Healthy Eating Class September 9th

Healthy Eating Class Sunday, September 9th at 12:30 in the Fletcher Room

Have you heard all the news about a plant based diet reversing heart disease? Well, come to this class to learn more from Brian Paradise, who will share information gleaned from the book “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease”. The author is Caldwell B. Esseltstyn, Jr. M.D. It claims to be “The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure.” Sounds like something we should all learn about, regardless of our current state of health.

August 19th Speaker Bio: Chandler Coggins

Chandler is from Jacksonville and works as a recovery specialist with Mental Health America of Northeast Florida. In this role, he provides services that support the recovery of people with mental illness experiencing homelessness. In addition, he is a facilitator of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Connection Recovery Support Group in Jacksonville, which meets every other week at the Riverside YMCA and brings together people living with mental illness in our community. He also served on the board of directors of NAMI Jacksonville for two years, and he recently returned to Jacksonville from the DC area, where he completed an internship in the Homeless Programs Branch of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In his professional and volunteer activities, he is motivated by his own experience living in recovery from mental illness.

Meet the Weekday Book Club

Interested in or looking for a bookclub? The Weekday Book Club will staff an informational table in the Social Hall on August 19th. Drop by to sip coffee, chat, find out what they’re reading, and share any must-read recommendations you have.

Generosity in Action for August

Our Generosity in Action honorees this month are Jake Mehrman and Bowen Barrs! Bowen is the Hospitality co-chair. He and Jake do the shopping every Sunday morning and then come in and help the coffee host — and they have happily filled in when we had no host! Jake and Bowen installed our lovely new coffee brewing and water filtration systems, and Jake got the power back to the kitchen the morning of the Spaghetti dinner fundraiser.

They routinely (and without fanfare or recognition) come and do landscaping upkeep on the property — most notably the ongoing upkeep of the asiatic jasmine bed between the sanctuary and the parking lot and keeping the upper parking lot free of leaves and debris.

Bowen was one of the speakers for Mark Stewart’s Christmas play, and Jake is the leader of our safety team that helps us stay safe by keeping a vigilant eye out Sunday mornings.

Next time you see them, make sure to give them a BIG thanks for all that they do…and wish them a happy 30th anniversary as well!

August 12th Speaker Bio: Taryn Wharwood

Taryn “LoveReigns” Wharwood is a native of Miami, Florida and began her public speaking at the Ebony Village school in Dania, Florida at the tender of age of 5! It was there that Taryn developed a love and deep passion for poetry, and public speaking. All credit to the owners/directors of the school whose vision, and daily mantra that students recited each morning: “I am Taryn Wharwood, and I have a GREAT mind!”

Since then, Taryn has been performing on and off stages across the US & Canada from Open-Mics to Universities and more. She is the Co-host and Founder of Artis(Tree) Live, and the Cypher Open Mic Poetry & Soul. Taryn is also an avid mentor, community advocate, public speaker and soon to be published author. Taryn is also the New Hire Development Coordinator & Sales Trainer for, a position that garners two of her greatest life passions: poetry & helping others.

Special Collection August 12: JASMYN

A non-profit youth services organization for LGBTQ young people ages 13-23, JASMYN provides a welcoming and safe place for this vulnerable population.  Liz Nolan, volunteer and community engagement specialist will represent this amazing organization to explain its mission and the many ways  UUCJ can lend support to this “rainbow community.”

Memoriam: Jon C. Darling

John C. Darling died May 6th at Terraces of Jacksonville Nursing Facility in Jacksonville, Florida. The world enjoyed Jon’s life for 72 years before he stepped from it. He then ended the long struggle from Parkinson’s disease.

Most of what can be discovered of Jon’s life is recorded in his art work. As a young man he attended Palm Beach Jr. College in Lake Worth, Florida. There he met lifelong friends of the Sherwood Forest Studio Group. Together they collaborated their art into public pranks. One being a transformation of an old Buick into a counterfeit Rolls Royce complete with hood ornament and chauffeur. Jon became involved with Ray Jonson’s “New York Correspondence School of Art” — the the “Happenings” movement. The influence resulted in Jon handing in a collage instead of the required research paper for his Philosophy class. (It received the highest grade.)

