Tagged: “Pacific Western Region”

Reverend James Reeb...

Many Unitarian Universalists know the story of Reverend James Reeb, the UU minister who was murdered in 1965 in Selma, Alabama after answering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s nationwide call for religious leaders to come south to march in support of voting rights.

What UUs may not know is that James Reeb grew up in Casper, Wyoming, and served there as a Presbyterian minister before his faith journey led him to Unitarian Universalism and to civil rights activism. He eventually moved with his family to Washington D.C., where he served as the Assistant Minister to All Souls Unitarian Church. His next call to ministry and activism took the Reeb family to the Roxbury area of Boston where he worked for fair housing and advocated for people living in poverty.

Marie Reeb, Reverend Reeb’s widow, still resides in Casper along with many of his extended family, and yet much of the Wyoming community is unaware of his legacy and this important Wyoming connection to America’s Civil Rights Movement.

Partnering with The Table, a downtown Casper dinner church, the Unitarian Universalist Community of Casper is raising $10,000 for a James Reeb Memorial Mural here in his hometown of Casper. Understanding that UUs and others involved in social activism across the country feel deep respect and reverence for Reverend Reeb, the UU Community of Casper is extending an invitation to be a part of this unique opportunity to promote James Reeb’s legacy, social justice, community partnerships, and interfaith engagement.

The James Reeb Memorial Mural project will also include a website, a short film, and several public events to heighten access and engagement with Reverend Reeb’s story. Public art is a beautiful way to introduce this amazing story to a larger audience. The mural will be ideally located across the street from David Street Station, downtown Casper’s new and popular public square, which hosts concerts, farmers markets, and countless other public events. The mural’s public unveiling will be held August 24, 2019. Reverend Reeb’s story will also be shared at an August 28th story telling event at The Table and at the UU Community of Casper’s August 25th Sunday service. In addition, Reverend Reeb will be honored at Casper’s International Day of Peace Celebration on September 21, 2019.

The UU Community of Casper’s fundraising goal for this project is $10,000 of the $30,000 estimated total cost of the mural, film, website and public events. The remaining two thirds will come from grants and public donations. Any amounts raised by the UU Community of Casper in excess of our $10,000 goal will be contributed to the James J. Reeb Memorial Scholarship Fund at Casper College, the local community college Reverend Reeb once attended.

Our interfaith partner, The Table, is a downtown Casper dinner church led by Pastor Libby Tedder Hugus. The Table has long been involved in the Casper Mural Project to beautify and revitalize downtown Casper’s public spaces through mural art. The Table follows the teachings of Jesus, and its members and friends value and seek to honor the truth found in wisdom traditions beyond Christianity. Many UU Community of Casper members and friends enjoy participating in The Table gatherings, and Pastor Libby has been a guest speaker at our UU church.

The James Reeb Memorial Mural committee consists of individuals associated with many other Casper groups and businesses. An integral member of this committee is Reverend Reeb’s granddaughter Leah Reeb, who has traveled nationwide to share her grandfather’s legacy with UUs and others. Local mural artist Tony Elmore is working closely with the Reeb family and is seeking their guidance during his creative process.

The timing of the project is fortuitous: National Public Radio recently launched the serial podcast “White Lies,” which tells the story of Reverend Reeb, his murder in Selma and the aftermath of failed justice. His story was also included in the 2015 Academy Award nominated film “Selma.”

Please consider accepting our invitation to be a part of the James Reeb Memorial Mural Project.

Allison & Carol’s Excellent GA Adventure!

African Americans make up about 3% of Hawaii’s population.  On many Sundays Carol and Allison are one of the very few, if not the only, African-Americans at First Unitarian Church of Honolulu – the only Unitarian Universalist church on the island of Oahu!

Allison is a 2nd generation UU whose parents were among the founding members of the Unitarian Society of New Haven, CT. Carol is a relatively new UU for whom FUCH is the last church on the block after a long search for a spiritual home and she brings many gifts from her faith journey to her faith home here with UUs.

