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Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

A Beacon of Light in the Northwoods

Volume 13, Number 12 - June 2012

We Are a Welcoming Congregation


Upcoming Services

June 3 - 10 am Laura Erickson, speaking for the birds

June 17 - 10 am Rev. Phil Sweet

July 1 - 10 am Richard Olson

July 15 - 10 am February Sky


June 20–24 UU General Assembly

Adult R.E.

June 10 - 10 am The Beginnings of the Gospel Traditions: The Earliest Gospels

June 24 - 10 am The Other Gospels: Apocalypticism and the Apocalypse of John

July 8 - 10 am The Copyists Who Gave Us Scripture: Authority in the Early Church

July 22 - 10 am The Importance of Interpretation: When Did the Canon Get Finalized?


Message from the President

In preparation for the Justice General Assembly later this month in Phoenix, I am trying to understand the issues around immigration. Over the past half century, we have needed to educate ourselves about civil rights for African Americans, women’s rights, rights for people with disabilities, rights for the GLBT community. Now, we need to understand the immigrant experience in the 21st century.

The media generally portrays the issue in black and white. If you don’t have “permission” to be here, you’re illegal and need to be thrown out. End of story. But like a lot of other issues, it’s not that simple. My understanding is very limited and so is my space. But I’d like to share with you just a bit of complexity of the situation.

The current flood of immigrants from Mexico, in particular, and Central America in general, is in large part due to the economic and political policies of the US, Mexico and other Central American governments. There is much political and economic chaos and corruption in Mexico. The government there boasts about how many billions of US dollars ($18 billion one year recently) come into that country from immigrant workers. NAFTA has allowed US corn growers to flood the Mexican market with cheap grain, forcing workers to find other means to support their families. This may have been great for American farmers, but it has come at a huge cost. As one writer put it: “How far would you go to feed your family?” In many cases, all the way to the US, even if it means possible death crossing the Arizona/New Mexico desert. For millennia, people, like all animals, have migrated to where the food is (or today, where the money for the food is). It’s only in the past 100 years or so that political barriers have interfered with this.

This is also a race issue. Immigrants of color, be it from Mexico, India or the Philippines, face discrimination because they are immigrants, but also because they are not white.

This is also a labor issue. Harassing and calling in the INS are means of intimidation and labor busting. And it often works. Undocumented workers often take jobs that few would willing want, e.g. picking crops, working in slaughter houses, cleaning motel rooms, washing dishes. They are underpaid and because they fear the INS, must keep quiet about employer abuses. But their labor supports all of us all the time in unseen ways. There are labor busting tactics in Mexico (and the Philippines) as well which mean blacklisted workers, miners in particular, must leave the country to find work.

This is also a drug issue. Because drug runners use the same routes as the migrants, the US policies concerning drugs come into play as well. Undocumented workers can be accused of drug crimes if they are traveling with drug runners, or even if they are not. Migrants are often victims of crimes by drug runners.

This is also an environmental issues. The wall built across the Arizona/Mexico border (maybe) keeps people out. But it also disrupts the movement of wildlife along their natural pathways. The wall, the Blackhawk helicopters, the searchlights and big trucks further endanger already endangered species.

This is also a civil rights issue for US citizens. US citizens living in Arizona can be stopped and must prove they are citizens if authorities have reason to believe they might be illegal. This is also known as racial profiling. People living on the border have had parts of their land confiscated to build the wall and the access road. Assorted government officials have claimed the right to be on private property at will searching for migrants. Searchlights from a Blackhawk helicopter in your bedroom at 3 AM is not right. But it’s legal, all in the name of national security.

This is also a security issue. In the post 9/11 world, it is a valid concern, but at what price?

But this is first and foremost an humanitarian issue. People are unnecessarily dying in the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico trying to get to a better life. People are being detained in holding pens without adequate food, water, shelter or medical support. People are being detained indefinitely in “immigrant jails”, at the pleasure of the government. They are not citizens, so they have no rights of any kind. Mothers are being separated from their children, who are US citizens, without warning and an opportunity to make arrangements. It’s illegal in Arizona to transport an undocumented worker anywhere, including the hospital in an emergency. To do so can mean jail time.

The issues are so complicated as to be almost overwhelming. If you would like to read more about this than appears in the mainstream media, I suggest two books, both available through the UUA bookstore or Amazon: The Death of Josseline: Immigration Stories from the Arizona borderlands by Margaret Regan, and Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants by David Bacon. I wish I could say to you, “Here’s the solution; here’s what we should work towards.” But I have no answers at this point. I hope my time in Phoenix will start to give me those answers. If we truly believe in the worth and dignity of every person and justice equity and compassion in human relations, then we cannot ignore this human tragedy. We must work to find just and equitable solutions.

I’m really pleased that Laurie Figueroa and Pat Bickner have volunteered to be off-site delegates to GA. They will be reporting to the congregation on the business meetings. I expect to be reporting in the August newsletter about some of our other experiences in Phoenix.

