Past Services – 2016

April 23 ~ “Earth Day: Exploring the Connections between Plants and Insects”

As we celebrate Earth Day this weekend, it is a good time to think about the interactions between plants and insects. We’ll explore how every organism plays an important role within the ecosystem.

Julie McConnell, Horticulture Extension Faculty with the University of Florida Extension and Bay County. As the horticulture agent her program areas focus on horticulture, entomology, and volunteer management. The primary emphasis of her educational programs is to encourage the use of best management practices that protect water quality and conserve natural resources. Prior to working for the University of Florida, Julie worked in wholesale nursery sales and public safety communications.

April 16 ~ “The Power of Love”

Gienah Harris, our Religious Exploration Coordinator, and Tiffany Sapp, our former Religious Exploration Coordinator, together with a few children of the Fellowship, present an Intergenerational Service called “The Power of Love.”  Come see this adapted version of the classic children’s story “The Velveteen Rabbit” as we celebrate Easter Sunday, followed by an Easter Egg hunt.

April 9~ “The Virtue of Journalism”

News Herald reporter Collin Breaux will discuss the merits of journalism, along with how he broke into news reporting and the future of the media.

Collin Breaux started out doing freelance music journalism around 2013 after getting an English degree from the University of New Orleans. He then joined the Magee Courier, a tiny newspaper in central Mississippi where the whole county had 4,000 people. After that he made his way over to the Florida Panhandle where he’s happy to be.

April 2 ~ “Put On Your C.A.P.E.”

The Gulf Coast Children’s Advocacy Center located in Panama City, Florida provides specialized services to children, and their families, who have been the unfortunate victims of child maltreatment. Monique Gorman is the Community Outreach Advocate at the GCCAC. Monique began her career in child welfare in early 2004 as a Child Protective Investigator with the Department of Children and Families. Monique accepted a position with the Child Protection Team in early 2006, where she completed forensic and specialized interviews with children, interviewed caretakers and assisted with forensic medical examinations. Monique worked as the Child Protection Team’s Senior Case Coordinator until October 2016, when she accepted the Gulf Coast Children’s Advocacy Center’s Community Outreach Advocate position. Monique’s new mission as the Community Outreach Advocate is to educate the community, to include students, teachers, administrators, law enforcement officers, first responders, medical providers, after school/daycare providersand any other agency/ individual who works with/ has contact with children, in effort to prevent child maltreatment in the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit.

March 26 ~”The Value of Mentorship”

Aaron Smith is a 6-year U.S. Air Force Veteran, 8 year member and former Moderator of the E.C.P.C., and 1st Degree Pagan Priest. He currently works on the Inland Waterways as a Deckhand, assisting transportation of liquid petroleum cargoes all across the waters of the U.S.

Aaron has been a member of UUFBC for 7 years. This is his debut into formal activities of a UU nature. He has served in minor anonymous capacities related to the sustained growth of our fellowship. Apart from being a Service Leader several times, he is new to the Sunday service speaking role.

March 19 ~ “Let It Be A Dance” A Discussion on the 7th Principle

Serena Dee Latiolais is an ordained 3rd degree High Priestess in the RCG-I tradition (Reformed Congregation of the Goddess-International).  She is also an ordained priestess, adept, and Hierophant with the Fellowship Of Isis (aka as F.O.I), having studied under Lady Deborah Merwin, in Navarre, Fl.  In 2013 Serena Dee completed her four year study of Druidism, with the FOI Druidic Clan Of Dana.  Serena practices interfaith ministry for alternative/comparative religions, having obtained her ministerial credentials through the Interfaith Seminary, out of the Church of Seven Planes, Coopers, TX.  She holds a Master’s degree in Native American Spirituality and various certifications in spiritual counseling, especially grief counseling.  Serena is also a Reiki Master and Teacher.  Before becoming an Ordained Minister, Serena Dee worked in the public school system for over 30 years, 10 of them in administrative capacities.  She holds a B.A. in elementary education, an M.ED in elementary education with an emphasis on diagnostic and remedial reading, and an Ed.S. in Educational Leadership with an emphasis on early childhood training programs.

March 12 ~ “Maintaining Jefferson’s Wall” – by David Williamson

David Williamson moved to Orlando in 2012 and started the area’s only organization focused on the state/church separation, The Central Florida Freethought Community. CFFC has helped stop several state/church violations and in 2013 joined Freedom from Religion Foundation in a lawsuit against Orange County Public Schools. David was named 2013 Florida Humanist of the Year for his efforts in community organizing and activism. David will discuss ongoing issues, some recent success, and what each of us can do to ensure that “Jefferson’s Wall” is sufficient to keep religion and government separate. Real world opportunities for us to be part of state/church separation efforts will be discussed with time for discussion.

