Connection

CONNECTIONS COUNCIL

The role of the Congregational Connections Council is to provide support, guidance, coordination, and review of ongoing and proposed programs and activities to help members and friends meet and get to know each other in the context of our shared religious lives. This work is essential to the UUFC mission to “build deep connections.”

The primary tasks of the Connections Council include:

~Coordinating the work of the Connection Council teams

~Supporting the development of new connections projects, events and teams

~Reviewing the effectiveness of connections programs with regard to current congregational needs for connection

Connect Up

Are you looking for ways to meet with other UUs and build community? Then Connect Up is a great resource for you!

“Connect Up” events provide a way to get to know each other in smaller group settings. Events can range from book clubs and game nights to bird watching, shared meals, wine tasting and local hikes — just to name a few. Everyone is encouraged to participate. 

In addition to simply helping people meet, Connect Up events are aimed at discovering shared interests. They are usually events that happen once or twice, as a way to see if enough folks are interested in a continuing connection. Hosts are generally folks who have been at the Fellowship long enough to be familiar with some of the people and the protocols for hosting Fellowship events. 

Connect Up Activities

Please check the dates, as some of these have already happened. See the Weekly Announcements for info about upcoming Connect Up Activities.

  • Making Sauerkraut Workshop 4.21.24

    Sunday, April 21st at 3:00 pm at John Larsen’s home. Register to be notified of address. The Home Craft group will be hosting its inaugural meeting to learn how to…

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    Making Sauerkraut Workshop 4.21.24

  • Drum Circle

    April 18th, 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm Play percussion together, tuning into the rhythms of others, and finding our own to share. A few instruments will be provided, or bring…

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    Drum Circle

  • Living with Migraines, 3/26

    Tuesday, March 26 from 6-7 pm in Room 7 Migraines are a neurological disorder that affect our lives in so many ways. Let’s get together and discuss our strategies and…

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    Living with Migraines, 3/26

  • Soulful Home Pancake Breakfast, 4/13

    Monthly, Second Saturdays 9:00 am in the children’s classroom 6C Gather with other UU families for a time of songs, fun and food. Pancakes, milk, and juice will be provided.…

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    Soulful Home Pancake Breakfast, 4/13

  • Camping at South Beach 2024

    Thursday, July 18th – Sunday, July 21st. At South Beach State Park, Oregon. Connect-up with other UUFC campers July 18 – 21. Participate in shared meals, group hikes, campfires, music,…

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    Camping at South Beach 2024

  • Gauging Interest in a Puerto Rican Dinner, 2/24

    If there’s enough interest, I’m thinking of preparing Puerto Rican meal for 30 to 50 as a fundraiser for the Fellowship on February 24, 2024 at 1 PM. My family…

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    Gauging Interest in a Puerto Rican Dinner, 2/24

  • Mindful Awareness

    Mindful Awareness Practice will not meet April 17 or April 24 because Patti White will be traveling. Mindful Awareness Practice will resume with the regular meeting on May 1 at…

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    Mindful Awareness

  • Young Adult Pizza Hour 1/28

    Young Adult Pizza Hour will be held at 11:45am following the Sunday service in Room 7. Come eat free pizza (GF/vegan options available) and connect with some of the other…

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    Young Adult Pizza Hour 1/28

  • Albany UU People!

    Bringing UU people who live around Albany together.hosted by: Joyce Marvel-Benoist and JF BenoistFirst meeting, Thursday, January 11 (time tbd 3, 4 or 7pm) Register here to be contacted by…

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    Albany UU People!

  • Plant Based Potluck

    recurring; 4th Sundays Join a potluck exploring and learning how to eat more Whole Foods Plant Based meals. It’s new! It’s confusing! It’s good for our health and our planet.…

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    Plant Based Potluck

  • Dream Boards 1/6

    9:00 am to 12:30 pm in the UUFC Fellowship Hall Saturday, January 6, 2024 Envisioning the New Year with Dream Board Making. A fun, creative morning in a supportive environment!…

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    Dream Boards 1/6

  • Harvest UU-Pick

    Pick fruits and vegetables at our mini farm for your dinner table & join us in a glass of wine or home made peach or grape juice. The Biegel’s mini…

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    Harvest UU-Pick

  • Book Group

    The Connect Up Book Group meets monthly on Zoom, January through October. Books are selected by the participants. You are welcome to join every month, or when the book appeals…

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    Book Group

Chalice Circle Groups

Perhaps you’re new to our fellowship, or perhaps you’ve been around for years. 

Either way—have you thought about joining a chalice circle?

