In the Interim: 11/8/2019

meg-rileyLast week, Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism convened a gathering open to people of all races to reflect on UU theologies centered in the experiences and wisdom of Black people.  All three of your ministers were able to join several hundred other folks who attended, in person or online.  Because it was nearby in St. Paul,  we were able to show up in person.

We attended six plenary sessions reflecting on different aspects of Unitarian Universalism, each with multiple speakers.  Though all were Black, there were radical differences in other identities—gender, size, ability, age, ethnicity/ country of origin, theological orientation.  The variety was intentional and consistent, and the respect for diversity of viewpoint and expression was inspiring.

A couple of the practices at the conference particularly caught my attention.  One was the idea of radical consent.  While asking permission to hug someone is common, at this event we were invited to pay close attention to the energy of the person’s response to such a request—an unenthusiastic ‘sure’ was a signal to us to stand back and give someone space, rather than ignoring the lack of enthusiasm, only hearing the answer we wanted and hugging them.  We were also encouraged to ask if it was OK before sharing intense emotions or information that might be hard to hear, and generally to be sure that our interactions with people were consensual.  I liked that.  It made me pay closer attention to how I interact with people. Continue reading →

From the Board: November 2019

PAY ATTENTION!! At some time or another we heard this from a parent or teacher. For children, the world is full of stimuli and new information, it’s not surprising that a child’s focus isn’t always where an adult would expect it to be.

In the modern world, it is also hard for adults to pay attention. Balancing work, family, hobbies, church, and other commitments means we are not always mentally present even when we are physically present.  It is easy to get lost in thought and not pay attention to a movie, miss a moment in a conversation, or drift off during a sermon (not that I have ever, ever done that…). Technology makes this even easier — phones and iPads provide a ready distraction.

That said, there are definitely times where attention is absolutely required (like driving). Other times, if you just pay attention, you’ll have experiences you might not expect. A walk in the woods turns into a wildlife spotting adventure and a chorus of sounds. A chat turns into a deep and meaningful conversation and sharing of experience.

Over the past year, our UUCM troika has definitely paid attention to us. Their observation and listening has allowed them to provide insights into what our church does well and what we can do better. In turn, we have paid attention to what they are telling us, so we can grow and change in a positive way.

Because the troika won’t be with us next year, the board is now working to pay close attention to you. Our listening sessions are designed for us to be sure we know about your hopes and dreams for UUCM as well as your worries and concerns. Even if you miss the listening sessions, please let us know your thoughts. Only by paying attention to you, will we be able to choose a ministerial direction for UUCM.

— Bill Arnold
Member, UUCM Board of Trustees

Family Greeters Needed

Do you remember your first day at UUCM? Did someone greet you warmly and share some helpful information? Being greeted is particularly crucial for those visitors considering our RE program for their kids. If you can come to service early once a month or so to share a smile and give a little tour, please contact Jennifer at dre@uucmtka.org. We need you 🙂 This is a wonderful service opportunity for a family to share (and great for individuals too).

Interfaith Outreach: 11/10/19

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The Sleep Out has begun! 

The 2019 Sleep Out campaign has begun. Our goal is to raise $2,600,000 by Dec. 31 to support programs that enable nearly 2,000 families to stabilize, strengthen and thrive. The Sleep Out prevents homelessness and reminds every member of our community, “You Belong.” Learn more about the “You Belong” Sleep Out experience at iocp.org/youbelong.

Save the dates for the big public events!

  • Nov. 14 is Give to the Max Day the statewide day of giving. All Sleep Out gifts will be doubled thanks to a generous donor!
  • Nov. 20 is the Shop with a Purpose – Generous local businesses will donate a portion of their proceeds to the 2019 Sleep Out. View the list of participating local businesses and their deals at iocp.org/swap

To learn about these events and more go to iocp.org/sleepoutevents.

Make the Holidays Brighter!

20 sponsors are still needed for families in the Interfaith Outreach Holiday Gift Program! Financial donors are also needed to provide gift cards to support families who were not able to participate in the “sponsor matched” portion of the program. Interested in making the holidays a little brighter for our neighbors?  Learn more and sign up at iocp.org/holidaygift.

VOLUNTEER – Holiday Gift Program is 100% volunteer-led. Can you volunteer to help with family gift collection and distribution in December? View shifts and sign up at iocp.org/holidaygift. Thank you! Continue reading →

Social Justice Family Events: November 2019

Family focus – Thanksgiving: In November, we celebrate Thanksgiving, a holiday that brings a mixed legacy of family, food, gratitude, and genocide. Many families struggle to figure out if and how to celebrate,  and how to talk to children about the true history of the relationship between the White settlers and the indigenous Native American populations. These blog posts provide some guidance and useful resources: (1) Do justice – what to say to kids about Pilgrims and Indians; (2) My reflection matters -shifting the conversation away from Thanksgiving; and (3) Socialist Worker – the real Thanksgiving story.

Family focus – Veteran’s day: Monday November 11 is Veteran’s Day. Consider strategies to help your children acknowledge the contribution of our current and former members of the armed forces.  Doing Good Together offers several suggestions, including writing letters, sending books, and creating welcome home kits. Two other good resources are Soldiers’ Angels and Operation Gratitude, which provide suggestions for a number of ways to support soldiers (including donating your leftover Halloween candy!)

Family focus – Engaging children in social justice: Many parents struggle with finding ways to start talking to children about social justice issues, and how to engage them in developmentally-appropriate ways. It doesn’t need to be difficult! Here are some resources that might help. Check out  Using play to teach children about social justice (Psych Central).  Not sure about whether engaging children in social justice is helpful or harmful? Check out “Activism isn’t just for adults and teens. We need to teach younger kids to be activists too” from Ideas.Ted.Com. Continue reading →