Film Depicts Muslim-Christian Peace, 1217-1221

Via Bill Butler in sunny Naples, FL:  Some of you will remember that NRCAT is the organization of which my friend Linda Gustitus was a VP, to which many UU congregations belong, and to which UUCF contributed split plate offerings a couple of times. A little late to do the “viewing party” activity, but perhaps you’ll choose to watch PBS (rather than “Lethal Weapon” or “The Flash”).


From: National Religious Campaign Against Torture <>

Subject: “The Sultan and the Saint” Airs on PBS Dec. 26

Date: December 19, 2017 at 6:18:19 PM EST


Dear Friends,

NRCAT is pleased to partner with Unity Productions Foundation and the Franciscan Action Network to invite you to watch the “The Sultan and the Saint” on PBS on December 26.  The film is a powerful depiction of Muslim-Christian peace, telling the story of St. Francis of Assisi’s trip to Egypt during the wars of the Fifth Crusade (1217-1221).  Francis enters Sultan al-Kamil’s military camp, and through dialogue and prayer, the two lay the groundwork for an end to the bloodshed.  

We encourage you to gather friends and family for a viewing party – sign up for a study guide and register your viewing event at  The film will air on many PBS stations around the country on December 26, check local listings.

After December 26, the film will be available for streaming, and on DVD. Sign-up to receive more information on getting your free DVD and study guide:

This one hour docu-drama includes reenactments of historical events and interviews with history scholars and religious leaders.  It is perfect for an interfaith event with neighboring faith communities or for a discussion in your congregation or school.  Sign-up to receive your free DVD:

If you host a viewing party, please be sure to tag us at @NRCATtweets in a tweet with a photo!


Rev. Ron Stief, Executive Director

Important Climate Change Working Group Info.

From Karen Russell:

Please mark your calendars for the next Climate Change Working Group meeting: Saturday, December 9, from 10 – noon, at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick in rm. 113.  Our business meeting will include the continuation of our discussion on coming to a position on energy generation for Frederick County. And, let’s make time to socialize a little! I plan to bring hot cider and homemade banana bread.

Also, at our November meeting, I committed to addressing the Frederick County state delegation at their annual public hearing this Saturday, Dec 2, at 2 p.m. in the 1st floor hearing room of Winchester Hall, on behalf of the Climate Change Working Group. You will find an agenda and my testimony below. If any of you can be there, the moral support would be appreciated!  Below are the State Delegation agenda and my comments:
Delegation Hearing Agenda

  • Pledge of Allegiance
  • Call to order and welcome
  • Introductions
  • Review and approve 2.3.17 Delegation minutes
  • Frederick County Liquor Board legislative priorities (Jesse Pippy – Chairman and Rick Stup – Member)
  • County Ethics Legislation – Senator Michael Hough
  • Potential Bond Bills (Key Stadium Sports Mural – Yemi Fagbohun, Helen Smith Studio – Al Weinberg)
  • Opioid Epidemic (Maryland Sheriff’s Youth Ranch – Korey Shorb, Crossroads Freedom Center – Maria Tarasuk)
  • Potential Delegation Legislation – open platform for delegation members
  • Public Comment
  • Adjournment

Testimony for Frederick County Delegation Annual Public Hearing

December 2, 2017, Climate Change Working Group of Frederick County, Karen Russell, Founder & Chair, 510 E. Mountain Rd., Knoxville, MD 21758,, 301-401-2463 (cell)

I speak today for the Climate Change Working Group. We are local residents focused on preparing Frederick County to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of Climate Change.

According to, authors of seven climate consensus studies co-authored a paper published in an internationally recognized physics journal called Environmental Research Letters and concluded the following. I quote:

“1) Depending on exactly how you measure the expert consensus, it’s somewhere between 90% and 100% that agree humans are responsible for climate change, with most of our studies finding 97% consensus among publishing climate scientists.

2) The greater the climate expertise among those surveyed, the higher the consensus on human-caused global warming.”

If nine out of ten medical doctors you visited agreed that a fever was bad for you, I’m sure you would agree and try to find a way to bring your temperature down.

Frederick County is already experiencing the effects of Climate Change. Later frost, warmer winters, early springs, longer periods without rain or snow, more severe storms when they do occur– these are now part of our reality.

Hotter and dryer weather puts pressure on water sources, such as the Monocacy and Potomac Rivers for both humans and wildlife. Warm weather in autumn and winter stresses crops ranging from apples to hops, putting farming and its dependent industries at risk.

