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Unitarian Universalist Society of Mill Creek

We are a community that invites you to awaken to love.
Sunday Virtual Worship
July 25, 2021

Join us this Sunday when Rev. Greg shares his message,
“mercy {me}”
Connect with us: check your inbox on Sunday morning for links!
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** Congregational Life

** Upcoming events, meetings and news to know

** Saturday Campfire Events: *New Schedule!*
We continue to hold a campfire in the Memorial Grove every Saturday evening (unless otherwise noted, and weather permitting). We gather around 7:30-ish. Bring all your comforts (lawn chairs, blankets, refreshments, etc.) and feel free to invite your family, friends, and neighbors of all ages!

If you haven’t yet joined us for a campfire, consider one (or more) of these Saturdays this summer when we have some fun themed events planned for the whole family:

Ice Cream Social – July 24^th
Last Saturday’s weather didn’t cooperate so we have rescheduled. We’re excited to celebrate at Mill Creek with some ice cream! Members, visitors, kids, family, friends and neighbors are all welcome.

We will set up a tent and have the event even if it rains (we may cancel again if there are dangerous storms in the area). We will have vanilla and chocolate ice cream with different toppings. Note that due to lingering issues with the Covid-19 virus, we will be serving the ice cream and handing it to you (no self-serve). We will pass around the hat to cover the costs and any extra money will be donated to the church.

Please RSVP to Jamie Kegerise ( so we get enough of the frozen stuff for everyone.

Ode to Shakespeare – July 30^th
Though Mill Creek is a far cry from Stratford-upon-Avon, we plan to spend a little time enjoying some of Shakespeare’s writings. Bring a favorite verse and recite it for the rest of the group. No costumes or memorization is necessary, but you are welcome to spice this up “As You Like It”.

Just Desserts – August 7th
Bring a dessert to share – but it must be individually wrapped (we can’t do any serving or scooping out of the same dish for safety). For example, if you bring cookies, each serving will need to be individually wrapped to be shared. Homemade or store-bought welcome!

Hymn Sing-Along – August 14^th
We’re dusting off the hymnals and bringing them out to the campfire circle. We’ll select hymns to sing and do our best to hit the notes right. Please bring your mask as depending on the turnout it may be safest if we all wear our masks while singing.

Stargazing – August 21^st
There will be almost a full moon, and hopefully we’ll have a clear sky. Bring along any astronomy equipment you may have, such as a telescope or binoculars, to get a great look at the moon, planets and stars.

60’s & 70’s Sing-Along – August 28^th
Bring your favorite music from this groovy era. Phones are welcome to help with the lyrics. NOTE that we may need to mask up if there’s a larger group of us.

This was the scene in the Memorial Grove on Saturday, July 11th. All that is missing is YOU. Grab a chair, bring a friend, AND JOIN US!

All of our campfire events are open to everyone!! The Memorial Grove is to the left of the main (back) parking lot as you drive in. (Note: there is a slight incline on a grassy area leading up to the area.) Please note that the church building will be closed except for restroom use (by one person or family at a time). Contact Jamie Kegerise ( or the church office ( (302-369-2712) with questions.

** Board to Present Reopening Plan

The Board will present its current plan for reopening the church building for in-person worship services this Sunday, July 25th during Sunday Morning Live. The presentation will be repeated on Zoom on Wednesday evening, July 28th, at 6:30 pm. To attend the Wednesday meeting, check your inbox that morning for the link.

** Board of Trustees July Meeting Quick Look Report
Mill Creek Board of Trustees Meeting
Wednesday, 21 July, 6:30pm in the Sanctuary
Quick Look Report to the Congregation

Outdoor Activities – Jamie Kegerise participated in a discussion on ideas for outdoor activities including those that would of interest to families with children.
COVID-19 Statistics – We are having an unexpected summer surge. New case rates have more than doubled over the last month, but still less than 10 (see the grid for safe use of the building and grounds which was included in a previous email message).
Year End Financial Report – See below for the report.
Heather Petit – This year’s Intern Agreement was submitted by the Finance Committee.
Election of Officers – Vicky Tosh-Morelli – VP, Ann Draper – Treasurer, Joe Snader – Secretary
Assessment Team – Ann Draper, Pat Thompson, Shashi Ray
Opening Presentation Review – Power Point Presentation to be given this coming Sunday was emailed to the board last week for review.
This Year’s Goals – The board decided on the theme of REAWAKEN for this coming year. The board will develop the goals over the next week and invites the congregation to submit their thoughts. Use the link below to send your message directly to the board. A Committee on Reawakening is expected to be created to refine and execute our goals. These goals will also be used by the Assessment Team for assessing the ministry of the congregation and minister.
Sabbatical Team – Greg provided status on both the Sabbatical Team and the Worship Team.
Music Director Selection Status – Provided to the Board by John and Greg.
Congregational Goals – click here to share your input (

** Year-End Financial Report
Mill Creek ended the fiscal year on June 30, 2021 with a surplus of $5,455.88. This does not take into account $3,854.24 of pledge income received by June 30, but that should be counted in fiscal year 21-22. That was transferred to our prepaid Generosity Campaign Income account and will be credited to Income in July.