See David in action:

March 5 ~ “Friendship–A Tribute To Friends Of All Ages”  – A musical program by Ken Sizemore

“Old Folkie” Ken Sizemore will present a musical service entitled “Friendship–A Tribute To Friends Of All Ages”.  In this musical expression of gratitude and affection for our friends, Ken will pay tribute to our old friends, new friends, friends from long ago that we may not see any more but will never forget, and friends that have made our journey through life richer and more full of love and compassion.  As a teaser, here are just a few of the songs that Ken will perform for us:  “You’ve Got A Friend”, “He Ain’t Heavy”, “Rainy Day People”, “On The Road Again”, “A Little Help From My Friends”, and quite a few others as time allows.  Join us and think about the special friends in your life as Ken sings these songs that help us remember and appreciate them.

February 26 ~ “Accidentally Churched: Susie and Ken’s Unlikely Conversion to UUism.”

Active members of our church, Susie and Ken Sizemore, will talk to us about their unlikely conversion to become UU.  Come and hear about their journey.

February 19 – UU 5th Principle – “The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.”

Long time UUFBC members, Bob Gilmore and Arlene Zacher, will present ideas for discussion of our 5th UU Principle, “The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.”  Come and join the discussion.

February 12 – “Real Love Takes Strength”

UUFBC Member Chris Dixon, a Board member as well, will deliver from the pulpit a message called “Real Love Takes Strength.”

 February 5 –

January 22 ~ “Heal, Healing and Illness”

Tiffany Sapp, former RE Coordinator for UUFBC will share what she has learned from a Starr King class, “Health, Healing and Illness”.  There are several big themes, here are some that might inspire a story for all ages:
  • We have to take care of our own well being first… neglecting ourselves to help someone else doesn’t help heal the world.
  • Sometimes getting sick is good for us when it makes us stop and rest, sometimes if we stop and rest then we get better faster.  (There’s a Daniel Tiger episode about this, they sing, “when you’re sick, rest is best, rest is best.”
  • From an emotional healing point of view, sometimes all we really need is someone to listen to us.

January 15 – “My UU Journey”

Nikki Ardry, UUFBC member, will speak of her personal journey through faith. It will document the years of study and experimentation that ultimately led her to Unitarian Universalism, and helped her develop a passion and appreciation for religious and cultural customs from around the world.

Nikki Ardary is a mother of three, free lance artist, small business owner, and full time student. She is currently pursuing a degree in biological anthropology at Gulf Coast State College, and plans to transfer to University of West Florida in the fall. She has spent most of her adult life studying religion and cultural art. Ultimately, she plans to obtain a PhD and teach.

January 8 ~ “Hospitality, A Spiritual Practice”

We will explore hospitality as a spiritual practice.  Hospitality is essential if our congregations are to flourish.  Will we except the responsibility of welcoming the stranger both within our fellowship and in the public space outside?  Cheryl Kellogg will present our talk this Sunday with help from other members of Faith Development and Congregational Life.

January 1 ~ “Gracefully Greeting 2017”

Join Paul McAuliffe and Chris May on New Year’s Day.  Paul’s music will be the major presentation, sprinkled with reflection on the year past and contemplation on empowering ourselves for the new year.   We will follow the service with a potluck honoring the New Year.

Paul McAuliffe is a musician, flute maker, storyteller and autism advocate. He has a social media alter ego named Uncle Grump. He lives in Panama City Beach.

December 25 ~ NO SERVICE ~ Christmas Potluck Dinner at 11:30

December 18 ~ Winter Solstice Traditions

Tiffany Sapp, UU Ministerial Aspirant, former Religious Exploration Coordinator at UUFBC, and Pagan Priestess, will teach us about the variety of winter solstice observances, both modern and ancient, that are made during this longest night of the year.  We will explore how these moments of connection might support us in a very busy time of the year, and have the opportunity to return our focus to those things in our lives that are the most meaningful to us.

December 11 ~ “The Only Real Power” with Rev. Faerie Elaine Silver

 A musical ride on the train of Infinite Power.  Truth Principles around this philosophy will be shared through her infectious music.

December 5 ~ “A Free and Responsible Search for Truth and Meaning”

A presentation on our 4th UU Principle by member Canova Henderson.

Canova has served in various capacities at UUFBC, Secretary, Youth RE, Vision and Growth and Worship to name a few.  She has been with the Fellowship for about 12 years, 8 years as a member.  She has given several interesting talks to the Fellowship in the past.  Canova has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of South Florida.  She is also an ordained minister through Universal Life Church, a 3rd Degree High Priestess, and a Hierophant within the Fellowship of Isis.

November 20 ~ “Are We There Yet?” 

Rev. Duncan Teague

This is the question many will have after our election.  I so hope that for many of us the answer will be, Yes. This is a question that requires addressing in our other journeys that, no matter our fatigue with this election, will need some attention.  An answer to the riders along with us in our spiritual, philosophical and socio-political travels would be helpful.

