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March 2022 Newsletter


Beloved Friends in Faith,

“Nurturing the Heart of Community,” that’s our theme for Lent. The community being referred to is us, Sylvania UCC, a community of faith. That’s pretty straight forward. The heart being referred to is more open to interpretation. What is the “heart” of a community of faith? You might say, “God.” I would. But I would expand that and say relationships; relationships with God and relationships with each other. Actually, I think our relationships with God and with each other are intertwined, interconnected and interdependent in such a way that you can say that they’re one; in the same way we say the Trinity is Three in One. 

Much of what nurturing the heart of community means is nurturing our relationships. How do we strengthen our relationships with God and with each other? Are we able to share our deepest feelings?  Are we able to be vulnerable? What does it mean to speak the truth in love? How do we have more open, honest conversations with God and with each other? However, to be able to do these things, we need to know ourselves. We need to know ourselves before we can be open, honest, authentic and vulnerable with others.

During Lent we’ll explore emotional health as a way to feed our spiritual health and the health of the whole community. We’ll look at our families of origin and how they impact us, understanding different feelings, how to embrace grief and loss, and balancing doing for God and being with God. This exploration of self is a fitting parallel to Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness. That was a time of deep self-reflection in which Jesus became clear about who he was as God’s Beloved. That self-understanding brought Jesus closer to God and enabled him to have relationships that were authentic, honest and transformative. In the same way, may our Lenten journey help us to know ourselves better and bring us closer to God and closer to one another.

In Christian love,

Pastor Vern

Worship & Music

Ash Wednesday Worship Service
March 2, 2022, 7 p.m.
in the sanctuary


Palm Sunday Worship Service
April 10, 2022, 10 a.m. 
in the sanctuary

Maundy Thursday Worship Service
April 14, 2022, 7 p.m.
in the sanctuary

Good Friday Ecumenical Worship Service
April 15, 2022, 12:00 noon
at Olivet Lutheran Church
5840 Monroe St., Sylvania, OH 43560

A Growing Forward in Faith All-Community Event

It's an Easter Vigil like you've never experienced!  Starting outside with lighting the fire of creation, we process with candles into a darkened sanctuary to hear the stories of God's saving acts throughout the Old Testament.  The stories are told in experiential ways: dramatic readings, skits, music, stop motion videos, and more.  We also remember our baptisms (and get a little bit wet!) and hear the announcement of the resurrection.  This is a deeply moving and fun service for all ages.  Join us for this joyful celebration!

Easter Sunday Worship Services
8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m.
in the sanctuary

Taize Service
Thursday, March 17, 2021, 7 p.m.

Faith Formation

Growing Forward in Faith

The Shrove Tuesday virtual pancake supper is TONIGHT (March 1), a Growing Forward in Faith event.  Everyone is welcome to join us from 6PM-7PM for a demonstration on creating pancake art by Kady Flowers Sattlemeier.  We will also engage in activities to prepare us for the Season of Lent.  Feel free to eat beforehand or bring your pancakes to the table as we meet together. 



This Friday (March 4) is FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT at 7PM at the church.  Sponsored by the Children’s Committee, we will feature the Pixar movie, “Inside Out” as a means of introducing our Lenten theme, Nurturing the Heart of Community.  The movie helps us learn how important all our feelings are.  Lenten kits will be available for take home, with family activities for Lent. For families who are unable to attend, we will be happy to deliver these Lent kits to your home.

Children’s worship meets Sunday mornings during worship after the Message for the Whole Family of God.  Meanwhile, follow Sylvania UCC Families Facebook page for updated and late-breaking information.  Pastor Vern is especially hoping for a snow some weekend soon so that he can host  a pop-up sledding event on the church hill with children and families. 



Confirmation continues to meet virtually on the first and third Sundays of the month at 11:30AM mornings. On the second and fourth Sundays, the larger youth group (for 6th grade through 12th grade) meets at 11:30AM. If you have a youth (defined as 6th grade – 12th grade) who would like to participate and needs more information or the Zoom link, Please let Pastor Mary know!




Click here for the Zoom link


The Adult Education hour on Sunday morning meets at 9AM, in person or online. This class will also delve into the Lenten theme, Nurturing the Heart of Community.  Using a variety of resources, Pastor Mary will lead the group on a journey of discovery, exploring our emotional health as a way to feed our spiritual health and the health of the whole community. 


Similar themes will be addressed in the mid-week topical series on Wednesdays at 8PM. 