Since our building has been closed in this fiscal year due to COVID, our net revenues have decreased by $24,869.38 vs. 19-20, and our expenses have also decreased by $17,005.

We ended the year with an Operating Reserve of $63,202.82. We began the year with a reserve of $32,658.94, however, our fiscal year surplus, plus the recent addition of $25,088.50 from PPP Loan forgiveness, accounts for the increase.

Investment gain through 20-21 has been added to our UUA Endowment Fund, bringing the current balance to $12,900.89.

Our Building Loan liability with WSFS Bank has a balance of $124,308.43 as of June 30.

-submitted by Ann Draper

** Share Our Plate:
July & August

We regularly donate a portion of our undesignated plate collection to a local charity or non-profit organization. Although we aren’t meeting in person for Sunday services for the time being, contributions are still being received to support this fund and are donated entirely to the selected recipient. For the months of July and August, we have selected Independent Living for Young Adults ( (ILYA), a social justice program led by members of First Unitarian Church of Wilmington, to be the recipient of this fund.

In Delaware, young adults age out of the foster care system at age 18 or upon graduation from high school. Often, youth in the foster care system have lived through multiple traumas and disruptive events by the time they begin their transition to adulthood. This can include abuse and/or neglect, multiple foster home placements, lack of continuity in education, and an array of losses of important relationships. These challenges impact the emotional and social development of foster care youth as they transition into adulthood and greatly affect their chances for a successful, healthy future.

ILYA is a program serving underserved and often vulnerable young adults who are transitioning from the foster care system into independent living. In partnership with the Delaware’s Division of Family Services (DFS), the ILYA program offers a wide array of services to support these young adults, such as Student Care Packages, New Apartment Kits and Furnishings, Holiday Giving, Educational Supports, Emergency Grants, and more. Since 2005, ILYA has providing support to help young adults feel part of a caring community and offering resources to increase their chances for future success.

Use the links below to learn more, and to donate.
DONATE to Share Our Plate (
**Be sure to select ‘Share Our Plate’ as the giving fund**
We believe that generously sharing our gifts and receiving the gifts of others grows our compassion. We find our gifts flow from discerning the intersection of our heart’s deepest yearning and the world’s deepest hunger. We know ourselves to be most alive when we honor the earth and all humanity upon it. – from Mill Creek’s Values, Beliefs and Mission statement

** Your pledge dollars at work!

During the previous fiscal year, July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, we paid $1194.20 in electronic giving fees.

Electronic giving fees – 3% of every transaction – are paid to Vanco for processing electronic donations and contributions made to the church via Realm. The amount above does not include fees paid directly by our members and friends; that amount is $756.45.

Mill Creek Meadow & Grounds Spotlight

** Brood X Cicadas: The Aftermath
Photos and content provided by Amy White.
The Natural Lands Stewards first noticed the presence of Brood X cicadas (Magicicada spp.) at the church around the first week of June – when a couple intermittent, faint calls of just a few cicadas were heard. Working again at the church in mid-June, we were surprised to discover many cicadas crawling on the young trees and evidence of extensive egg-laying in the tender stems and twigs. We could see the series of slits in the bark made by the female’s specialized egg-laying organ (ovipositor).

The leaves at the ends of many of the twigs have turned brown, and some branches are broken where the egg-laying slits are concentrated. This damage is referred to as “flagging”. Flagging of the outer branches of some of the bigger, established trees on the property is also evident.
By early July, the adult cicadas had died, leaving behind flagging tree branches with cicada eggs inside. These eggs are now beginning to hatch into tiny nymphs, dropping to the ground and burrowing into the soil where they will attach to tree roots and feed lightly on the tree sap – thus continuing the fascinating life cycle of these amazing creatures. We won’t see Brood X cicadas again until Year 2038!

So, what, if any, permanent damage has been done to the trees at Mill Creek? Probably not much. Although somewhat unsightly, the flagging outer branches we see this year will drop off to allow for new growth next year.

Partly for cosmetic reasons, we have already removed many of the dead branches from the young trees. Natural Lands Steward Jamie Kegerise is seen here tending to a Scarlet Oak.

Although we may lose a couple of trees, most of the young trees we planted will only experience a set-back in growth. This set-back will not be significant in the anticipated long lifespan of most trees. The White-flowering Dogwood planted last fall next to the campfire area appears to have taken an especially heavy hit — but even with that there is a lower branch that still has green leaves. Time will tell. We are hopeful.

Meanwhile, the Natural Land Stewards will continue to tend and care for these trees to minimize additional stresses and to encourage new growth. Some important tasks that need to be performed:
* water the young trees regularly
* weed around the trees to remove competition for water
* fertilize the trees in the fall

In the meantime, won’t you consider lending a hand when the Natural Lands Steward meet? They gather every Wednesday afternoon around 5:30 pm to tend to the trees as well as our meadow and grounds. All are welcome…no gardening experience or knowledge is required. Bring your gardening gloves – we’ll show you what needs doing. Drag the kids away from their electronics and bring them!! OR – come any day of your choosing! More interested in the scenery? We happily encourage anyone who might be curious about the work we do to stop by at any time for a walkabout and reconnect with nature.

