Welcome to CommUUnique – a forum for news, events, and discussion for the Unitarian Universalist Church of Oak Cliff (in Dallas, TX).

We have decided to bring our monthly newsletter into the 21st Century and put it into blog format. Rather than putting out a monthly PDF newsletter, it will be updated on a regular basis and articles will be posted as soon as possible after they arrive in my inbox.

Everyone will also be able to comment on any of the articles posted. (Please note that all initial comments may be held for moderation and you’ll need to supply your name and email address.)  You don’t need to do anything to read our content, only to comment.

We are dedicated to keeping discussions respectful and loving, in keeping with the church’s Covenant.  Anyone who seeks to create dissonance will be removed. This does not mean we will not tolerate disagreements; it simply means we ask that those who disagree to remember there are sometimes many equally valid perceptions to any point.

If you have an article, photos, or information you would like to see published here, you  may send them to ella-editor@oakcliffuu.org.

Beth Ferree
CommUUnique Editor

Latest CommUUnique News & Events:

Join us this Sunday for a special service presented by Sarah Nejdl, Executive Director of Families to Freedom

Families to Freedom provides survivors of domestic violence free long-distance transportation to reunite with family or get to shelter far away.


From our Leadership Development Committee:

We need at least two, likely three, more to join the Leadership Development Committee, and we are looking for a couple of people to help manage our annual fundraiser.

Please contact Robertus van der Wege if you can help!

And congratulations to our new board treasurer, Dan Brown!

Want to have a BIG impact on the littler members of our church?

RE is looking for volunteers!

Help the next generation to become kind, respectful, fair-minded, caring people strong enough to side with love and fight for justice!

Please contact Kathy Kauffman Kinkaid


Is the Second Sunday Jazz Jam on your radar?
We’ve been doing this for years, and we’re still finding out that many in our church family don’t know about it! Can everyone please help spread the word? It’s fun, it’s free. And we make some great music!
Do you love playing Jazz?
Do you love singing Jazz?
Do you love listening to jazz?

Would you enjoy listening to Jazz in a quiet setting while having a glass of wine or cold beer or soda and letting the sounds take you away to places you enjoy?

The jam will start at 5 pm and end around 7 pm. Admission is FREE!!!

If you come to listen, feel free to bring food and beverage (nothing harder than beer or wine) for yourself or to share. We have had listeners even bring a candelabra to decorate their table for the evening..

Come planning on having a great time and hearing some of the finest musicians in the Metroplex.

Invite a friend to come with you. The admission is free but the experience is priceless!!!

The Concept of the Goddess
Oct. 14th, Nov. 4th & 11th
A new religious education offering from the UUCOC Young Adults – All adults are welcome.

This four-part series will look at the phenomenon of Goddess Worship, from ancient sects to the modern renewal in feminine faith paths, as well as the Goddesses themselves.

Do you want to know where to go to connect with our church, our members, and our community?

We’ve created a new page on the website to break down all of the exciting options now available:

Coffee Help Needed!  

We could still use additional volunteers to help with the Sunday morning coffee & snacks.

There will be no coffee without volunteers to make it!

Contact Jose at coffee@oakcliffuu.org


Recognize Oct 7
Kendall Scott 10/03/2015
Anita Mills 10/04/2009
Kathy Grey 10/05/2003
Scott Grey 10/05/2003
Nancy Johnstone 10/05/2003
Accala Kessler 10/05/2014
Jason Kessler 10/05/2014

Recognize Oct 14
Diane Castillo 10/12/2008

Recognize Oct 21
Benita Davila 10/20/2013
Joseph Davila 10/20/2013

Recognize Oct 28
Carol Stephens 10/26/2014
Darvin Stephens 10/26/2014

Promoting Safety & Security at UUCOC






We need a few folks with a perceptive eye and a desire to help make our church more safe and secure. Items of focus might include:
• Reviewing First Aid kits & equipment
• Creating evacuation plans
• Maintaining smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
• Considering classes such as CPR, self-defense for women
And we know the right people will find even more items that need attention!
If you are interested, please contact Rita at admin@oakcliffuu.org by September 23rd.


Justice Without Bitterness

The trouble with social justice work is that we never reach our destination – there’s always more to do. Too often, we end up angry, disillusioned, and bitter – which makes it hard to continue. There are ways to stay in the game while keeping an open heart.

Will Handy will be in our pulpit.