Wednesday Morning Study Group


Click here for the Zoom link


We begin a new series March 2.  The theme is “Seeing Jesus,” and the purpose will be to explore the ways in which we see ourselves relating to Jesus.  How do we understand Jesus in our life - role, presence, example, companion?
We invite you to join the conversation, 9:30 - 10:30 a.m.,  on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month, March 2nd and 16th.  We meet both in-person in the chapel and online through a Zoom link. 
We will be using Diana Butler Bass’ new book, Freeing Jesus, as a guide for our exploration into the many ways through which we see Jesus, beginning with that of Friend on March 2, and then Teacher, on March 16.
For questions regarding this new series or concerning the Wednesday Morning Study group, please feel free to contact David W. Andersen.


The SylvaniaUCC book group on Facebook will engage in an asynchronous discussion of the same book the Wednesday Morning Study Group is using, Freeing Jesus, by Diana Butler Bass.  Contact Sheila Banerji if you have questions about joining this online discussion. 



On Thursday evenings at 7:00PM, Deacon Jennifer will continue a study on the Hebrew Bible. The classes are open to youth and adults and do not require attendance at every session.  Click here to enter the Zoom classroom.

The Science and Theology Group


A New Book Discussion Series
started February 27, 2022 and continues in March,
7 p.m. on Zoom

Belief Without Borders:
Inside the Minds of the Spiritual but not Religious

by Linda Mercadante


We’ve all known people, some within our own family, who call themselves ‘spiritual but not religious’ (SBNR),  but what does that mean?  Linda Mercadante, a professor of Historical Theology at the Methodist Theological School in Columbus has studied and interviewed a large number of those who identify themselves  as  SBNR.    Her background as a reporter enabled her to write a readable qualitative study in the book Belief Without Borders: Inside the Minds of the Spiritual but not Religious.  

Endorsing the book, Diana Butler Bass, an American historian of Christianity and independent scholar, wrote “For those who think that being ‘spiritual but not religious’ is intellectually vague, it is time to think again. Mercadante explores the beliefs of the religiously unaffiliated regarding God, sin, community, the afterlife, and ethics and finds people living ‘between’ the worlds of secularism and traditional faith.”  

As a growing movement within the United States 'spiritual but not religious' folks range in age from 90 to 20, and are within as well as outside the church.  The Science & Theology group chose this book to help understand this segment of our population. 

Meeting via zoom on Sunday evenings from 7 to 8 p.m. we will start this book on February 27.  Feel free to join in what will prove to be a lively discussion of an important topic.  Contact Nancy Wellman (419-280-6498 or to join the conversation.

Connection and Engagement

Outreach Board News
  • One Great Hour of Sharing® is one of four special mission offerings of the United Church of Christ. This springtime offering supports the disaster, refugee, and development ministries of the United Church of Christ within Wider Church Ministries. It will be received March 27, 2022, although contributions to this offering can be designated any time of the year.  To see a short video on this year's theme of love, click here.  

  • The Lenten Offering this year will go to Grace Community Center to help with two of their ministries: the hygiene boxes they provide to the elderly and homebound in their area and the Educamp youth programs they sponsor during the summer.  Each hygiene box costs approximately $10.  Grace is always very grateful for funds donated to the youth programs to help offset the costs associated with them.  Donations can be made on website by clicking on "Give," then "Donate," and then using the second drop down menu to select "Lenten Offering."  Checks can also be dropped off in the Sunday collection or mailed to the church office with "Lenten Offering" in the memo line.

  • Future Events:  Outreach is working toward participating with other faith communities in our area this summer in a Habitat for Humanity Faith Build starting in June.  Also, Outreach is looking to participate in a food packing event with Christ Presbyterian Church or another church later in the year.  Further information will be in future newsletters or the weekly updates.

As always, thanks so much for your generous support of the mission and outreach ministries of our church!

Social Justice Group News:

Our next meeting on March 13 will use our new format!  We will gather at 11:15 in the Chapel and on Zoom for a spiritual practice called the "Active Hope" model.  This will last between 30 minutes.  Then, our Anti-Racism Action Team will meet around 11:45 for approximately 45 minutes.  Other Action Teams will meet throughout the month.  Our April meeting will then feature a report-out from each of the Action Teams about their upcoming activities.  Everyone is welcome to join an Action Team, even if you are not a member of the Social Justice Group!  

The current teams are:

Immigrant/Refugee Support

Voting Rights

We would also love to include:

Green Team
Rainbow Team
Your idea?

