Articles, Reflections, & Announcements
Monthly BIPOC Group
As a self-identifying person of color, you are welcomed to attend our monthly gathering. We are an informal group coming together to share and support our community. Our next meeting is Sunday October 25 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM. To join our Zoom gathering, click here.
White Supremacy and Me???
By Linda Wright
The next meeting of Allies for Racial Equity at UUCT will be sampling reflection prompts from the book “Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor,” by Layla F. Saad.
When you read this book title, what was your first reaction? Did you pull away and think, “That isn’t about me?”
The system of white supremacy was not created by anyone who is alive today. But it is maintained and upheld by everyone who holds white privilege—whether or not you want it or agree with it. This means that If you are a white person, antiracism work begins with you. It begins with taking an unflinching look at your own white privilege.
It is not about those white people “out there.”
All white allies are welcome to join us on Tuesday, October 27 at 10:30 AM. For more information or to join this meeting on Zoom, contact Linda Wright.
Strippers wanted … made you look !
Thursday Oct 29 10:00 AM until 11:30 AM there will be a bagging and strip making event on veranda. Limit to 10. We will be making double bags for Manna and tearing bed sheets into strips. Donated cotton sheets (or bring one you want to donate) will be torn into long strips to begin the process of creating straps for the volunteer mask makers at Mask Marvel. Email me (Pardue 2@Comcast. Net) or text (850) 443-7807.
Prayers Whispering to Each Other
By HP Rivers
“A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.”
—St. Francis of Assisi
I open my Facebook feed and find another tragedy. Another beloved in pain. Another hug so desperately needed that I cannot give. Or receive. Those all seem to be piling up these days.
I light a candle, then snap a quick photo. “For you and your family,” I text. “I love you and I’m thankful for you.”
Two hands cupping the flame at the top of a taper candle.
The part of me that is still Catholic by heritage can’t stop lighting candles. The part that is Pagan uses them to cast spells and set intentions. The part that is Human is learning that sometimes all we can do is bear witness.
I cannot always change the pain of the world, but I can acknowledge it. I can set a candle on my desk and remind myself that there is suffering dancing in the flame. I can send a photo—to a friend, to the group chat, to the mother of the child in the hospital—to say, “I cannot lessen your pain but I can sit with it with you, even from a distance.”
The heat of it fills my chest with a Love that is too big to be only mine, profound enough to be Godly. The precariousness of it, contained now in jar or chalice but capable of escaping to cause destruction at any time, reminds me that tomorrow it could be someone I love lighting a candle for me.
Sometimes, there is no reprieve from the pain of this world. Sometimes, it is too big and too obvious to ignore.
My grandfather did not take me to the church to change the world. He took me to the church to light a candle. At six years old, all toothless grins and sidewalk chalk, he brushed my forehead with holy water and told me about the little rows of prayers side by side, whispering to Each Other and to Godde.*
At seventeen, he sent me to the Vatican and said, “Light a candle for the family.”
I light candles for my family: the family that knows no form, no patriarchy, no mothers or fathers or leaders or sheep. My family of spirit, my family of love, my family of tears and sweat and healing and grace, dancing together in the flame towards a brighter tomorrow.
Godde, embrace this family of carbon and stardust, dancing and praying our way through the Universe, witnessing one another and with every holy sunrise, committing to loving one another through the pain. Blessed Be.
*HP uses the term Godde, a Middle English spelling of the word God, to encompass the Goddess-like and God-like natures of the Divine, which HP believes to be genderless and greater than any name we could give Them.
Helping us help others…easy peasy.
As this pandemic drags on, more and more people are needing assistance. And organizations that are helping others are needing assistance. We may not be able to help everyone, but every one of us can help someone.
UUCT continues to be a great financial contributor to many organizations. In addition, our church sponsored programs (Manna, Kearney, Macon Community, and others) benefited from some targeted volunteer work and donations.
RECYCLE, REUSE, REPURPOSE… UUCT members have been contributing necessary items that often just hang round the house. Below is a list of things and how they can be used.
UU-TO GO: deliver any of these goods to the veranda at the church OR give me a call (850-443-7807) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will try to pick them up or ask someone pick them up. If items are picked up, I will ask that you leave them on the porch or car port at time of pick up.
1. Plastic ware and paper goods: any paper plates, cups, napkins, etc that are left over from an event you had or were planning – these are needed. That drawer full of plastic ware from food you brought home to eat is really useful. Where will it help: Grace Mission is assisting the Kearney Center inpreparing meals for the homeless. They will use whatever we have. This summer UUCT has donated over 1000 pieces of plastic ware, over 500 plates, over 200 cups and a bunch of napkins. Wrapped or unwrapped does not matter.
2. Sheets (cotton or a fabric that will hold a crease). You know, those sheets in the closet that are “too good to throw away but not good enough to use”. These are really important right now. Where will they be used: Mask Marvel is group of Tallahassee volunteers who, every single month, supplies 500 masks with surgical grade fabric to TMH (TMH supplies the fabric). They made 2500 masks for teachers in the school district. How Mask Marvel Works: A group of volunteers arrives on Tues/Thurs to drop off their week’s work and pick up their work for the next week. The Sheets are used to make the ‘straps’ (binding) for the masks. Because making straps is time consuming, a different group of volunteers makes the straps and then those are given to mask makers as part of their weekly kit. Any color or design sheet welcome. Top and fitted welcome. NOTE: if you are binge watching something and want to tear (not cut) the sheets into 2” strips (remove the top and bottom first), please have at it. They will be pressed and the fringe trimmed – saves another volunteer a step.