It is imperative that we work to wean our culture from the use of fossil fuels, as quickly as possible. Bills coming before you this session involve raising the Renewable Portfolio Standard. The Working Group has endorsed the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Initiative, but there are others, including the “100% Clean Energy by 2035” bill submitted by Delegate Shane Robinson.

The Working Group would like the see the Forest Conservation Act passed this session. Maryland is suffering a net loss of forest cover. Trees, especially large ones, are an amazingly simple answer to not only removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but also mitigating floods and cleaning our water. We would also like to see the revised Forest Resource Ordinance passed in Frederick County, as we are also suffering a net loss of forest cover.

Finally, MD needs to refuse Mountaineer Gas a “401 Certification” for its proposed pipeline under the Potomac near Hancock. The pipeline is unnecessary and we especially don’t need the risk of one under the Potomac River.

Principle #7: The interdependent web of all existence

Personal thoughts:  While vacuuming mouse dirt in my closet I lifted a suitcase and jumped when I saw a little gray body, its long tail slightly curled but unmoving.  What to do?  I finally used a white paper towel as a shroud.  Then I texted friend Anna Maslowicz.  Since I release mouse catches from my humane trap, we decided perhaps this one had come in after eating the exterminator’s poison.  Anna thought burying it outside might cause another animal to suffer the Same Fate if it ate the poisoned body, tiny though it was.  Yes, the best solution was to put it in the trash but that seemed so, well, heartless.

Siri delivered a short chalice-lighting prayer for a memorial service that she found on the UUA website.  Luckily I had a battery-run candle and Apricot was suitably attentive to the prayer.  She even looked pensive when I read: “We kindle this light that we might find comfort in its warmth; strength in its light; holiness in its presence.”

I get pissed off (long ago UMD prof said pissed is good Old English verb we don’t use enough; I try to rectify that) when people tell me UUs don’t believe in anything.  We do–but probably not what most of them believe.  I sense UUs are very spiritual and dig within ourselves to honor our seven principles and 6 sources for guidance.  Anna agreed we showed respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part (Principle #7).

And FYI:  “Writing Your Memoir: Getting Started”: 10 sessions on Tuesdays, 3:00-4:30pm, facilitated by Mary Bowman-Kruhm (January 9, 16; February 6, 13, 20; March 6, 13, 20; April 3, 10, 17–snow date) in Room 113. Mine your memories for nuggets of wisdom, terror, and joy. Not to mention true history. Limited to 6 participants. Cost: $5/session to UUCF. Required text: Stephen King, On Writing. For more information or to sign-up, email or 301-712-6828.

Important Post via Karen Russell!

Hello folks,

This Wednesday, October 18, 7 p.m. at Winchester Hall (12 E. Church St.), the Frederick County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposed Monocacy Scenic River Plan.

The Monocacy River was designated a Scenic River in 1968, along with 8 other rivers in MD, to “protect the natural values of these rivers, enhance their water quality, and fulfill vital conservation purposes by wise use of resources within their surrounding environment.” The 1990 plan has been revised by an all-volunteer River Board and is currently under Planning Commission review. After the Planning Commission reviews the plan, it is forwarded to the County Council for final consideration and a vote to approve. I’d like to invite you to come to the hearing to show support for the plan.

I along with others who hope to protect the river and restore its health are facing organized opposition from some landowners along the river, who feel that their private property rights are threatened, and we expect a large turnout of people who wish to squelch the plan. The Monocacy River is not private property. We all need it to survive and by all, I mean the wildlife and plants that depend on it, as well the population of Frederick County who drink water from it, fish in it, and canoe and kayak down it. 
In order to counter this expected turnout, will you attend the meeting and hopefully speak in support of the plan? A simple statement about supporting the plan would be great! Numbers are what is needed. Cogent arguments supporting the River and calling for Riparian buffers  along it have and will be made. Click here for an editorial I wrote that appeared in the Frederick News Post to give you some background.
I’ve included friends in this email. Please know that I wouldn’t be writing to you if this weren’t important. From a purely health and environmental perspective the plan should be supported. Adding the dimension of the effects of Climate Change speaks to the urgency of implementing useful recommendations.
Thank you,

Neither a goal nor a plan for climate change by Jeff Wilson

Thanks to Karen Russell for alerting me to the following.  Karen is chair who also initiated the Climate Change Working Group

Kudos to UUCF member Jeff Wilson for his 10/10/17 Letter to the Editor in the Frederick News Post:

 Neither a goal nor a plan for climate change

Harvey, Irma, Maria. Death and destruction, unmeasurable economic impact. An island in the Caribbean that is now uninhabitable. Businesses are destroyed, and jobs have vanished. Droughts destroy crops in the South and Southwest. Wildfires destroy houses, homes and dreams. People in New Orleans, Houston, much of Florida, and Puerto Rico are bearing the brunt of these events, while most Americans have not been asked to do anything about the climate change that is making these events worse than they otherwise would have been.

