In the Interim: 1/24/20

meg-rileyI was at a dinner last week with a woman who works at 3M. She told me that they had now been requested, in their email signatures, to include their pronouns.

What that means, if it’s not a familiar concept to you, is that people who identify as female write she/her/hers under their names. People who identify as male write he/him/his. People who use other pronouns might write they/theirs if they use singular they pronouns, or any number of pronouns which have been invented to convey that neither he nor she is a good fit: zi/ si/ ey/ ve/tey / xi and so many others. This tells the rest of the 3M community how each person would like to be addressed.

If this is a new concept to you, here is a webpage that begins to explain gender pronouns:
https://www.transstudent.org/pronouns101

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There is most definitely a gender revolution going on. It’s even hit 3M! Those of us who are older may have trouble feeling that we can keep up with it all. This Sunday, we’ll be exploring what that means for all of us, and featuring the voices (in music and word) of people who have lived outside of the “cisgender” identity. (Cisgender refers to those of us who identify with the gender we were assigned at birth. For us, especially, this may mean that we have never given much thought to expanding concepts of gender.) This is part of our theme of integrity, as we explore what it means to have integrity in our genders. Continue reading →

In the Interim: 1/17/20

terri-burnor“May your life preach more loudly than your lips.” — William Ellery Channing, theological founder of American Unitarianism

Integrity and values cannot be separated from one another. How we live a life of integrity is reflected in the values we hold at the heart of things. For if our values are indeed our values, they cannot just be said, but must be expressed. They must go somewhere, be alive somewhere, create movement somewhere, affect change somewhere.

Oh but values are a tricky business. They can be super inconvenient! And so we sometimes wrestle with, swear at, bargain with, forget, deny, ignore our values. We may struggle with perfectionism and feel embarrassment, guilt and even shame when there’s a gap between what we truly believe and how we show up in life.

All of these things are true for me, and I’m guessing that they are for you as well.

We are human. Hear us fail (and roar). See us rise! Let us remember that we can keep keep coming back to love, that we are held by love, that we are loved. We fail, we rise, again and again. We do this because it’s what our values, our faith, our interdependence call us toward. Continue reading →

In the Interim: 1/10/2020

arif-mamdaniWhat exactly does it mean to be a people who care about integrity? A people who endeavor to live lives of integrity? The dictionary says that integrity has something to do with honesty and strong moral principles, and suggests that integrity conveys a sense of wholeness, a certain unity of value, principle, and action. That all sounds pretty good, but also perhaps not that hard, right? Act in line with your beliefs, speak what is true – what’s hard about that?

As in all things, what seems easy from a distance gets more complicated up close. As Unitarian Universalists, we believe in the inherent worth and dignity of all people, and yet even the smallest glance at the contents of most of our wardrobes would reveal clothing almost certain to have been made in conditions oppressive of the workers making that clothing. Or we believe in the acceptance of one another and encouragement to growth in our congregations, yet bristle if metaphorical language for the unknowable mystery of the universe steps too far or too frequently into terrain that triggers us. Intentionally or not, the message conveyed is that acceptance has boundaries and growth is for others. Continue reading →

UUCM Alert: Phishing Email Scam

Greetings UUCM,

We’re writing to let you know about a scam email that seems to be targeting churches, including UUCM.

It has come to our attention that several folks connected with UUCM have received an email purporting to be from Rev. Meg, asking for a favor. The reply address on this most recent email is: “parishreverend765@gmail.com”.

Apparently, this is happening to other churches, so we’re not alone. More on the scam here: https://kstp.com/news/phishing-scam-targeting-area-churches-minneapolis-st-paul-ardiocese/5287778/

Please ignore any emails you receive from Rev. Meg, Rev. Terri, or Arif that are not from their UUCM email accounts, and if a message appears to be “fishy” please do trust your instinct and call the person who sent it to verify that they did indeed send it.

We have no reason to believe this is anything other than the scam described above, and appreciate your cooperation in ignoring and deleting these annoying messages.

Please don’t hesitate to be in touch if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.

Thanks!
The UUCM Interim Ministry Team

Churches, Politics and the Electoral Cycle

This coming election year is a big one, and UUs across the country are being encouraged to boldly engage our values in the electoral cycle. But it can be confusing to know what is appropriate for non-profit organizations with 501(c)3 status, including churches and other faith communities.

The short answer is there’s a lot we can do as long as we are not partisan.

This means we can engage in issue-based advocacy, promote local ballot measures, and perform voter education and mobilization, as long as this work is not done for a specific political party, as an endorsement of a specific candidate, or to impact whether or not a particular candidate wins an election.

Because the UUA knows many of us have questions or concerns, they will be updating and providing clear guidance to the most frequently asked questions later this month (which we’ll share here on UUCM Happenings). In the meantime, the UUA publication The Real Rules is a terrific go-to source, as are the summaries provided by Bolder Advocacy.

If you have any questions, please contact Rev. Terri.

In the Interim: 12/27/2019

meg-rileyI love the time between Christmas and New Years. The anxiety and stress around gift-giving and fancy meals is past; the house is littered with wrapping paper and there are plenty of leftovers. It’s a great time to read a novel, play board games, enjoy the lights on the tree before they’re taken down. A breathing time.

It’s also a time of preparation, albeit perhaps quiet, internal, preparation for what is to come—another number on the year, a new decade beginning this time. New challenges and activities and transitions. New tasks to accomplish and conversations to be had.

I’m not one to make New Years’ resolutions; they always feel like a set up to me for quick and certain failure. I am one to take stock, to evaluate, to strategize and to plan, however. This week feels like a soft gift to begin to do that, an in between time. The older I get, the more these in-between times feel like the most important of all. What we do or don’t do during them often shapes our big active moments later. Continue reading →

In the Interim: 12/20/2019

terri-burnorAt 10:19 pm on Saturday, December 21, we arrive at the Winter Solstice. This occasion of midwinter marks the shortest amount of sunlight in a day — for us in the Twin Cities, 6 hours and 51 minutes shorter than June’s Summer Solstice. No matter where one lives, the solstice happens at the same moment for everyone on earth.

But the solstice marks more than an astronomical event. This is a time when we are surrounded by joy even when we may want to weep. This is a time when we are enveloped in shadows even as we may glow with brightness. This is a time of contradictions and complexities within ourselves, our relationships, our lives. Continue reading →