3. Cotton fabric that you had planned to make the project out of but didn’t get to it. Lengths of at least one yard preferable but I can go through it and if it can’t be used, find a home for it. See#2 for use.
4. Large paper grocery bags (not the new shorties). If your grocery store has doubled them leave them doubled. Where will they be used: Manna on Meridian. Those doubled bags are used to hold the groceries each month for those who come by and pick up their dry goods. Any donated bags means bags do not have to be purchased and the money can be spent on food.
5. Paper grocery bags with handles (Trader Joes/Whole Foods, etc) Where will they be used: Grace Mission: Due to Covid, Grace will not be able to host its Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners in person. So this year they will make “to go” holiday meals. The bags with the handles are great for that.
6. Reusable grocery bags – if you are like me, they seem to reproduce in the back of the car. They are needed. Where will they be used: Manna on Meridian will use them as produce bags for our customers. It also provides the Manna customerwith a reusable shopping bag and enables Manna to purchasefewer plastic bags. Each produce bag weighs between 6-10 pounds each month so the millions of plastic grocery bags (that we do not need) are not strong enough.
7. Toiletries, including all those toothbrushes from the dentist you don’t use. Small travel size or the bigger bottles in back of cabinet you decided you did not want after all – anything over ½ full is great. Where will they be used: Manna on Meridian and
Grace Mission. Individual bags are made for Manna and large bottles go to Grace where people are allowed to shower and they can use toiletries there.
8. Cardboard boxes (broken down)…these are used for mulch in gardens. Where will they be used: Macon Community Garden.
9. Winter coats, sweaters, blankets – in good condition (if you would not hand it down to a friend or allow company to sleep under it, pitch it). Where will they be used: Big Bend Homeless Coalition and Kearney Center. We will get some cold weather and there are people who will need these things…
UUCT is a great contributor in our community. And as this pandemic drags on and we are not able to go about and do our regular volunteering, the list above is a way to help. Next week there will be a piece on Manna and the holidays and I will be making a larger ‘ask’ than usual. For this week, just keep digging through your stuff and see what we can share. Thank you.
P.S. Pet People: I understand the Humane Society, Animal Aid, and places like that can use old towels. This is not something I have researched but a friend donates those things as she finds them. So, if you have old towels, throw those in your “UU-to go”pile also and I will get them to her to get to them….
For all you do – thank you.
Centering BIPOC Voices: Book Group
By Robin Gray
November and December Selections Centering BIPOC Voices: Book Group
In a society that continually disposes of those deeper in the margins, it is a critical disruption to intentionally center them.
– Whitney Parnell, founder/CEO of Service Never Sleeps
We will continue disrupting “the way things are” by accompanying Kiese Laymon on the journey of his life in November. Heavy: An American Memoir will lead us through a childhood with a very difficult mother* and a society that taught him to hate his own body. We’ll gather at 3:30 PM on Saturday, November 14 to share reflections.
On December 12, at 3:30 PM we’ll consider Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolpho Anaya. First published in 1972, the book follows a six-year-old boy who befriends a curandera, or native healer, who comes to live with his family. The book was well reviewed by critics. It was placed on many English literature high school reading lists. However, it has been challenged and banned in schools and libraries by those who object to its explicit language and anti-Catholic content.
As always, everyone who has read the book is welcome at the book group discussion. Contact Robin Gray (email@example.com) to be on the distribution list for the Zoom address.
* You may wish to avoid this memoir if it will recall previous trauma.
We want YOU!
UUCT’s Manual of Policies and Procedures calls for an ad-hoc audit committee to perform an internal review of our financial accounts and procedures every two years. The board is looking for volunteers to do this important work. A financial background is not necessary and there is a checklist from the UUA to help ensure a thorough review.
While this is a significant project, prior volunteer auditors tell us that it can be done by one person, or alternatively a small committee. Members performing these audits cannot be serving on the finance committee or serving in positions directly related to UUCT’s finances.
So are you detail oriented and willing to review our financial records and interview our treasurers? If so, please let the board know – email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Register Now for Upcoming Screenings of The Condor and the Eagle
Friday, November 6th
3-5:30pm PT / 4-6:30pm MT / 5-7:30m CT/ 6-8:30pm ET
SIGN UP TO CO-HOST WITH YOUR CONGREGATION / ORGANIZATION: HERE
Co-hosted by Bull Run Unitarian Universalists, Prince William Conservation Alliance, Williamsburg JCC Indivisible, Earth Rise Indivisible, Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice (UUSJ), Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun, Earth Justice Team, Citizens Climate Lobby, Prince William Chapter, Mothers Out Front, and the Greater Prince William Climate Action Network.
Thursday, November 19th
5:30-8pm PT / 6:30-9pm MT / 7:30-10pm CT/ 8:30-11pm ET
SIGN UP TO CO-HOST WITH YOUR CONGREGATION / ORGANIZATION: HERE
Co-hosted by North State Climate Action, and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta, GA
ABOUT THE FILM – WATCH THE TRAILER
The Condor & The Eagle premiered in October 2019 at the Woodstock Film Festival, was selected by 28 world-renowned film festivals and has won 8 awards including Best Environmental Documentary at the 2019 Red Nation Film Festival.
Witnessing the overwhelming and terrifying current political climate, many are looking for answers or a form of immediate sacred activism to aid in this rapid need for change. As world climate scientists predict unprecedented global catastrophes, The Condor & The Eagle film features frontline Indigenous women leaders deploying unparalleled global response. The documentary offers a glimpse into a developing spiritual renaissance as the film’s four protagonists learn from each other’s long legacy of resistance to colonialism and its extractive economy on an unexpectedly challenging and liberating journey, which will forever change their attachment to the Earth and one another.