Bring Beloved Conversations to Kansas/KC!

Bring Beloved Conversations to Kansas/KC!

Crowdfunding Completed: February 4, 2018

Amount Funded: $2800

Project Owner: All Souls Kansas City

Short Description of Project

FUND BELOVED CONVERSATIONS! - a UU workshop for the Kansas/KC congregations that offers skilled facilitation of conversations around race/oppression.

How was this project connected to UU?

Our project directly reflects the values of Unitarian Universalism, as we revere a radically ever-unfolding and living theology that depends on the presence of human hearts and minds to stay alive; ours is a relationship-centered approach that requires storytelling and truth-telling to remain relevant. But most beautifully, we Unitarian Universalists believe that the process is just as important as the end goal; we are encouraged to move through difficulty together and be transformed along the way.

As we discern and chart our strategy - as congregations, as a denomination, as a nation, and as a world - our willingness to listen to truths that only those who are suffering know is the key to our survival. Likewise, our willingness to bravely speak the truth of our own suffering depends on a space where listening is queen. We come from a rich legacy of justice makers, and not one of them did it alone!

Each of our congregations* has endorsed and looks forward to participating in Beloved Conversations. The project arose through conversation among our ministers, all of whom are solo female ministers, and is broadly supported by our lay leaders.

Our covenanted community is more than a single congregation, but an entire cluster, spread across Kansas and Kansas City, all with shared UU identity lived out differently in our particular contexts. Over the past few years, we have developed our relationships and our covenant through focusing our connections with one another on the work of social justice, holding an annual social justice conference using local resources.

What’s more, we have joined not only with one another, but with other groups to forge connections and form Kansas People’s Agenda, to voice our shared UU principles at the legislature, and to work with the Poor People’s Campaign. This project will allow us to work more effectively in these and other coalitions in which we are involved. The project is the next logical step for bringing our UU principles and values to fruition in Kansas and Kansas City.

* Shawnee Mission UU Church; the UU Congregation of Lawrence; the UU Fellowship of Topeka; and the UU Fellowship of Manhattan; All Souls, KCMO.

Full Description of Project

FUND BELOVED CONVERSATIONS! – a UU workshop that offers transformative conversations around race/oppression. Participants will develop skills and habits of an anti-racist mind and grapple with concepts of brokenness and wholeness. Ultimately, participants will leave this 2-day workshop equipped to lead their own congregations in the work of anti-racism and anti-oppression. 10-12 participants from five congregations across Kansas/KC will be meeting at SMUUCh in March followed by 8 weeks of follow-up classes.

Beloved Conversations was developed by Dr. Mark Hicks, Angus MacLean Professor of Religious Education at the Meadville Lombard Theological School, and is organized by Rev. Ashley Horan of the Minnesota UU Social Justice Alliance. The money will go exclusively to pay the facilitators for their expertise, emotional labor, travel, and time.

The congregations involved will be the first to directly benefit from this program, as the shared experience of transforming together is the soil from which effective ministry blossoms. Participants will be guided through their own experiences of the spiritual effects of systemic oppression and be invited to witness other participants as they share their own experiences of societal injustice. Although this work in done in our congregations, ultimately the world and those we serve are the true benefactors. Our willingness to engage and deepen our own understandings will allow us to do more effective, well-developed ministry and justice work.

In the wake of globalization and colonization in recent millennia, we as a human family unknowingly (or knowingly!) act out of habitual racism that was performed and perpetuated in the world around us. Half of the richest nation on earth is poor, black men disappear into the prison pipeline at an astonishing rate, militarization has made a sharp increase since the events in Ferguson, MO, and the globe’s coastal cities and resources are in imminent peril. Our willingness to confront, communicate about, and heal from these collective traumas matters. And it is necessary to ensure our ability to practice Unitarian Universalism and build the world of our dreams.

Kansas and Kansas City are, oddly enough, currently in the national limelight. The governments and city planners have done such an incredibly bad job that Kansas City is the case study for segregation/gentrification and the current administration is looking to the state of Kansas for advice about how to ruin everything. As a well-developed and already up-and-running system of UUism in this area, it is our duty to organize amongst ourselves in order to be as trained and bonded as possible. Your funds will be used to ignite and engage people in the congregation who are most passionate about racial justice.