EnghetaSunday, February 10, 1:00 p.m., McGinness Room

Justice in the Middle East will sponsor, "Iran: The Tale of a Complex Nation." Susanne and Nader Engheta, originally from Iran, will review Iran's political and religious composition in the 20th century and its effect on the world's current affairs. The history of oil, the roots of the 1979 revolution, the rise of religious fundamentalism, and the current social and political atmosphere among Iranians within Iran and abroad will be discussed.

Susanne came to the United States in 1977 for her education. When signs of revolution became evident, she was hopeful for democracy. But once the revolution fell into the hands of the religious leaders, all hope for democracy was lost. Susanne remained interested and immersed in the history as well as the current affairs of Iran. She has been active in educating others about Iran's religious and political culture in the Main Line School Night.

Nader, a professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, is well-read and interested in Iranian political and social movements. 

Together, they will present the issues that affect the lives of the people in Iran, especially those secular intellectuals who have no voice and remain unknown to most of the world.

MazzoniAllySafeSchoolsRev. Morgan R. McLean recently visited the Mazzoni Center in Philadelphia to present a donation check for $1,820 to the center’s Ally Safe Schools Program as part of the church’s Offering Outreach campaign, which designates a different charitable organization each month to receive half the Sunday collection plate.

There are many organizations that advocate for LGBTQ issues, but the Ally Safe Schools Program is unique in specifically reaching out to staff and students in Philadelphia schools to create more inclusive environments for LGBTQ youth. Ally coordinates Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs), which are meetings that bring students from throughout the region together for networking, collaboration, and friendship. The program hosted seven citywide GSAs this year in addition to working with 56 middle and high schools in the Philadelphia School District.

Rev. McLean explained why this match made sense: “The Ally Safe Schools Program was an exciting effort to support, as it directly lines up with our sexuality education program, Our Whole Lives. We are committed to teaching our children and youth the values of healthy sexuality as part of their faith development, and giving them support when they are ready to express their own identities.  

“Main Line Unitarian Church is also a dedicated member of the Welcoming Congregation Program of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Our members work to create a safe and welcoming place for all people, as well as engage as public advocates for LGBT issues. We’re happy to connect with the Mazzoni Center, who have been a leading voice for inclusion and care in the Philadelphia area.”

Mazzoni Center Prevention Services Director Eric Paulukonis said: “We are extremely grateful for the generosity of the Main Line Unitarian Church community. This donation from their Offering Outreach Program will help us to reach more youth in need of support, and enable us to create more safe spaces across Philadelphia for LGBTQ youth and allies.”

He added, “It is always wonderful to connect with organizations who share in our commitment of improving the well-being of youth, and we hope that we can continue this relationship in the future.”

Photo: Rev. Morgan R. McLean of Main Line Unitarian Church presents a donation check for $1,820 to the Mazzoni Center Ally Safe Schools Program, which reaches out to staff and students in Philadelphia schools to create more inclusive environments for LGBTQ youth. From left: Mazzoni Center Director of Development and Marketing Perry Monastero, Rev. McLean, Ally Program Associate Jaymie Campbell, and Executive Director Nurit Shein.

equalexchangefairtradeMain Line Unitarian Church was recently recognized for its commitment to fair trade by Equal Exchange, a co-operative that has been empowering farmers and consumers for more than 25 years. For the past 15 years, MLUC has sourced the coffee and tea served after Sunday services from Equal Exchange, ensuring fair wages for farmers in Latin America and Africa. These partnerships are economically just and environmentally sound, and contribute to a more democratic and sustainable world. Thank you to the congregation for proving that living our values starts with the choices we make.

AuctionThank you for making the Wild West Rodeo Auction on Saturday, November 3 a huge success! This year, our event followed on the heels of Superstorm Sandy, which proved devastating to many of our members, friends, and neighbors and their extended families. Despite the calamity, auction attendees proved unflappable, as well as generous, in their bidding.

Live music provided by Meadowlark soothed the crowd. Ten and five gallon hats circled the chuck wagons, where food donations were greeted with great acclaim. Our OK Corral Saloon served sarsaparilla, sparking cowhands to rope their favorites in the main arena.

The Roses, Joanne and Ron, our Rodeo auctioneers, delighted the audience with IMAX images of your donations, while singing, playing guitar, and tickling us silly to pump up the bids. The children’s cow party was a rootin’ tootin’ hootenanny. Pizza, games, film, and craft-making led to their annual surprise donation: an adorned hobby horse. Wow! It paid off. Costume prizes, raffle baskets, and 50-50 winners rode off into the sunset.   

With your generosity, our church raised $34,000! We should all feel proud of our combined efforts in making the auction a huge success. Thank you for your contributions. Best wishes and see you next year!

Gene Ramsbottom,
Auction Committee Chair

Auction Committee: Cindy Arnold-Cohen, Carolyn Ballinger, Sue Compton, Sally-Ann Fritzson, Sandy Gargus, Alyssa and Michael Metz-Topodas, Joanne and Ron Rose, and Scott Turner.

On Sunday, October 21, nineteen youth members of Main Line Unitarian Church participated in AIDS Walk Philly, continuing the youth groups’ commitment to raising awareness about HIV and AIDS. Members of the church’s Young Religious Unitarian Universalists and Junior Youth Group, ranging from grades 7–12, raised $2,608 while walking twelve kilometers through Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park system.

Rachael Milles, President of Young Religious Unitarian Universalists, when asked what participating in AIDS Walk Philly meant to her, answered simply, “I walked because part of being human is making the world a better place for others.”

The leading fundraisers for this year’s MLUC team were Kaitlin Hatch, Tyler McDowell, and Julia McDowell. Special thanks also go to the church members who made donations to support the team as a whole.

Sam Wilson, an adult leader of YRUU, brought a little levity to the walk by dressing up as a fierce lion, but was quite serious when he reflected on the depth of understanding shown by the youth who walked.

“It was clear that these youth were keenly aware of why they were participating in this walk.” Wilson said. “They had obviously spent time on their own reflecting on the significance of this walk for them. These young UUs are a constant inspiration and source of confirmation that we are doing something right!”

AIDS Walk Philly is presented each year by the AIDS Fund, which works with 30 partner organizations throughout the Greater Philadelphia Area to provide critical HIV prevention education and care services. Their philosophy is centered on the idea that working together is the best way to fight against this disease, and thousands of volunteers mobilize each year. To learn more, visit www.aidswalkphilly.org.