Jamie ( and Amy ( are always happy to answer any questions you might have about the work they do – feel free to reach out to one or both of them.
The Mill Creek Meadow and Grounds – for everyone to enjoy!

** Book Group’s August Read
Plan to join us on Thursday, August 12th at 7 pm when we discuss Justin Cronin’s The Summer Guest. ( We will meet on Zoom; look for the link in future communications.

to access your Realm profile!

We encourage you to continue your financial support of Mill Creek during the closure by using one of the following methods:

1. Mail a check: 579 Polly Drummond Hill Road, Newark DE 19711 (staff is present in the office and the mailbox is checked daily). Please indicate on the subject line if this is a pledge payment, a general contribution, or a contribution to a specific giving fund.
2. Give electronically through REALM: or use the link below (remember to select a giving fund).
3. Text-to-Give: text MillCreek and the amount [e.g. MillCreek 50] to 73256.

We sincerely appreciate your support of Mill Creek, especially now while we are unable to gather together for the time being. But the work of the church continues! We gratefully acknowledge that there would be no Mill Creek without YOU. Thank you.
**Click here to GIVE now** (

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Mill Creek Staff office hours & contact information

Rev. Gregory S. Pelley (
Hours by appointment – use the link below to schedule:
– Click here to schedule time with Rev. Greg – (
Debra Damiani, Congregational Administrator
Monday 8 am to 1 pm, Monday-Thursday (

** Upcoming events in our local community

** Weekend Fun in Wilmington & the Brandywine Valley

Looking for something to do this weekend? The Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau has combined events happening in Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley and features them all in one place. Whether you enjoy cinema, art, dance or Black History, events like these and so much more can be viewed by clicking the button below.
Click here for more information (
Or, for information about events happening right here in Newark….

** Check out The Newark Partnership
The mission of the The Newark Partnership (TNP) is to build upon the city of Newark’s distinctive assets as an inclusive and innovative university community in which businesses, community institutions, city residents, and students work together toward the common goals of enriching the city’s prosperity and improving the quality of life.

For more information about events happening in Newark, click the link below (and scroll down for the calendar).
Click here for info about events in Newark (
And…there’s more!

** Outdoor events at Nemours Estate
The Nemours Estate comprises an exquisite 77-room Mansion, the largest formal French gardens in North America, a Chauffeur’s Garage housing a collection of vintage automobiles, and 200 acres of scenic woodlands, meadows, and lawns. They are featuring several outdoor events, like film showings, live music, and more. Use the link below to connect with their calendar of events.
Outdoor events at Nemours (

** News from the UUA, the Central East Region, and the Delmarva Cluster

** Delmarva UU Cluster Family Day
Killens Pond State Park
Saturday, August 14th
Spend a summer day with your family along with other UU’s in the Delmarva region at the beautiful Killens Pond State Park located south of the town of Felton in Kent County, Delaware. This is a fun and relaxed way to reconnect with folks you may already know – or take the opportunity to meet some new ones.
What is the Delmarva UU Cluster? Here is the breakdown…
The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) has established areas or regions within the Association for organizational purposes. Mill Creek is included in the Central East Region (CER). The Central East Region stretches from the Canadian border of New York State to the metropolitan DC area which includes northern Virginia, from the Atlantic Ocean to western Ohio. With over 34,000 members, we are the largest region in the UUA. Within our region there are 22 clusters, or about 200 UU congregations. We are a part of the Delmarva Cluster, one of 8 congregations.
Saturday, August 14^th – 8:00 am to Sunset
Killens Pond State Park
2025 Killens Pond Road
Reserved Picnic Area C
Felton, Delaware
(15 miles south of Dover on Rt. 13)
Park Admission:
$4 per vehicle, in-state; $8 per vehicle out-of-state; free for those with annual park pass
General Info about the Park (
**Play in the water park
(**requires advance reservations & pre-paid tickets–details in link below)
Visit the nature center
Fish from the Spillway
Walk the trails
Enjoy the pond: rent a kayak, canoe, or paddle boat
Water Park: details & reservations (
Picnic Area C is reserved for our group for the day. It is shaded with plenty of room for all; includes tables and a large charcoal grill. Bring your cooler with your own picnic foods & drinks. If you have specific questions, feel free to use the link below to connect with event volunteer Mac Goeckler.
Questions about Family Day (

** How to find a UU church during your summer travels!
If you’re traveling this summer but would still like to connect with a UU church, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) has made it easy to find one.

You can view all of the 1000+ member congregations, or you can browse by state, region or even country. You can filter the results by LGBTQ Welcoming, ADA compliant (wheelchair accessible), assistive listening devices available, and more. You can connect with the Church of the Larger Fellowship, a UU congregation with no geographical boundaries, and view The Hub Google Map which displays young adult and campus ministry group across the country.

And it’s all in one place! Click on the button below to find out more.
Find a UU church anywhere near you! (

Opportunities for Connection: Central East Region Update

July 2021

Opportunities for Connection – click here to learn more (

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