Welcome to the OakLeaf News & Events – 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.

Another benefit of this change will be that anyone who has signed up to participate with this blog will be able to comment on any of the articles posted. (Please note that initial comments may be held for moderation.)  You don’t need to be logged in 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
OakLeaf Editor

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Latest OakLeaf News & Events:

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

Are you looking for something you can make for Father’s Day? This site gives you all sorts of ideas you can try with the kids.


From the website:
Indivisible Oak Cliff is a nonpartisan group, based in Oak Cliff, Texas. We started in January 2017, after the Inauguration, the Women’s March, and the release of the Indivisible Guide.
Our mission is supporting the values of inclusiveness, the freedoms codified in the Constitution, respect for human rights and dignity, and the peace and well-being of future  generations; and opposing government actions and officials who disregard these values.
We founded the group with passion but limited knowledge, so it took some months to get our footing, but following the interests of our members, we are now focused on voter registration and education. (More at IndivisibleOakCliff.org) NOTE: Everyone is welcome. You do not need to be a resident of OakCliff to attend

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.


Please join our Social Justice Ministry in supporting this event and opposing the inhumane policies of the current Administration, Border Patrol, and I.C.E. and join the call for immediate reform:

Please join us in showing support for children and families separated and detained at our border. We are Dallasites, we are your friends and neighbors, and we will not allow this cruel, inhumane treatment of asylum seekers to occur on our watch.

Bring your friends and families with signs to broadcast your dissent.

As Ai-jen Poo, Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, said in a recent segment on MSNBC, “The amount of outrage that’s out there and the latent power behind it… and this is just the beginning.” Bring your notebooks to make connections to organize larger events and further action in the future.

Please RSVP to this event and share it broadly with your networks!

Families Belong Together opposes the cruel, inhumane and unjustified separation of children from their parents along the U.S. border with Mexico and at other ports of entry into the U.S. We protest the conditions in which these children are kept. We protest the irreversible trauma that has already been perpetrated on these children and their parents for the crime of seeking a better life.

To separate immigrant families, victims of violence, hunger and poverty, is to re-violate them. Children as young as 18 months are torn from their mother’s arms by the U.S. government. This is violent abuse. These families are victimized again by the government to which they turn for help.

June 14th (Tomorrow) 6:00 pm – 8:00 pmCity of Dallas – City Hall
1500 Marilla St, Dallas, Texas 75201


Open to all UUCOC folks and our surrounding community. We hope this is going to be a great chance to meet our neighbors and for them to get acquainted with us.

BBQ and other goodies! Free!

Sunday, July 1st, after services

We still need volunteers for set up and tear down. Ice chests,  as well as Ice!
To help out please contact Carol Stephens.

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

The Coordinating Council meets the Second Wednesday of every month in the Hope Building at 7 PM. Everyone is welcome to attend. Ministry and Committee heads are strongly encouraged to be there.



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.

Sunday Service – June 17th:
How to Be a Good Dad
We welcome Renee Brill back to the pulpit this week.


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.

On the second Sunday of every month those who love to play, sing or listen to jazz tunes gather in the sanctuary to have some fun! Next one is June 10 from 5-7 PM. Be there or be square!

Remember players to bring your REAL book (not the invisible friend variety) to use when playing. (Hal Leonard 6th Edition, Volumes 1&2). All tips are divided evenly among players.

Everyone is encouraged to bring food and drink. Nothing stronger than beer or wine, please. We want to get down, not fall down.

(Side note from editor: did you know boogie woogie music originated in Texas? It was first played here in 1870!)

UUCOC has another new way to keep our connection and our energy going throughout the week! Join our Closed Facebook Group, UUCOC TalkBack, and connect with other members outside of Sunday mornings. Continue discussions brought up in Sunday Talk Back, share cares and concerns about the world we live in, or just meet up as friends and a community to share the joys of UU and of life!

Use the link below and click on “Join” to request membership.

As in our Sunday TalkBacks, we request that everyone be treated with respect and that all our discussions are kept in covenant, and within these “walls.” Discussion on most topics is encouraged, but In order to maintain fun and open communication, please be respectful of other members, and be mindful of our covenant when posting:
  • We honor each individual’s spiritual journey.
  • We celebrate life’s abundance in service to each other, our community, and the world.
  • We connect with each other in love, respect, and acceptance.

Hi Friends,

I hope you enjoy our UBarU Camp & Retreat Center Newsletter.

Lots of great things happening out here in Mountain Home.

Planning a gathering? Think UBarU!

Hope to see you soon.

Kind Regards,

Robyn Stout                                                                                              

Executive Director – UBarU Camp & Retreat Center


Donations to UBarU Camp & Retreat Center are always tax-deductible!  We appreciate your generosity.

