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The Unitarian Universalist Church of the North Hills
Telephone: 412-366-0244
Fax: 412-366-4389
Email: uucnh@nauticom.net

Carol Meyer

February 1, 2004
Volume XLIII, No. 6

John Ritzert,
Board President

Dawn FitzGerald-Swidal, Editor, email:  WESDFS@nauticom.net

Carol Meyer, Minister:
W: Noon - 2:00 pm. TH: 10:00 am - Noon. Day Off: Fridays
Greta Porter, DRE:
T, TH: 10:00 am - Noon
Sheila McCall, Secretary:
M - F: 9 am - Noon

Sunday Services run from 11:00 A.M. to 12:15 P.M.  Nursery Care is provided and the religious education program is held concurrent with the service.  Coffee and conversation for adults and children immediately follow the service.  Parents should supervise their children during coffee hour.
Photo of Carol MeyerCAROL’S COLUMN:     


Most of you know the holidays were horrible for me this year.  First my 26-year-old niece, Shannon, underwent surgery on Christmas Eve to remove cancer blocking her colon and was diagnosed with stage four cancer of some kind, spread throughout her peritoneum.  Then I found myself struggling to breathe on the Sunday after Christmas and was diagnosed with pneumonia.

The holidays reminded me that cancer, serious illness of any kind, changes everything.  When issues of health, life and death confront us, our priorities change dramatically.  My sister, Barb, called at 9:00 on the Saturday before Christmas to tell me that Shannon had cancer in her colon and was facing urgent surgery to remove a nearly complete blockage.  Within a few minutes of hanging up, I knew that my plans needed changing. 

I could not stay in Pittsburgh to do our UUCNH Christmas Eve service when I might be in Connecticut supporting Shannon and my sister.  It was so clear.  Ultimately, family - our loved ones, matters far more to us than anything else.  I needed to be an aunt and sister this past holiday season, not a minister. 

Suddenly Christmas Eve and Christmas and the holidays mattered not at all.  The only Christmas-like thing that we did on Christmas Eve was to gather around Shannon’s bed after she returned to her room and sing a few Christmas Carols for her.  She had asked, still groggy from anesthesia.  Knowing more than she did at that point about what the surgeons had found, none of us really felt much like singing.  But we did, and she smiled, and listened, and then told us, “You’re the best.”  We spent Christmas Day sitting quietly with her in the hospital, just keeping her company in her pain.  For us, Christmas had become irrelevant.  All that mattered was being there for Shannon and each other

Truth is, I think, family and loved ones ought to be our top priority all of the time.  Had that been true for me, I would have spent a whole lot more time with Shannon than I have thus far in her life, and I now deeply regret not having carved out time for more than a couple visits a year.  It’s so easy to take time for granted; we assume loved ones much younger than us will survive us.  Serious illness reminds us that isn’t necessarily the case, that our time with those we cherish most can be much more limited than we assume.  But it shouldn’t take a health crisis or terrorist attack or natural disaster or some other kind of trauma to help us get our priorities straight.  Loving, as our Universalist ancestors preached, matters most--more than work, more than being successful, more than anything else we may have on our agenda.  Ultimately living is all about loving.  Everything else is secondary.

February, with its Valentine’s Day, is a good time to remember loving matters most.  If you’re feeling lonely this February and sad not to have a special someone to love, think about who IS yours to love, including yourself, and make that loving your top priority.  If you do have a honey, remember to make loving him or her a priority, along with loving yourself and all the other people you cherish.  Remember, ultimately living is all about loving, and nothing matters more than loving those who are ours to love.
                                                                        Love,                                                                                                Carol

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Picture a cold winter night; the Woodshop is toasty warm because the woodstove is hot.  The cat, although curled-up and asleep, is holding careful vigil over the pieces of wood and the power tools.  But except for a small light, the space is dark!  That’s because the Board of Trustees is meeting again (we’ve met almost twice a month since June).  Although we like each other a lot, we’ve been meeting because there is a lot happening in the life of our church.  These nine dedicated and energetic individuals and their trusted ex-officio comrades are diligently working on the projects of UUCNH.

