Articles, Reflections, & Announcements

 

Getting Acquainted With UUJF

By Ed Oaksford

So, what is UUJF anyway? Well, UUJF stands for Unitarian-Universalist Justice Florida, and it is a statewide justice ministry for members of 44 Unitarian Universalist congregations in Florida and their social justice committees in partnership with other interfaith and public interest organizations to promote justice, equity, and compassion in public policy.

They focus on a limited number of core issues each year to educate, organize and advocate for policies consistent with and supportive of Unitarian Universalist values. They build coalitions with other like-minded groups to educate themselves and the public on critical issues of our day and provide the tools and skills of civic engagement. Their goal is to realize the dream of a just society, an improved global community, and a sustainable earth, starting in Florida.

UUJF states that the 2022 Legislative Session starts in January, preceded by six weeks of committee meetings beginning the week of Sept. 20 and ending the week of Nov. 29. That being the case they suggest that we form teams in our congregations and request appointments now, to meet with our legislators in their House and Senate Districts before their calendars fill up.

The UUJF website has a list of missed opportunities from prior sessions according to interests and priorities in the group and ask that they be incorporated in legislation to be filed in the upcoming session.

So, why am I telling you all this? Well, I think we should all be aware of the great work UUJF does across the state in helping UU’s get connected with their legislators and focusing their attention on issues dear to us as UU’s across the state. It’s easy to get connected with them. You just go to their website (https://uujusticefl.org) and click on the ‘TAKE ACTION” button at the top of the page and sign on for their newsletter and action alerts. Their action alerts will come directly to you and provide all the talking points and contact info you need to connect with your state legislators so you can get started setting them on the straight and narrow path to a better tomorrow guided by our seven and perhaps soon-to-be eight principles.

Our church’s Allies for Racial Equity group and the Green Sanctuary Committee are both exploring taking on this activity in an organized fashion to make our voices heard in the halls of state legislature. What better time to engage with the legislative process than when society is facing so many challenges? So, whether you sign on individually, start your own group or join with another group at church to make your voice heard, you’ll know that you are engaged in the state’s legislative process and making a difference.

 


Harmony Camp – Revitalized & Reimagined With Your Help

By Kerry Burner

As many long-time congregants know, Harmony Camp was a valued part of our UUCT community for over 15 years.  It was conceived of at a UUCT retreat at The Mountain by Joanne Taylor who chaired the first committee that brought it to fruition.

Joanne Taylor on the philosophy of Harmony Camp: “A major focus of social learning must be to teach young people to value a variety of cultural and subcultural life styles. Differences in cultural awareness and understanding often lead to conflict between diverse groups. We believe that in exposing our children to opportunities to become more culturally aware and to learn tools that they can use in real world situations to manage or resolve conflicts, our broader community will benefit. We feel that through our Unitarian Universalist community, Harmony Camp is a first step toward developing a child’s understanding of cultural diversity. The camp gives the opportunity to not only provide experiences, materials and activities for children, but as adults to model the significance of accepting and appreciating cultural diversity for all ages.”

Rosa Morgan wrote the grant UUCT gratefully received from UUA to launch the camp with paid staff.  Since then, it primarily has depended on the efforts of an all-volunteer management staff – often just one like the years Claudia Montague led camp – so UUCT could pay camp session leaders fair wages.

In late 2019, trying to plan for 2020, that volunteer person-power was simply not available which sadly meant that even had we not been in a pandemic, Harmony Camp did not happen that year for the first time since its inception in 2004.

During that initial hiatus, the then newly formed and until now defunct UUCT Harmony Summer Camp Planning Committee had started to work on creating a plan for a sustainable summer camp program – one that is rooted in all the wonderful things Harmony Camp has accomplished and nurtured over the years, and one that welcomes a refocusing on the social challenges faced by today’s children and youth.

Clearly, with the current pandemic, Harmony Camp didn’t happen again in 2021.  The goal is for this revitalized and reimagined summer camp program to resume the summer of 2022.

The reality of that goal is that Harmony Camp cannot happen without substantial volunteer support, both behind the scenes planning and organizing and during camp working with campers and Jr. advisors.

If you would like to join the re-instantiated UUCT Harmony Summer Camp Planning Committee or if you are interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities during Harmony Camp, please email Kerry Burner at kerry.burner@gmail.com.