OK, now I feel better. This has been on my mind a lot the past few weeks and I just had to share it with you. But I’m about to lose my captive audience for my mental meanderings, as this is my last message to you as president of the congregation. It has been an honor to serve NUUF. I want to thank, in particular, all the board members and committee chairs for their hard work and cooperation. I hope I have been able to move the congregation forward. But now, I’m tired and am looking forward to having more time for other activities. See ya’ around.



NATH Update

On Sunday, May 27, Patty Buehler and her dental office assistants provided the evening meal to 14 residents of Frederick Place in Rhinelander. The meal consisted of BBQ chicken on buns, baked beans, potato salad, and a tossed salad. The crew also left a meal for the following night—baked ham with all the trimmings. Cookies were the dessert at both meals.

If you would like to participate in the making of a meal—or two—at Frederick Place, please contact Laurie Figueroa or Jana Mirs (jana mirs@frontier.com or 715-356-4746) to volunteer for a date on the schedule. We are striving to provide two meals per month for the residents, by participating in the making and eating of a meal there on Sunday night, and leaving another dinner for them to just heat up on the following Monday. All efforts—as well as precooked food—are appreciated. And thank you to all who have participated in this endeavor!


Community Dinner Thank-you

Thanks to everyone who provided and offered dishes for the community dinner, and to those who also stayed and helped with serving and clean-up. —Pat

Warm for Winter

Please continue to bring contributions to Warm for Winter to the fellowship. Warm coats, hats, boots, mittens and bedding will be available for families in need at the Friendly Village in Rhinelander starting in September.


Peace Be With You

David Carlson, author and Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Franklin College, Indiana, will discuss his book “Peace Be with You: Monastic Wisdom for a Terror-Filled World”,  on Monday, June 11, 7PM-9PM, at Many Ways of Peace.

You’re invited to join us for this important discussion.

In the wake of the ten-year anniversary of 9/11, as tensions rise between Christians and Muslims, David Carlson seeks guidance in the modern-day deserts of monastic communities across America. Are Christianity and Islam destined to confront one other as clashing civilizations? Peace Be with You: Monastic Wisdom for a Terror-Filled World clearly answers “No.”

Peace Be With You is the result of more than thirty interviews with abbots, nuns, monks, and other seekers at monasteries and retreat centers. Carlson reveals the untapped wisdom of these men and women in their own words as they speak with hope to a suffering world.

Many Ways of Peace is located at 217 S. Main Street in Downto wn Eagle River.  For more information, phone 715.480..4697 or visit www.manywaysofpeace.org.


Vegetarian Recipe Corner

Vegetable Gumbo with Rice
from Colonial Williamsburg VA

10-12 Servings


¼ cup butter

2 medium onions, finely chopped

1 large celery rib, finely sliced

1 small green pepper, cored and finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Tbsp flour

4 cup vegetable stock (I substitute beer for some of the stock.)

4-5 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped or 2 (16 oz) cans drained, seeded and chopped

1 tsp chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 t dried thyme

1 tsp salt

½ tsp ground pepper

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

1 lb. fresh or frozen okra, trimmed and sliced

1 cup hot cooked rice

Finely chopped fresh parsley for garnish


In a large pot or casserole over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onions, celery and green pepper. Cook, stirring often, until softened, 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook one minute longer. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until well blended, about 2 minutes. Pour in the veggie stock and/or beer and increase the heat to high. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the tomatoes, thyme, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Simmer, partially covered for 30 minutes, or until slightly thickened and flavors have blended. Add the okra to the gumbo about 10 minutes before serving. Divide the rice among 10-12 warmed soup bowls and ladle the gumbo on top. Sprinkle with a pinch of parsley and serve at once.


Thanks to Elinore Sommerfield for the recipe!


Floral Arrangements

Flowers are wanted for the sanctuary during services. Please contact Jana Mirs (at 715-356-4746, or janamirs@frontier.com) to sign up.






Lynn Deinard


Ethan Cummings & Jessica Rosenberg


Ruth Sproull


Richard Thieret & Wenda Sheard


Stephanie Perkins


Celeste and Mike Gonder


Lynn and David Deinard


Sue Ferguson


Faye and Lee Calvey


Betsy Schussler


Alan VanRaalte


Barbara Bratcher


Bev & Joe Strauss


Terri Hoyt


Rick & Julie Wambach


Frank Patin


Carol Potter


Mary Ann Fields


Dick and Mary Ann Fields


Ardis and Herb White


Doris and Art Eberlein


Paul & Irma Braunstein


Teress Toigo


Mel and Kay Hoff


Marilyn Feser


Danny Fichtner


Joe Dallapiazza


Audrey Williams


Charles & Janice Reed


Tom Sommerfeld


Randy Wendt


David Deinard


Harley Erbs




Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

P.O. Box 1881

Woodruff, WI 54568-1881



Elinore Sommerfeld, President




The NUUSLetter is published monthly.


Next Deadline: June 27, 2012 Please send submissions to Pat Bickner at bickner@gmx.com.


For distribution of announcements between newsletters or email/address corrections, contact Candy Sorensen at sorencan@yahoo.com.