Resources on Giving and Charity


The Power of Kindness by Piero Ferrucci.  Kindness may be thought of as charity writ large.  There are chapters here on generosity and gratitude that are worth perusing.

Tales of Good and Evil, Help and Harm by Philip Hallie.  The author shares uplifting stories about brave and giving communities and individuals, as well as more sobering ones about those who are marked by a charity deficit.

God and Mammon in America by Robert Wuthnow.  One of America’s most astute students of American religion, Wuthnow examines the terrain where faith and money intersect. Whether religious people more charitable than the non-religious is one of the issues he addresses.

Give and Take by Adam Grant. An organizational psychologist teases out the differences between “givers,” “takers” and “matchers” to see which kind of behavior leads to the greatest personal success.  It is wise to give more than we get?  Grant’s findings may surprise you.


“Elmer Gantry” a powerful classic film about a slick religious huckster who exploits a charismatic woman revival preacher and the people who believe in her. A cautionary tale for people with charitable instincts.

“Pay It Forward” is a charming and bittersweet tale of a youngster whose generosity inspires a community to create a chain of giving. Through his efforts he opens minds and softens hearts.

“Amelie” features a young, seemingly naïve French woman who makes it her mission to make others happy. A serious yet humorous film reflecting the better side of human nature.

“Driving Miss Daisy.” Morgan Freeman (Hoke) is hired by a wealthy industrialist to serve as his elderly mother’s (Jessica Tandy) chauffer. Despite the prejudice he faces in the 1950’s Deep South, Hoke is unfailingly charitable toward his white employer, while remaining true to himself.

It’s All About Community

By Betsy Hauser, FUS Board President

Like you, I support what makes me feel good.  And what makes me feel best is community — being a part of something important.  As a member of public radio’s community I laugh to “Wait Wait – Don’t Tell Me!” and shout out the answers to Will Shortz’ puzzler questions.   Membership in the public television community means there are others like me who glean snippets of history from Antiques Roadshow and who are awaiting the next Downton Abbey episode.

Although a for-profit, I gladly pay to be a member of my health club.  It’s a community where my absence is noted, and friendships grow in the glow of endorphins.  I go to the club because I’m buoyed by like-minded people; they encourage me to stretch myself.

The same can be said for why I support FUS.  It’s all about the community – being amongst fellow UUs, learning from them, becoming friends with and being supported by them.  Even arguing with them.  I am proud to be associated with FUS, and suspect that I glean more than I give.

As President of the congregation I see where our pledge dollars are spent.  We have talented staff, committed ministers, programs that amaze and engage, warm environs and a reasonably patent roof.  And we have us.  All told, a special community.  I’ve made my pledge for the next year – increased by 10% over current – and encourage you to do the same.  Our communal dollars will be well and wisely spent.  If you treasure our FUS community, support it.  Generously.

For more information, visit

“Evensong for Families”

with Kelly Crocker, Minister of Congregational Life

Saturdays, February 28 – March 28
9:30 to 11 a.m.
Landmark Auditorium/Hearth Room
Cost: $50 pledged families/$60 non-pledged families

Through participating in these gatherings your family will grow closer to one another and to others in our congregation. Evensong for Families is offered to support families in becoming who they want to be and in strengthening the connections between and among families. Join us for fun, for friends, for family.

Our topics:

 Gathering One  February 28 Who Is Your Family?
Gathering Two March 7 Mealtimes, Bedtimes, Hellos and Goodbyes
Gathering Three March 14 Birthdays, Holidays and Things You Love to Do Together
Gathering Four March 21 Good Times and Bad and Your family’s Ten Commandments
Gathering Five March 28 Celebrate Your Family

Rev. Kelly Crocker has been a minister at FUS since July of 2001. In that time, she and her husband, Dan, have added two boys to their family. She looks forward to sharing the joy of family life with others, learning and sharing right along with you. 


“Internal Dialogs” – Many Types of Love and Charity

From Sasha Ostrom, Intern minister

The first time I encountered the idea of charity as something more than just charitable giving was back at my home congregation in Arizona.  One Sunday morning during worship, the service leader preached about the different types of love in ancient Greek thought.  There was of course romantic love—eros—the kind of love shared between lovers and the root of the word “erotic”.  There was the non-physical or platonic love—philia—shared between close friends.  And there was the kind of love that I now always think of as “storage love”—storge—which actually has nothing to do with storage and everything to do with love between family members, such as the love of a child for a parent or vice versa.