Over the next four months, you will hear us asking for your dedication and energy.  First, you have received a survey from the Sunday Services Committee, which requires your thoughtful response as they plan the direction of our Sunday morning programs.  Second, we will offer you an opportunity to review and comment on proposed Goals and Objectives for UUCNH, giving direction to our Mission Statement.  Your informed and involved participation in these things is important.

We need your participation!  If you like the things we’re proposing, support the church!  If you don’t like something that’s going on, if you have a better idea, or if you would like something changed, get involved in the church to effect that change!

We each have four things to give this beloved community we call UUCNH.  These are time, talent, money and energy.  We have them in varying quantity and quality, yes, but each can contribute.  And yes, we are into our annual FUND drive, asking that you support the church with the money necessary to protect our resources, preserve our traditions and ensure our future.

No matter how you choose to do it, please support your church.

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Sort of know what you believe but find it hard to put your beliefs into words?  Know more about what you don’t believe than what you do?  Interested in finding out what you believe?  Then this adult RE program is for you! 

Join Rev. Carol for the remaining four Sunday sessions designed to help you define and articulate your beliefs about basic religious questions and issues.  “What I Believe” will meet on Sunday evenings at 7:00 on Feb. 1, Feb. 15, Feb. 29 and Mar. 14.  If you can’t make all the sessions, come to the ones you can attend.  For planning purposes, please do let Carol Meyer know you’re planning to come.  If you need childcare to come, contact Carol Ballance.


February 1:
On Solitude
The Rev. Carol Meyer preaching

Some say the spiritual/religious journey is all about growth in connection.  How does solitude fit into the journey?  What is it, and why do we need it?

February 8:
“We Are the Boat, We Are the Sea”
The Rev. David Herndon preaching

David, Minister of First Unitarian in Oakland, joins us this Sunday while Carol preaches at First.  Come to hear what David has to say about “interdependence and economic anti-Calvinism,” a reflection on globalization and economic justice.  The sermon he is preaching on this Sunday won the sermon contest jointly sponsored by the Commission on Social Witness and the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association in 2003.

February 15:
Science and Faith
The Rev. Carol Meyer preaching

Advances in science can be used to dismiss religious and spiritual truths, wisdom not given to scientific verification.  This week we’ll consider possibilities for taking a different approach: namely, squaring the findings of science with super-rational insights, bringing the material and non-material worlds together. 

February 22:
Bible for Skeptics
The Rev. Carol Meyer preaching

Many UUs throw out the Bible as a wisdom book when they come to see it as historically inaccurate, full of contradictions, and not to be taken literally.  Might there be an alternative?  Might religious liberals yet reclaim the Bible as a source of insight, wisdom and truth?

February 29:
Putting Principles into Social Actions
- Faith in Action
Lay-led service presented by Chris Hill and the Social Action Committee

Many Unitarian Universalists consciously strive to live according to our principles and personal faith.  Several members will describe what they do to put their beliefs into practice.  After the service, we will have a Social Action Fair with displays of many other activities involving UUCNH members.  Come hear about the 'Good Deeds' being done by our members and friends, learn more about some activities you've seen in the Intercom, and hear about some upcoming events.  Maybe you'll find an outlet in support of your own favorite UU Principle!


After a review of current Pennsylvania law and UUCNH insurance coverage, it has been determined that UUCNH opens itself to substantial risks and responsibilities when UUCNH is involved and/or benefits from the sale of alcohol on UUCNH property.  UUCNH does not have liability insurance coverage to protect UUCNH in the event of a lawsuit resulting from the consumption of alcohol sold, served or provided by UUCNH.  UUCNH’s current insurance coverage will protect UUCNH from liability when alcohol is consumed on UUCNH properties on a BYOB basis only.