Rev. Duncan Teague enjoyed a career in HIV/AIDS research, education, and prevention of more than twenty years in Atlanta, GA before ministry. Rev. Teague was ordained into the UU Association (UUA) by the UU Congregation of Atlanta (UUCA) and entered into Preliminary Fellowship by the UU Association’s Ministerial Fellowship Committee in 2014. He is currently planting, the Abundant LUUv, Unitarian Universalist, an emerging congregation in Southwest Atlanta. Teague, a recognized LGBTQAI community leader, served Georgia Equality as the Faith Outreach Consultant, funded also by Freedom to Marry for the 2015 Georgia legislative session. He is a 2015 inductee to the Board of Preachers by the Martin Luther King, Jr., International College of Ministers and Laity, Morehouse College. Teague is a regular pulpit guest throughout the region and was a preacher at worship for the national UU 2016 General Assembly in Columbus, Ohio and Friday Chaplain for the Southeast UU Summer Institute (SUUSI). SUUSI is our second largest gathering with 1100 attendees. He served on UUA Board’s Appointment’s Committee and now is on the Committee of Anti-Racism and Multiculturalism of the UU Ministers’ Association (UUMA).

Teague’s featured narratives are in books and stage works; including the award-winning Sweet Tea; An Anthology of Black Gay Men’s Lives in the South by friend, E. Patrick Johnson, Ph.D., Teague and his husband were also in the film documentary, “Sweet Tea”.  He was senior member of The ADODI Muse; A Gay Negro Ensemble, who performed and recorded poetry nationally as published, poetry performers. Teague is married to his longtime companion, David Thurman, MD, MPH, and they reside north of downtown Decatur, Georgia.

November 13 ~ “Come Out Swinging”

Guest speaker is Stephanie Severance

November 6 ~ “Making Democracy Work As It Should: The Importance of Voting and Civic Life”

Guest speaker Elizabeth Trentanelli

Our speaker will provide some context for voting in a democratic society, information resources for those who want to learn more about elections/candidates, and alternatives for those who are turned off by partisan politics but who wish to influence public policy or contribute to civic life.

Elizabeth Trentanelli is professor of political science at Gulf Coast State College, where she teaches courses in American national, state/local, and comparative forms of government, and periodic Honors Symposia on special topics in political science. Among her other civic engagement initiatives at GCSC, Trentanelli directs student training in deliberative democracy skills through her “Deliberation in Democracy” course.

Trentanelli has moderated numerous public policy and candidate forums. Trentanelli regularly supports National Issues Forums and Kettering Foundation research exchanges exploring the role of higher education in the civic life of our communities. Her research will be featured in an upcoming Kettering Foundation anthology focusing on college students and politics.

Trentanelli holds degrees in political science and government administration, researching historic preservation solutions in low income neighborhoods, as well as additional training in history and education. She has authored a workbook to help foreign-born college students understand American politics and democracy. Working with human rights organizations Trentanelli has traveled to Nicaragua and Haiti, also serving as an international election observer in Haiti. Trentanelli also served as a Haiti policy advisor to former a US Representative, and has worked as a lobbyist and in various political campaigns.

October 30 ~ 10:30 Service ~ “Finding Purpose for Your Passion” – A Musical Program by Friction Farm

Modern folk duo Friction Farm is guitarist/vocalist Aidan Quinn and bassist/vocalist Christine Stay. Blending country, folk and pop into a seamless package, they bring a rare freshness and spontaneity to the program.  They were 2011 Kerrville New Folk Finalists and Falcon Ridge Emerging Artists. From ballads to anthems, each song is filled with harmony and hope.

Second Hour Discussion – Finding Our Congregations Purpose, lead by Cheryl Kellogg, 12:00-1:00

October 23 ~ “UU Second Principle ~ Justice, Equity and Compassion in Human Relations” by Gienah Harris

This talk will be presented by Gienah Harris.  Gienah  was raised in Reno, Nevada. She spent a portion of her summers on her grandparent’s exotic animal ranch and helped to take care of the llamas and miniature donkeys. After graduating from high school, she attended Cottey, a Women’s College in Nevada, Missouri before returning to Reno to complete her Bachelor’s Degree in European History, with a Minor in Cultural Anthropology. She spent a year in Oregon studying fuzed glass before moving to Florida. She currently serves as the Religious Education Coordinator for the UUFBC.

October 16 – “Social Justice Sunday: A Celebration of Social Activism

Social Justice is an important part of the belief system of the Unitarian Universalist faith. Social activism is one significant difference between UUs and many other denominations. Come and learn about our Fellowship’s social justice program and participate in the celebration of its success, as we recognize the anniversary of the Bay Youth Independence and Leadership Development Program, the Fellowship’s signature social justice activity.

Also during this service, the Social Justice Team will take you on a retrospective tour of the highlights of this past year, as the Team reviews not only the BYILD program for foster teens, but also Community PRIDE painting days, the road trip to Tallahassee for Lobby Days, the first year of the Bay Youth (Community) Garden and more….Be there to learn how our Fellowship is impacting our community and what is planned for this year.

Celebratory “dinner and drinks” will be held following the service. All are invited to have a Mimosa on the deck, followed by dinner provided by the Fellowship’s Board of Directors, in recognition of our social justice volunteers’ accomplishments over the past year.

