Announcing New Director of Religious Education, Joy Berry

 Main Line Unitarian Church is pleased to announce the new Director of Religious Education, Joy Berry. The search committee unanimously and excitedly recommended Joy as our top candidate. We received 16 applicants, invited six for phone interviews, and three for in-person interviews. Pam Lehman, Kyle Cunningham, Mark DiMarino, Brock Myers, and Chris Stevens were a tremendous group! They dedicated a lot of time to reviewing the materials, interviewing the candidates, talking to references, and discussing as a group what each candidate would mean for this church.

joyberryJoy Berry is excited to join MLUC after three years with a Unitarian Universalist congregation in Arkansas. She is passionate about UU identity and community, and especially enjoys bringing moments of wonder, mystery, and awe into the lives of children, who she believes are naturally religious, asking big questions with an open mind about all possible answers.

A mother of three children, aged 18, 9, and 3, Joy has spent her life deeply engaged with questions about what children need to thrive, to grow, and to see themselves as powerful agents of good in a challenging world. She sees the future of Unitarian Universalism as one that models for children and youth how to use their hearts, minds, and hands to be the change we wish to see in the world.

Formerly a children's museum educator, she is particularly interested in hands-on learning that supports holistic learning experiences. Joy was a long-time volunteer leader with La Leche League, and has been involved with many projects focusing on community and parenting. She earned her Master's degree in Sociology with an emphasis on cross-cultural and American mothering and childrearing. For fun, Joy has been raising and breeding a line of olive-green egg-laying chickens as well as the critically endangered Black Javas. She hopes to continue beekeeping and chicken-raising, as well as organic gardening, here in her new home, along with her husband and children.

Thank you all for your continued interest in and support of our Religious Education program. We are very excited to have Joy on board!

Family Support Line Treats and Prevents Child Sexual Abuse

familysupportlinewebRecently, Patricia Kosinski, Executive Director of Family Support Line, visited Main Line Unitarian Church (MLUC) to lead a forum on sexual abuse for church members and friends. In her presentation, she provided training on the responsibility of individuals and institutions to report sexual abuse of any kind, but especially sexual abuse of children. In the wake of public child abuse scandals like that at Penn State University, organizations like Family Support Line are integral in educating individuals and preventing children from being abused.

Family Support Line, located in Media, PA, began in 1984 as a group of social service professionals and private citizens concerned about child sexual abuse, and quickly grew into an incorporated organization focused on providing specialized treatment for children and their families. They also develop educational seminars that provide a comprehensive approach to the prevention and early detection of child sexual abuse.

Members of the MLUC congregation were glad for the opportunity to learn more about preventive practices and early warning signs of child abuse during Kosinski’s presentation. Pat explained to them the phenomenon of “bystander effect,” in which otherwise responsible adults neglect to report abuse when they have implicit or explicit knowledge of it.

Family Support Line shares MLUC’s core values, including the belief that all people are inherently dignified. The church named the organization as the recipient for their Offering Outreach program in the month of February, which donates half of the monthly collection to a local non-profit. Kosinski happily accepted a donation check for $2,103.

She said of the donation, “This much-appreciated support from Main Line Unitarian Church will allow Family Support Line to offer our services at a free or reduced cost. We have therapists specially trained to work with the trauma of child sexual abuse, and we provide prevention seminars for parents and children in schools and the community. In 2011, our efforts reached nearly 10,000 people.”

For more information on Family Support Line, including how to get involved, visit www.familysupportline.org. To read more about Main Line Unitarian Church’s Offering Outreach program, visit www.mluc.org/social-action/offering-outreach.

Keeping Families Close with Hosts for Hospitals

hostsforhospitalswebMembers at Main Line Unitarian Church are always looking for inspiring non-profit organizations to team up with, and Philadelphia-based Hosts for Hospitals was a natural fit for the church’s Offering Outreach program. The organization provides free lodging for family members of patients who come to the Greater Philadelphia area for specialized medical care. Hosts for Hospitals organizes a network of volunteers who open their homes so that family members can focus on supporting their loved ones in a time of need rather than worry about the financial costs of being together.

Hosts for Hospitals was founded in 2000, after Executive Director Michael Aichenbaum had successfully beaten leukemia with the help of a bone marrow transplant. While receiving treatment in New York, his family racked up $20,000 in housing expenses to be with him. When he had the opportunity to start an organization that would help families in similar situations, he knew he had to take it.

Because of excellent local facilities such as Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, patients and families come from all over the world to receive the best medical care. Hosts for Hospitals has placed families from all 50 states and more than 85 countries, including 100 Haitian families in 2010.

Main Line Unitarian Church Trustee J.B. Hillman recognized the amazing work Hosts for Hospitals has accomplished in their 12 years. He said, “The mission of Hosts for Hospitals is aligned with our core Unitarian Universalist values of service and dignity. An organization that provides shelter and reduces stress for those in crisis is worthy of not only our financial gifts, but, as several of our members regularly demonstrate, our direct involvement in hosting these individuals and families. We are honored to offer our gifts in support of Hosts for Hospitals.”

Aichenbaum recently visited Main Line Unitarian Church to meet with Rev. Morgan McLean and express his gratitude at being selected as the church’s Offering Outreach organization for the month of December. Through the program, the church donates half of the monthly collection to a deserving non-profit or charity. Hosts for Hospitals received a donation of $2,108.

Aichenbaum said, “This timely donation will help us move forward with some of our core projects. Most immediately we will be able to continue shooting videos of hosts with their guests, which we post on YouTube to inspire other local families to volunteer for the program. With more hosts, over the coming months we will be able to offer free lodging to more patient-families with long-term needs, such as when a loved one is hospitalized at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital in Malvern, or the Crozier Burn Center in Upland.”

To learn more about Hosts for Hospitals, make a donation, or volunteer as a host, visit www.hostsforhospitals.org. To view past organizations that have been a part of the Main Line Unitarian Church Offering Outreach program, visit www.mluc.org/social-action/offering-outreach.

Photo: Hosts for Hospitals Executive Director Michael Aichenbaum receives a donation check in the amount of $2,108 from Rev. Morgan R. McLean of Main Line Unitarian Church. Hosts for Hospitals provides free lodging for family members of patients who come to the Greater Philadelphia area for specialized medical care. The church’s Offering Outreach program donates half of the monthly collection to a deserving non-profit organization. Photo courtesy of MLUC Communications.