Revisiting UU History:...
In our time, Unitarian Universalist congregations are challenged and called to come to terms with the white-centered culture and systems of oppression embedded in our congregational practices. Because our congregations reflect the dominant culture from which our two parent traditions emerged, it is important to revisit our history for a fuller understanding of the insights and oversights of our forebears and the cultural forces that shaped our tradition. How can we tease our liberating religious theology apart from the influence of a culture steeped in racial hierarchies and white supremacy? What little known stories of Unitarian and Universalist forebears of color can we lift up to offer both inspiration and a more complete understanding of who we have been, who we are, and who we are yet to fully become as we strive to more fully embody the promise of our radical theology? What wisdom and scholarship do historians and scholars of color have to share? How can we provide inspiration and help for congregations who seek to revisit their own histories, looking for narratives that help Unitarian Universalists meet this moment? These are but some of the questions the UU History and Heritage Society is asking as we consider why history matters and why the stories we tell about ourselves are important.
One of the gifts the Unitarian Universalist History and Heritage Society (UUHHS) offers to Unitarian Universalists and to our faith tradition is an annual lecture at General Assembly. Named in honor of Conrad Wright, the lecture provides a chance for UU religious professionals and lay leaders to hear from scholars whose work illuminates our history and sheds light on today’s challenges. The UUHHS Board has established an endowment to offset the program’s necessary expenses, such as honorarium, travel, lodging and General Assembly fees for the presenter. Income from the fund will allow us to continue revisiting the complexities of our history as new movements call us to live our values more completely.
The Conrad Wright Lecture was inaugurated in 2008 to honor the scholarship and influence of one of the most important historians of our liberal religious tradition. As Professor at Harvard Divinity School for decades and the author of innumerable books, papers and articles, Dr. Wright contributed significantly to the understanding of our history and heritage. Honoring Conrad Wright’s work, the lecture encourages us to move further and deeper into our understanding of our own history and heritage, just as he did in his time.
Through the Faithify campaign, we offer a chance for others who believe with us that knowledge of our past helps us navigate present challenges to be part of this effort. The fund has a goal of $20,000. To date, about $12,000 has been raised from members of the UUHHS Board and others close to the society. We ask for your contribution to this campaign, helping UUHHS to make significant historical scholarship available to all Unitarian Universalists.
Find out more about the UU History and Heritage Society at www.UUHHS.org.
Oceti Sakowin & Beyond at General Assembly 2018
The Oceti Sakowin Camp and water protectors convergence at Standing Rock was a historic, transformative space that drew thousands of people from across the world together for protecting water, indigenous sovereignty, and the sacredness of Mother Earth from the Dakota Access Pipeline and the ongoing devastation caused by continued fossil fuel extraction and repression of Indigenous peoples.
Unitarian Universalists were among those who mobilized and were transformed by the experiences and relationships formed — especially the UU Fellowship and Church of Bismarck-Mandan, the only church in Bismarck that joined the water protectors. One continued blessing to our faith community that came into being through these experiences at Oceti Sakowin was an invitation to be in ongoing relationship and collaboration with the Indigenous-led InterNātional Initiative for Transformative Collaboration (INITC), and Stories and Songs of the People. For more info check out https://www.initc.net/about-us
Yet another blessing is that members of these collectives have accepted our invitation for them to join us and speak at the UUA General Assembly in Kansas City, June 2018. Six Indigenous elders, friends, and relatives with the InterNātional Initiative for Transformative Collaboration (INITC) & Stories and Songs for the People will be joining our UU faith convergence in Kansas City and presenting a workshop on Saturday, June 23rd:
OCETI SAKOWIN & BEYOND: CREATING TRANSFORMATIVE COLLABORATION
Saturday, June 23 | 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. | 2103 B
What does it mean to be human? How do we relate with one another and the environment? The InterNātional Initiative for Transformative Collaboration will share experiences and insights of the Oceti Sakowin water protector camp and create opportunities to practice cultural safety, decolonizing conversations, interfaith and intercultural relationships, and well-being.
Your gift to this fundraiser will greatly help the INITC and Stories & Songs of the People to comfortably attend the full General Assembly: building and deepening relationships with members of our UU faith, and celebrating the ordination of Rev. Karen Van Fossan (minister of the UU Fellowship and Church of Bismarck-Mandan) during the Service of the Living Tradition. Thank you for your generosity and support!
Photos witnessed by Wil Sterner
Help Cassie get across the ocean to attend GA!
A friend here in New Zealand gave me $20 NZD towards my Faithify! Check out the pretty polymer bills here: this one has the Karearea on it.
I am a young adult seeking financial support to recoup travel costs to work at GA 2018. As the junior co-facilitator for YA@GA and delegate for Auckland Unitarian Church, I am asking for your support to help me get to General Assembly in Kansas City 2018!
The UUA generously provides accomodation and food for volunteer staff during General Assembly, but the budget only accounts for domestic flights. The maximum stipend for flights is $600 USD, but the international flights and travel insurance are well over twice that! Such a large expense cannot be managed easily as a graduate student, so please consider giving a few dollars (or more) or sharing this Faithify on social media. Keep reading for a little bit more about me and my role at GA 2018/2019…
As the Junior Co-Facilitator I have been learning from some of our brilliant young adult leaders, in preparation for stepping up as the Senior Co-Facilitator for GA 2019. My role involves working with the Young Adult and Campus Ministry staff at the UUA in creating roles and the selection of our yearly volunteer YA@GA staff, organising workshops and social events for General Assembly, and ensuring everything runs smoothly at the event itself.