October 9 – “The Danger of a Single Story” – TED Talk and discussion

In this TED Talk, the Nigerian author, Chimamanda Adichie, warns that we risk a very critical misunderstanding when we forget that everyone’s lives and identities are composed of many overlapping stories.  Adichie puts it best: “Show people as one thing over and over again, and that’s what they become.  Her story is one of the most powerfully crafted speeches ever given, one where every single word counts.

Bob Nixon will be Service Leader and lead us in a discussion following the presentation.

October 2 – “The Blessing of the Animals” – by Serena Dee Latiolais

Animal blessings originate out of the Catholic tradition (Feast of St. Francis of Assisi); however, many Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations have adopted this practice and have made it a uniquely UU type of blessing. Our seventh principle which states that we are all a part of an interconnected web of existence is the underlying motivation for many of these services.

We take time once a year with this formal ceremony to give thanks and bless our companions in life—cats and dogs, birds and chickens, turtles and fish and so much more! This ceremony also acknowledges that our lives are made fuller and richer by the creatures that inhabit the Earth with us, not just those that live with us.

People attending may bring their (well behaved) pets to church, others may have photos of  their pets, while still others may have their pets blessed by naming them.

September 25 – “The Freedom to Be” – by George Stevenson

One of our original founding members, George Stevenson, will deliver this Sunday’s talk.  The talk will center around how it is each individuals responsibility to choose and act to the betterment of all existence.

September 18 – “Disparities in infant mortality: A Social Justice Problem” – by Dr. Jeff Livingston

Infant mortality is often described as one of the best indicators of the the well being of a population and is directly related to the standing of women and their ethnicity in society.  Infant mortality in the United States and within Florida more than twice as high in African Americans that Caucasians.  Disparities in birth outcomes are unacceptable and must be addressed as a social justice issue.

Bio:  Jeff Livingston is a life long Unitarian.  He received his bachelor’s degree from Franklin and Marshall College and his Doctor of Medicine from the Medical College of Virginia.  He completed residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at East Carolina University and a three year fellowship in Maternal Fetal Medicine at the  University of Tennessee – Memphis.  He spent the last 15 years in a academic medicine where he has published over 40 peer-reviewed publications.  His areas of research include hypertensive diseases in pregnancy, prenatal diagnosis and in-utero fetal surgery.  Prior to coming to Panama City, he was an active member of the North Carolina legislature’s Infant Mortality Task Force.

September 11 – “Fifteen Years Later” by Rev. Melanie Morel-Ensminger
On this anniversary of a date seared into the memories of Americans, our guest will examine the political, physical, emotional, and spiritual fallout from that historical event.
Rev. Melanie was ordained a UU minister in 1993 and has served congregations in Tennessee, New Jersey, New Zealand, Mississippi, and her native New Orleans. She has preached several times at Bay County and looks forward to returning.

September 4th – “Annual Water Ceremony” – Chris May Leading

At UUFBC we set aside the first Sunday in September to observe our Water Communion…a ceremony first used at a Unitarian Universalist (UU) worship service in the 1980s.  We ask that each member bring to this unique ceremony a small amount of water symbolizing a place, event or person of special significance. During the service each of us will pour our water into a large bowl, together symbolizing of our shared faith as the water will have come from many different sources.

We will also have an installation of our new Religious Education Coordinator, Gienah Harris.  All of our children will be participating in this intergenerational program except for our Nursery.


August 28 – “A Musical Delight” – by Ron Fennell

Our own talented musician, Ron Fennell, will present a musical program for our listening enjoyment.


August 21 – “The Least of These: Matthew 25” – by Nathan Monk

Homelessness and poverty are becoming a major talking point in every community across our nation. Where do we go from here? What are compassionate responses? Is there a universal solution to the crisis? These are questions community leaders and advocates are asking in unison.

Homeless rights activist and author Nathan Monk will be discussing these theological questions and how to respond to them as people of faith.

Copies of Nathan’s book, Chasing the Mouse: A Memoir About Childhood Homelessness, will be available after the event.

Nathan Monk is a civil rights activist, author, and former Orthodox priest. He resides in Pensacola, FL with his partner Tashina and together they are the parents of three children, Kira, Selena, and Gideon.

Though he is best known for his social activism, he has been frequently spotted frolicking with woodland creatures. For more than a decade, Nathan has worked tirelessly for social justice, specifically for the homeless. Nathan holds a Masters Degree in Theology and served as a priest for eight years before resigning in 2013 after stepping out in support of marriage equality.

Currently, he is the executive director of a non-profit that focuses on housing solutions for homeless families. Over his career, he has received notable awards, appointments, and national media for his accomplishments in the area of social justice. He was appointed by Mayor Ashton Hayward III as the co-chair of the Task Force on Human Services, a focus group tasked with finding practical solutions to address homelessness and poverty. The Pensacola City Council appointed him to the City Planning Board. He received international recognition for helping fight to overturn the city’s notorious “blanket ban” which made it illegal for the homeless to utilize any device to shield themselves from the elements.

August 14 – “Our Third Principle ~ Accept One Another and Keep on Learning”
 Member Chris Dixon will lead us in a discussion of our third UU principle, acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations.
August 28 – “On to Us A Child is Born”

Our program is all about kids this week.


