Articles, Reflections, & Announcements
Tend the Spark, Carry the Flame
Progressing toward Antiracism and Multiculturalism
This week, we’d like to give more information about the groups in our congregation that are working on antiracism and racial justice. We have work to do – within ourselves, our congregation, the community, and beyond. At the risk of oversimplifying, we are all at different stages on the path to becoming actively anti-racist and work to address systemic racism faced by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).
UUCT’s BIPOC group is an informal group of self-identifying people of color coming together to share and support each other. The work of antiracism is not theirs to do. Those of us who do not identify as BIPOC must work to make change. Several other ongoing groups within UUCT are providing safe spaces for this work, no matter where you are on this journey toward antiracism and multiculturalism.
The Emergent Strategy group originally came together to discuss adrienne maree brown’s book, “Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds.” Members of the group then offered the UUA’s anti-racist curriculum Building the World We Dream About to the UUCT community, monthly sessions for a year. In November 2020, Emergent Strategy began a group reading of “Love and Rage” by Lama Rod Owens. This group operates by consensus to determine its future activities. Future activities will likely continue to involve closed group readings for the purposes of spiritual growth and community building among the participants. Between these readings, the group may undertake a larger project (such as the Building the World WE Dream About sessions.
The Allies for Racial Equity group (ARE@UUCT) began meeting every two weeks in early September 2020. Patterning itself after the UUA-related organization, Allies for Racial Equity, in structure and purpose, ARE@UUCT members share leadership and make decisions by consensus. The group is grounded in our UU Principles and prioritizes relationship building, with the goal to understand whiteness and privilege, unlearn and challenge white supremacy, and confront racism in ways that are accountable to communities of color, especially UUCT’s BIPOC group. ARE@UUCT has used the resources in “My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies” by Resmaa Menakem, “Equipping Anti-Racism Allies Unitarian Universalist Edition: Fighting Racism…One Conversation at a Time” by Dr. David W. Campt and Alison Mahaley, and the reflection prompts in “Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor” by Layla Saad. Two groups are currently meeting to work through the 28 sessions of study and reflection included in “Me and White Supremacy,” and future explorations will pair that work with “Be Antiracist: A Journal for Awareness, Reflection, and Action” by Ibram X. Kendi. ARE@UUCT is in accountable relationship with local communities of color and UUCT’s BIPOC group, and future actions will support the work of antiracism at UUCT and in Leon County.
The Centering BIPOC Voices book group reads books by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) authors. By reading non-fiction, fiction and memoirs, participants seek to better understand how racism and other forms of oppression affect all our lives. The group expects better understanding will help us develop as antiracists. Centering BIPOC Voices meets monthly (on Zoom) to discuss a book selected by the group. Books are chosen at least two months in advance to afford everyone, both continuing and newly attending discussants, a chance to secure and read it. Facilitation of the discussion rotates between volunteers who offer three books from which the group will select one. To be considered, books must be available in audio, digital and print formats to heighten reader inclusivity. The meetings and selected books are announced in the Meridian, again with about two months notice. Everyone who has read the book and agrees with the principles of behavioral covenant the group has adopted is welcome to join any discussion. The group plans to continue meeting, and hopes to interest even more readers, for the foreseeable future. As there are at least 90 books on the non-fiction, fiction, and memoir list that is maintained by the group, the continued interest of members could easily carry the book discussions forward for 7 years.
We appreciate those who have created and participated in these groups as we Tend the Spark and Carry the Flame of antiracism and multiculturalism at UUCT and in our community.
By Kerry Burner
We’re living our Fifth Principle – The Right of Conscience and the Use of the Democratic Process Within Our Congregations and in Society at Large! Your UUCT Board has just approved a charge for a review of governance at UUCT. The full charge can be viewed here, including a historical background of the effort. In the coming months, the Board’s next step is to form the Taskforce. To that end, the Board will be doing outreach within the congregation.
The Board is excited to be nurturing this growth process and welcomes your input and experience. If you have a suggestion for someone who you think would be a great member of the Taskforce, please share that with Board President, Rod Oldenburg at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to be part of the process in indirect ways (stuff envelopes! bake cookies for the taskforce!), let Rod know that too.
March 11th Day of Action Rally in Support of Climate Justice
By Ed Oaksford
On March 11th, under the guidance of the Green Sanctuary Committee, our congregation will join in the GreenFaith International Network’s climate-action rally.
As a part of a March 11th Day of Action, the Green Sanctuary Committee agreed to affirm the ten point statement from the GreenFaith International Network. You can view that statement here.
Attend this event via Zoom, featuring our very own Charlotte Stuart-Tilley, starting at 9:30 am. Register here to receive the Zoom link.
You can also join us at 10:45 am for the March 11th Day-of-Action Rally. The rally will consist of 15 minutes of sign holding and bell ringing at the entrance to UUCT on N. Meridian Road.
All of this is being done as part of global effort of the GreenFaith International Network to support Climate Action, especially as it relates to Climate Justice. All congregants are welcomed to this masked and socially-distanced event.
As a show of tangible support, congregation members are asked to gather at church at 10:45 am Thursday March 11th to rally. Congregants are encouraged to bring their own personal hand-made signs showing UUCT’s support for action to address climate change, especially as it relates to climate justice. You can search the web for signage ideas from other similarly themed rallies. Some signs will be available at church if you haven’t had a chance to make your own.
The intention is to gather at the entrance to our church at, and for just 15 minutes, hold these signs and ring hand bells or yard chimes to draw attention to this issue. The event will be masked and socially distanced.
For congregants unable to attend this event at the church, feel free to step outside your own homes showing signs as described above and ringing your own bells. At the end of our efforts participants are welcomed to gather (again masked and socially distanced) on the veranda and elsewhere on the church campus in groups no larger than twelve.
The beauty of this rally event is that it will be happening all across the globe with all faith traditions taking part and uplifting the sacred nature of caring for our planet and all the life it supports. Thank you in advance for your participation.
By Kerry Burner
Easter is coming and your fabulous DRE and Minister are working hard on some special community events that we can all participate in safely. My family and I are helping out, but we need a few more people. If you are comfortable interacting with your fellow congregants in person, masked & socially distanced, for a few hours during the week, we need you!
If you are able to help out but don’t want to be around people, you are needed and welcome too! We’re in early planning stages, which may be another way you could help – with the planning. Please email Kerry Burner at email@example.com for more details – it’s going to be AWESOME!
The Reconstituted Green Sanctuary Committee
The Green Sanctuary has been reconstituted and met via Zoom at 2pm Friday February 19th. We had a great initial meeting and want the congregation to know that we’re seeking new members. Contact Ed Oaksford (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested. In short, the committee is looking for opportunities to put our faith into action through honoring our planet and the beings that inhabit it.
Through efforts of the GS Committee, UUCT is a member of the Green Faith Alliance which is taking the lead in supporting its member congregations to initiate conversations about climate action and environmental justice that result in observable actions.
One upcoming action which our church has committed to participating in is the March 11th Day of Action for Climate Justice. Actions on this day will raise awareness that climate justice as an urgent calling.
For those interested, this action also aligns with ReThink Energy’s Reclaiming Florida’s Future for All event on March 10th, with activities between now and then. Kim Ross, an associate member of our GS Committee is leading this for ReThink Energy Florida. More info can be found at: https://www.rethinkenergyflorida.org/eventer/reclaiming-floridas-future.
As we move forward as a committee, we will be looking for additional opportunities to put faith in action, including strategies we may adopt from the book, “Drawdown – The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming”, and other positive activities, including actions lead by the Green Sanctuary’s Food for Thought group.