We need GA so we can replenish our depleted spiritual and ancestral reserves!  We need to get refreshed and renewed so we can continue to use our gifts and talents at First Unitarian Church of Honolulu (FUCH)! We are requesting help from the wider Unitarian Universalist community to ensure that we are able to attend the UUA GA in Spokane.  In order for there to be racial equity in UUism, it is crucial that people of color participate in the process on an ongoing basis. Although Hawaii is a multicultural state, FUCH is still working on being a multicultural congregation. We are asking you to support us in attending GA because, as leaders in our church and two of the very few people of color in FUCH, it is important that we get renewed by being able to tap into the greater Black UU and  Indigenous, Black, People of Color  (IBPOC) community on the continent for ideas and resources. Our participation in GA will be mutually beneficial for the First Unitarian Church of Honolulu (FUCH) and ourselves.

Resources and Expenses:
Our church raised approximately $1,000 and another $500 was received from the UUA for four church members to attend GA in Spokane this year. We each received ¼ of the church and UUA funds which amounts to $375 apiece. We have each included this $375  in this Faithify campaign.We are each volunteering 18 hours at GA in exchange for receiving the GA registration fee.

Airfare is the only transportation option for us to get from Honolulu, HI to Spokane, WA. Please help us bridge the geographic challenges that affect us on the island of Oahu.  We are seeking funds for round trip airfare to Spokane, round trip ground transportation from the airport to GA, and room/board.   We estimate that this trip to GA will cost as follows:

Round Trip Airfare from Honolulu to Spokane $ 750.00 x 2 $1,500
Round Trip Ground Transportation from airport to GA $   80.00 x 2 $160.00
Hotel $120 x 6 days each $ 720.00 x 2 $1,440.00
Per diem for food ($50 x 6) $300.00 x 2 $600.00
TOTAL $3700.00

Please read about each of our backgrounds, the work we do in our church community, and how we intend to use our GA experience.

UU Marin Multi-community OWL Outreach Project

Our Whole Lives (OWL) is a curriculum for human sexuality, identity, gender, and relationships with self, family, friends, and significant others. The program focuses on Respect, Relationship, and Responsibility.

Unique in our OWL program this year is the participation of three UU congregations (UU Marin, UU Petaluma, and Berkeley Fellowship UU) and the Marin Waldorf School. A successful outreach campaign meant we had more students in a wider age-range register than one class could hold so we created two cohorts, thus needing a second teaching team.

We are ecstatic about having created space for more families to engage in OWL. We have active participation from thirteen families in this 10-session course. Most of the parents also attended a six-week OWL parent class deepening their own skills to communicate on these subjects with their children.

As can happen in growing programs, we did not have enough locally available certified teachers to meet the need. Hiring two teachers to commute in was necessary. This was not in our meager budget which usually has volunteer teachers. We need financial assistance to fill the gap in our budget. $25, $50, or $100 would help tremendously. It is OK if we “over fundraise” too.

We are just about to finish this two-cohort spring program for grades 4-7. This has been a tremendous opportunity for the Waldorf Community and the UU communities to come together and means that thirty-five more emissaries are being sent into the world, ready to share the good news of self-acceptance and respectful relationships.

Please make a contribution to support this outreach model.

This multi-community OWL program brought in 12 non-UU Marin families on 11 different Sundays. In addition to our Sunday morning programing, this increased our impact in the community by 28% with children and youth and by 42% when including parents as adult learners.

We are proud of the success in sharing the OWL resources outside of our UU circles. We intend to have deeper conversations with the Waldorf community about cooperation.

Two of the Marin Waldorf teachers are now signed up to be trained as OWL teachers.

The circle widens.

Thank you for your support in opening the circle.

Tijuana Homebuild with Casas de Luz

Stretch Goal Added! See details below

Casas de Luz (casasdeluz.org) is a social justice action program of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito, a sister UU congregation in San Diego county. Since its founding 15 years ago, volunteers working with Casas de Luz have built over 110 homes in 6 communities throughout Tijuana on lots already owned by each family, and this dynamic non-profit plans to build 40 additional homes in 2019.

Oct. 2018 Casas de Luz Homebuild

There is tremendous enthusiasm among our congregants for this project, and our initial efforts raised over $1500 as Chalice congregants dug deep.

San Diego’s proximity to the border makes us acutely aware of the additional hardships imposed on the Tijuana economy by the current Administration’s negative rhetoric toward Mexico. Every time we visit Mexico, we hear about the downturn in tourism resulting in part from fears promoted by our own government. Tourism is one of the most important industries in Mexico, providing construction and service jobs critical to families who are working their way out of poverty. Because of this, and despite our small congregation’s current limited funds (we just broke ground on a major campus renovation involving a new classroom and office building), we feel this is the perfect time to sponsor a Casas de Luz homebuild project.

