Prairie Fire

June 23, 2010

In this issue:
-RE news
-Rev. Ralph's
-Society News
-New Members
-UU community

The full-featured Prairie Fire is published on the 22nd of every month.The Prairie Fire Bulletin is a  calendar-only newsletter that
is published on the
6th of every month. Both are published
by Prairie Unitarian Universalist Society. View past issues at

Contact Us:
Rev. Ralph Tyksinski

Director of Religious Education
Rebecca Malke-Eliganti

Editor/ Congregational Administrator
Kate Liu

Barbara Park, 608-273-8775

Prairie Web Sites:

Society Home Page

News Group


Social Action

Humanist Union

Input Deadlines:

Calendar items and program descriptions
are due on the 1st and 15th of each month. Feature articles for
the full
Prairie Fire are due on the 15th of each month. Please send to Kate Liu at
or call 271-8218.


Sunday, June 27, 2010
9:00 am – service - "General Assembly LIVE," presented by Nick Abts.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010
7:00 pm - Program Committee meeting.

Sunday, July 4, 2010
10:00 am- Service - "Reclaiming the Flag: What We Love About Our Country," presented by Mary Mullen.
11:45 am - Prairie Book Club meets to discuss The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery.

Sunday, July 11, 2010
10:00 am- Service - "Menu for the Future" presented by Prairie study group.
11:45 am - Humanist Union Potluck, with discussion at 12:30pm.

Monday, July 12, 2010
7:00 pm - Prairie Board meeting.

Sunday, July 18, 2010
10:00 am- Service - Singing Our Peace," presented by Jennifer Friedman.
11:45 am - Prairie Book Club meets to discuss Roads to Quoz: An American Mosey by William Least Heat-Moon.

Monday, July 19, 2010
6:30 pm - Spanish Speaker's Potluck, at the home of Bill Schaefer, 1029 Spaight St. apt B6.

Sunday, July 25, 2010
10:00 am- Annual joint service at Sauk City UU. No service at Prairie.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010
7:00 pm - Program Committee meeting.

Upcoming Programs

Sunday, June 27, 2010, 9:00 am: "General Assembly," presented by Nick Abts. General Assembly is here again, and provides another opportunity for Prairie to reestablish its Unitarian Universalist connections. Come to Prairie one hour earlier for a live viewing of the Sunday Worship at GA , featuring UUA President Peter Morales.

The theme of the program will be "Our Greatest Challenge", wherein President Morales will discuss the future, spiritual and otherwise, of the UUA.

Sunday, July 4, 2010, 10:00am: "Reclaiming the Flag: What We Love About Our Country," presented by Mary Mullen. Many UU’s have trouble engaging with the flag of our country because of its association with militarism, war, and extreme political views. But, isn’t it our flag too? Should we surrender the flag to those who use it as a symbol for aggressive views and behaviors, or should we reclaim it for better purposes? Mary Mullen will offer some personal reflections on these issues and invite you to share your views. Mary Mullen is a former teacher and a long-time member of Prairie.

Sunday, July 11, 2010, 10:00 am - "Menu for the Future," presented by a Prairie panel. A project for our congregation’s participation in the Green Sanctuary Program was offering of a Northwest Institute discussion course, Menu for the Future, from January to March 2010. This course allowed participants to learn about modern food systems and reflect on their role as eaters in the global marketplace. The course participants will present the main points of six sessions that considered food from cultural, economic, ecological, health and social perspectives. They will provide selected questions for discussion in smaller break-out groups. They will also provide information on further readings and resources.

Sunday, July 18, 2010, 10:00 am - "Singing Our Peace," presented by Jennifer Friedman. How do we achieve peace in our time? If we truly wish to become the change we want to see in the world, do we not first have to begin with ourselves? Cultivating love, compassion, and kindness within our own hearts, we lay the foundation for right relationship with our families and the rest of the world. Jennifer presents an inspiring musical program with joy-filled group singing and her own award winning music, exploring what it means to be a peace worker today. Jennifer Friedman is an award winning singer/songwriter from Longmont, Colorado who has sung rock-n-roll, reggae, barbershop and even in street theatre troupes. She is currently traveling the country with her 2nd album, “Soulful Warrior,” making stops each Sunday at UU congregations, where she presents musical programs on topics of social importance. When she is not on the road, she serves on the Music Team for Unity Center of Longmont and serves on the board for Dances of Universal Peace North America. She is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network and is also a Dance Leader and musician in the Dances of Universal Peace tradition. For more information, please visit

Religious Education News

The RE school year has now ended and summer has arrived. There will be no formal classes until Sunday, August 30th. That will be the start of the new RE year and the Water Ceremony service. From now until that time we will have childcare provided in our nursery for all infants and toddlers.

