DRUUMM 2018 Fall Gathering
School sessions have begun. Churches, fellowships, and communities hold gatherings to welcome folks back into communion and a regularly scheduled worship program year. Seminarians and college students have started classes, are paying their tuitions. Intern ministers have just settled into new homes, in new towns, in new states to serve new congregations part-time. Many newly ordained ministers have also moved, maybe they are planning to go before the MFC, maybe they are in search and haven’t settled yet. All of these new beginnings are necessary expenses on our paths to answer our calls. For lay leaders and congregants in our faith, life is just as full of expenses, often unexpected and costly. These costs should not keep anyone from gathering in intentional community to rest, refresh, and renew their souls so they can stay in the fight to dismantle white supremacy.
The DRUUMM Fall Gathering is not the usual Gathering – it’s not a conference, training, or working retreat. It’s a Homecoming; a time to embrace old friends and greet new ones. It’s a time to gather and feed our collective souls with community building and reinforcing. This year, we will gather at First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Antonio to reflect on the past, to envision the future, and to create meaningful worship centering ourselves and our experiences. We need to come together so we can go back out and do our best to help heal this world.
DRUUMM strives towards personal and social transformation of our members by providing sacred healing spaces, where we can heal from internalized racism and other oppression’s. We honor our suffering, grieving, and letting go through intentional emotional release and catharsis. Our Fall Gathering is a moment when, as a community, we come together to provide care, in supportive and sacred shared space, as we continue to work towards collective liberation and healing.
Fund Hope: Sponsor an Incarcerated UU
CLF incarcerated membership is rapidly growing, and this means that the cost to serve nearly 890 prison members has also increased. It costs the CLF at least $150 per prison member to provide UU programing, and we need the continued support of friends, members, and the community. Many individuals across the United States living in prison are hearing about Unitarian Universalism for the first time. Some learn about the UU message of acceptance and inclusivity through CLF outreach or from a friend, family, or a cell mate.
Can you give $25 or more today?
Every dollar you donate will be doubled! *
So by contributing to the success of this Faithify Campaign,
you will be helping over 130 UUs living in prison.
Your financial support of the CLF Prison Ministry provides vital programming and services to over 800 incarcerated Unitarian Universalists:
~Worthy Now Prison Ministry Newsletters
~Reading Materials from Skinner House and Beacon Press
~New UU Classes
~Tapestry of Faith RE Correspondence Classes
Your generous contributions also help the CLF Prison Ministry run its letter writing ministry, otherwise known as our pen pal program. This ministry provides one-on-one contact between UUs in the free-world (that is, you and me) and one of our members living in prison. There are about 300 of these letter writing partnerships, and we have free-world letter writers living all over the world. Every year thousands of letters are forwarded through the CLF office in Boston to our members living in prison. This program is the heart of our ministry—it is the lifeline to many of our members.
Because of your past support, membership has included something exciting and new this year:
We asked all of our members who are incarcerated what their number one justice issue is while living in prison. The response was heart-breaking: The cost of medical care for people who barely make a wage came up over and over again in the letters. From this information, the CLF team of delegates, volunteers, and staff organized to propose an Action of Immediate Witness (AIW) at the 2018 General Assembly. We are so excited to share that our AIW, Dismantle Predatory Medical Care Practices in Prisons and End Prisons for Profit, was one of the three AIWs that were chosen by the body of UU delegates.
Most importantly, this wouldn’t have happened without the response of our members living in prison. They gave us the information we needed to share with the delegates. It was their passion that led the call of our campaign and made it such a successful and rewarding way to live our UU values.
“Sharing this news with our members living in prison is the absolute highlight of my work at the CLF. What a blessing for all of us!”
—Mandy Goheen, Director of CLF Prison Ministry and Worthy Now Network
But that is not where the story ends. There are other justice issues our members share with us that are equally important. For example, they have described significant problems with living conditions, food, solitary confinement, guards, and so many other examples it’s hard to keep track of them all.
Mandy came across one that she thought all UUs would want to know about. In a religion that values learning so highly, it is important to know that access to information such as books and newspapers and religious materials and publications are all limited by the rules of each particular prison.