Chalice groundbreaking Feb. 2019

We view our participation with Casas de Luz as an act of Resistance, Love, and Interconnectedness in the best traditions of Unitarian Universalism. 

Please press the blue DONATE button to help us reach our additional fundraising goal of $4700. Any donations Chalice receives in excess of this goal will be forwarded to Casas de Luz to support their ongoing projects in Tijuana. GRACIAS!

Many of us come from backgrounds of relative privilege, taking for granted our homes, jobs, and educational opportunities. Imagine trying to feed your children, support their education, and get to work on time and focused, all while struggling with substandard living conditions. Families throughout the world often buy a little plot of land before they have the funds to build a house on it, then live there in makeshift housing, using whatever resources they have – tarps or lean-tos, dirt floors, a camp stove, no plumbing – while saving money to build a permanent home. Of course life does not always deal a predictable hand. Sudden illness or a death in the family, job insecurity, medications, school supplies, or even just the rising cost of living, can all eat away at savings originally set aside by these families for a home.

Casas de Luz has met this need head-on for 15 years, encouraging adult and youth volunteers to raise either $4500 for a 320-square foot standard home, or $6200 for a 384-square foot home with bathroom, and then dedicating two days on a weekend to travel to Tijuana and build.

This covers the entire cost of building materials for each home!

Floor plan for the 16′ by 24′ home we will build.

Every volunteer builder pays $50 to cover food, water, and housing for the overnight in Tijuana. Chalice’s Social Justice and Service Team is organizing the homebuild with Casas, and we are committed to separately funding the individual builder fee for any participant for whom this might be a hardship, to encourage participation by families and our youth.

Casas de Luz is a truly impressive non-profit, with a beautiful website (casasdeluz.org), a clear vision, an all-volunteer board, and a single part-time paid employee. Several regular volunteers have been designated Master Carpenter during their years of work with Casas, and they will guide the rest of us who are less experienced builders. We are so excited to be working with Casas to organize this project! We have put the weekend of October 26-27, 2019 on our congregational calendar because we are trusting that YOU – our friends, family, and fellow UUs – will help us raise the $4700 we still need. We are busy getting our passports updated, polishing up our high school Spanish, and digging out our most sturdy work clothes! Our favorite UU affirmation reads:

“Love is the doctrine of this church, the quest for truth is our sacrament, and service is our prayer.”

Thank you for helping us carry our message of love and service to our neighbors in Tijuana!

“Mothers of a...

My commitment is to help my home congregation live our 6th Principle by bearing witness to the experiences of the Palestinian people and reporting back to them and the UUJAZ network and other faith and justice groups in Arizona so that we can build capacity to answer the call to justice in that region.  Although this will be (literally) new ground for us, Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation has always shown readiness and willingness to “answer the call of love.”    http://www.vuu.org/opportunities/social-action/

For more information about the Tree of Life foundation and the tour, see

Tree of Life Journey – March 2019

Ordination of Pastor Jenny Peek

Pocatello Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is honored to ordain Jennifer “Jenny” Peek on September 30, 2018. Pastor Jenny, soon to be Reverend Jenny, came to serve our small congregation in the Rocky Mountains slightly less than a year ago, having entered preliminary fellowship after completing her M.Div. at Meadville Lombard. She has brought to us her warm spirit and appreciation and knowledge of UUA principles and sources. With her leadership we are making new connections–to other UUA congregations and to other faith traditions in our region. For the joyful occasion of ordaining Jenny, we will bring to our remote location in the Rocky Mountains, UUA clergy from across the nation. This is an unparalleled event in our history and a significant stretch for our budget. We welcome help from all UUs!

Supporting a liberal place for religious exploration in our conservative state and community is a worthy mission. The Pocatello Unitarian Universalist Church is unique in our local community.  We do a lot to engage our community with a minimal resource. Having a new minister with us is a great honor and supporting this ministry empowers our strong UU voice in this diverse religious community.