Therefore, the Board has adopted a new Alcohol Policy whereby no alcohol is to be sold at or by UUCNH at any time by any member, non-member or organization under the name of UUCNH.  This includes alcohol that is included in the ticket price to a fundraising event, as in the case of an “open bar.”  UUCNH members and their guests are permitted to bring alcohol for their own personal consumption at UUCNH sponsored functions.  Minors are not permitted to be served or to consume alcohol on the premises.  

Copies of the full Alcohol Policy are available from Sheila and posted on the bulletin board.

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Saturday, February 14, 2004
8 – 11
West Room

The Carl Arter Trio

A very special evening at the

Mardi Gras Cabaret

Bring your Friends and Neighbors!

New Orleans Pot Luck

Brought to you by
Bill Sprague and the FUUN Club

Reprising locally famous performances
At our Twin Towers Arts Festival
By this nationally famous jazz pianist

Proceeds to benefit the musicians only.  Adults: $5, Child: $3, $10 family cap.

Questions?  Volunteers?
Call Tassi Bisers

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It's time to sign up for Spring Round Robin dinners, which will be held in March, April and May.  If you're already signed up, you can sign up again or just call or e-mail to let us know you want to continue.  And if you're not already taking part, we enthusiastically invite you to join this fun group!  Sign-up sheets will be available in Friendship Hall, or you can call Diana Hull or Jan Allen.


Hey!  If you and your family missed the last one, you NOW have a second chance for lots of fun!  Fun!  And more fun!  At the 2nd Family Games Night sponsored by the UU Youth Group.  Scheduled for Friday, Feb 27th at 7pm. Snacks and drinks will be available for purchase


In spite of being snowed out the second Sunday, we managed to make $1098.00.  Also, Mark Williams won the quilt.

Does anyone have a wheelchair that they could lend or give the church?  Please contact Nancy Mooney or the church office.


Sunday March 28, 2004, 3-5pm
Northmont United Presbyterian Church
8169 Perry Highway, McCandless

Come learn about the traditions of your neighbors of other faiths and cultures!  Short active presentations by African Americans, Baha’is, Buddhists, Mormons, Hindus, Muslims, Native Americans, Jews, Quakers, and more.  Also music and food!  Sponsored by the Pittsburgh North Anti-Racism Coalition.  For more information, call 412- 367-1835 or 412-367-0383.

It's the UU Way!

"Here lies the power of the liberal way...not in making the whole world Unitarian, but in helping ourselves and others to see some of the possibilities in viewpoints other than one's own, in encouraging the free interchange of ideas, in welcoming fresh approaches to the problems of life; in urging the fullest, most vigorous use of critical self-examination.” 
                                                                                        ~Adlai Stevenson, Unitarian layperson

The Committee on Ministry wants to hear from you!  Your ideas, concerns, suggestions are important to us and valuable to the church by fostering a strong, dynamic ministry.  Committee members include Patti Rambasek, David Wells, and Pat McGlone.  Carol Meyer, Minister, is ex officio committee member.

We hope you will feel free to share your ideas and concerns directly with Carol but if not, please feel free to speak with any of the committee members:  Carol Meyer,  David Wells, Patti Rambasek, Pat McGlone 


This Leap Day, February 29th, the Social Action Committee will present the Sunday Service and host a Social Action Fair after the service.  This service and related events is an outgrowth of the UUCNH Goal Setting meeting in November.  Here's what we'll be doing:

The Social Action Service will include presentations by Sue Broughton, Karen Wood-Campbell and Chris Hill as they describe their passions and goals in various areas.  They'll explain how their faith and our UU Principles lead them to work for changes.