Jeri Johnson is a retired elementary school teacher who served 27 years in the public school system of Bay County, Florida. Most of her years of teaching were in the early childhood/primary classes.  She has a B.S. in Management Studies, where she spent six years in business before going back to school before becoming a teacher.  She has a B.S. in Elementary Education and is certified to teach Library Science, which she served as an elementary school librarian for five years.  After retiring from the public school system, she, while searching for another meaningful career, occupies her time and energies as a public school substitute.

July 31 – “It’s a Mad, Mad World…and what to do about it!” ~ by Michael Lister
Bio:  New York Times bestselling and award-winning novelist, Michael Lister, is a native Floridian best known for his literary suspense thrillers DOUBLE EXPOSURE, BURNT OFFERINGS, and SEPARATION ANXIETY, as well as his two ongoing mystery series, the prison chaplain John Jordan “Blood” series (BLOOD SACRIFICE) and the hard-boiled, 1940s noir Jimmy “Soldier” Riley Series (THE BIG HELLO).

The Florida Book Review says that “Vintage Michael Lister is poetic prose, exquisitely set scenes, characters who are damaged and faulty” and Michael Koryta says, “If you like crime writing with depth, suspense, and sterling prose, you should be reading Michael Lister,” while Publisher’s Weekly adds, “Lister’s hard-edged prose ranks with the best of contemporary noir fiction.”

Michael grew up in North Florida near the Gulf of Mexico and the Apalachicola River in a small town world famous for tupelo honey.

Truly a regional writer, North Florida is his beat.

Captivated by story since childhood, Michael has a love for language and narrative inspired by the Southern storytelling tradition that captured his imagination and became such a source of meaning and inspiration. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in theology with an emphasis on myth and narrative.

July 24 – “Give To Me To Do” – Rev. Diana Jordan Allende
There comes a time when most of us must assume a burden, a task , or a responsibility that we’d rather not.   Will we soldier on a Stoic, rail against our fate, or reach a point of acceptance?  “This has been given to me to do,” a UU member in a difficult situation once said to me, “so I’m going to do it the best I can.”  Herein lies wisdom and grace we all can use.
Bio:  (The Rev.) Diana Jordan Allende is Minister Emerita of the Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, having served as the full-time minister there from 1996 until the end of June,2016. She lives in Opelika, AL, with her soon-to-be-10-year-old grandson, Nathan and his sister, Jena, soon-to-be five.

Diana is active in the Auburn Ministerial Association andhas served as its president.  She has been on the Board of East Alabama AIDS Outreach and sat on the Institutional Review Board of Auburn University as a community member.  She is currently active in Alabama Arise and serves as treasurer for the Alliance for Peace and Justice. Along with members of her congregation she has spoken up for marriage equality, a living wage, against predatory lending, and on behalf of humane immigration reform.

Within the UUA and Southern Region, Diana currently serves as a Good Offices Person and has just completed her eight-year term on the national Board of Review .  

Diana’s understanding of life and ministry have been shaped by the spirituality of 12-Step programs, Quaker sensibilities which affirm, “There is that of God in everyone,” feminist/womanist perspectives, and–in no small part–by a deep love of literature.  She is a graduate of Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and Agnes Scott College.  Diana has worked with refugees, prison inmates and indigent patients at Grady Hospital in Atlanta.  She particularly values the role of faith in the face of challenge. 

She enjoys reading, public radio, and marveling at both the birds at her feeder and all that blooms in her yard, including camellias, azaleas, gardenias, roses, perennials and a small vegetable garden.

July 17 – The Inherent Worth and Dignity of Each Person…are you kidding me?

Member, Bob Nixon, will lead the congregation in a discussion of our first UU Principal, “The inherent worth and dignity of every person.”

The Inherent Worth and Dignity of Each Person…..are you kidding me?

Twelve years ago, Rev Davidson Loehr gave a theme talk entitled “Why Unitarian Universalism is Dying” at the First UU Church of Austin. Within that talk, Loehr writes:

“…our [Unitarian Universalist] definition of the human condition seems content with asserting an inherent worth and dignity. Only that? Only goodness? Just a big happy face? What about inherent evil? What about our inherent gullibility, foolishness, or selfishness? What about our tendency toward self-absorption and the rest of the shadow sides that complete the make-up of the human condition: what of them? If all these potentialities are present, then we need the ability to make necessary distinctions between the inherent (or adherent) parts of us that are silly, self-absorbed, etc. And you don’t do that by uncritically affirming the inherent worth and dignity of people, as though that’s all that’s in there.

“If strict Calvinists err by overemphasizing original sin, it is surely more dangerous to ignore it, and to cover the human condition with a childish happy face.”

Is there an issue with the fundamental first value of the UU? Are our foundations cracked? What does our first value really mean?

July 10 – “Annual Poetry Service”

The UUFBC invites everyone to participate in it’s annual poetry celebration. Come read your favorite poem, whether it be an original you’ve written, or the cherished prose of another. If you aren’t inclined to recite, feel free to listen.