Jon continued his education at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. The construction of the Garbage paintings series, kinetic sculptures, caused considerable interest and led to a showing at the Annual Iowa Artist Exhibition in Des Moines Art Center and another exhibition in Waterloo, Iowa.

In 1967 at Drake University Jon met and married Marsha A. Markey from Boon, Iowa. Schanon Danielle Darling was born soon after.

They moved to Stockport, Iowa where Jon worked supervising art for four schools of the Van Buren Community School System.

After one year Jon and his family moved to Florida. By 1971 a second daughter, Heather Dale Darling, was born. Together the family shared a wooden acreage in Lake City, Florida. He taught art in the nearby school systems for several years. Jon and Marsha eventually separated.

Jon’s artwork drew the interest of William Hoskins, Professor of Music and director of the Jacksonville University Electronic Music Studio and S. Barre Barrett, chairperson of the Art Department at Jacksonville University. Together they collaborated to form a Lumasonic trio. This was a light sculpture synchronized with electronic music shown at assemblies and planetariums. The trio collaborated with pioneer Robert Moog, the inventor of the Moog synthesizer. The notoriety of the group put Jon’s name into the annual publication of Outstanding Young Men of America.

In 1989 Jon became president of the Lake Worth Art League of Florida. Also he was actively engaged with the Palm Beach Society of American Inventors and National RR Historical Society of Palm Beach. He continued art chows at the Unitarian Churches of Clearwater, Jacksonville, and North Palm Beach Florida along with Dale McClug’s Artworks Gallery.

The Unitarian Universalist connected Jon with friends that assisted him in securing care providing positions. He assisted one member struggling with Multiple Sclerosis for a number of years. Another close friend had cancer. He chauffeured, provided care and assistance, and they in turn gave Jon shelter and a small wage. Following their death he found employment at “Jane Loves Cheap Furniture Store.” He assisted with painting artistic scenes on furniture, helping in the store and painting murals in local restaurants. Hurricane weather caused some major destruction in the area, so Jon moved to Jacksonville.

At the Jacksonville Unitarian Church Jon reestablished friendship with Virginia Smith. Later they became long time partners for approximately 15 years. Virginia was a loyal confidant and together they shared their enthusiasm for art and involvement in the Unitarian Church. Virginia cared for Jon as he became more and more disabled from Parkinson’s disease. She maintained his care long into her own health difficulties until she could no longer sustain herself and his complicated care.

Jon leaves behind his partner Virginia Smith, his daughters Schanon and Heather, grandchildren Hannah, Katie, Brandon, and Peyton, and sisters Noryce Burgey and Kathleen Darling.

Memorial Service for Gail Bristol

A Memorial Service for Gail Bristol will be held at UUCJ (7405 Arlington Expressway, Jacksonville, FL 32211) on August 4, 2018 at 1:00 pm. There will be a reception afterwards in the Social Hall, provided by UUCJ members and friends.  If you are able to help with finger food donations and/or the set-up/clean-up for the reception, please contact Betsy Deuerling at or Lois Hoeft at

Please plan to bring food by 12:30 pm.

Thank You from READ USA

READ USA sent us a warm thank-you letter following our fundraiser for their book fair:

Thank you to the generous congregation of Unitarian Universalist Church for your tremendous role in delivering over 26,000 new books to 6,697 pre-k to elementary students in 16 Title 1 schools in 5 days with 1,000’s of smiles!

Your generous donation of $5,000 and Meg Rohal’s volunteer leadership and recruitment among your congregation not only helped ensure that every student at Arlington Heights Elementary School participated in a colorful, beautiful book fair…by choosing 3 brand new books to own for free just in time for summer break, but you also encouraged other donors and volunteers to expand the impact! 100% of your donation went toward the purchase of new books the students chose to own because READ USA, Inc. is 100% volunteer run…Thank you for your investment in literacy where it matters most to our future! Readers are Leaders!

~ Ellen A. Will, President, READ USA, Inc.