Finally, there was a type of love I had, at the time, never heard of before.  That type of love was called agape, or the disinterested (i.e. unselfish) and unconditional love that a person ideally feels for all other beings.  Among Christians who inherited Greek thought, this fourth kind of love came to be known as charity.

Charity is not only a kind of love that we feel for casual acquaintances or people we’ve never met.  It is also a kind of love that strengthens all other types of love, whether we’re talking about the love we feel for our friends, for our children, for our parents, for our siblings or for our lovers.  For example, when agape reinforces eros, a person cares about the wellbeing of a lover’s whole person regardless of the current condition of their relationship and without expecting anything in return. In romantic relationships, this is the type of love that can help see couples through hard times and that even sometimes survives the ending of a relationship.

Charity ideally also shapes the way we treat strangers we’ve just met, people we’ve never even encountered previously, people we perhaps do not get along with very well, and all life on the planet.  It is a willingness to extend compassion and care—and more than that, to behave in ways that promote the wellbeing of others—without expecting others to be “deserving” of compassion and care and without expecting a reward for our willingness to extend compassion and care.  Thus, charity is also not about feeling good about ourselves because we were kind to or helped another; it is focused entirely on the wellbeing of the other.  And yet it is undeniable that the more we practice charity—the more we extend agape love—the more we grow as people.

What are elves thinking in February?

The Family-to-Family (F2F) holiday gift-giving program was a wonderful opportunity for our entire congregation, but it also means something special to the many volunteer FUS Elves who help make it all happen.

For 23 years, F2F has matched FUS congregants with the wish lists of families provided by Dane County social workers. Many of the gifts are practical, and every family gets a grocery gift card. Many volunteer elves — this year, 48 — do the work of F2F, coordinated by the F2F Ministry Team. In 2014, we helped 158 families (661 individuals). But, according to Barb Rubin, who began F2F with her late husband, Peter, “Numbers say nothing! The love and sense of community shared, that is infinite!”

Longtime F2F team member Susan Dineaur Dinauer agrees. She reflected on helping our participating Badger alumni group wrap carefully chosen gifts for 70 recipients: “It was a wonderful display of human kindness. The spirit of giving comes alive through Family to Family.”

The elves get to see the joy as members spend time trying to choose a family, and we get to hear the feedback from social workers and families. One mom named Melissa writes, “Thank you for making this Christmas the best one yet. I’m so grateful that there are good people in the world like you. I can’t wait to see the look on my kids’ face when they open the gifts.” In turn, a member of Melissa’s sponsoring family told us she had received gifts from a similar program when she was a child, “so we’re very thankful that we can pass along our good fortune.”

Helene McDowell, an elf for three years, loves that the program lets her share the many blessings she has in her life. “It is a great opportunity to be compassionate on a larger scale. I so enjoy seeing how the FUS families involve their kids and use the F2F program as an opportunity to teach giving and kindness,” she says.

Prudy Stewart has worn a few elf hats over the years, and is always inspired. “When the social workers come to pick up the gifts, it makes me realize what an important task we’ve undertaken. They are so grateful, and we heard over and over how much this means to the families they work with,” she says.

Other returning elves include Returning elf Caroline Garber, who works with the social workers and keeps track of all those sheets of families. Returning elf Stephanie Sorensen had perhaps the most fun doing a huge amount of work, serving as lead shopper for those gifts made possible by monetary donations. New elf Sylvia Ramirez was in charge of accepting the gifts, ensuring there were food cards for everyone, and tracking down missing gifts.

The F2F team is thankful for the essential efforts of every volunteer, sponsor, and donor. In Barb’s words, “It has always been a fun endeavor, and I am grateful that all of you are helping to continue the tradition. Peter would be amazed!”

In summary, we offer this poem:

After all the gifts have disappeared, the power of this Family-to-Family endeavor has a ripple effect:
It helps social workers to connect in a positive way with families.
It takes stress off families who receive the gifts which positively effects their children at school.
It allows the hosts to work together in fun and laughter.
It gives people at FUS the chance to connect around a common goal.
It helps everyone to feel more connected and celebrate our common humanity.
We could go on, but let’s allow the ripples to widen as they will.