Here is a sampling from our hymnal #483

“When despair for the world grows in me and  I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my live and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.  I come into the presence of still water.  And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light.  For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”

Wendell Berry

July 3 – “Paying Homage to a Homeless Poet” – Steve Bornhoft

Five days after the massacre in Orlando, a man pouring sweat and clinging to a notebook approached Steve Bornhoft’s office and knocked on a window. Bornhoft paused, but motioned the visitor to a door and let him in. In so doing, he would find that he had admitted a disheartened soul and his dream. What unites all of us with the man and with one another? Bornhoft explores that question and finds common denominators other than fear and tragedy.
Steve Bornhoft is a former Bay County UUer who tries never to stay away for too long. He resides in Tallahassee where he works as director of editorial services for Rowland Publishing Inc., and teaches communication classes at Flagler College’s Tallahassee satellite operation. In Bay County, he was for many years the editor of the Panama City News Herald and then worked as a bank marketing director. He is an avid fisherman and a runner who may soon be reduced to jogging. He lives with his wife, Margot, and springer spaniel, Mako, both of whom have visited UU-Bay County in the past.

June 26 – “To See Who’s There” ~ New Poems by Nonnie Augustine

Nonnie will read poems that were composed in response to several years of researching her ancestry. She discovered people who seemed to want to speak to her about their lives and she has written story-poems for them. A Saxon baron, an Irish beggar in Liverpool, a devout French Canadian mother, a Loup-garou and her great-uncle Jeremiah are some of the people you will hear from or about this morning.

Nonnie Augustine was a professional dancer with a B.F.A. from The Juilliard School, co-founder of The Albuquerque Dance Theatre, and an instructor at the University of New Mexico. After a dance injury she became a special education teacher and taught in Florida and Maryland. In 2002 she wrote a bad novel, but then went on to poems and short fiction, which has gone better. She was the poetry editor of The Linnet’s Wings from 2007 until 2014. Her poetry collection, One Day Tells its Tale to Another, was named by Kirkus Review to “Best Books of 2013.” In 2014, she won the 16th Glass Woman Prize. (“To See Who’s There” is her second book and it is looking for a publisher with great patience and unflagging hope.)

June 12 – “Myth Within the Garden” – George Stevenson

Can any reasonable explanation be made of early Hebrew writings concerning creation?  Controversy continues over differences in Biblical creation stories and school biology classes.  Let’s take a different look at where the problem lies.

George Stevenson is a long-time member of UUFBC.

June 5 -“This Is What Being LGBT is Like Around the World” – TED Talk

As a gay couple in San Francisco, Jenni Chang and Lisa Dazols had a relatively easy time living the way they wanted. But outside the bubble of the Bay Area, what was life like for people still lacking basic rights? They set off on a world tour in search of “Supergays,” LGBT people who were doing something extraordinary in the world. In 15 countries across Africa, Asia and South America — from India, recently home to the world’s first openly gay prince, to Argentina, the first country in Latin America to grant marriage equality — they found the inspiring stories and the courageous, resilient and proud Supergays they had been looking for.


May 29 – “The ‘F’ Word” – Tiffany Sapp

As our Religious Exploration Coordinator Tiffany Sapp takes her leave of her position here at UUFBC to continue working toward being a Unitarian Universalist Minister, she invites us to explore a word that holds great negative meaning to some and great positive meaning to others.  Discover how the word “faith” can mean more than blind, unquestioning obedience, or belief in the unbelieveable, but can rather be a word to signify a person’s deepening of their relationship with themselves and the world around them.

May 22 – “When We Are Gathered” – Cathy Rifenburg

We will explore what it means to be in community with one another.  Cathy will facilitate discussion as to what it means to seek our best selves and how that prompts us to strive for the good of our congregation.

May 15 – “Volunteer Appreciation” – Chris Dixon

“It takes a lot of time & talent to keep the UU Fellowship of Bay County running smoothly! Please come enjoy a Sunday service dedicated to recognizing and thanking our many wonderful volunteers.”

May 8 – “Perfectly Imperfect: A Celebration of Mothers” – Nikki Simons

We will be exploring what it means to be a modern mother in a society that expects perfection. We will share motherly confessions and learn to embrace and take pride in the quirks and imperfections that make us unique and powerful forces in the lives of our children and families. The children will join us to share their perspective on what makes their mom unique and present the mothers with special gifts.

Nikki Simon is a mother of three, a licensed cosmetologist, small business owner, and currently pursuing a degree in History Education at Gulf Coast State College. She fills her spare time with volunteer work at UUFBC teaching Kid’s RE, organizing art nights, summer programs, and special events for the UU kid’s. Working with the Social Justice Team is another passion of hers.

May 1 – “Celebrating Our Religious Explorations Coordinator – Tiffany Sapp”

An intergenerational service with Canova Henderson and Sandi Dielenschneider as Service Leaders

We will explore what it means to be in community with one another.  Cathy will facilitate discussion as to what it means to seek our best selves and how that prompts us to strive for the good of our congregation.