For those students in preschool and up we will have activities planned by various members of the congregation. We are in need of people to sign up for an activity on any Sunday this summer. You can weed in our Prairie community garden, play in the park, do arts and crafts, play instruments, etc. The possibilities are endless for leading a group activity; have fun and be creative! There are still 2 Sundays available in August - the 15th and the 22nd. Please sign up on the sheet in the meeting room.

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As always if you have any questions or concerns or ideas for the RE program please let me know by talking to me on Sunday mornings, emailing me at:, or calling me at 271-8218.

Thank you and see you Sunday!

Rebecca Malke

Director of Religious Education

Our Society

Notes from the Consulting Minister Search Committee

The Consulting Minister Search Committee has been active. Our Committee has five members: Heidi Hughes, Dorothy Krause, Anne Lundin, Al Nettleton, and Ken Skog.

We have had queries from a number of candidates. Our process includes preparing questions for interviews, arranging for and conducting interviews, arranging for and seeing candidates present a Sunday service, checking references and making a decision on our conclusions.

We currently expect that we will complete these steps for report to the Board in early July. Rev. Ian Evison of the Central Midwest District has provided us with considerable help. The Board will consider our report and if the result is a candidate to recommend to the congregation, arrangements will be made to have the congregation meet the candidate and vote on accepting them.

After completing the budget for the coming year Board decided to change the prospective start date for a consulting minister to Sept 1, 2010.

Ken Skog
Chair of Search Committee

Prairie Visited by Margaret Fuller

On May 23rd, 2010, on her 200th birthday, Margaret Fuller visited Prairie Society and gave a wonderful presentation. It was amazing how strongly Margaret resembled our own member, Robin Proud - the likeness was truly uncanny.

It was a special weekend all around, as Prairie also hosted the Central Midwest District Women's Connection leadership team. The group was greeted with a potluck on Friday the 21st, used the building for meetings in the early part of Saturday, and led a conversation salon on Margaret Fuller Saturday evening.

Deb Goller, of the women's connection, had many kind words to say about us after spending the weekend here. "Prairie is so blessed with not only theatrical talent, but musical talent as well. A new song inspired by Margaret Fuller’s words, had people in the congregation humming along with the intro, even though they had never heard it before. My mouth dropped as UU hymns were sung out in a place dedicated to its music programs. Congregational hymns were sung in a way that didn’t seem to matter if one hit a sour note once in a while. (BTW: I didn’t hear one off note!) Discussion after the speaker was full of questions about Margaret Fuller, her life and work, and then came Joys and Concerns. The microphone was handed off to one person after another, with good humored jousting and serious questions and even tears…a sure sign of loving acceptance, a place where one finds one's friends. " (You can read the rest of her article at

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WOW News - Prairie's Wild, Outstanding Women!

The scrapbook party on June 12th for Karleen Tyksinski was a huge success. Thank you for coming, bringing your pictures or if unable to come getting them to us. There were 15 of us and everybody seemed to enjoy making the book, especially Karleen.

We will meet in July, on July 10th, at Prairie on the 2nd Saturday because of the 4th of July holiday on the first weekend. And we have all been invited to Pat Watkins porch for our August meeting on August 7th. Both meetings are at 9 am and please bring food to both. Pat Watkins lives at 230 N Meadow Lane, right off of Regent, near Midvale.

In September we will meet at the Prairie Retreat, Sept 18th and the October meeting is October 2nd, back at Prairie at 9 am.

Any questions or emails to add to the group call 276 8397 or email

Mary Somers, WOW coordinator

Prairie Book Club Update

Prairie's book club meets once a month after service to discuss a book over potluck lunch. This is an open book club, and you are welcome to come even if you haven't read the book. Here's what the book club is reading up through July:

For Sunday, July 4 - Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (French fiction, 320 pages) Told through 2 narrators – concierge Renée Michel (in first person) and an intellectually precocious girl named Paloma Josse, (through her journals) - it features erudite characters. It is full of allusions to literary works, music, films, and paintings. Themes relate to philosophy, class consciousness, and personal conflict. Suggested by Rose Smith and Al Nettleton. Note the change of date!

For Sunday, July 18 - (Date may be changed) Roads to Quoz: An American Mosey by William Least Heat-Moon (608 pages) is about a series of short trips – total of 16,000 miles - rather than one long trip as Heat-Moon’s other books were. In this book he covers Maine’s North Woods by car, a trip along the coast from Baltimore to Florida by boat, one in Idaho’s Bitterroot Mountains by rail bike (bike fitted out to cruise along

abandoned railroad tracks), and others. “Wherever he is, Heat-Moon’s thought is often tethered to questions of sustainability and equitability…deep ecology.” It’s a long book, and you may choose to read it over the summer while on a trip or while trapped at home. Feel free to select whatever trips appeal to you. Suggested by Al Nettleton.