As for me, as a life-long UU and expatriate to the US, I am personally and spiritually delighted to be able to return to the US to participate in GA. I grew up in what is now the Southern District, at the Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Texas. I attended UU summer camps in Oklahoma (SWUUSI) most of my childhood and into young adulthood and even Maine (Ferry Beach) a few summers as a preteen.
Before emigrated out of the north Texas area, I spent my Sundays at Horizon Unitarian Universalist Church, organising workshops for the young adults, facilitating Coming of Age, and teaching Adult/Young Adult OWL.
I am dedicated to doing anti-racism work, such as the White Supremacy Teach-In at Auckland Unitarian and Undoing Racism with the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond at GA in 2017. I am a member of Allies For Racial Equity, and have done a White Supremacy workshop for Horizon UU in Carrollton, Texas.
Here in New Zealand I am studying the experiences of transgender and gender diverse people with their doctors, and a volunteer locally for teaching on LGBT+ issues for university faculty and student leadership. As a delegate to a church so far from the US, I present my congregation with a unique and rare opportunity to participate and engage with UUA politics and going ons.
The nitty gritty:
Flights from NZ to the US are about $1400.00 USD, my required international travel insurance will be around $160-$200.00 USD. With the UUA travel stipend of $600.00 USD, it will be about $1000. $1200 should safely cover my expenses, processing fees on the Faithify platform, and any unforeseen travel add ons! Any amount raised over the goal will be put towards the trip to GA 2019, where I will be the Senior Co-Facilitator for YA@GA.
Thank you for your time and energy, and I hope to see you at GA in Kansas City!
Send McKayla to...
Hello, everyone! Thank you for visiting my campaign page!
My name is McKayla Hoffman, and I am an aspiring minister who is fundraising in order to attend the 2018 Unitarian Universalist General Assembly!
About My Journey:
I found Unitarian Universalism in 2011, during my sophomore year of college. Most of my undergraduate campus at Bridgewater State University appeared as a blur of color to me. Like many college students, I was perpetually running either to class, a meeting, or one of my three on-campus jobs. However, the rainbow flag at First Parish Church always caught my eye. Since the first day I walked into First Parish to sing in the choir, the wonderful congregation there embraced, loved, and inspired me as a close (and very sassy!) family does. I realized after being involved for a couple of years that something was different about this religious community than any I had encountered before. This denomination’s message of radical love and justice enabled me to express myself fully and openly for the first time in a church community. Knowing that there was a group of people who knew and fully embraced my identity was transformational.
I deeply appreciated Unitarian Universalism’s emphasis on honoring many truths and nurturing the daunting task of living in love among all of them. Probably like your UU community, the incredible people at First Parish embodied this transformative questioning and the complimentary maxim “love is goodwill in action” while creating a supportive spiritual home. I was inspired to add my own effort into supporting this home for present church members and for the new seekers who came through our doors.
Something that began as a very small impression at a young age grew exponentially during my first three years at First Parish. I assisted with a particularly moving service, and the thought suddenly hit me: I should pursue UU ministry. Even after I graduated college and started my career in archaeology and museums, I haven’t shaken this call (though I’ve desperately tried–and failed). In the wake of recent work to dismantly white supremacy in our denomination, I felt that if I wanted to begin serving our community of loving movers and shakers, I should start now and set my fear and trepidation aside.
I attended the 2017 UU General Assembly, which proved to be a consequential one amidst the current work of dismantling the systemic racism in our denomination. The voices that span generations, races, ethnicities, genders, sexualities, and abilities are each vitally important. This year’s GA serves as our chance to continue giving credence and legitimacy to each of these voices. Also, the opportunity for our united UU family to network and connect during these challenging times is incredibly beneficial. Last year’s GA gave me new tools to dismantle my own complicity in white supremacy and colonialism, which was important to me as an aspiring white minister. I was also overwhelmed to be able to spend time speaking with GA attendees who were young, queer, and had experienced the same fears and hurt that I did. They empowered me in a way I’ve never experienced. For these reasons, attending the 2018 GA would serve as an important step in my ministerial–and personal–formation.
I’m currently working for a nonprofit living history museum. It’s a phenomenal place that educates underserved, inner city youth about history and its consequences, including ingrained racism, class divide, ethnocentrism, the need for environmental sustainability practices, and more. Unfortunately, working in the nonprofit world comes with its setbacks; it serves the heart and mind, but certainly not the wallet. However, after speaking at length with our Revered about the opportunities that the 2018 GA would present, I decided that I should try my best to make it there! I am grateful for the network and platform that is Faithify, and that it is available to those who struggle financially.
In order to offset the cost of attending General Assembly, I applied for and received a scholarship that covered the cost of registration and a small portion of expenses. However, I still have $500 to raise.
If you would like to consider donating to my fundraising campaign, I would be deeply grateful. As a young professional who understands the deep value of every dollar, I’ll highlight the fact that there is truly no amount that is too small. I am blessed to know such incredible people, and to have such supportive family and friends. Nothing that I could ever do would express my gratitude for the support you all give me, and no matter where this road takes me, each step will be for you all. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.