We Are Building a Garden! Saturday, September 15th Register Today! On Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018 (10AM-1PM), For Oak Cliff will be partnering with The Mission Continues for a National Day of Service as we build our 10th Street Community Garden (1300 E. Clarendon Dallas, TX 75203). We will be constructing raised planter boxes, picnic tables, a shade structure and more! Kids will even have the opportunity to paint picnic tables and add their creative input into this community space! This is our first of many garden spaces in the Super Block, and we’d be happy to share this experience with you! Register here; https://www.missioncontinues.org/event/details?id=a1l1W000006TJzfQAG For Oak Cliff

Recognize Sept 2
Renee Brill – August

Recognize Sep 9
Jan Brubaker 09/05/2010
Chris Kajzer 09/05/2014
Johnnie Chatman 09/06/2016
Annie McNamara 09/08/2016
George Gregory 09/08/2014
Jim Klipp 09/09/1996

Recognize Sep 16
Chris Snively 09/11/2005

Recognize Sep 23
Roy DeLay 09/17/1978
Emily Brock 09/21/1997

Recognize Sep 30
Rick Martinez 09/24/2017
Yecenia Martinez 09/24/2017
Allison Brim 09/27/2016
Susan Ammons 09/30/1984

Promoting Safety & Security at UUCOC
We need a few folks with a perceptive eye and a desire to help make our church more safe and secure. Items of focus might include:
• Reviewing First Aid kits & equipment
• Creating evacuation plans
• Maintaining smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
• Considering classes such as CPR, self-defense for women
And we know the right people will find even more items that need attention!

If you are interested, please contact Rita at admin@oakcliffuu.org by September 23rd.

This Sunday, August 19th, the children will come to the sanctuary at the beginning of the service where they will be given a token to attach to their backpack and a blessing from Renee Brill. After each child has received a blessing they will then return to the Hope building for RE.

On Sunday, August 12th we asked the congregation to choose the three issues they would like to see the Texas UU Justice Ministry focus on in the 2019 legislative session. They were provided with a ballot offering these possibilities:

  • Criminal Justice Reform (e.g. pretrial diversion, alternatives to incarceration, re-entry support) 
  • Economic Justice (e.g. minimum wage, access to health care, affordable housing) 
  • Environmental Justice (e.g. plastic bag bans, fracking, water resources) 
  • Gun Control (e.g. open/campus carry, assault rifles, gun storage) 
  • Immigration (e.g. local cooperation with ICE, border security, family detention centers) 
  • Public Education (e.g. state funding, standards/curriculum, special education) 
  • Reproductive/Gender Justice (e.g. access to abortion/birth control, sex ed in schools, LGBT/transgender rights) 
  • Voting Rights (e.g. voter identification, online voter registration, early/mail-in voting)

The results were:

  1. Economic Justice
  2. Voting Rights
  3. Immigration

Thank you for your help! Our representatives to the TXUUJM will be Barbara Fudge and Annie McNamara.

There is nothing more important to us than the safety and well-being of those who use our facilities. With that in mind, we are currently updating our security. Please refrain from propping doors open or leaving them unlocked if you leave the building. More information will be available as soon as the new policies are in place. Thank you for helping us all out!

We have some leftover wood from the construction of the new stage that are being stored in the shed for right now. Yours for the asking. Also – the remaining pieces of the original stage will be hauled off later this week. If you have a use for any of the timber or plywood, we’d love to see it recycled. (Look for the pile behind and to the east of the church mailbox.)


(Aug. 5, 12, 19, and 26)

Many of us as Unitarian Universalists come to this faith after a long, and decidedly troubled relationship with traditional religions. And most often, the religion in question is Christianity. It can take a long time to come to terms with our past problems and to take a fresh, unbiased look at the faith again. This is the purpose of the Phoenix Affirmations.

This month-long study group will look at this new liberal form of Christianity, a critical foundation of Unitarian Universalism, and see it for the loving and inclusive religion it strives to be.

This study group is open to the entire church community. It will take place each Sunday in August from 12:30 to 1:30 pm in the Charity North Meeting Room.


This Sunday, August 5th, The longtime social activist and UUCOC member Mavis Belisle will take our pulpit to discuss the impact of music on social change. And the impact of social change on music.

The video of the hardworking, cheerful crew putting in the new stage reminded me of a similar Saturday when the Faith building was built.
To save money, we told the contractor that we would lay the tiles in the sanctuary and about half the membership turned out for the task. We cut the angles on the tiles on the south wall, applied the gooey adhesive and laid one row after another. You’ve never seen so many Unitarians on their knees!
Elaine Wildman
(if you’re looking for a year, it was about a year before the end of the term of the minister who preceded Don Fielding)

The Women’s retreat is October 5-7

The Men’s retreat is coming Oct 19-21, 2018

Registration is still open for you to come and enjoy a quiet weekend with familiar faces and new friends at UBarU!
Lodging in the Dwight & Marie Brown Center along with your meals from Friday dinner – Sunday breakfast are included.
Early Bird cost is $150 for the weekend. Arrive after 4 p.m. on Friday

A rejuvenating time for fun, quiet and renewal is awaiting you in the Texas Hill Country.


Recognize on August 5th
Robertus van der Wege 08/02/2015

Recognize August 19th
Gerald Dollinger 08/13/2009

Recognize August 26th
Alice Ewing-Warren 08/25/2015

Recognize September 2nd
Renee Brill 08/28/2011

We are invited to an 80th birthday celebration for Rev. Don Fielding. For those whom may not know, he served as our Minister from 1990 to 2003.

