Help send Valley UU youth on their Heritage Pilgrimage to Boston!
Valley Unitarian Universalist (Chandler, AZ) Congregation’s traditional Coming of Age youth heritage trip to Boston provides students with a week of history and hands-on experience for lessons that will last a lifetime. For youth whose closest sister congregation is a 45 min drive, imagine the thrill of 3 Unitarian Universalist congregations within walking distance of their hostel!
The Coming of Age program is a rite of passage in the lives of our faith’s teenagers. The youth participants have made a five-month commitment to exploring their personal beliefs, finding how their beliefs fit within the larger context of Unitarian Universalism’s history. During the program, and in preparation for the heritage trip, the youth meet regularly to discuss readings and journaling assignments and meet with leaders and mentors. They tackle a wide range of topics including Good & Evil, Unity & Diversity, Rituals, Spiritual Practices, and the afterlife. They select and carry out both a community service project and a social justice project. After crafting their own statements of personal belief, their credo, they present a Coming of Age service in late spring. The year culminates in a class heritage trip to Boston in early summer. UU history will come alive when the class visits many famous sites.
Unitarian Universalist’s past struggles for justice, reflections on humanity and our environment, decisions regarding ritual, and even choices regarding architecture will become real for our youth in the historic churches, graves, statues and other sites they will visit. We are looking forward to visiting the both the historic 25 Beacon St and the new Farnsworth St. UUA offices, the Boston Tea Party museum, the UU Social Justice offices, walking the Freedom Trail and exploring Kings Chapel’s Bells & Bones tour!
In the words of the Unitarian Universalist Association, “WHY PLAN A PILGRIMAGE? A youth pilgrimage can be a great learning experience for all involved, help in building community, and be fun. A trip to Boston can help to make our liberal heritage a real part of the lives of our youth. They can visit the churches where important events occurred, see the public statues of our heroes, the graves of our forebears, and the office of our presidents. They can also meet the staff at the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), ask questions, and realize that real people are working on behalf of all of us to make Unitarian Universalism a force for good in our society today. Tours and historical sites are not the only ways they will learn on the trip. Experiencing the excitement of new places, talking with friends, learning to respect the boundaries of others when all are tired and hungry, making decisions as a group, and figuring out how to handle yourself away from home are all valuable learning opportunities.”
This year, our students have already raised money through donut sales, painting classes, a Valentine’s Dance-a-Thon, an Italian dinner, and an Easter pancake breakfast. We’re turning to the UU community for help getting this inspiring group to Boston in June 2019.
The students will continue their fundraising efforts through the entire academic year, seeking funding both within their own UU community and from the wider community. The group still needs additional funding to cover travel from Chandler, AZ to Massachusetts and for accommodations for the students and their chaperons.
Won’t you consider helping them meet their goal to get to Boston this summer?
Help Save Our Historic Sacred Space From Stormy Weather
STRETCH GOAL ADDED: $12,000
The project includes shingle replacement, fascia repair and gutter replacement. The original estimated cost was $38,000. With additional work done to complete the project, including interior repairs, the overall cost will end up being above $40,000. While we’ve met our original $10,000 goal, please help us go a little bit further in helping to defray costs.
We’re so close to meeting our goal – thanks to the generous donations we’ve received. Please help us cross the finish line in the short time left in this campaign by becoming a donor. Please share this link with your friends or anyone else who might be interested in this campaign so we are able to continue the social justice work of Rev. Olympia Brown!
The roof on our church building began leaking earlier this year and has already begun to damage our sanctuary’s plaster walls. Unless we replace our roof, we risk more serious – and costly — damage, not only to the walls but to our historic organ. The project includes shingle replacement, fascia repair and gutter replacement. The total estimated cost is $38,000.
Olympia Brown served as minister of our church from 1878-1887. Our church building is in Racine’s Historic Sixth Street Business District and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. The church serves as a center of social justice activism both for our congregation and for many other like-minded people in our community. The building is not just a physical home for our spiritual community engaging in this important work, it is a symbol to the wider community of the faith that we live, inside and outside our 123-year-old structure. Replacing our roof is necessary to enable us to continue the important work we do unimpeded by worries about its future.
Our congregation is in a time of transition after enjoying 43 years with the same minister. Improving our long-term financial planning and operation are among the important tasks we are undertaking during this interim period. Ensuring that we have a sound and solid building is part of that agenda.
Last year we had a major repair project on our congregation’s annex building that exhausted our Building & Grounds Maintenance fund as well as drawing down our operating reserve. That reserve will be the main source of funds for the roof repair. We ask for your help through Faithify to defray the costs of our roof repair and to supplement our remaining operating reserve to pay for the project.
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.