Tagged: “Travel”

“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

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.

Sustainable Leadership for Social Change

Our justice movements are in need of resilient, transformative, community-centered leadership. We are in politically tumultuous times as a nation and across the globe. Social justice movement leaders are in need of spaces in which they can recharge, reflect and renew their commitment while connecting to a larger network of change makers. Through Rowe Camp and Conference Center, we are able to offer the Sustainable Leadership for Social Change Program. This program gives us the opportunity to train new social change makers, support leaders currently immersed in justice work and explore sustainability practices in social change work grounded in Unitarian Universalist values. Our first cohort will begin in November and due to the remote nature of Rowe Camp and Conference Center, we’ve created this Faithify campaign is to assist participants with transportation costs to western Massachusetts. While there are some limited scholarships to assist with the other associated costs of the program, we continue to seek out ways to reduce the costs for those in need of additional financial assistance. As our congregations and communities offer refuge to the seeker of spiritual depth, may we be able to offer that refuge to those that seek and strive for the liberation of all people.

The goals for this new program are:

Serving the need: a vision for what the world needs, and so what we aim to achieve in the Sustainable Leadership for Social Change program.

1. Awareness of need for collective practice:  We need to envision new ways of engaging in the work of social change together. This includes practices that lead us towards collective decision making and collaborative action and models that are grounded in trust and sustainability, allowing us to move in and out of leadership and support roles while identifying those amongst us with a variety of skill sets, interests and energy.

2.  Community care practices for keeping ourselves and our movements going:  The vitality of our movements are connect to how we care for one another and ourselves. It is our imperative to cultivate and expand practices of resilience and persistence especially when faced with loss.  We will find creative, inspiring and nourishing ways to sustain our spirit while addressing ongoing issues and obstacles.

3.  Connection and Support:  Each of us gains through being connected with those around us.  We will delve into relationship building and explore the self-awareness needed to sustain meaningful connections.

4.  Intersectionality and Interconnectedness:  Leaders recognize we cannot afford to only focus on a single justice issue, on the contrary there are many areas of injustice that together impact how we experience the world. Justice issues are connected, so we must work collaboratively in addressing this complex web  with a holistic approach. We will broaden our focus and support of coalition building, moving beyond a narrow focus.

5.  Desire to model justice in practice: Our praxis and methods matter as much as the actions we take in creating a more justice world. What would it look like for us to embody how we want justice to look in our world?  Effective justice work practices doing the work in the same way we hope the world will do the work of justice.

6.  Collaborative decision making and consensus: Majority rule decision making process leave too many people ignored and unheard. We will experiment with decision making processes that allow us to respond with a deep respect of all voices and opinions while exercising effective and inclusive communication.

7.  Practical techniques for social change:  We will explore how political theories and history inform our current praxis. This provides us an opportunity in responding to the technical question of “how do we do this”. The diverse aspects of being involved in justice work involve strategic planning, a tactical toolkit and a focus on relationship building.  In justice work, it’s important that we are adaptive, intentional, relational, accountable and grounded in liberation of all.

8.  Moving towards spirals and cycle of justice:  Visionaries that recognize justice movements ebb and flow with experiences of great victory and loss. We will work through disenchantment and discouragement by maintaining a steadfast practice of persistence and holding the long range view in our sights.

UU congregations will benefit from having trained Social Change leaders who can work within their congregation and community to promote justice actions and activities in stragegically created programs.

This program is two years long, with participants coming for two week-long sessions and two weekend workshops each year.  The first program starts this November, 2018, with the second week in May, 2019.

The Director of the Sustainable Leadership for Social Change (SLSC) program is C. Nancy Reid-McKee.  She has been involved in social justice work for over 35 years, in a variety of roles: community organizer, protest leader, activist, legislative involvement, direct service projects, educator, agitator, and more.  She has just completed the requirements for ministry through Starr King School for the Ministry where a lot of her work focused on how to develop social justice work that is grounded in a sustaining spiritual practice, and that can enhance and be enhanced by being integral to our faith community.

Assistant Director is India Harris: India Harris is currently serving as a Youth and Young Adult Program Coordinator at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock. She is an active member of the Audre Lorde Project; The Audre Lorde Project is a community organizing center for LGBT people of color based in New York City. Her organizing work has consisted of base building, membership development, leading community organizing trainings, campaign development and supporting a national gathering on community accountability and transformative justice. Before gaining experience as an organizer she spent a year with AmeriCorps Public Allies. There, she completed 1700 community service hours as a Client Services Advocate for the Alliance of AIDS Services in Durham, NC.

This program is also receiving money from the UU Funding Program and from the Rowe Center, to provide program support and student scholarships.

Help John get...

My name is John Bloom-Ramirez, and I am a recent graduate of Meadville Lombard Theological School.  I am scheduled to see the Ministerial Fellowship Committee on September 28, 2018 and really could use assistance in funding my trip to Boston.  I am currently underemployed – working for now 7 hours a week for a local church as their office administrator, so we are living off my husband’s income as an hourly supervisor at Disneyland.  Making ends meet otherwise has been rough, and this assistance will help me complete this extensive journey toward fellowship!

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!

South Church Senior...

The 2018 South Church Senior Youth Trip to the San Diego area is an opportunity to learn and grow in relation to the topic of immigration justice.
This year, in preparation for our trip, the 14 participating youth have attended local discussions about immigration concerns in our local community. In particular, we have learned about how new deportation policies are impacting the Indonesian people who live in our community.

Our group has read a book called Enrique’s Journey and then engaged in a discussion about the book. It tells the story of a young child on the path of hardship and trauma that immigrants face as they attempt to get to the United States from central America. This book helped us understand the intensity of the challenges facing families who are separated from one another due to extreme economic hardship and the hope for better opportunities in the United States.

We are hoping this trip will open our eyes to the real facts of immigration in the United States. Politics lie and stray from the truth to keep people in favor of controlling immigration. What we see on our trip will show us how much of those lies are said, allow us to ask questions in connection with things we’ve heard, and allow us to have deeper knowledge to engage politically on this issue.

As participants in this trip, we are aware that this journey is mostly for our own benefit. We are not doing a whole lot to help by traveling to San Diego and Tijuana beyond serving as witnesses to the trauma through which the people we meet are navigating. The real point of this trip is to learn together, to reflect, and to build a connection between this experience and our Unitarian Universalist faith.  Every time our youth group gets to be with each-other for extended periods of time, the most valuable friendships and memories are made. We are all closer then most kids our age and so, in addition to learning more about immigration, this trip is also another opportunity for our group to deepen our connection with one another.

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.