ANNOUNCEMENT of Congregational Meeting to be held on February 11, 2018

ANNOUNCEMENT of Congregational Meeting to be held on February 11, 2018

In accordance with the Bylaws of the UUCUV, the Board of Directors will hold a Congregational Meeting on Sunday, Febryary 11, 2018 at 11:30 am.  This meeting is called in respponse to request form a group of members and friends who met on Social Justice issues on January 21, 2018.  The Meeting will consist of a single issue on whether we should put up the “Black Lives Matter” sign outside of the UUCUV Meeting House.

The Motion is: The Board asks that the UUCUV members approve the display of a “Black Lives matter” sign outside of the Meeting house.

We hope that everyone will be able to attend this meeting to vote.  While the UUCUV does not allow for proxy votes, if you are not able to attend, you are invited to write a note in agreement or in opposition to the Motion.  Please direct your note to the Board prior to the meeting by email or mail and the notes will be read at the meeting to have your opinion stated.

Child care will be provided.  Please contact a member of the Board if you have questions.

SEPTEMBER 24: BEYOND CATEGORICAL THINKING

“Will the new minister hear me? Will my concerns and needs be met?  Will the minister understand what I’m living with? How will the community respond to our minister?”

In answering these questions, often an image of the “ideal minister” comes to mind, which image can fall into categories (age, gender, gender identity, nationality, physical ability, race, and sexual orientation).  With this image in place, it can be easy to unintentionally exclude ministers who fall into other categories. At times, as we get caught up in comparing candidates to our image, we can even forget what it is we hoped for in a minister.

On the weekend of September 24, the UUCUV will participate in the Beyond Categorical Thinking workshop offered by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) for congregations involved in the search for a new minister.  The Search Committee invites all members and friends.  It is very important that as many as possible participate.

The Beyond Categorical Thinking program is designed to promote inclusive thinking and help prevent unfair discrimination in the search process for a new minister. This program includes the Sunday morning service, AND a BCT workshop from noon to 4 PM. Lunch will be provided.  In the workshop, UUCUV members and friends will:

Consider the hopes, expectations, and concerns they have for a new minister
Learn more about the ministerial search process, and
Explore how thinking categorically about people sometimes interferes with choosing the best candidate.

The Beyond Categorical Thinking workshop is another opportunity for everyone in our congregation to be a part of the Search process. This experience will provide guidance for the search committee in our work.

Also, importantly, this workshop will further the conversation which we committed to at the Annual Meeting, about diversity and how to represent our congregational views on such things as Black Lives Matter.

Reaching Out, Reaching In

This article may be found in full in the Summer issue of The Call

Unanimity can be a good thing especially when it is the result of individuals truly listening to each other and being willing to give up a desired personal outcome on behalf of a recognition as to what the community needs in order to more forward together. However, as Scott Peck the author of A Different Drum: Community Making and Peace notes, while compromise can be a sign of health, fear and avoidance of coflict can lead to “the danger of pseudo-community.” Pseudo-community, where individual differences are minimized, unacknowledged, or ignored, tends to stultify growth and ultimately undermines its mission to be an agent of spiritual and societal transformation.

At Annual Meeting, we discussed what signs (if any) to put out in front of the church as a public expression of some of our core values and stance on certain social issues.

Much of the time was spent discussing whether or not/where
to put up a Black Lives Matter sign and what consequences might ensue from that decision. Expressed thoughts ranged from seeing this as a necessary early step in our journey to find ways to work against racism (both within and without), to a hesitation to do something that might antagonize some others and not actually pro-mote dialogue which might lead to deeper understanding about the reality of racism and ways to overcome it. Eventually the person who suggested a motion to put out the signs decided to withdraw the motion in order to create more time and space to understand the issues (and feelings) involved and the organizations we would be supporting.

I agree with Peck that the path to true community and spiritual growth entails not the silencing of the individual’s voice, but the willingness to listen to all voices; not the false hope of continuing unanimity but a willingness to stay open and present in conflict “committed to struggle together rather than against each other.”

~ Patience Stoddard

Showing Up for Racial Justice, Jan. 28, 2017

The UUCUV was well represented at a packed Showing Up for Racial Justice meeting on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 at the Kilton Library in West Lebanon. Here are some links to resources mentioned by speakers at the event:

Valley News article:

Showing Up for Racial Justice: 

Upper Valley Young Liberals: 

Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform: 

Justice for All Vermont: 

Franchesca Ramsey YouTube videos: 

Prayers and Reflections for Standing Rock (Dec. 4)

The following prayer was read at the Dec. 4, 2016, service in support of the Water Protectors of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and our sister congregation in Bismarck, North Dakota.

PRAYER FOR STANDING ROCK

Spirit of Life, Mother Earth, with deep respect on this Interfaith Day of Prayer, we lift our hearts towards the Indigenous peoples gathered at Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. We honor them for more fully awakening us to the environmental injustices that are deeply experienced by indigenous peoples around the world .  We thank them for making these injustices visible right on our nation’s doorstep.

We rejoice that hundreds of the years of shameful oppression of the First Nations has not destroyed the spiritual bonds that link these peoples to Earth and all her beings.  Through our own Unitarian Universalist respect for the interdependent web, we feel a deep spiritual kinship with the people of Standing Rock, and we honor them as our teachers.  We are thankful for the lesson they bring, teaching us that reverence is a powerful form of resistance.  Reverence for water is resisting the path of corporate profit that pays no heed to the well being of the living systems of Earth.

As winter comes, we pray for the safety and continued peaceful stance of the thousands living in tents, tepees, and yurts in the Oceti Sakowin and Sacred Stone camps and for thousands who come and go as allies – indigenous leaders from around the world, UN observers, lay people and clergy, including, today, hundreds of Unitarian Universalists; and for the 2000 or more veterans who are gathering tomorrow to stand in solidarity with the people of Standing Rock and to witness against an inappropriately militarized law enforcement presence.

We pray, as well, for the safety of members of the law enforcement agencies.  We pray that individual officers will not be put into positions that contravene their own hearts,  that these officers will choose to de-escalate potentially violent  situations and fellow officers that turn toward violence, and that they will look into the eyes of the Water Protectors and see them as brothers and sisters with rights equal to their own.

We end our prayer with gratitude for water, for each cup we pour, each free-flowing tap we open, each stream we cross, each raindrop or snowflake that falls upon us.  We pray that at Standing Rock on the banks of the Missouri River and everywhere that water flows on Earth, it will now and always runs clear and clean. We pray that we, too, from today forward we will have the love and resolve to protect water always. Mni Wiconi. Water is Life.  Amen.