Natural disasters have happened before, and they will continue, but climatologists warned us decades ago that they would become more frequent and more severe. That is exactly what we are seeing today.

Climate-change deniers protest that the long-overdue, necessary adaptations to respond to climate change would hurt the economy and cost jobs. They exaggerate the costs and disregard new kinds of jobs that are being created. I contend that we are seeing worse effects today, and that those costs are randomly and unfairly distributed. An orderly, thoughtful and cooperative approach to the problem would be less costly, under our control, and more equitable.

The rest of the civilized world has demonstrated the courage to face these inconvenient facts and entered into a treaty that allows each country to choose the methods by which they will comply. Those countries are asking all of their citizens to do their fair share. They have a goal and a plan. We have neither.


Food for Puerto Rico from UUCF

I seldom put the same info. on this blog and on our Facebook page, but I think this is worthy of a double-post. Groceries bought with SAC funds were delivered to the collection location in Frederick this morning and will be flown to Puerto Rico on Saturday. We hope by then the local officials will have been able to organize distribution of food, water, fuel, etc. Our $477 purchased 80 lbs of rice, 12 gallons of canned tomatoes, 8 quarts of peanut butter, about 90 lbs of canned tuna, chicken, and ham, 6 gallons of boullion, and 6 gallons of canned beans. Unity volunteers asked that we thank UUCF. And SAC thanks UUCF members and friends for supporting our fundraising so we carry out efforts like this!


Local Drop Off of S

Climate First! March

CLIMATE FIRST! Peaceful Direct Action at Wells Fargo Bank in Frederick

Wells Fargo Bank branch, 7860 Wormans Mill Rd. Saturday, September 23, 2017, 10:30am-12 noon
Gather at Wegman’s Market Cafe (at or near Fireside Room) at 10am.

Questions: Call Monica (240) 344-0574

Other actions you can take: 

Contact the CEO: Timothy J Sloan, CEO & President, Wells Fargo

Sample script: “I respectfully ask that Wells Fargo end its financial involvement with TransCanada, the company that is building the Keystone XL pipeline.  I opposite pipeline because the project will likely have grave repercussions for the world’s climate.  In taking such a principled stand against the KXL pipeline, Wells Fargo would be heralded as an environmental leader in the banking world and beyond.”

  • Telephone number: 866-878-5865.
  • Email: Be sure to “cc” the email to
  • USPS address:  Wells Fargo & Company, 420 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94104. Be sure to “cc” the letter to
  • Facebook:

Join Climate First! at to fight global warming



Help Build the Peace Wave – September 20-26

From Women in Black Frederick.  Please contact them directly if interested in helping.  The local Friends are considering a candlelight vigil at White House or similar action.


Let Us Launch the “Peace Wave” Actions from September 20 to 26, calling on all governments of the World to Join the Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons

On the occasion of the 72nd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the 2017 World Conference against A and H Bombs called on the peoples of the world to launch international join international simultaneous actions “Peace Wave” to urge all national governments to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons from September 20, the day when the Treaty will be open for signatures, until 26, the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted on July 7this year with the support of 122 States. It is a groundbreaking treaty to open a path to achieve the total elimination of nuclear weapons, which has long been aspired by the Hibakusha and the peoples of the entire world. Declaring that nuclear weapons are inhumane weapons in violation of international law, international humanitarian law and international human rights law, the treaty prohibits the development, production, tests, manufacturing, acquisition, possession, stockpiling, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons.

Among the 193 member states of the United Nations, only 9 countries are in possession of nuclear weapons. If they decide, it is possible to achieve a nuclear weapon-free world within the lifetime of the Hibakusha.

Turning its back on this historic opportunity, the government of Japan has clung to the “nuclear umbrella” of the U.S. and refused to join this treaty. It is not only absolutely contrary to the wishes of the Hibakusha and the people of the A-bombed nation, but is a violation of the Constitution of Japan that forever renounces all wars.