Please contact David Andersen, Al Compaan, Kathy Tashima, or Deacon Jennifer for more information or to sign up to receive email updates about the action teams or social justice group.

Civil Rights Bus Tour: October 6-10, 2022

Copies of the itinerary and a sign up sheet expressing interest are available in the gathering area and church office, or contact Al Compaan here.


Grace Community Center has an ongoing need for banana boxes.  

If you would be interested in picking up boxes from grocery stores and driving them to Grace, preferably once or twice a month, please speak with Sue Crescitelli or Deacon Jennifer.


Donation opportunity:

There are 7 Afghan children who have recently arrived in NW OH.  A local Kumon location has put together a special program for them teaching ESL and academic skills, led by someone who speaks their language and knows about the trauma they've experienced.  The local office is seeking grants, but for now, the program costs $250/month per child, for a total of $21,000 for one year.  If you would like to donate directly to Kumon to pay tuition for these children, email Jennifer for further information.


Upcoming Events:

Saturday, April 2, 8:30 AM-12:30 PM - Church Planning Event, Hosted by the Diaconate 

Saturday, April 16, 7:00PM - Easter Vigil Experiential Worship (An All-Community Event)

Sunday, May 1, 3-5 PM - Storytelling Day (An All-Community Event)

Summer 2022:
Multifaith Intergenerational Program: Thursdays in June
Vacation Bible School: July 25-28

Congregational Caring Ministries

Invitation to "Care & Share"
First in a series of sessions on
Deep Listening
Saturday, March 19, 2022, 9:30 - 11 a.m.
in the chapel of Sylvania UCC


Co-facilitated by Rev. Joycelyn Degener & Rev. Diane Christopherson, BCC


As trained, experienced chaplains, Joycelyn and Diane will provide structured times of support, encouragement, growth and skill-building for members and friends of the congregation who offer care and service to others in countless ways. Among our goals are to: facilitate more in-depth ministry from a team of dedicated lay caregivers; encourage caregivers to listen to the sacred story of another's life in ways that promote healing and wellbeing; equip empathetic people with resources and tools that enhance effectiveness and skill in caregiving without imposing our own beliefs on others.

Register for the first in a series of sessions focused on "Deep Listening" by emailing Joycelyn or Diane. Subsequent dates and times in the series will be determined by the group. We invite you to participate in a team of spiritual caregivers within circles of mutual learning, spiritual practice, and confidentiality,.

Boards & Committees

Update From Your Chancel Board

All pre-packed communion elements are gluten free.  Easy to open communion elements will be distributed to the congregation by the ushers.  The elements are different from what we have been using.  The wafer is on the bottom of the cup.  After removing and eating the wafer you only have to turn the cup right-side-up and peel off a single layer to get to the juice.  The elements are in plastic baggies which you may use to discard the used communion cup.  Plans are underway to offer communion by passing the bread plates and cups starting April 3, 2022.  However for those wishing to continue using the pre-packaged communion elements the ushers will have them available to you.      
Hearing assist devices.  In an effort to insure a germ-free environment the Chancel Board is requesting those using the hearing assist devices to place them in the basket marked ‘used’.  We will then sanitize them for future use. 

Cabinet Update

Click here to read the Cabinet Minutes from February 2022


Financial Update

Click here to read the financial update from January, 2022

Wider Church & Interfaith News


Click here to register for the Zoom link

Rev. Jamie F. Eaddy is a Pastoral Theologian, Spiritual Care Practitioner, Loss Navigation Specialist™, and Death Midwife. She requested to discuss communal grief and steps useful in navigating grief for both clergy and laity. After two years of ongoing collective trauma and change, Rev. Eaddy will offer key strategies for individuals and communities in moving forward with grace and care for each other.

1000 Women in Religion Project

The “1000 Women in Religion Project’ is a timely endeavor that seeks to add over 1,000 names and contributions of religious, spiritual and wisdom women to Wikipedia, the largest encyclopedia in the world.  The contributions of women in all fields of work, scholarship and life, including religion and spirituality, have gone universally under-recognized, across time and in our present-day context.  Furthermore, this under-recognition, which is a form of gender bias, is reflected and reproduced in our commonly used sources of knowledge – in our history books, in our news media, even in our sacred texts.  In this present day and age, when these sources of knowledge are available with a simple click on our mobile devices, we are formed by these gender biases in knowledge production, 24-7.   Elizabeth Ursic, co-chair of the Women’s Caucus of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature states that “the more we can document and highlight the contributions of women leaders in their religious and spiritual traditions, the more we can change the perception that women have not been leaders”.  The Women’s Caucus is supported in this effort to raise up notable women by the American Theological Library Association and the Women’s Task Force of the Parliament of World Religions. 