 


Faith in Place’s Green Team Summit 2021

By Ed Oaksford

Interfaith Power and Light has invited us to join in Faith in Place’s Green Team Summit 2021

An Immersive Virtual Summit on Healing

Join Faith in Place September 12-14th for a 3-night virtual, immersive, and interactive journey into healing.

09-12-2021 from 4:00pm to 5:15pm

09-13-2021 from 4:30pm to 5:30pm and 6:00pm to 7:00pm

09-14-2021 from 4:00pm to 5:00pm, 5:30pm to 6:30pm, and 7:00pm to 7:30pm

We believe our environmental and social crises are rooted in disconnection. During this summit, we will explore ways to heal our connection with our land, body, mind, spirit, and community. From walking through vividly green wetlands in Shawnee National Forest, to touring a farm, and gathering in a racial healing circle, this virtual Summit will honor our interconnectedness and inspire our environmental work through healing.

Free Registration at: https://www.greenteamsummit.org/2021-registration

 


Second Harvest of the Big Bend: Share-the-Plate August 8-22

By Robert Deyle

Second Harvest of the Big Bend’s mission is to feed the hungry in 11 counties through their network of 135 partner agencies, and to educate and engage the community in the fight against hunger. With their partners, they operate a wide variety of programs including a senior grocery program, mobile food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and several programs to alleviate child hunger – backpack program, after school meals, summer meals, food on the move, and school pantry.

Their primary operation is a food bank, stocked in part through a food rescue program work with retail grocer partners. They also grow fresh produce for the food bank at Lott’s Community Garden near Monticello.

Second Harvest of the Big Bend also serves as one of Feeding America’s three emergency food distribution hubs in Florida. As part of the Big Bend Community Organizations Active in Disasters, Second Harvest provides food, water, and other necessities pre- and post-disaster event. Second Harvest also works in conjunction with Feeding Florida and its other 11- member food banks to cover disaster situations throughout the entire state of Florida. Currently, they are providing emergency food assistance to an additional 52,000 Big Bend neighbors who have been impacted by the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, which has increased the food insecurity in our service area by almost 50%

Your share-the-plate contributions go to work immediately Volunteer opportunities also are available working in the food bank warehouse and at Lott’s Community Garden: https://fightinghunger.org/volunteer/.

 


Manna Green(s) Project

By Carolyn Pardue

Manna provides produce every month for almost 200 families. Some of this produce is purchased (thank you for the financial donations), some of this produce is donated (thank you Fruit and Nut Exchange), and some of this produce is grown and provided by member churches (thank you Faith Presbyterian and St Paul’s gardens).

Manna would like to increase the accessibility of produce to those served by this program. So you are invited to participate in the Manna Green(s) Project.

If you already have a garden, in the fall please consider planting extra greens (collards, turnips, kale, etc.) for Manna. Cut your “Manna Greens” and bring them to the Manna House on Friday before Manna, that would be the third Friday of the month.  If you have the time, give the greens a bit of  a rinse.  The greens will be packaged and provided to people the next day. Fresh vegetables and fruits are always welcome.

Even without a garden you can still plant some greens (use a large flower pot if you like) and participate in the Manna Green(s) project. Free seeds are available at Leon County Library locations by just showing your Library Card.

If you grow other produce anytime – it is welcome. Don’t fret that you did not grow “enough”.  Remember the story of the “widow’s mite”.

 


Meal Service and Preparation Volunteers Needed

By Janet Temkin

If you and your family are looking for a way to give back to our community, the Kearney Center can use your help.

UUCT has signed up to prep and serve lunches on the first, third and fourth Tuesday of each month at the Kearney Center. We will be assisting with dinners on the second Monday of each month. 4-5 volunteers are needed at each mealtime.

Meal prep is a fun way to connect with others and help our vulnerable homeless population at the same time.

You can easily sign up to volunteer using the link below:

https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30E084AADA72AA5FD0-kearney

Kathryn  Schroeder is now our UUCT coordinator.  Please email Kathryn at 10kmanglin@gmail.com for more information.

 


Volunteer Opportunity – Auditor

By Dan D’Arcangelis

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 ddarcangelis@gmail.com.