From the Board: April 2021

Each month, a member of the board will share a reflection on the Soul Matters monthly theme and the state of the church. The theme for April is Becoming. This month’s post is offered by Betty Hartnett.

Real isn’t how you are made, said the Skin Horse (Velveteen Rabbit, by Shaenon Garrity). It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.

In this scenario, both the Skin Horse and the child change. The Skin Horse becomes Real over time as the Child first plays with, and then, loves him. Both are slowly evolving into something better. To be sure, the Skin Horse didn’t have any agency himself (or did he?) to become Real. It’s what happened to him as a result of being there for the child and the child’s love over time. It appears as if the child is not consciously growing his love; his love simply continues as a result of the ongoing close relationship. Sometimes agency is not clear. Sometimes, perhaps, we may not be aware of becoming something different until we are. Continue reading →

UUCM Members Approve a Public Statement on “Black Lives Matter”

Fred Hulting, Board President

At a Special Meeting of the Members of UUCM on Sunday February 28, the following public statement – to be accompanied by a “Black Lives Matter” banner on the exterior of the church – was approved by a vote of 87 – 0:

Black Lives Matter. Period. A sign that states Black Lives Matter is part of our racial justice work. The sign is symbolic of our congregational journey towards justice for people of color. It symbolizes the work we are doing and our commitment to future work.  A sign is a bold message to our community that we stand in solidarity with people of color and hold them in love and honor. We will not back down or turn away from oppression but fight against it. We want the world to know our congregation takes a firm stand against racism in its many forms and communicate our commitment to the journey of ensuring that Black Lives Matter. (Approved by UUCM Members on February 28, 2021 by a vote of 87 – 0)

For more background on the context of the special meeting, please see the previous articles “Announcement of UUCM Special Congregational Meeting” and “Making a Public Statement on Black Lives Matter”.

The Racial Justice team, part of the Social Justice Ministry, is now working with our Facilities team to design and place the banner on the front of our building.  If we are asked about the meaning of our banner, the statement is our answer. We will be placing this statement on the church website. 

It is important to remind ourselves that the statement and banner are only meaningful if they are supported by action. Our Racial Justice team is leading a variety of activities to facilitate that action, and I encourage you to reach out to Kate Flom, or others on the team, to learn more about how you can educate yourself about white supremacy and racial justice and engage in these activities.

The act of proposing, discussing, voting, and approving this statement is also a big step forward for our congregation and its democratic process.  It has been many years since UUCM has come together to make such a statement. I want to thank the petitioners for their passion; the congregation for their respectful engagement in robust discussions, and the Board for managing an open and transparent process.

Finding our voice and expressing our beliefs it critical to advancing our work on racial justice.  As we move forward, we will need to make additional statements, and we now have a model for how we can do that.

From the Board: March 2021

Each month, a member of the board will share a reflection on the Soul Matters monthly theme and the state of the church. The theme for March is Commitment. This month’s post is offered by Shelley Buss.

There’s the old saying that if you want to know the difference between involvement and commitment, look no further than a breakfast of bacon and eggs; the chicken is involved while the pig is committed.

Commitments have substantial expectations built into them. Raising children, entering marriage, and prioritizing our health/well-being are common commitments we make in our immediate sphere. We’re constantly face to face with them every time we look in the mirror, or set the dinner table. We all start out with the best intentions, because who wants to break a commitment, right? It’s just that commitments get harder and harder to fulfill as time goes on, for as many reasons as there are days.

Using the analogy of a garden, the effort you put into watering your plot has a direct impact on what you grow. Yet you can do the work, and then a fluffle of bunnies finds your space, or lightning topples the neighbor’s tree in the middle of it all. Commitments aren’t impossible but they can be unpredictable. Commitments will be as meaningful as the basis upon which they are made. The strongest are based on the truths and values we hold closest to our hearts and minds, along with grace to allow space for our humanness. When we commit to something, we are recognizing the inherent value of it in our life and saying “yes” to it. Continue reading →

From the Board: February 2021

Each month, a member of the board will share a reflection on the Soul Matters monthly theme and the state of the church. The theme for January is Beloved Community. This month’s post is offered by Fred Hulting.

On January 18 I attended the 31st annual Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday breakfast in Minneapolis. I was one of 6,000 people at the virtual event, which is jointly sponsored by the United Negro College Fund and General Mills.  A highlight of the event was a moderated Q&A with Bernice King, the CEO of the King Center, and the youngest daughter of Martin Luther King Jr.  She spoke about Beloved Community and was eloquent and forceful in her calls for equity and justice. As I sit down to write this column, her words are the first thing that comes to mind.

In speaking about beloved community, Bernice King reminded me that it “means including people who believe differently; it is not just a group of like-minded people and it is not without tension.”  Getting there is not easy; becoming inclusive requires cultural and social change, but it is “a personal journey first…and so it is spiritual. It follows a love-centered path, where love means implementing the demands of justice. We must have the courage to come out of our silos and seek experiences that transform us.Continue reading →

Making a Public Statement on Black Lives Matter

Fred Hulting, Board President

The Board recently received a proposal for UUCM to make a public statement regarding Black Lives Matter, to be accompanied by a banner outside the church.  Per our By-Laws, this statement must be approved by the congregation at a special meeting.  Below I will discuss what will happen and how you can get involved.

Continue reading →