Why Wikipedia?

A great example of a source of knowledge with world-wide reach that illustrates this inherent, structural, gender bias, is Wikipedia, the world’s largest online encyclopedia.  In November 2014 only about 15% of the biographies in English Wikipedia were about women.

The Wikipedia project “Women in Red”, started in 2014, seeks to increase the representation of women on the Wikipedia platform. As of February 2018, 17.49% of biographies were about women (Wikipedia: WikiProject Women in Red)However, this is not Wikipedia’s only systemic problem. Only 9% of its editors are women (Wikipedia, Gender Bias on Wikipedia)The “1000 Women in Religion Project”, seeks to address both systemic issues by increasing the number of contributions about religious, spiritual and wisdom women on Wikipedia as well as the number of women editors.

Colleen Hartung, co-chair of the “1000 Women in Religion Project”, encourages participation in this project by noting that it is “the type of practical, hands on effort that is needed to reform and transform the sources of knowledge that recreate gender bias and inequality in our religious, spiritual and wisdom traditions and thus in daily lives.”

Click here to learn: How you can participate?

Other Info

The front of the home-made card from Jackie and Jim Matzinger invites the opening of 3-dimensional arms which reveals a red heart and the words "Here's a hug for you!"

The inside of the card reads:

"To our wonderful church family,

     All of your cards and calls and offers of help are so greatly appreciated.
     Your prayers and good wishes helped me through this continuing adventure and felt like a warm hug.

     Thank you for being the amazing people you are. We are blessed to have you in our lives.

     Jackie and Jim Matzinger"

The National Alliance on Mental Illness, Greater Toledo,
is hosting a free Art Workshop, "Page by Page",
March 17, 2022, 5:15 - 7:15 p.m.
(location to be announced)

Open to individuals 12+ living with a mental health diagnosis and their family/friends.


Medium: tempera cakes, oil pastels, stamps, and other accents
Description: Enjoy transforming your painting into pages of meaning

To register, email: 

NAMI Family-to-Family is a free, 8-session educational program for family, significant others and friends of people with mental health conditions. It is a designated evidenced-based program. This means that research shows that the program significantly improves the coping and problem-solving abilities of the people closest to a person with a mental health condition.
NAMI Family-to-Family is taught by NAMI-trained family members who have been there, and includes presentations, discussions and interactive exercises.

What You Will Gain

NAMI Family-to-Family class not only provides information and strategies for taking care of the person you love, but you'll also find out that you're not alone. Recovery is a journey, and there is hope.

The group setting of NAMI Family-to-Family provides mutual support and shared positive impact—experience compassion and reinforcement from people who understand your situation. Sharing your own experience may help others in your class. In the program, you'll learn about:
  • How to solve problems and communicate effectively
  • Taking care of yourself and managing your stress
  • Supporting your loved one with compassion
  • Finding and using local supports and services
  • Up-to-date information on mental health conditions,
  • and how they affect the brain
  • How to handle a crisisCurrent treatments and therapies
  • The impact of mental health conditions on the entire family
This class is being offered VIRTUALLY!
DAY (10am - 12:30pm) and/or
EVENING (6-8:30pm) on the following dates:
Tuesday, March 1st thru Thursday, March 24th
Please RSVP your interest and preference in taking this course to or register online at You may also register by contacting the NAMI office at 419-243-1119. 
We look forward to hearing from you.

Powerful Tools for Caregivers
6-Week Series
Presented by Caregiver Resource Group, LLC
& the Area Office on Aging of Northwest Ohio


Tuesdays: March 15, 22, 29, April 5, 12, 19, 2022


Free! Deadline to register, March 11, 2022

call 419-206-5979 or email

The deadline for receipt of information for weekly updates is Wednesday, noon
for release on Fridays of the same week.


The deadline for receipt of information for the
April newsletter is March 17, 2022.


or call the office at 419-882-0048

Refer to the online church calendar on the website
for scheduled meetings and events.  

Click here to view the calendar.

Please email to communicate updates, cancellations/deletions, and additions to be made.

Sylvania UCC has accounts on the following social media platforms.  Please like and follow us!

Page: Sylvania United Church of Christ
Group: Sylvania UCC Families

Instagram: @sylvaniaucc

Twitter: @sylvaniaucc

Regular hours: M - F, 9 a.m. - noon; 12:30 - 3 p.m.
Sylvania UCC
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