April 24 – “A Conversation About the Planet” by Candis Harbison

In celebration of Earth Day 2016, member Candis Harbison, will present a program entitled “A Conversation About the Planet.”  Candis is active in many environmental organizations and is the past president of Bay County Conservancy.

April 17 – “The Worth of Teachers” – Jeri Johnson

Jeri Johnson, a Friend of the Fellowship, is a retired elementary school teacher who served 27 years in the public school system of Bay County, Florida.  Most of her years of teaching were in the early childhood/primary classes.  She has a B.S. in Management Studies, where she spent six years in business before going back to school before becoming a teacher.  She has a B.S. in Elementary Education and is certified to teach Library Science, which she served as an elementary school librarian for five years.  After retiring from the public school system, she, while searching for another meaningful career, occupies her time and energies as a public school substitute.

April 10 – “The Future of the Mind” – Richard Baldwin

Richard Baldwin’s presentation will explore the development of artificial intelligence and its implications for human existence in the future.

He comes to us with an impressive set of credentials:

Richard Baldwin, PhD, Professor of History at Gulf Coast State College since 1991.
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, M.DIv.
Florida State University, M.A. in Classics.
Florida State University, Ph.D. in Humanities (Major: Classics; Minor: Modern Period)

Classes taught at FSU: Latin, Greek, Classical Mythology, Greek & Latin Elements in English Vocabulary, Humanities I.

Classes taught at Gulf Coast State College: Western Civilization I, Western Civilization II, Introduction to Religion, Introduction to Religion in America, Classical Philosophy, Honors Classical Mythology.

April 3 – “Animal Conservation and Preservation” – Jack Livingston

Jack Livingston is a freshman at Arnold High School.  He enjoys playing in the Arnold High School band, as well as teaching himself music on other instruments such as the piano and ukulele.  Jack has always had an interest in animals and hopes to become a future veterinarian.  The recent drop in animal populations around the world effects him greatly.  Jack hopes that by presenting this talk on “Animal Conservation and Preservation,” that he will raise awareness to this topic and hopefully get others involved as well.

March 27 – “Planting Our Hopes” – Intergenerational – Christo Mikhail

A few weeks ago our children and youth used the democratic process to select how they spend the money they’ve collected throughout the year.  They chose to grow food to feed the hungry.  As we bless and plant the seeds that our future leaders have bought for us, we connect to our hopes for a future where all will be fed.

March 20 – “May You Be Blessed” – Serena Dee Latiolais

Blessings abound, all around us.   In the course of our daily lives we are blessed by others and we bless others, many times without even being aware of it.  Today, during the interactive spring equinox ceremony, after a brief discussion about blessings, those who wish to participate, will be giving a SpringTime blessing to ourselves, to others, or the UU!  ”

Mar 13 – “A Women’s Place” – Ruby Jo Faust

Ruby Jo Faust, a UUFBC member, will speak to us on a history of local women that have influenced our world. “I will relate how I became much more active in politics here in Bay County than I had ever been before.” said Ruby Jo.

Ruby Jo Faust grew up on a farm in Dale County, Alabama, and attended Auburn University.  For more than 30 years, she and her husband lived, worked, and brought up their three children in Brevard County, Florida.  After retiring, they moved to Bay County in 2004.
On her Facebook page, she describes herself as a lifelong bibliophile, wife, mother, teacher, grandmother, retiree, volunteer, RV traveler, birdwatcher, and latter-day political junkie.  She joined UUFBC in 2009, has served briefly on the Board, and is active in our Social Justice projects

Mar 6 – Teaching Confucius – Dan Hudson

Dan Hudson is an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Gulf Coast State College. Dan has a M.S. in Counseling and Psychology from Troy University and a M. Div. from Emory University as well as post graduate studies with Harvard University and teaches a diverse collection of courses at the college including Developmental Psychology, General Psychology, World Religions, Eastern Religions, Ethics and Biomedical Ethics. Dan’s professional career spans many years working with a non-profit agency on the beach, hospice care, marriage and family counseling and currently teaching at Gulf Coast State College. Dan has been married 28 years and has 3 children.

Feb 28 – Who are we really? – Phoebe Masker

The program topic is about the possibility of reincarnation.

Phoebe Masker
Born in Panama City, but raised on a farm in Chipley, Florida. Graduate of Florida State University. Former restaurant owner for 18 years, currently local Building Contractor for past 18 years and Wellness Coach.
Has served on numerous charitable Boards including Girls Club, United Cerebral Palsy, Children’s Home Society, Habitat for Humanity, and Unity of Panama City.
Has been trained as a Unity Chaplain.
Is single with two rescue cats.

Feb. 21 – Songs of Protest and Change – The 60’s Revisited- Ken Sizemore

Ken Sizemore visited three different concerts that took place during that decade, each with a different and distinct theme addressing the major issues of that time.  One concert was in support of civil rights, a second concert in opposition to and lamenting the heartbreak and futility of war, and a third performance in support of the environment.  He will recall the singers and song writers who performed at each event, and sing the songs that they sang, inviting members of the congregation to “sing along”.

