Summerfield: UU Fellowship of Marion County

The UU Fellowship of Marion County (UUFMC) 2013-2014

 In Partnership, in Support in the wider Community: 

The Hispanic Community:  near the church and beyond:

Immigrant Support:   UUFMC and a local Hispanic community have shared fellowship and mutual assistance for the past three years.  Dozens of our members participate in these activities.  For example, we assist with transportation to medical and other appointments.

Youth of Local Hispanic Community:   The youth of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Marion County (UUFMC) celebrated Three Kings Day with our counterparts from our local Hispanic partner community.  A party with music, food and gifts was held at UUFMC and was attended by about 50 children and adults.  The week before the party, a preparation day was attended at the Fellowship with adults and children preparing decorations for the party.  Food was provided for the party by the Hispanic women and women of the fellowship.

Immigration Reform:   Delegations led by Rev. Janet Onnie, of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Marion County (Florida), and Rev. Kathy Schmitz of the First Unitarian Church of Orlando met with Senator Marco Rubio and other elected officials in support of compassionate immigration policy reform at the local office.

Afro-American Support: 

Martin Luther King Jr. Parade in Ocala:    UUFMC marches each year in Ocala’s MLK Day parade, held on the MLK Holiday.  Our delegation of 15-20 marchers was one of only two Caucasian religious institutions in the parade.  Our delegation consisted of adults and children of our RE program.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast:  Each year UUFMC is a leading financial contributor to the annual MLK Scholarship Breakfast in the Villages.  Now we have established a trade/professional school scholarship, and our Minister, Rev. Onnie, has been placed on the MLK Scholarship Committee Board.  Our first scholarship will be awarded in January 2016.  It will bear the fellowship’s name, UUFMC, and the name of the man who provided the seed money to start this funding, Alex Sabo.  It is fully funded to provide the scholarship in the same amount as the MLK Scholarship committee will award to their students next January.  The money has been raised in the last several years by the Social Justice Committee yearly rummage sale.

Welcoming and Supporting:

Welcoming Congregation UUA Recognition:   Carried out nearly two dozen programs and initiatives intended to educate and sensitize the UUFMC community in preparation for UUA recognition as a Welcoming Congregation.  Received notice that UUFMC’s application to be recognized as a “Welcoming Congregation” for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer persons (LGBTQ) was approved by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA).

Gay-Straight Alliance:   Actively support the right of students to establish Gay-Straight Alliance clubs to help counter bullying in Lake County schools, by issuing statements and participating in public Lake County School Board meetings.  Our minister, Reverend Onnie, entered an oral statement into the record.

GLBT Rights Forum:   Dr. Joyce Hamilton Henry, Director of the Mid-Florida Regional Office of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)  in Tampa addressed our Sunday morning Forum, explaining the Gay-Straight Alliance issue in public schools-especially the current situation in Lake County.

Public Showing of Gen Silent, a GLBT movie:   Hosted a public screening, at UUFMC, of the award-winning documentary film, Gen Silent. Over 100 people attended.

Rainbow Family of the Villages Expo:   Communicated our support of the GLBTQ community by exhibiting at the Rainbow Family of the Villages Expo.  Information on UUFMC was provided.  This was the first GLBTQ Expo held in The Villages, Fl.

Ocala Pride Festival: This year we had a well-attended booth at the Ocala Pride Festival.

Beyond Florida: 

Moral March:  Our 13-strong Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Marion County (UUFMC) group was proud to be the largest Florida delegation to participate in the Mass Moral March in Raleigh, NC. Members traveled by plane, car and train.

Service Learning Trip to Haiti:  UUFMC President, Margaret Wineman, organized a UUSC/UUCSJ service-learning trip to Haiti.  Participants worked with members of the Papaye Peasant Movement (MPP) on such projects as building new homes, constructing food gardens using recycled tires, and contributing to other sustainability initiatives.  Six members from UUFMC participated and seven other UU’s from around Florida and as far away as NY.  The trip was organized by UUFMC in collaboration with the Unitarian Universalist College of Social Justice (UUCSJ). The UUCSJ is a joint initiative between national Unitarian Universalist Association headquartered in Boston and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC).  The MPP is a UUSC partner.

Religious Freedom:  Participated in a panel discussion on “Religious Freedom” held by the Tri-County Interfaith Alliance of The Villages.  This was held in Leesburg, Florida.  The panel consisted of religious leaders from local faith institutions.  UUFMC Minister, Rev. Janet Onnie, serves as President of the Tri-County Interfaith.


5th Sunday Collections: Each 5th Sunday UUFMC presents a local organization that services local social justice issues in our area.  They present their organization at our 30 minute Forum, along with a 15 minute Q&A.  (ie, food banks, Patriot Dogs, local MLK Scholarship foundation)  The donations made during our service are donated to that local organization.

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