If you want to be an elf, volunteer in October of 2015.

MOSAiC Resumes on February 23

Making Ourselves Alive in Community

MOSAiC is our monthly gathering to discuss and delve more deeply into our monthly worship themes. On the fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the Atrium Auditorium, we come together to explore and expand our understanding of each topic. The evening will begin with a welcome and introduction by Rev. Kelly Crocker, followed by small group discussions. February topic: Charity. More at /MOSAIC.

News From the Red Floors for February 20 to 27, 2015

News From the Red Floors for
February 20 to 27, 2015

Rev Schuler and the kids

Dear FUS Neighbor..

In my meditation last weekend, entitled “An Ode to February,” I wrote in part:

And what conclusion does February have to offer?

What does it promise but four weeks of cold, Lenten discipline
And lessons of self denial…?
A dearth of distractions is the hidden blessing of February:
No World Series, Kris Kringle or Cows on the Concourse.
It is free of graduations; weddings and vacations are few.
What good then is February?
Of all the months of the year, It is the on which we can be most present with one another –
At home, in the workplace and in our faith communities.
If this unpraised and underappreciated month
Is in many ways a test of our endurance.
May it also be a test of our affections.

Come and enjoy the good company at the Meeting House this weekend. On Saturday our annual Winter Farmer’s Market will be in progress from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Atrium Auditorium. A delicious breakfast will be served from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., and if you haven’t had a chance to purchase tickets yet, you can do so at the door on Saturday morning. There will be plenty of vendors with a great variety of local products: pickles, apples, veggies, salsa, cheese, crackers, even Alpaca yarn and handmade soaps! Shop and eat while enjoying the live music of Moldy jam.

Sunday morning will feature a choral arrangement of the 1967 Beatles hit “When I’m Sixty-Four” which is also the subject of the morning reflection. This is the make-up date for a service that was cancelled by the blizzard three weeks ago. And for the Saturday folks… something completely different!

Expectantly… Michael


The Winter Farmers’ Market
& Breakfast is tomorrow,
Saturday, February 21

Market open 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Breakfast 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. Our FUS Winter Farmers’ Market returns with great local food and products, activities for kids, live music, and a delicious breakfast prepared by Abigail Gage and the Food Haulers. The breakfast is prepared using items sourced from participating vendors and other local producers. A portion of all sales goes to the Harvest for Hope Fund, which aids family farmers.
    Tickets for breakfast will be sold at door. $10/adults, $5/kids under 12, $30 for families of 4 or more. More at /market.

An informational session about Quest, our two-year adult spiritual deepening program, will be held this month on the following dates: Sunday, February 22, between worship services, in the Landmark Auditorium; Saturday, February 28, following the worship service, in the Landmark Auditorium. For further information, contact Janet Swanson at /DAE.

UU Campus Ministry this Sunday, 2/22, at FUS. 5 to 6:30 p.m., food and fellowship. Student-led discussion. All college students welcome! Questions? Contact Janet at /DAE.

Peace & Justice Book Club will meet Monday, February 23, at 7 p.m. in the Hearthroom. All are welcome, as we discuss In Warm Blood: Prison and Privilege, Hurt and Heart, by Judith Gwinn Adrian & DarRen Morris. Please note location change. Carole Briggs 772-7134 or

Thrive. “I simply feel good when I’m here. So much of what I experience enriches and nurtures me. I’ve met wonderful people who support me in my spiritual journey, and who want a spiritual home to be here for the needs of others to come. I want FUS to thrive so it can continue to change people’s lives.” -Teresa Radermacher. If you haven’t made your pledge yet, please visit /pledge.

Help needed now! * Help is urgently needed from 6:15 to 7:45 a.m. at The Salvation Army shelters for women and children. We need just a few more volunteers to fulfill our partnership-adults, any gender/orientation welcome-training provided. Be a helpful presence during breakfast, so that staff can deal with arising needs. Select your mornings during the winter, M-F. Or rotate in on weekends all year. Currently, our 6 volunteers are overworked! Please call Dorit Bergen 279-4414 or Gail Bliss 231-3511.

