Meeting on Sunday, March 25:

Executive Committee (one-year term):
Ward Pallotta - President
Dale Anderson - Vice President
Bill Payton - Treasurer
Ava Whaley - Secretary
Claudia Holtzclaw – 2017 to 2020
Anne McFarlane – 2017 to 2020
Mary Lou Keller – 2016 to 2019
Bob Kester – 2018-2021
Sharron Howard – 2018-2021
Ed Loomis – 2018-2021

Nominating Committee:
Ron Brown – 1-year term
Bill Geller – 1-year term
Diane Happy – 1-year term
John Stinespring – 2-year term
Lynda Hill – 2-year term
Charles Lee – 2-year term
Don Diddams – 2-year term

Nominations may also be made by petition signed by at least ten Members and presented to the Nominating Committee at least two weeks prior to the Annual Meeting.  Such nominations shall be published.  Consent in writing of such nominees must be obtained.


* The Poetry appreciation group meets on the first and third Monday of each month at 1:00 p.m. in the West Wing. You are invited to put your name on the mailing list and join us. We read our own creative poetry or that of someone else. Please contact June Brasgalla, 379-6071 about joining us.

* Check Out the Adult Programs Bulletin Board: Located just outside the Reeb Room.  A great place to learn what's happening now or in the near future from the Social Justice Committee, The Green Team, The Adult Programs Committee, The Caring Committee, as well as the latest church news.


* The church has received a Tribute from Claudia Holtzclaw, who wishes to honor the generous UU support she received during her illness, surgery and recuperation.  She says, "Thanks for the cards, visits, calls, food, gifts, and transportation, especially from the Caring Committee."

* Caring helps members and friends of our UU community with short term needs such as meals, transportation and visitations.  Check out the wall rack in the Lexow for resource information in Sarasota.  If you or someone you know needs assistance, please contact Dee Widder at 377-9028 or


* Happy Birthday to the following members: 
February 17   Kelly Six
February 18   Ted Hoffman
February 19   Charles Allen, Susan Cohen, Gail Coppock
February 20   Rhoda Taylor
February 22   Vince Burns, Sara Slate

If you are a member with a birthday this week that is not listed here, please inform the office.

* Does the Minister have your Memorial Form on file?  Has your emergency contact information changed since you filled out the form?  Update and submit your form for a memorial service and have peace of mind knowing you've made choices easier for your loved ones.  The form can be found online at or in the church office.

* Would you like to share good news or honor a friend who passed away?  Make a Tribute donation today and send your check, with a Tribute form, to the office.  Forms are available in the office and online.  The Tribute will be acknowledged in the Weekly Contact.


* The UUCS Board of Trustees will be holding its monthly meeting on Tuesday, February 20, at 7:00 p.m. in the Lexow Wing. This meeting is open to our church community; the agenda may be found on our website.

* The UU Veterans Group will meet on Wednesday, February 21, 9:00 a.m. at Papa Nick's 4940 Fruitville Rd, (south side west of Honore).  Contact Barry Dyer, 813-508-5671.

* The Women's Book Group will be meeting on February 23 at 2 p.m. in the Teen Room to discuss Sing for Your Life by David Bergner.  The book is this year's "One Book One Community" selection by Sarasota County libraries.  It chronicles Ryan Speedo Green's suspenseful, racially charged and intricate journey from solitary confinement to stardom.  We love to welcome new people so please feel free to join us for our next meeting.

* The UU Vegetarian Lunch Group will meet at Plaza Mexico at 1894 Stickney Point Rd, Friday, March 2, at 1:00 p.m.  Non-vegetarians are welcome; however, we ask that everyone have a "vegetarian" lunch. Reservations are necessary and must be received on or before Thursday, March 1, by 5 p.m.  Please RSVP to Jean Wieloch at or 929-3845.

* The Chopin Project is presenting two programs in our Sanctuary:  Saturday, March 3 at 3:00 p.m. and Sunday, March 4 at 3:00 p.m.  On Saturday, internationally acclaimed pianist Renana Gutman will appear in a solo piano recital of works by Chopin, Mozart, Schubert and Schumann. On Sunday, March 4, Ms Gutman will perform a second program of works by Chopin, Bach, Debussy, Schulhoff and Legeti. Tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for students and can be purchased online at: or call 800 838-3006.