A chalice circle provides:

  • An opportunity to listen and be heard in a more intimate, smaller group setting (usually 6-10 participants).
  • A place to express our feelings on topics designed to help us discover more about ourselves–what really matters in our lives.
  • A place where we can arrive in any state we’re in—angry, sad, anxious, elated—we come to the table as we are and know we will be welcomed.
  • It’s a space for reflection, for sharing without interruption, advice or judgment.

Being part of a chalice circle adds a dimension to our lives available no where else.  We welcome you to join us.

For more information, reach out to: chalicecircles@uucorvallis.org


FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: What exactly is a “chalice circle”?

A: A chalice circle is a small group (6-10 participants) that gathers regularly to engage in deepening our connections to each other and ourselves via heartfelt conversation guided with meaningful topics. 

The format of the sessions are set to allow brief time for check-ins, a few short readings and guided questions related to the topic with the majority of time reserved for reflections and sharing.

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Q: What is a sampler series?

A: The sampler series is usually offered once or twice a year. It is a taste of the chalice circle experience in a shorter amount of time. Participants meet weekly for 3-4 weeks and each session is run similar to what a regular chalice group session would be like. The differences are that 1) participants are not required to attend past the initial 3 sessions; and 2) sessions are facilitated by one of the chalice circle organizers.

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Q: Do groups meet in person or via Zoom?

A: As of April 2023, new groups will meet in person. However there are several pre-existing groups that meet via Zoom. If you’re only interested in meeting online, please contact us and we can connect you to a Zoom circle.

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Q: How often do groups meet?

A: The sampler series groups meet weekly, as a way to get immersed in chalice circles. There is a 4th session for groups to transition to continuing to meet, if they so choose. After that, groups regularly meet twice a month (such as 1st and 3rd Wednesdays), but a few existing groups meet only once a month. 

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Q: How long do groups last?

A: That depends on you and your group. There are some pre-existing groups that have been meeting for years! However, the intention of chalice circles now is to create stronger connections between more members of this community. To that end, each phase is intended to run for 8-12 months. At the end of that time, participants are welcome to leave their group and join another in the next launch (usually fall or winter). However groups that don’t want to separate are welcome to continue if they would like.

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Q: Who runs the group?

A: The sampler series is facilitated by experienced hosts. Groups that continue to meet after the sampler series ends will become self-managed with participants taking turns hosting. But don’t worry! There is lots of help and support to aid everyone in this process.

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Q: What kinds of topics are discussed?

A: Topics range from emotions/feelings (Anger, Joy, Wonder) to things that appear in our lives (Nature, Friendships, Family), and to ideas that grow us a human beings (Values, Community, Spirituality). There are hundreds of Topic Docs that have already been created and are easily accessed online. You can view a sampling of these here:

chalice circle documents.

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Q: What do I have to commit to?

A:

Chalice circles are most successful when each person comes willing to show up on a regular basis to share openly and listen deeply. Given that the sampler series is so short, it’s important that you attend all the sampler sessions. Of course grace is given when life has other plans, but the intention is that you’re willing to prioritize chalice circles into your life, at least for 4 weeks. 🙂

If you find the experience brings value to your life, you’ll have the opportunity to continue to meet on a twice monthly basis for 8-12 months.

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Q: How do I join a group?

A: Yay! We’re so thrilled that you’re willing to explore this offering. There are a few ways you can join:

  1. The easiest is to fill out our online Google Form.
  2. If you’d prefer to have someone to talk to, you may contact our team member Nancy Sowdon (541-760-2405).

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Pathway to Membership

We highly encourage all newcomers who are interested in membership to attend all sessions of the Inquirer’s series, which are offered every Sunday in a 9-week rotation. The sessions are not just for newcomers and do not need to be completed in a specific order. Sessions begin at 11:45 AM on Sundays in Room 8 (in the classroom wing.). 

For people who have some experience and knowledge of UUism, especially those who have been members at other UU congregations,  we strongly suggest  attendance at at least the three sessions marked with an asterisk (Membership 101, Principles and Sources, and Q&A with the Minister) with a commitment to attend all the other sessions,  before requesting to become a member of the Fellowship. 

We introduce and welcome new members to the Fellowship four times a year during a Sunday morning service. New members will be offered the opportunity to participate but are not required to do so. A short biography to introduce each new member along with a headshot photo for the directory may be requested. More information will be shared during the Membership 101 class.

Past Posts on the Inquirer’s Series:

AFFINITY GROUPS

Affinity groups often start as a Connect Up, but there is enough interest that it becomes a regular, recurring event. Examples of affinity groups have been hiking groups, book clubs, and even Star Trek discussion groups. Generally a Connect Up becomes an affinity group when there are at least 5 people participating, and there have been at least 3 meetings on a regularly scheduled basis.