Ken Sizemore, a member of our Fellowship, has been performing folk music all over the country for more than 55 years. As a folk singer and guitarist, Ken plays the “Classic Folk Music” of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.  He visits an average of 34 to 35 UU congregations a year, performing concerts and coffee houses, and delivering Folk Music based, UU themed musical Sunday services.

Feb. 14 – Going Nowhere, Going Somewhere – Rev. Marti Keller

Summers are most typically the time when we spend some time traveling–  and  in mid winter dreaming about it. We will explore the tradition of pilgrimage, a journey or search of moral or spiritual significance. Typically it is a visit to a shrine or other location of importance to a person’s beliefs beliefs and faith. It might be a trip to the Holy Land, to Greece, to Mecca– or in the case of photographer Annie Leibowitz: Concord Massachussetts, Graceland in Memphis, and  the Ghost Ranch in New Mexico.
Or simply staying still.

Rev. Keller has been a parish and beyond  congregational UU minister for the past 17 years. In these roles she has traveled extensively, including in this past year an extended stay in San Miguel de Allende Mexico, and this  past summer Dublin Ireland.

Feb. 7 – Ordinary Miracles – Rev. Cheryl Jack

Rev. Cheryl Jack (who likes to be called Cher) received her Master of Divinity degree from Meadville Lombard, one of two UU theological schools. Meadville is affiliated with the University of Chicago. Cher is Minister Emerita of the UU Congregation of Durham Region in Southern Ontario…which she founded in 1997. She and her husband Andy and BFF Domino have been staying at Panama City Beach since Jan. 1 and are enjoying their first trip to the Panhandle.

 Jan 31 – Where Have All the Aspirational Leaders Gone, Long Time Passing? by Steve Bornhoft
Hate, invective, disparagement, fear-mongering, divisiveness — all figure prominently in presidential politics, 2016. Is this something new? If so, what does that say about us? Where might one look to find aspirational leaders who, rather than summoning toxic vapors, appeals to our hearts and souls and inspires us to be our best selves?

Guest speaker, Steve Bornhoft, is the editor of Tallahassee magazine and the director of editorial services for Rowland Publishing, Inc. He was, for 15 years, the editor of the Panama City News Herald and, for 13 years, worked as a marketing director in Bay County for two banks. He taught communication classes as an adjunct professor at Florida State University in Panama City for five years and was a member of the Lifelong Learning Division faculty at Gulf Coast State College for 15 years. He served for a time as a board member and treasurer at the UU Fellowship of Bay County. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Margot, and their springer spaniel, Mako.

Jan 24 – From a Long Time Ago, In a Galxaxy Far, Far Away to Today by Christopher Moreno

A view of morality and value as applied to the principles of the well known Jedi Knights and the infamous Sith Order based on objectivity, perspective, and practical application of established teachings.

Christopher Moreno is from Texas and served in the United States Air Force for 12 years.  He enlisted as a Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape Specialist and later becoming an Instructor as well.  He has worked the last 10 years as a Command and Control Battle Management Operator with specialization as a Weapons Director.  Christopher speaks several languages to include Spanish as well as some Hangul, Arabic, and American Sign Language.  He identifies as a Secular Humanist and is married to Allegra Moreno and they have a two year old son, Judeas Emerson Vader Moreno.

Jan 17 – “MLK as Tragedy: Lessons for Unitarian Universalists’ by Rev. Fred Howard

The story of the life and death of Martin Luther King, Jr. has been told and retold with a thousand different spins.  But I daresay that my sermon today will examine it from a perspective that few if any have ever considered.  I look forward to sharing one of my recent provocative insights into the way his story has been treated by our society and by our faith tradition.  King’s legacy may still have things to teach us – if we are willing to let it.

Jan 10 – “A Lively Discussion on the 7th Principle” by Tiffany Sapp

Join us as UU  Member and RE Coordiantor, Tiffany Sapp, leads us in a lively discussion of our 7th Principle…”RESPECT FOR THE INTERDEPENDENT WEB OF ALL EXISTENCE OF WHICH WE ARE A PART”.

Reflection on the Seventh Principle

“Our seventh Principle, respect for the interdependent web of all existence, is a glorious statement. Yet we make a profound mistake when we limit it to merely an environmental idea. It is so much more. It is our response to the great dangers of both individualism and oppression. It is our solution to the seeming conflict between the individual and the group.

“Our seventh Principle may be our Unitarian Universalist way of coming to fully embrace something greater than ourselves. The interdependent web—expressed as the spirit of life, the ground of all being, the oneness of all existence, the community-forming power, the process of life, the creative force, even God—can help us develop that social understanding of ourselves that we and our culture so desperately need. It is a source of meaning to which we can dedicate our lives.”

—Rev. Forrest Gilmore, Executive Director of Shalom Community Center, Bloomington, IN (read more from Forrest in The Seven Principles in Word and Worship, ed. Ellen Brandenburg)

Jan 3 –  “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Rev Nels Oas