The “Peace Wave” will start from Japan at noon, September 20, and circle around the globe, linking actions in different countries to call on all governments of the world to join the treaty. In response to the call by the World Conference against A and H Bombs, we call on all of you to organize actions, setting the common goal as “Abolition of nuclear weapons – Urging all governments of the world to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons” and including the “Hibakusha Appeal International Signature Campaign” as a common action.

In Japan, we will carry out:

*At noon, September 20, we will declare the start of “Peace Wave” in Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Tokyo, and conduct a wide variety of actions, including the street signature campaigns nationwide.

*Together with the Hibakusha, we will stage the “Orizuru (peace crane) Action” from 1:30pm in front of the Prime Minister’s Office, Tokyo to urge Prime Minister Abe and the government of Japan to sign the Treaty. We will also visit the embassies of nuclear weapon possessing countries to call for their joining in the treaty.

*We will continue to carry out actions at various parts of Japan and on September 26, we will join a large scale of signature campaign to be initiated by the Signature Campaign Promotion Committee.

Link to the Hibakusha Appeal signature campaign:

We will call on all of you to join the “Peace Wave” actions to circle the globe. Let us start planning/preparations for a success of the starting actions and greater variety of activities at your local communities, workplaces, school campuses and all around the world.

In many countries plans are already being made to mark the occasion, and the International Peace Bureau and other organizations are promoting these actions in support of the “Peace Wave.”

Please send us your action plans to us. We will translate them into Japanese language and spread them to the Japanese movements, and instead, we will send out to you the plans of Japan to link all actions in the world and strengthen solidarity each other. We will appreciate very much your disseminating this call in your networks and links.

Looking forward to working together for “Peace Wave”,

Peace Wave Task Force
Organizing Committee, the World Conference against A and H Bombs
2-4-4 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8464 Japan
Tel: +81-3-5842-6034 Fax: +81-3-5842-6033


Nancy Hutchins sent this press release from the Alternatives to Violence Project.  Thanks much, Nancy.  Although not a split-plate recipient this coming year, UUCF has supported AVP for many years and Dave and Nancy Hutchins, Emma Lou Comstock, and Mary Fletcher are active volunteers.

Contact:  K. Archer Bunner: (317) 362-7222,
Irene Webb: (310) 722 7011,

O.J. Simpson Credits Alternatives to Violence Project training to helping him deal with conflict while in Lovelock Correctional Facility.

Lovelock, Nevada – On Thursday, July 20, 2017, after 9 years of incarceration for armed robbery, O.J. Simpson sat in on his Parole hearing. During the hearing he stated the programs and steps he took to rehabilitate saying: “I took two courses (Basic & Advanced) that I guess you guys don’t give much credit to.  It’s called Alternatives to Violence. It’s the most important course anyone in this prison could take as it teaches you to solve conflict through conversation.”

OJ Simpson is one of thousands of persons who have been incarcerated that have benefited from these trainings. Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshops and trainings are currently given in 32 states and more than 50 countries. In 2016, AVP conducted workshops in 109 correctional facilities in the USA. More than 15,000 persons who were in prisons were trained in 1,033 workshops by more than 1700 facilitators who were also incarcerated.

“This is the first time I felt like a human being in 30 years, AVP saved my life,” Jason Guinn (now paroled Facilitator in Texas).

Since 1975, when a group of Quakers were invited into Green Haven Prison in upstate New York, the Alternatives to Violence Project has been a powerful force for transformation inside of prison and in community groups in the USA and around the globe.  Participants practice in an environment where they can be open and honest. They learn trust and communication skills, practice empathy, build community, and practice resolving conflict nonviolently. The training is also given in communities and schools with a vision of creating a more collaborative world where we are able to work through conflicts rather than avoid them or resort to violence.

AVP has opened up a whole new world for me that I never knew existed. I used to think, where there is a will, there is a way, and I usually meant a violent way. Now I think that where there is a will, there is a non-violent way, and I am going to look for it,” Dependable Dale (now paroled Facilitator in Indiana).

AVP-USA is an association of community, school and prison-based groups offering experiential workshops in personal growth, community development and creative conflict resolution. Founded in prisons and developed from the real life experiences of prisoners, AVP encourages every person’s innate power to positively transform first themselves and then the world we live in. Alternatives to Violence Project brings together diverse groups of people to build Dr. King’s nonviolent, “beloved community.” Together, we will build a more peaceful and equitable world. For more information please visit