Click any of the links below for a description and contact information.

Queerly Beloved

Join LGBTQ+ folx and allies for social gatherings centered on queer issues and themes. We understand the importance of queer community, and our goal is to provide a safe space where people can find that sense of belonging right here in Corvallis. 

Third Sundays, 4-6 pm

Contact: Anya Ballinger

[Coordinated by the Sexuality and Gender Diversity Team.]

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Nerd Girls Science Sharing

Women and non-binary persons are invited to come and share science news articles or books. No science background is required. You do not have to bring anything except a desire to learn and a healthy curiosity. Topics depend on what people bring to share and requests from the group – they range from astronomy to zoology and everything in between.

2nd Saturdays, 10:45 am

Contact: Priscilla Spears

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Star Trek and UU

View and discuss how the TV Series Star Trek has portrayed social justice issues. Each evening we will watch an episode together and then discuss the relevant social justice themes from a Unitarian Universalist perspective.

1st and 3rd Fridays, 6:30 – 8 PM, Room 7

October 2023 – mid April 2024

Contact: Amy Ayers

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UUFC Monthly Hiking Group

Last Saturdays of the month, meet with Jim Wagner and other Unitarian friends for a casual hike in the Corvallis area. These are suitable for all ages. The intensity and difficulty of the hike will vary depending on interest. Meeting time will vary. Contact us to sign up and join the group!

Contact: Connect@uucorvallis.org

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Online Coffee Hour

Join us for a weekly checking-in which includes sharing of joys and sorrows, plus the Compassion Prayer.

Tuesdays, 1:30 – 2:30 pm

On Zoom

Contact: Mary Craven

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Men’s Gathering

We discuss meaningful topics and forge deeper relationships with other men. Share what’s currently moving in your life, and listen actively to others to gain understanding. Open to all who self-identify as men.

Contact: Jerry Buthmann

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Retreats

UUFC retreats are an opportunity to get away from the busyness of life and focus on those things which are most important to us, in community with others. Attending a retreat is an excellent way to make connections with others at the Fellowship.

See the Retreats Page for contact info.

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Buddhist Meditation

This ecumenical Buddhist group includes a reading from a Buddhist (or Buddhist-friendly) teacher, 30 minutes of meditation, and a brief discussion, to which you are welcome to bring any spiritual perspective you like.  We meet next door to the UU at Sangha Jewel Zen Center, for the excellent zoom setup that allows our remote members to participate.  Beginners welcome – we’ll help you get started. 

Mondays, 3:30 – 4:30 PM at the Sangha Jewel Zen Center (next door) and on zoom

Contact: Mary Leigh Burke

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RETREATS

Men’s Retreat

Women’s Retreat

Adult Retreat

Men’s Retreat

  • Men’s Retreat: Save the Date!

    The dates of the retreat in 2024 are October 25-27, at Menucha again due to popular demand. Mark your calendars and spread the word. 

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For more information, contact planning committee members:

Steve Strauss – 541-760-7357, steve.strauss@oregonstate.edu

Jed Irvine – 541-740-5633, irvine@eecs.oregonstate.edu

Gary Barnes – 541-752-9826, gary32640@gmail.com

Nick Houtman – 541-829-3442, nickhoutman8@aol.com


Past News:

Women’s Retreat

  • Women’s Retreat Recap

    The 2023 Women’s Retreat was held on October 13 & 14 at the UUFC building. Keynote speaker Jana Svoboda led 44 women in exploring Mindful Compassion through connection with ourselves and with each other. Nine workshops on yoga, rock painting, story-telling, crafting, eating, dancing, drumming, word play, and self care provided opportunities to learn, process and create together. A bit of craziness added fun to the mixture, as you can see in this group photo. Join us next year if you missed this one!

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Past Women’s Retreats

Adult Retreat

On Saturday, June 3, 30 adults met at the UUFC for a half-day retreat exploring identity in vertical (hereditary, cultural) and horizontal (chosen, acquired) dimensions. The goal of this exercise was to expand our sensitivity to our unique humanity and practice inclusion and connection. We sang, laughed, and shared in depth. All participants agreed that this more inclusive retreat was a welcome addition to the Men’s and Women’s retreats that have been held at the UUFC for decades. A post-event evaluation indicated a strong desire to continue these kinds of gatherings going forward. The retreat was organized by Kris Egan, Priscilla Galasso, Jed Irvine, Nick Houtman, Skyla King-Christison, and Steve Strauss.

Our Mission

Explore. Love. Act.

We gather as an inclusive religious community to search for meaning, build deep connections, and inspire action toward a better world for all.

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