Our so-called Library here at Lumberton Correctional Institution, is a broom closet about 10 x 10 ft, there’s no table to do book research and no seating. And proper research books especially legal books are non-existent.
—Jackie Morehead, CLF Member whose facility only allows 5 books per person (including religious books)
One of the benefits of CLF membership is our reading packet program. In an amazing partnership with Beacon Press and Skinner House Books, we are able to send reading materials to our members in prison. Because of the many rules and regulations surrounding books in prisons, we can only do this by the generous sharing of text from Beacon Press and Skinner House Books of UU identified books. The CLF has permission to print a chapter at a time and share them in letter form. This way people like Jackie Moorehead have access to more books—more than what’s in a small broom closet.
But we need your help!
There is significant paper, printing and postage costs that go into this program.
By funding all or part of the $150 membership program cost,
you are amplifying our important message that people living in prison
are Worthy Now of Love and Justice.
Last year we sent over 641 reading packets to our members!
Wouldn’t it be cheaper to send books? Possibly, but prison regulations across the country are diverse and the rules around books are so complex that this is the best way for us to share Unitarian Universalism with our CLF members living in prison. Books such as Testimony; UU Humanist Voices in Unitarian Universalism; Amethyst Beach: Meditations; Our Seven Principles in Story and Verse; and Everyday Spiritual Practice ~ Simple Pathways for Enriching Your Life are bringing Unitarian Universalism to CLF members experiencing incarceration.
Can you give $25 or more to sponsor a UU experiencing incarceration?
* Thanks to the generous challenge grants supported by the Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock and Unity Church-Unitarian in St Paul Minnesota, every dollar given to this Faithify campaign will be matched.
UUMN Matching Grant
Healthy congregations are singing congregations! Congregations with thriving, vibrant music programs help us articulate our Unitarian Universalist identity because what we sing is who we are. The experience of music in worship – especially congregational singing – is what defines us for most people in the pews, because it’s the primary way they participate in the worship service. Growing resources that strengthen music ministry in our congregations is one of the easiest growth strategies we could possibly devise. But what do our congregations actually need in terms of resources, and how do we assess those needs?
In 2017, the UU Musicians Network received a grant from the UU Funding Program to fund a comprehensive survey of music programs in Unitarian Universalist congregations throughout North America, with the goal of identifying specific needs for resources and support. In order to best serve music ministry in our congregations, we need to know what’s actually happening in those congregations in terms of music programming and staffing. Our 1,000+ congregations vary wildly in their approaches to music ministry, and gaining practical knowledge of these approaches is crucial for determining institutional support for music ministry from both the UUMN and the UUA. The goal of this project is simple – to spend a year collecting as much data related to music ministry in our congregations as is possible. We need to know:
- Music program staffing (Volunteer? Paid? Hours per week worked? Relationship style with clergy? Participant in worship planning?),
Program Details (Choirs? Number of singers in each choir? Children’s programming? Other musical ensembles? Piano/organ/other instrumentation?)
- Budget for salaries and programs
- Repertoire (Which hymnal(s) used? Musical styles/traditions engaged? Needs/hopes for new music?)
- Is the person responsible for music ministry in the congregation a member of UUMN? If so, what’s the value of membership? If not, why not? Is UUMN membership/conference attendance supported through professional expenses? Is membership (and subsequent adherence to the UUMN code of ethics) a requirement of employment?
- Liturgical realities (Number of musical works in typical Sunday service? How does worship space support/hinder music ministry? What’s the typical worship planning process?
The UU Musicians Network is working with the Rev. Jason Shelton (composer, choral director, and music minister-at-large) to carry forward and complete the survey which is at the halfway point of completion. In order to finish the project, which will culminate in a series of reports to the UUMN Board and annual conference, and the leadership of the UUA, we need your help!
This FAITHIFY campaign will unlock a $5,000 matching grant from the UU Funding Panel, and those funds will be used to complete the project outlined above, resulting in an incredibly valuable collection of data that will shape the course of our faith community’s music ministry for years to come.