Photo below by John Phelps

This week The Wrecking Crew built a new bench for the Labyrinth. Since it was created with treated lumber, it will need to dry for a month or so before being placed.


It’s a real “benchmark” for our church. (Virtual tomatoes may now be thrown.)

In this 2006 documentary, filmmaker Rick Ray meets with Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama at his monastery in Dharamsala, India. Rare historical footage is combined with hidden camera footage from within Tibet to create a film that is part biography, part philosophy, part adventure and part politics. This film opens a window into the heart of an inspiring man.

If you have a business you would like to see advertised here on our blog, please let us know. We will place a banner in the sidebar on the main page with your information. These banners will rotate so each business will be featured regularly.

We ask that each business featured donate whatever they can so we can offset the expenses of the website and blog. You can contact me at ella-editor@oakcliffuu.org with details or Scott Grey at webmaster@oakcliffuu.org

One of the things we’d like to see happen here is a gathering of the minds. I will regularly put issues out there for us to discuss and give everyone an opportunity to voice their thoughts. To participate you will need to register and create a username and password here in the blog. If you already have a registration for the church website I apologize for the inconvenience, but combining management of the blog and the website credentials would be a significant expense.

If you have a topic you’d like us to discuss, please contact me at ella-editor@oakcliffuu.org.

On May 6 we celebrated Beltane, an ancient Irish tradition that is still practiced today by Wicca and NeoPagan communities. It is a time to usher in growth, new life and fertility. The maypole is decorated with flowers and ribbons. It was used to dance around in hopes of fertility and a good union. It’s too soon to tell if it happened to work for any of our young couples.

Beltane is traditionally celebrated on May 1, or as close to that date as possible. It is the midway point between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice, or the unofficial beginning of summer. In ancient Gaelic times, the houses were decorated with flowers, cows were brought out to their summer pasture and bonfires were set. The fire, smoke and ash were thought to protect the farming community and animals so the celebrants would walk near the fire, or, often, between two. They would walk their cattle among the fires as well for the protection the gods would provide.

The photos below show some of the ways in which our congregation celebrated this tradition.


On May 2, 1961, thirty people signed a charter application to have UUA recognize their small group as a church. Two weeks later, the UUA approved their charter and the UUCOC was born. One of those charter members was Elaine Wildman who still attends to this day.

On Sunday, May 20, 2018, Elaine regaled us with her tales of how the church began and what life was like for those original members. We are honored to have Elaine with us to share these memories.

Social Justice Meeting

First Sunday of every month

12:30 PM

Coordinating Council Meeting

Second Wednesday of every month

7:00 PM in Faith

LWCH Planning Meeting

Third Sunday of every month

12:30 PM

Worship Ministry Meeting

Fourth Sunday of every month

12:30 PM

UUCOC Board Meeting

Fourth Tuesday of every month

7:00 PM in Faith

Board of Trustees: (1 year term)

President: Vijay Tanwar (2018)

Vice President: Darvin Stephens (2018)

Secretary: Susan Ammons (2018)

Board of Trustees (2 year term)

Treasurer: Ben Marmaduke (2019)


Jose Espericuenta (2019)

Charlie Cranford (2019)

Kathy Grey (2018)

Past President

Dan Brown

Endowment Fund Managers ( 3 years)

Sherri van der Wege (2019)

Jim Klipp (2018)
[Appointed to fill the remainder of Dave Biehl’s term]

Stephen Betzen (2020)

Leadership Development Committee ( 2 years)

Chair: Brad Guerrero-Neri (2019)

Barbara Fudge (2018)

Becky Brown (2018)

Robertus van der Wege (2019)

Gus Warren (2019)

[ed. note: This will be updated by July 1 to reflect those who were elected in April]

Youth Astronomy Camp is Aug 2-5, 2018

Over the long weekend campers will be immersed in a variety of astronomy-related activities including: nightly observing and star parties, leaning how to recognize constellations to navigate through the night sky, an introduction to imaging with smaller telescopes, solar viewing, and sky lore about the background and naming of constellations and astronomical objects. There will also be enough free time to enjoy the other amenities at UBarU such as, swimming, hiking, labyrinth walking, and any of a variety of games such as ping pong, foosball and horseshoes.

Register with the button on this website or go to http://ubaru.org/home/YouthAstronomyCamp for additional details and to register.

Cost of the camp is $275 per camper if registered by June 1st, (early bird), and $300 per camper after June 1st.


UBarU will host a Labor Day Star Party August 31- Sept 3 with lectures and viewing for adults and supervised children.  More information is available at http://ubaru.org/home/starParty and to register.


Funded by our NTUUC grant, this was the groundwork needed to start the “facelift” of our campus. We have contracted with a landscape architect to address both esthetic and practical matters — from better curb appeal to parking lot expansion and wheelchair accessibility. Watch for good things happening! (Kathy Grey)

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