Greetings from sabbatical

Hello, everyone,

I hope you are all staying healthy and happy. My first month of sabbatical is almost over and the time is flying by. Thank you again for the gift of this time to rest, to renew, to reflect. I’ve gotten some rest, spent time with some friends, maintained daily spiritual practices of meditation, reading, time in the garden, and walking (all of which are very renewing) and I’ve taken some retreat time to reflect and discern on my ministry and my life. Most of my reflection has been about rediscovering myself and asking how I will achieve a better balance of ministry and life. This has always been a challenge for me and sabbatical has made clear how out of balance I have been.  It’s good to have the time to plan for a more balanced life.

This coming weekend (April 28th-30th), I will attend the Regional Assembly in Oakbrook, Illinois. I look forward to seeing a number of you there as we gather to learn, worship and practice our governance together. I am also planning to attend the Teach-In on Sunday, May 7th at UUSIC. Thank you to Alison Oliver, the Racial Justice Circle and the staff for collaborating to make this very important work happen. I encourage everyone to attend and to engage in this critical and yes, difficult conversation about white supremacy.  Doing this work will help move us toward our vision of the Beloved Community.

Holding you in my heart and my thoughts,
Rev. Steven

Greetings from sabbatical

News of Black Lives UU

Black Lives UU Organizing Collective was formed in 2015 in the wake of several conversations among Black UUs at the July 2015 Movement for Black Lives Convening in Cleveland, OH. Their website can be found at:

http://www.blacklivesuu.com/

This last week the UUA Board met and in a strong act of solidarity approved funding for Black Lives of UU. You can read the article here:

View story at Medium.com

The article says that: “This work, led by Black Unitarian Universalists, is stronger and more complete because of our partnership with the UUA, and the emotional and logistical support of non-Black people of color, as well as white UUs and others.” In August, Black Lives UU posted a statement about the recent killings in Dallas, Baton Rouge and Falcon Heights. That statement, which you can read here:

View story at Medium.com

includes ways to take action as a people of faith. May we as a people of faith do the work we are called to do to create a world where black lives truly matter.

News of Black Lives UU

Nurturing our spirits

In a world that demands more and more of our attention, how do we nurture our spirits?

In an article online in the UU world, Alicia Forde says and asks:

“Sometimes, it seems like there are so few places in which we can show up and be as fully present as possible, so few places in which our unguarded selves are heard into being. What spaces can you and will you create to allow for the distillation of your musings? To allow for your inner knowing to emerge, be seen, and be accepted? Where is your sanctuary in the midst of life’s catastrophes and chaos? How will you take the time to nurture your soul?”

The article can be found here: http://www.uuworld.org/articles/personal-discovery-within-community?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=sep26

How do we care for our spirits? Does UUSIC provide a place where you can be as fully present as possible and be accepted, no, welcomed, for who you are as you are? How can our spiritual community provide ways to help you nurture your spirit?

Nurturing our spirits

We can no longer be silent

Here is a link to a very powerful article in which a white woman explains what white privilege is and how she will use her power and her privilege to dismantle white privilege:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amanda-redhead/i-am-a-white-mother-deman_b_10867410.html

A quote from the article:

What I am realizing today is that I can no longer be silent. The ideas that have kept me silent are ideas of separation and to eradicate the horrors of what are happening today, we must all stand together.

As Unitarian Universalists and all those aligned with our values, including the inherent worth and dignity of every person, how will we stand together?  How will we use our privilege and power to dismantle white privilege and bring an end to the deaths of black people in this country?

We can no longer be silent

When someone says “all lives matter” show them this!

Here is an article that demonstrates why saying “All lives matter” is an act of dismissing black lives.  So, as the article says, the next time someone says “all lives matter” in response to “black lives matter” show them these five paragraphs.

http://fusion.net/story/170591/the-next-time-someone-says-all-lives-matter-show-them-these-5-paragraphs/?utm_source=facebook

When someone says “all lives matter” show them this!

America’s Third Reconstruction

This second UUA Thirty Days of Love: Towards Racial Justice message talks about the profound and important work of the North Carolina NAACP and the book The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics and the Rise of the New Justice Movement by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber and Jonathan Wilson-Hargrove.  The article offers 14 concrete action steps to mobilize and do this work.

http://www.standingonthesideoflove.org/ourstories/fourteen-steps-forward-together-for-americas-third-reconstruction

The Beacon Press website says that:  “At a time when divide-and-conquer politics are exacerbating racial strife and economic inequality, Rev. Barber offers an impassioned, historically grounded argument that Moral Mondays are hard evidence of an embryonic Third Reconstruction in America.  The first Reconstruction briefly flourished after Emancipation, and the second Reconstruction ushered in meaningful progress in the civil rights era. But both were met by ferocious reactionary measures that severely curtailed, and in many cases rolled back, racial and economic progress. This Third Reconstruction is a profoundly moral awakening of justice-loving people united in a fusion coalition powerful enough to reclaim the possibility of democracy—even in the face of corporate-financed extremism.” 

http://www.beacon.org/The-Third-Reconstruction-P1139.aspx

It is time for the Third Reconstruction of America.  What will we as Unitarian Universalists do to help to bring it about?

 

America’s Third Reconstruction