Spotlight on Equity * During the month of February, the FUS library will highlight books on racial justice, segregation, racism, and privilege. This is the first month in a series of partnerships between our Library Committee and Social Justice Ministry Teams. Please check out the display and check out the books!

Needed: New Meeting House Guides
Friends of the Meeting House guides provided tours to more than 1,000 visitors last year, with income from these tours funding Landmark restoration projects. If you have an interest in Frank Lloyd Wright and his involvement with FUS, are eager to share your knowledge, and have spare time on occasional weekdays or Sundays to give tours, please join our spring training class three Sunday afternoons in April. To sign up or learn more, contact March Schweitzer at or 231-3941.

Are you interested in
Governance Leadership at FUS?

Our Nominations committee is talking with members who are curious about leadership positions such as serving on the Board of Trustees or the Board’s various committees which include Personnel, Finance and Governance. If you have in interest in supporting the FUS mission and vision in a leadership role, please talk with one of the following members. Sandy Eskrich, Nancy Vedder-Schultz, Rebecca Bernstein, Kari Ehrhardt, or Maureen Friend. Application form at /apply.

Career Networking Support Meeting this week
Anyone who is anxious about finding or changing employment is invited to join this informal drop-in meeting on Thursday, February 26, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in Courtyard E. We help each other find resources and hope by sharing stories and ideas. Join us then or contact us at /jobs2 anytime.

Our next Friday Musicale will feature mezzo soprano Nancy Vedder-Shults with pianist Dan Broner. On Friday, February 27, hear songs of Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Seymour Barab, Mary Howe and more. 12:15 p.m. in the Landmark Auditorium.

Looking for some fun this summer? Check out Camp UniStar, a camp for UU individuals and families on Star Island in northern Minnesota’s Cass Lake. Campers enjoy sailing, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, volleyball, horeshoes, crafts, games, conversing or quietly reading on screen porches. Each week, UniStar offers a theme-centered program on topics such as sailing, yoga, spirituality, music, or the arts. Delicious, healthy meals are included. There are also 2 weeks for youth in mid-June. Pick up brochures at the UniStar display in Commons, visit or call Amy Schulz at 692-2639. Priority registration deadline is March 7.

“Dream Big Dreams”
film & discussion

Join us this Friday (February 27) in the Atrium Auditorium from 7 to 9 p.m. for a showing of Wisconsin Public Television’s documentary “Dream Big Dreams.” Doors open at 6 p.m. Free.  This excellent new film tells the story of Wisconsin civil rights pioneer Vel Phillips, Wisconsin’s first black woman in the State Assembly.
After, Rev. Everett Mitchell will moderate a panel on “Civil Rights Activism: Then and Now,” with William Jones, Barbara McKinney, and members of the Young, Gifted, and Black Coalition. Bring teens! Reserve care for children /socialjusticecoordinator. If able, please park away from the lot.

Children’s RE Program is Hiring! * Do you love to work with children? Our Children’s Religious Education Program is accepting applications for two part-time positions-a Child Care Coordinator and a Summer Fun Coordinator. To learn more about these positions, go to /CREjobs.  Application deadlines are March 1 for the Child Care Coordinator position; March 13 for Summer Fun.

An Evolution Forum with Professor Charles Byers
Professor Charles Byers will present, “Evolution of Extinction,” with fossil evidence for evolution, on Tuesday, March 3, from 7-9 p.m. in the Landmark Auditorium. This program is open to the public; we will be accepting a $10 fee at the door.

Festival Choir Performs 3/7 at FUS * “Wisconsin Sings” is the theme of the next Festival Choir concert, to be performed at First Unitarian Society on Saturday, March 7, at 7:30 p.m. There is also a pre-concert lecture at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $15, $12 (seniors), and $9 (students).

Building Cultural Competency with Betsey Day and Harold Gates * Building our new Vision of Ministry around increasing “opportunities for exposure to the rich diversity of human experiences, beliefs, and identities” will take some new skills.  Join in community to expand your awareness at this workshop on Saturday, March 14 from 9 a.m. to noon in the Landmark Auditorium.  Fee: $35 pledged/$45 non-pledged.