* Call to UUCS Artists -- "Reflections on Plastics"! All UUCS Members are invited to participate in this art exhibit as part of the Green Team "Refuse It/Reuse It" plastics campaign. Receiving will be in the Lexow Wing Gallery from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Friday, March 16, and your art will be on display through April 12.  You may submit one large piece or two smaller ones. Use of recycled materials, sculptures and other three-dimensional pieces are encouraged! All pieces must be ready to be hung or otherwise displayed. To reserve your space, provide the title card information for your work (Title, Medium, Price, and your name and email or phone contact information) and its size to Gail Coppock at no later than March 11.


* RefuseIt, ReuseIt Challenge of the Week: I will stop using plastic straws. I will tell the waitstaff, "no straw please."  Stop by the Green Team's sale table to purchase a reusable cotton string bag. For the complete 2-month schedule go to RefuseIt, ReuseIt is the plastic awareness initiative of the Green Team, a subcommittee of the Social Justice Committee.

* Dr. Jody McBrien and the Social Justice Committee are presenting an eight-week Embracing Diversity workshop on consecutive Monday nights. The third in the series will be held on Monday, February 19, 6:30-8:00 p.m. in the church Sanctuary. Speaker: Janet Morgan will discuss: What is race? What does "person of color" really mean? How is it seen scientifically as opposed to socially? What is the difference between race and ethnicity? Is this a U.S. issue only? We will explore race and ethnicity historically using the Civil Rights era in the 1950s-60s (Black and Hispanic) and current issues.

* On Monday, February 26, 6:30-8:00 p.m. in the church Sanctuary will be the fourth week of our Embracing Diversity series, co-sponsored by the Center for Religious Tolerance (CRT). Speakers will be community members from Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, and Hindu traditions. We will explore stereotypes and realities of the major religions in U.S. society. What does it feel like to be a member of a particular religion (or to be nonreligious) in our society? Many UUs are agnostic or atheist. How can we work together? For recommended reading/video prior to each of these meetings, go to:, Social Justice tab, Embracing Diversity. 

* The Sarasota Chapter of the Brady Campaign rally to prevent gun violence every Thursday (from October to May) at the Kissing Statue at the Bayfront from 4-5 p.m. You are welcome to join them. Recently, the Brady Campaign held a vigil in memory of the 26 lives that were lost at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  A Memory Wall was on display at the vigil and attendees were encouraged to write the name of someone they wish to remember who had been lost to gun violence. The Memory Wall will be on display in the church courtyard adjacent to the Social Justice table on Sunday, February 18. You're invited to add a name(s).

* Looking for more social justice information?  Stop by the Social Justice table in the courtyard to learn about volunteer opportunities, to sign petitions and to purchase fair trade items including chocolate, coffees, teas and olive oil.  For fair trade special orders, contact Suzie Brucklacher at, subject line, Fair Trade Special Order.



* 10:00 and 11:30 a.m.  "Can Money Make Us Happy?" sermon by Rev. Roger Fritts

On the one hand, a 2010 survey concluded that money does make us happier - but only up to a certain point. Self-reported levels of wellbeing increased with salary up to $75,000 a year. But after that, increasing amounts of money had no further effect on happiness. On the other hand, when a flight attendant moved me from Coach to First Class, I was very happy. The sermon will explore the meaning of money in our lives.

* 10:00 and 11:30 a.m. Music:  Samantha Bennett, violin; Don Bryn piano

* 10:15 a.m. Forum: "Reincarnation of P.T. Barnum?"

The presenter will review the career and methods of the "legendary 19th-century showman" to see if we are now experiencing a reincarnation in our current President.
Presenter, John Stinespring; Moderator, Fred Sirasky.

* 11:30 a.m. TED Talk Discovery and Discussion, Reeb Room

Unitarian Universalists of Lakewood Ranch

* 10:00 a.m. Service at the River Club, 6600 River Club Blvd, Bradenton

* 10:00 a.m. Music: Mindy Simmons, guitar, keyboard and vocals