The Pocatello Unitarian Universalist Fellowship has been without a minister for most of its history. As our minister, Pastor Jenny will continue to promote the goals of PUUF and our liberal faith, and its good works, in Pocatello and Southeast Idaho.

PUUF is an active and full participant with other faith traditions in our area who are united in charitable and social justice activities through the Portneuf Valley Interfaith Fellowship (PVIF).  PVIF consists of over 25 different local faith traditions including many Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Bahai, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Buddhist and others.  In addition, PUUF is active with the LGBTQ organization “All Under One Roof”, Too Great 4 Hate, Family Services Alliance, Citizens Climate Lobby, National Public Radio, and many others.  Our religious exploration committee meets biweekly to explore many topics within religion, spirituality and social justice.

The money we collect with through this campaign will be used to pay the expenses of bringing guest participants to Pocatello for the ordination. Our estimated expenses will be nearly $10,000. We have already raised about $2,500 in local donations, another $2,000 pledged by members, and many of our members are providing B&B accommodations in their homes to help reduce the expenses. We need to raise at least $4,000 through this Faithify project to make up the difference.  Any funds collected beyond what is needed for the ordination will be added to our Fellowship Mission & Ministry fund. This fund will be used to help with our minister compensation while the membership in the congregation grows.

We have invited other nearby congregations to join us. Those who have already enthusiastically embraced this event include the UU Church in Idaho Falls, the UU Church of Ogden, and the Magic Valley UU Fellowship in Twin Falls.

You can learn more about our Pocatello UU Fellowship by visiting www.PocatelloUU.org

What some of our members have said:

“Being able to create a contract with Pastor Jenny Peek a year ago has returned us to professional leadership.  She has actively participated in many community groups and endeavors, per her contract.  Our UU presence and visibility in this community have increased substantially.” – Becky H.

“We do a lot with a little. Having a new minister with us is a great honor and supporting this ministry supports our continued UU voice in our diverse religious community.” – Ann S.

“Survival of PUUF depends on continued growth of its members and financial help when special events as the ordination of our pastor occurs.  Your support helps provide a presence and to sustain a liberal religious community in a very conservative state like Idaho.” – Bob G.

“She has the enthusiastic support of the Pocatello Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship’s members. In the past year, we have come to know Pastor Jenny, and she embodies the principles of the Unitarian-Universalist faith.” – Jeff S.

Families and Faith: Next Steps for LUUP

Longmont Unitarian Universalist Presence is an emerging ministry initiated jointly by the UU Church of Boulder and Boulder Valley UU Fellowship of Lafayette in 2016. Together, we are growing our UU presence in Boulder County, Colorado.

Our goal is an innovative, multicultural, and multigenerational spiritual community for families. We are committed to intentionally creating opportunities that are engaging and collaborative. We are exploring a new model of church beyond bricks and mortar, using a multicultural ministry model, and grounded in strong lay and ministerial leadership.

With care, we have nurtured relationships between Longmont members of our two root congregations, tending to the joys and challenges of our shared histories. We are now including Namaqua Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Loveland into our leadership and reach. Our members gather around poetry, meditation, books, and meals. We deepen our connections at monthly community gatherings which are soulfully moving and meaningful. Social media is helping us reach new people familiar with Unitarian Universalism but unaffiliated with a congregation.

It’s time for the next step. Time to reach out in love and involve people new to our UU movement and searching for a deep and spiritually grounded community. We are ready to partner with other community groups and serve Longmont’s families.

This fall, LUUP will hold focus groups with local families to explore their longings and hopes, struggles and wisdom. Our programming will evolve and reflect our new learnings about the families and current opportunities of Longmont. We will continue to gather, make friends, and care for each other. Your donations will fund increased time for our ministerial organizer, space rental, community outreach, and curriculum. Donations of all amounts are valued. We have set a participation goal of 150 people. Show your support!

New programming possibilities:

  • Covenant groups for parents
  • Parenting and spirituality seminars
  • Our Whole Lives lifespan sexuality education classes
  • Summer youth camp
  • Harry Potter as a Sacred Text group for youth and parents

Since our first meeting together, we have known that relationships are at the heart or our work. We are learning along the way together. What does it mean to be a UU in this time and place? Our strength comes from the efforts of many, past and present, directly and indirectly, who have opened their homes, engaged in challenging discussions and showed up for others in countless ways.