Mary Mullen
Book Club Coordinator

Prairie Archiving

Prairie Society has been an active, vibrant congregation for more than 40 years. In that time we have created many traditions, educated many children, and created lasting friendships. Somehow, along the way, we have also generated a massive amount of paper and photographs. As your administrator, I am beginning to take on the task of organizing some of this material so that our history is not lost.

I also know from having served on the board before becoming the administrator that board members often end up keeping important documents for Prairie in their homes. While off-site storage can be a good idea, it would probably be best for us to start storing important documents in a central location. To this end, we have now opened a safe deposit box at Summit Credit Union.

I would encourage all of you to look through your Prairie "stuff" in your home and think about whether 

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you would like to bring it in to Prairie to be archived or placed in the safe deposit box. I will happily receive anything you want to bring in.

Kate Liu
Prairie Administrator

Prairie Elders meetings

Prairie Elders is a group of over-65 Prairie members who meet once a month (generally on the 4th Tuesday) at Oakwood, in the Nakoma room, for conversation and mutual support. New members are always welcome. Topics alternate between general interest and more personal items. For July 27th the topic is "Implications of the Texas Social Studies Curriculum ."

All meetings begin with informal conversation at 1:30 pm, followed by discussion beginning at 2:00 pm. If possible, please bring some snacks to share and your own beverage cup. For more information about the group or to arrange a ride, please call one of the following: Donna Murdoch 238-3802, Gordon Cunningham 230-3367, Rosemary Dorney 238-4382 or Rose Smith 233-3363.

Membership News

New Prairie phone directories are available! They will be distributed primarily through Prairie News, though if you want a paper copy you can order one, and Kate Liu, our administrator, will send it to you or set it aside for you to pick up at Prairie. If you need a large-print version, you can also let Kate know that when you place your order. Contact Kate by email at admin (at) or by phone at 271-8218.

Looking Ahead: Prairie Fall Family Retreat!

Please set aside the weekend of September 17-19 for the annual Prairie family retreat at Pine Lake Camp in Westfield, Wisconsin. Once again, Phyllis Long will be serving as Program Coordinator. If you are interested in offering a program, please let her know. It would be helpful, if you want to offer a program, to let her know when you will arrive at Pine Lake and how long you plan to stay, and to tell her if you will need any special materials. We will also need people who would be willing to devote an hour or so to child care, as we expect some babies and toddlers. You can contact her by email plong373 (at), or call 608-325-7397. Of course, you can also let her know Sunday morning! We hope to have the program mostly put together by mid-July, and registration will open in early August.

If you have any questions about the retreat, please contact Phyllis or Kate Liu (Prairie's administrator.)

Phyllis Long, Retreat Program Coordinator
Kate Liu, Prairie Administrator admin (at)

Spanish Speaker's Potluck

Any level of Spanish speaking ability is welcome to join these once-a-month potlucks. For July, we will meet on the 19th at the home of Bill Schaefer, 1029 Spaight St, apt. B6. Please call Bill at 255-0003 for directions; for information about the group or to arrange for a ride, please call Rosemary Dorney at 238-4382.

Humanists to hear about Harvard Chaplain and the New Humanism

The Humanist Union meeting for July will be on Sunday July 11. After our usual potluck lunch at 11:45 am we will have a discussion of Good without God: Greg Epstein and the new humanism from 12:30 to 1:30 pm. Greg Epstein is the Humanist Chaplain of Harvard University and author of the recent best seller, Good without God. Our discussion will be led by those who have read all or part of the book, those who have read Epstein's online article at, and those who heard his 6/24/10 talk at GA in Minneapolis on Good Without God: Something Nonbelievers Can Believe In. If the topic sounds interesting to you, please join us.

Bob Park
Humanist Union

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Social Action Notes

Several Prairie members are also members at the UU Church of Tucson Arizona. The UUCT has a special project called No More Deaths which gives aid to migrants crossing the Sonoran desert. The church (and our own Mary Somers!) was honored by the UUA with the prestigious Bennet Social Justice award for its work. You can contribute to this effort by donating clean, new, white cotton socks to help dress blistered and bleeding feet, a common condition in the desert crossing. Mary will take the socks to Tucson this fall. For more information about the UUCT and the award, please visit

UU & Wider Community News

PFLAG Conference

"Dear Friends of Marriage Equality: Please join us on August 13-14 in beautiful Decorah, Iowa, for what promises to be an outstanding conference, bringing together a wide variety of individuals and organizations from throughout the Upper Midwest to strategize on "Achieving Marriage Equality in the Heartland" using lessons from Iowa's experience. Save the date! We'll be sending out registration information soon."

The PFLAG Northeast Iowa Conference Committee

For further information, contact Bill Musser at

Prairie UU Society
2010 Whenona Dr.
Madison, WI 53711