“Writer as Shaman”
with Pamela Johnson and Bridget Birdsall

Saturday, March 21 * 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Atrium Auditorium

Fee: $50 pledged/$60 non-pledged; includes lunch
The Writer as Shaman is a contemplative learning experience. Participants are invited to enter their own inner world, cultivate imagination, share their stories, and experience the power of words to heal.  No writing experience is needed. More information at /shaman.

Nature as Spiritual Sustenance

An Adult Spring Retreat
Join Retreat Leaders FUS Rev. Michael & Trina Schuler, and their Papillon Sasha at the Serene Pilgrim Center on Green Lake, April 10-12, 2015. Registration is now open. Early Bird Fee of $230 due by March 8. Vegetarian option. For Retreat information:, and register on-line at /ae-registration or contact Deb Mies at 233-9774, ext. 114. Contact Trina at for questions about the Retreat.

Chaperones Needed for Camp! * A group of 10 FUS teens volunteering this summer July 11 to 17 at Camp Friendship in Annandale, MN. need an adult chaperone. The chaperones’ primary responsibility will be to transport and support our teens during the week. They can then choose to help with campers to whatever extent they are comfortable doing so. Our teens, however, will have very structured and full days of service. If you are interested please contact Leslie Ross, our Director of Children’s Religious Education, at /DRE.

Clean Water Victory!

February 20th, 2015

Last night, the Dane Co Board passed Resolution 391 making groundwater and water supply protection a priority for the county. Dane Co thrives because of our clean water supply, our groundwater. We all drink from it. It supplies the lakes. And our groundwater supply enables businesses and agriculture to be successful.

By passing Resolution 391, the county took a proactive step to protect groundwater and ensure that businesses and communities in Dane Co will continue to thrive in the future. You and your children can be assured of access to a safe and abundant source of drinking water and that we all can continue to enjoy the wonderful recreational opportunities found in Dane Co’s lakes, rivers and streams.

Water Sentinels would like to thank Supervisor Chuck Erickson for his leadership, all the co-sponsors and the Board for making water supply, our groundwater, a priority for the county in addition to water quality. And thank you to everyone who contacted their county supervisor to ask for their support for the resolution.

Resolution 391 asks the Department of Natural Resources to use its authority to consider the cumulative impacts of high capacity wells on water resources when permitting a new well. It also asks the county to add water quantity as a priority for watershed management. Specifically it adds water conservation, protection of water recharge areas, and consideration of our local water budget – do we take out more water than is returned or recharged to the ground and surface waters.

Thank you all!

Liz Wessel
608-238-9934 or

On behalf of the Four Lakes Group – Sierra Club and the Water Sentinels Project, a joint project of the Four Lakes Group and the First Unitarian Society

Farmers Market at FUS on Saturday!

Join us Saturday, February 21

Market: 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Breakfast: 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

First Unitarian Society,
900 University Bay Dr.

Our February 21 Winter Farmers’ Market is a bit different from other farmers’ markets you may have attended.

  • We’ll hold it right here at First Unitarian Society (FUS), with farmers setting up their stands throughout the Atrium, our large light-filled building.
  • The Foodhaulers provide a delicious breakfast made with ingredients fresh from the market. Tickets for breakfast are selling fast, so buy yours today!
  • And most importantly, this market is part of the Markets and Meals for Hope program. The vendors are donating a portion of their sales to Harvest of Hope, an emergency fund for farmers in need. Proceeds from the breakfast will be given to Markets and Meals for Hope.

This Weekend – “What’s Worship Got to Do with It?”

by Michael A. Schuler, Senior Minister

Saturday, February 21 at 4:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 22 at 9 & 11 a.m.

This weekend I’ll be reflecting on religious language, the terms used to designate the elements that commonly comprise this particular aspect of human culture.  Frank Lloyd Wright eschewed the word “sanctuary” in favor of the more secular “auditorium” for our Meeting House’s main gathering place (the edifice itself was dubbed a “Meeting House” not a “church”).  But how important is such a specialized nomenclature?  Why call it a “reflection” rather than a “sermon,” a “song” rather than a “hymn?”

As UU’s we are undoubtedly more ambivalent about religious usages than most.  Should we get over ourselves?

More at