Articles, Reflections, & Announcements
Congratulations to our Director of Religious Exploration, Helen Rivers Cassara, and their wife, Paige Cassara, on their recent wedding.
Helen and Paige were married on April 30th near Helen’s hometown in Tennessee. Helen, Paige, and Henry are all thrilled and so thankful for all the love they received from Tallahassee on their big day, especially from the UUCT Youth Group.
Choice Can Make A Difference
Our family is privileged. Often the privileges we are afforded are due to race, gender, education, employment, etc. In our zone of comfort, it can become easy to take privilege for granted. We forget there are many who, no matter how hard they work or how well educated, do not enjoy some of the same privileges.
Our privilege enables us to make choices about most areas of our lives. However, there are those who lack choice, even for basic living needs. When we have the opportunity to increase a person’s ability to choose, even in a very small way, it is an opportunity we should take.
The “Choice Table”
Members of the Manna churches often donate items that do not fit into the pre-determined foodstuffs that are distributed every third Saturday. Some donations are items that only certain people want (coffee, vegetable oil), or there are not enough to distribute equally (cans of fruit, toilet paper). Manna on Meridian sets up a “Choice Table” for these items. Guests go to the choice table and THEY decide an item they would like to have. Donations allowing, some months guests can select multiple items. All depends on what and how much is donated.
When the “Choice Table” was first explained to me I wondered who in the world would get in a line to pick out a two pound bag of sugar ($2.00) or a bottle of ketchup ($1.50). As I worked this area of Manna, I realized the “Choice Table”serves an important purpose. It is not specifically about the item; rather, it is because our guests get to choose for themselves something they would like to have. I have heard family members discussing which item(s) they would select so they could have a meal together or picking up “something for grandpa” that he likes but doesn’t often get (apparently grandpa likes sardines- who knew).
When COVID hit, Manna like other food pantries went to a drive through system. I was not sure the Choice Table would survive. Our guru on choice said “we will set up a table in the driveway and as they drive out people can stop and select something”. Pessimist that I can be, I thought “yeah, right”. I expected to see a few cars stop at the table and the majority drive around them to the exit. I was wrong. Making a choice is not always about the ‘can of applesauce’ — making a choice is about MAKING A CHOICE. It is important to a person’s self worth.
I am asking you to add a choice item(s) to your Manna donation each month. Purging one’s pantry of items that are not expired but not often used is a good way to help both yourself and someone else. Also, someone will enjoy that nice box of tea you were gifted but it is not one that works for you. Purchase, purge, re-gift; it is all great. After the “great toilet paper scare” was over, Manna received a few cases of toilet paper – a wonderful choice for some of our guests. This month an organization purged its linen closet and the Choice Table will have 2-3 dozen rolls of heavy duty paper towels. All are welcome.
Other popular choice items: bottles (24oz) of vegetable/canola oil, bags of flour and sugar, Jiffy and other easy ingredient mixes, bath soap, toilet paper, dish soap, coffee, mayo, mustard, ketchup, salt and pepper. As you select your groceries this month, close your eyes and think for just a minute about how you would feel if you had no choice about what you could select. Acknowledging this privilege pick up an item(s) that will expand someone else’s ability to make a decision.
Your continued support of Manna is awesome. Thank you.
SUUSI (Southeast UU Summer Institute)
By Karen Share
The SUUSI (Southeast UU Summer Institute) catalog is up!!
This year is again FREE and ONLINE, so you can enjoy SUUSI from your couch July 17 – 24. It’s nowhere near the in-person experience, but it’s a small taste!!
Registration opens May 15th. Use the link below to sign up. Note: There is a small fee for some workshops.
Allies for Racial Equity (ARE@UUCT)
By Linda Wright
“Most of us before and during the 1960s have had images from the civil rights conflicts of that time held up as the epitome of racism. Today we have images of white nationalists marching in Charlottesville, Virginia, to hold up. And while speaking up against these explicitly racist actions is critical, we must also be careful not to use them to keep ourselves on the “good” side of the false binary. I have found it much more useful to think of myself as on a continuum. Racism is so deeply woven into the fabric of our society that I do not see myself escaping from that continuum in my lifetime. But I can continue to seek to move further along it. I am not in a fixed position on the continuum; my position is dictated by what I am actually doing at a given time. Conceptualizing myself on an active continuum changes the question from whether I am or am not racist to a much more constructive question: Am I actively seeking to interrupt racism in this context? And perhaps even more importantly, how do I know?”
-Robin DiAngelo in “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism”
ARE@UUCT is a group working to: Understand our own whiteness and privilege and help others in our church community to do so Unlearn and re-evaluate white supremacy in ourselves and our church community Challenge white supremacy wherever we encounter it.
We meet twice a month. If you are interested in joining us in this work, please contact Linda Wright (email@example.com). We will be selecting a bi-monthly meeting time that works for all of us in the next few days.
Volunteer Opportunity – Auditor
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, within a couple of weeks. 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.