WHERE: 706 Villanova Court in Allen, Texas

WHEN: Saturday, August 4, 2018

WHAT: 80th birthday party for Don Fielding

HOW: By bringing your rad self, your bathing suit and your appetite; but, no gifts, please!

If you have any questions or need additional info contact Brenda Fielding at 972-841-3444.


There will be a Labor Day weekend star party on August 31- September 3. Enjoy a weekend under the stars! Lectures and planetary mysteries explored with adults and supervised children. But, earth space is limited so register soon at http://ubaru.org/home/starParty.

Dark sky photos by John Phelps who will lead a workshop at the Star Party!

Something New for UU!
Info in the Pass Through
Stop by the new Information Hub between the foyer and the sanctuary to peruse a variety of brochures, magazines, leaflets and more that might be of interest to UUs. Information will change weekly, so make it a Sunday morning habit to stop by!

Discovering the Multiple Layers of UU
Renée Brill will be leading this program.

Starting at 11:15 am
June 24th to July 29th in the Hope Chapel

I never realized how very lucky I was to have my father until I became an adult. During the first eight years of my life he traveled as an attorney for the State of Iowa’s job division. We saw him only on weekends when he was exhausted, but he still managed to find some time to spend with me. In 1969, he decided to quit his job and start a law practice from home so he could spend time with his family.

That transition was difficult since it meant there would be no money coming in for some time. My father was also a very giving soul who would agree to draw up contracts and divorces for barter. We had live chickens in the backyard once and all five of us kids participated in cleaning the carcasses so we could eat for the next month or so. As I grew up our house became something like the Winchester mansion in California. Carpenters and plumbers passing through to work off their legal fees.

I knew from a young age my father was eccentric and an oddity in our small town. My brothers would set up lotteries at school to determine what friend would be allowed to have dinner with us that night. We were each given one night a week to bring a friend in and, for that reason alone, our house was popular.

Dinner would occasionally consist of such things as fish with heads still intact. Dad would entertain us all by throwing the eyes up in the air and catching them in his mouth. I don’t remember him ever missing. But, even more popular, were our dinner conversations. We did not talk about what we did that day, we spoke of war and civil rights, literature and world politics. It was a debate on each subject and you were expected to take a side. Dad didn’t care which side you took as long as you could defend your position. I was the only seven year old I knew who was fully cognizant of the  Vietnam War. Even at that young age I was expected to have some insight. But, there were few free for alls. Even I, the youngest, was treated respectfully when I expressed my views. It was often a different matter in other contexts, but the dinner table was sacrosanct.

As a teenager my father began to embarass me. He showed up at school to register the senior class as voters. He ran for County Attorney, he was a force within the Democrat Party and everyone knew him. It was some time before I understood what he was fighting for and took up the mantle.

My father was not like most fathers and, for that, I am, today, very grateful. I learned to fight for the rights of others and, when I became a victim myself, I channeled my father’s attitude to fight my way out of it.

This year, while I feel the strong presence of my father behind me I cannot let go of the anger that envelopes me as I think of all the fathers who have been stolen from their children. Fathers faced with deportation while their beloved children are behind bars of their own with ICE watching over them.

What we do for those families must be done now. If not, I’m afraid there will be a generation of children brought up in concentration camps, indoctrinated into thinking the parents they thought loved them dumped them for another life. We have to keep telling everyone these children are not forgotten, and never will be.

Dad also dealt with the harassment and hatred of people who didn’t like what he stood for; however, he continued to do what he thought was right, even when it meant a loss of money; and even when it meant someone stealing his ideas for their profit. I will continue to do the same.

If you’re a father, enjoy your special day. If you have a father in your life, thank him. He doesn’t have to be related by blood to be a father, only by the heart.


The Labyrinth Walk Coffee House meets this Sunday, June 17 at 12:30 PM in the sanctuary.



Open your calendar app and put a reminder there to bring nonperishable food items to church with you this Sunday. We are on a never ending mission to feed the poor and homeless in the area by helping out the Cliffwood Church of Christ across the street.

Drop off your donations in the Hope building and check up on our RE program while you’re there!

Our new breeze management system is up and going so look in your email for your invitation from Rita Jackson, our administrative assistant. Be sure to check your trash and spam folders if you don’t see it. As we all know, sometimes the important email gets hijacked.

The SHARE THE PLATE beneficiary for this quarter is The North Texas Dream Team. We collect the second Sunday of each month so this Sunday, June 10 is the next offering. Please be generous!



NTDT is an immigrant youth-led 501(c)(3) public charity.
NTDT’s mission is to advance the dreams and goals of students;
to educate and bring awareness to everyone when it comes to issues in
our communities, regardless of race or ethnicity.

You can download past issues of the OakLeaf from January of 2012 to April of 2018 from our archives.