Then, following the service, there will be a Social Action Fair in Friendship Hall.  We'll have displays of many of the activities with which UUCNH members & friends are involved.  Learn about our involvement with the Race For the Cure or Allegheny Forest or the Foodbanks and the Men's Shelter meals.  From PIIN to the HeartWalk to recycling and Rebuilding Pittsburgh.  From North Hills Community Outreach to Leukemia Society to Equal Exchange coffee & tea  - just to name a few.

Why are we doing this?  To let members and friends see that, collectively, UUCNH does a tremendous amount of social action in the community.  But no one is aware of everything we do.  This is a chance for people to talk about their personal principles and what motivates us to support these activities for others.

In addition, we'll highlight a few major activities that we'd like the congregation to consider for a church-wide effort.  We've had several members very active in PIIN, but there's more to be done.  Rebuilding Pittsburgh (a one-day effort to fix up homes for handicapped and elderly residents) on
April 24th is a great opportunity to help others with a limited, focused effort.

So plan to come and hear about some really Good Works we're doing.  Throughout our history, Unitarians and Universalists have worked for social action.  Come see the ways, large and small, in which UUCNH members are making situations better for others.  You won't have the chance to see another Leap Day Service like this for at least another 28 years!

If you have a social action activity that you'd like to highlight at the Fair, please contact the Social Action committee co-chairs Chris Hill or Sue Luebbert.


As I write this, we have $600 in ad revenue committed toward a goal of $1500 for UUCNH ad sales for the Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network (PIIN) Banquet program/ad book.  A business, organization, group of people, or an individual can place an ad in the banquet program/ad book for $500 for a full page, $300 for a half page, $175 for 1/4 page and $100 for 1/8 page.  An individual or group can also be listed as a friend or patron for a contribution of between $5 and $99.  Please try to sell an ad, place one yourself or sign up as a friend or patron!  See Sue Broughton at coffee hour, or Jan Allen between February 6 and 17.  Also, save the date!  March 20, 2004, to attend this first annual PIIN banquet.  The ticket price is expected to be $35.  More information at the February 29 service and in the next Intercom.

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Here’s what we’re offering for winter.  Please sign up on the bulletin board in Friendship Hall or by contacting Carol Ballance.  You can also check it out on the Web at www.uucnh.org.  We will provide childcare but it is imperative that you let us know when you need it!

Ongoing Groups

Spiritual Growth:  Meets before church on Feb 8 and 22.  Class will continue to meet throughout the year on the second and fourth Sunday.  Facilitator:  Carol Meyer

Simplicity Circle:  Meets on Feb. 1 at 7 p.m Class will continue on every first Sunday of the month.  Facilitator:  Carol Ballance

What I Believe: continues on Feb 1, Feb 15 and Feb 29.  (Sundays at 7 p.m.)

Eve’s Seed:  A PSI Group, with Tony Palermo, will meet Feb. 15 after church to discuss the most horrid word in the English Language - Four letters which strike fear & consternation in media censors everywhere.  This word, unprintable here, summarizes the misogynism of 5,000 years of male domination...in ways one barely realizes.  Find out why.

Eve’s Seed meets throughout the year after church on the third Sunday of the month.  Facilitator:  Tony Palermo.

OWL meets all day (9a.m-6p.m.) Saturday, Feb. 21.

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Founding member Walter Voyvodich died very early on the morning of his 88th birthday, January 6, 2004.  Walter was a marvelous musician and teacher who played in the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Columbus Symphony, the North Hills Symphony, numerous dance bands, and was principal bassist with the Butler Symphony for 50 years.  Walter could play almost any instrument, but mastered the double bass, tuba, trombone, trumpet, and, in retirement, the viola.  He taught instrumental music both privately and in schools, becoming the Supervisor of Music for the Pittsburgh Public Schools.  In that capacity, he helped found and manage the Center for the Musically Talented in Squirrel Hill and Pittsburgh’s Magnet School for instrumental music.  He shared his musical talent with UUCNH not only by playing on numerous occasions, but also by serving as Choir Director for many years. 

