Appalachia Service Project Informational Meeting this Sunday

UUCM will likely be sending another youth mission trip to Appalachia this coming summer to help people live warmer, drier, and safer in their houses in the Appalachian Mountains!  This trip is open to any youth currently in 8th-12th grade.  We will be holding an ASP trip information meeting for any youth (and their parents) that might be interested in going on the trip.  It will be immediately after church, this Sunday, 11/17, in the Maple (Senior High) Room.  This will be 30-45 minutes long and will cover the basics of what the trip is, what we do on the trip, what to expect, how much it costs, etc.  Any youth that might be interested in going along are strongly encouraged to attend if possible.  Of course, We’d love to have the parents come as well to learn!  For more information, or if you are interested but can’t make the information meeting, please contact Brian Zais. (pharquart@gmail.com)

Registration Now Open for Beloved Conversations 2020

BelovedFahs

We’re excited to bring back Beloved Conversations again this winter. Around 40 UUCM members and friends have already gone through this immersive small-group curriculum for exploring race/ethnicity in our lives and in the life of this congregation. It is a meaningful and deep experience as we work to interrupt racism and dig into how racial truths shape our ways of being with each other. The curriculum holds space for compassion, grace, risk-taking and vulnerability. It is open to people who are white and people of color and uses a caucus model for same-race breakout discussions.

This may be the last offering of this program for a while. If you’ve been on the fence or would like to take it again (which we encourage!), don’t miss out. The cohort is limited to 14 people. Click here to register. Continue reading →

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).

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

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 →