LUUP Facts

  • Emily Conger serves as our current ministerial organizer for 15 hours per month.
  • We receive ministerial support from Reverends Kelly Dignan, Lydia Ferrante-Roseberry, and Laurel Liefert.
  • We receive financial support from BVUUF and UUCB.
  • We received a Mountain Desert District Chalice Lighter Grant in 2016.
  • In addition to our ministers, the following people have generously supported us by leading our Monthly Community Gatherings and providing music: Rev. Julia McKay, Rev. Cindy Pincus, Kim Mason, Christopher Watkins Lamb, Cole Hart, Tracy Bush, and Clint Brown.
  • We have collected over $1,000 in offerings and given half of that to groups that support our values such as BLUU.
  • We have sought support and guidance from Pacific Western Region consultants Rev. Tandi Rogers and Rev. Dr. Jonipher Kwong.
  • Leadership attended denominational gatherings, including the Intercultural Development Inventory Workshop and Mosaic Makers Conference in San Diego.
  • Our monthly newsletter reaches over 200 people.
  • Find us on Facebook and Meetup. Contact us at info@theluup.org

Donate to Color/Full...

Hi! My name is cameron, and I am thrilled to invite you to contribute to a faith-building, multicultural project I call Color/Full.

As a young convertee to Unitarian Universalism, I have attended 3 General Assemblies so far. This photography project is an extension of the creative outreach I’ve done to UUs of Color in the last three years. Please view my previous work here: https://www.facebook.com/cameronwhittenpdx/media_set?set=a.10207994556582191.1073741837.1846435264&type=3

If you’d like more details about Color/Full and why it matters, please read below. And please, please share this link and DONATE!

Color/Full project mission:

To honor Unitarian Universalists of Color through creative vehicles that highlight their beauty and their stories, and provide a compelling, alternative vision of what the future of the Unitarian Universalist community can look like.

Why it matters:

Since the founding of the Unitarian and Universalist faiths, white culture has been accepted as the norm in both the structure and spirit of the church. While many people of color are inspired by the message and values of Unitarian Universalism, those who choose to belong to Unitarian Universalism are typically expected to assimilate into white culture. This lack of space for diversity and self-determination often leaves people of color feeling invisible and isolated, and has led to many people of color to abandon any formal affiliation with Unitarian Universalism. There remains so much work to be done on racial justice — and it is critical for UUs of color to have a sense of agency and empowerment in this work.

Color/Full is a photovoice project that provides an authentic path for creative and spiritually driven action on racial justice in the Unitarian Universalist tradition, with a mission to create lasting change on the individual, cultural, and institutional level. Through the confluence of photography, community engagement, and storytelling, this project creates a venue to honor and affirm the  presence, experiences, and cultures of UUs of color.

Our Unitarian Universalist Principles call us to affirm the inherent worth and dignity of each person and to uphold justice, equity, and compassion in all human relations. Color/Full is a promising opportunity to promote a multicultural UUism that decenters whiteness and helps us get closer to making our core principles a reality.

Objectives:

  • To publish 300 photos, names, and transcribed stories of UUs of color that attend the 2018 General Assembly, posted on a Facebook page and website created exclusively to promote this project.
  • To support the new UUs of color to grow in comfort with the UU faith community.
  • To build confidence, excitement, and community among new, current, and former UUs of color.
  • To raise the visibility of UUs of color and encourage understanding and solidarity with the struggles of UUs of color.
  • To shift Unitarian Universalist Association policies that are either adopted or in consideration in regards to reconciliation on racial justice.

Assist with Ordination Funding

The worthy process of ordaining a minister is costly to both the individual and their congregation.  As a liberal religious association we welcome all people and all levels of contribution into our churches.  Some people give generously of their presence, some of their time, some of their financial resources.

We ask now that you donate a meaningful monetary amount to assist Cindy Pincus and First Unitarian Society of Denver to complete this faith journey in a good way.  Hosting an ordination will include costs like stipends for good speakers, money for healthy food and drinks, payment for use of beautiful buildings, and gifts of liturgical elements and robes for the ordinand to do her job fully and well.

Any extra money will be split evenly between two charities: one to support retired ministers who have led this faith well, and the other to support Queer Nature; a queer-run nature education and ancestral skills program serving the local LGBTQ+ community.