Walter had one love in life--Henrietta Bauer, whom he married in 1942 and could be separated from only by her death.  He was a wonderful father to two children, Marc and Kay, who grew up attending UUCNH.  He was a gregarious and unrelentingly positive man who always had a smile and words of encouragement to share.  He attended church regularly until his death, and he is missed by many among us.


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Here you will find out where and how our church is socially active within our community and how you can become involved.  If you know of a project or event to add to the list, please contact Chris Hill and Sue Luebbert, co-chairs of the Social Action Committee.

Here’s this month’s list of projects


Equal Exchange cuts out the middlemen, ensuring that more money reaches the farmers.  Their guaranteed minimum of $1.26/lb means a far better standard of living for these farmers and their families.  UUCNH is proud to be selling Equal Exchange coffees.  See Chris Hill or Sue Luebbert to take some home today!


At UUCNH, we collect all forms of paper and cardboard for recycling.  Most of the paper is recycled through Agents of Change recycles, located on Rt. 8 just south of Glenshaw Glass. 

We collect the following categories of paper and cardboard:

* Any Corrugated Cardboard can be flattened and placed in the left-hand dumpster.

* Office Paper is any good quality paper from mailings, photocopies and notepads.  This is the premium category, so please remove and place in separate bins any glossy materials, woven or fiber products, or newspaper.  The bin for office paper is in the church office, in front of the desk.

* Paperboard includes cereal boxes, shirt cardboard and other containers of non-corrugated cardboard.  Please flatted these containers and place them in the bins in Friendship Hall, underneath the window to the office.

* Newspaper should be collected in paper bags and placed by the bins in Friendship Hall.  Please remove all the glossy ads and magazines and place them in the Mixed Paper bin.

* Mixed Paper is everything else.  And we mean everything-glossy advertisements, mailing, catalogs, telephone books, other bond materials, woven or fiber products (like Express Mail bags), even rinsed and flattened milk & juice containers.  These can be collected in your own bags, or placed in the bin in friendship Hall.

We take the items down to Agents of Change every Saturday or two.  If you would like to help out one Saturday per month, we could use the help.  If you have any questions about the recycling system, please speak with Chris Hill at coffee hour, or call him.

Thanks for recycling and SAVING TREES!!

Donations are requested for the North Hills Community Outreach Food Bank for February.  NHCO has requested that we bring “Hamburger Helper, Tuna Helper and Chicken Helper” to UUCNH.  Laundry detergent, toilet paper, toothpaste, shampoo and bar soap are always needed.  Our donation box is located in Friendship Hall near the entrance of the church and the East Room.  The UUCNH Social Action Committee sponsors collection for the Food Bank.  Thanks to all who have contributed to reaching our goal of 100 items a month! 

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Many thanks to Rachel and Lowell Swartz for volunteering to prepare and serve dinner at the Pleasant Valley Men's Shelter!  They will be serving on Wednesdays March 17th and April 7th and could use some help.  If interested, please contact Greg Jarold at 412-766-9120 or oldjar@aol.com.  As always, the Shelter has a list of other dates available for UUCNH members and friends.  If you haven't volunteered, please consider planning ahead for a dinner in 2004.  The UUCNH Social Action Committee sponsors our participation in this worthwhile program.

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Check back next month for more information on social action at UUCNH.


UUCNH is selling Giant Eagle and Ingomar Sparkle grocery certificates.  This is an excellent fundraiser for the Church and it is so easy for the purchaser.  You pay $100, $50 or $25 for a certificate that is now the size of a credit card and is worth the same dollar amount at the checkout counter.  Please participate in this easy church fundraiser. 

Look for them during coffee hour!

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The next Intercom will be published on February 29, 2003.  That makes the Intercom deadline Wednesday, February 25, 2003. 

Submissions may be made in handwritten form, on diskette, or emailed to the editor at WESDFS@nauticom.net.  Please include your name and telephone number on the submission so that the editor can contact you should there be any questions or problems concerning your submission.

Please email your submissions IN PLAIN TEXT ONLY; NO HTML emails - they are NOT compatible with the Intercom format; check your format box on your actual email and choose plain text.  Diskettes may be in Word, but please, PLEASE, do not format the article in any way.  Thank you!


On February 21st, the DownUnder Coffeehouse will welcome jazz pianist Tom Roberts, from 7:30-9:30pm.  Tom Roberts, a native of Pittsburgh, PA, is regarded by many as one of the finest pianists today in the exciting Harlem stride piano style.  He toured with Leon Redbone for six years, has performed on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and on A Prairie Home Companion.  He has recorded over 20 compact discs and has performed throughout the United States and Europe including: England, France, Germany, Ireland and Switzerland.  Tom has recently returned to Pittsburgh and lives near AUUC in the Mexican War Streets.

Baked goods, desserts and beverages will be for sale during the concert and, of course, the coffee is always free.  The Down Under Coffeehouse is held the third Saturday of every month, Sept through June, in the newly renovated basement of the Allegheny Unitarian Universalist Church, 416 West North Ave, on the corner of North Ave and Resaca Place, on Pittsburgh's historic North Side.  Suggested donation is $5.00.  Please see http://www.trfn.org/auuc/dh or call 412-322-4261 for more details.


On the weekend of March 5 - 7, 2004, the Ohio Meadville District will sponsor the 16th annual Men’s Retreat at the Sandscrest Retreat Center near Wheeling, WV.

The theme of the retreat is “The Importance of Poetry in Men’s Lives” and will be lead by the Rev. Daniel Budd, of First Unitarian Church in Cleveland, OH.

The retreat will not be squeezing meanings out of poems or dissecting them.  It will be able asking them questions and exploring ineffable things such as soul and spirit, while asking what do poems, or the poetic in general, have to do with our lives.  The retreat will be organized in the traditional workshop manner.

Those wishing to participate are asked to obtain a copy of The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart: poems for men, edited by Robert Bly, James Hillman and Michael Meade (Harper Perennial, 1993) Participants are requested to mark two or three poems that speak to them.  If you write poetry, you are asked to bring a few of your favorites to share.

Price of the retreat is $150.  Reservations are on a first come, first serve basis.  For more information and registration forms, please see the bulletin boards in Friendship Hall.  Or you may check out the Ohio Meadville website: omd.uua.org

An Ohio Meadville District Event

On March 13, 2004 at 7:00 pm, the Ohio Meadville district will sponsor a UU Young Adults evening of storytelling, community and fellowship in Marietta, Ohio. 

In this vast information age, we have forgotten our own stories and become deaf to the telling of stories by others.  We invite you to recount some of your own narratives and enjoy the tales of your fellow UU Young Adults.

We will be meeting at 4:00 pm beforehand to go out to dinner in Marietta.  While the storytelling itself is free, please bring enough money to cover yourself for dinner should you choose to come.
We ask that you bring:
  • Yourself, your experiences and stories
  • Any short stories you are fond of telling
  • One pint of drinkable water from your location
  • Whatever you need to sleep comfortably on the floor
  • Toiletries for an overnight (note the church has sinks for washing up, but no showers.)
Childcare will NOT be provided, so we ask that this event be for Young Adult only.

For more information and to RSVP, contact Michael Dobson at anansi92276@aol.com or 877 Hillside Drive, Newark OH 43055.

July 18-21, 2004
Come experience the wonder of Niagara Falls including some great educational opportunities while being taken care of like royalty.  The UU Church of Niagara is conducting a four day UU Niagara Experience which is a lifetime opportunity to encounter the Falls up close from every perspective, even safely riding beneath a tethered balloon.  Spend four days with us exploring the rich history and natural wonders around the Falls.  For information visit our web site: www.uunex.net or call 716-791-4453 or by email: info@uunex.net