Tagged: “UU”

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.

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.

Help Us Release Our Fundraising CD “If I Knew The Way”

Always seeking  new sources of fundraising, we thought why not give folks some music from our church that they could take home with them? We have captured some wonderful performances of UUCE’s singers and instrumentalists including our handbell choir and our newly revitalized vocal choir. We are asking for your help to bring this project to fruition so we can sell it to help fund our church’s programs and dreams.

At UUCE we are fortunate to have many talented musicians. Music used in our worship draws on a diverse array of sources ranging from UU minister, Rev. Meg Barnhouse and Emma’s Revolution to the likes of James Taylor, Paul Simon, Sam Cooke and even The Grateful Dead!

Every song on this project has been featured in worship at our church–some going back many years and some as recent as the last few months. They all embrace UUism in some form and they all bring an uplifting, positive message.

Parts of the project that have been donated:

  • Time and talents of the performers
  • Many hours of studio time, including engineering, editing and mixing
  • Album art

The objective of this campaign is to pay for:

  • Licensing the music so the writers and composers get their fair share
  • Mastering the final mixes to get the most sparkle and punch from our music
  • Duplicating 300 CDs, including printing Earth-friendly Ecopack covers and full color imprint on disc
  • Printing and loading music and art on 50 flash drives

Funding this final phase of our project will enable us to realize 100% of our sales as profit. With your help we can sell our music and fund our dreams!

In addition to CDs the flash drives will contain the music in both mp3 and high resolution (44.1K) format to accommodate the folks who no longer buy CDs. As a bonus the drives will offer additional data storage space.

Help UUFNW Raise Our Roof!

We need your help.

Preserving and Sustaining Modern Architecture

Like so many other UU Congregations, UUFNW wanted a unique building that spoke of our faith as a quest for meaning and connection.  They turned to Victor Christ-Janer, a  famed artist and modernist architect. Built in 1970, our congregation’s home has been featured on architectural tours of the area as a paragon of the modern architecture movement. It was noted in Christ-Janer’s 2008 obituary for it’s groundbreaking use of earthquake-resistant concrete blocks that he designed. There are times that light streams into the building through the high, narrow windows in ways that are transcendent.

Now our building, built 48 years ago on a very low budget, needs to be brought into the 21stcentury so that we can grow and thrive here. We have made the commitment to do this work. Our most pressing need is to replace our roof, which leaks badly, before the structural integrity of the exposed wood deck and girders is compromised. Two layers of roof, dating back to 1970 and 1984,  need to be removed and replaced with an energy-efficient roof that will drain better when it rains. To help us define the scope of what needed to be done, we have engaged a professional roofing consultant. Our current hope is to complete this project during the third week of August, 2018; we cannot do this alone.

Environmental Sustainability

Our project has the added benefit of helping us live our UU values by making our building more environmentally sustainable. At present, our roof is uninsulated. An energy audit of our building found that the roof was the same temperature as the outside air, increasing our carbon footprint for heating through the cold New York winters. The new roof will be substantially insulated, saving on heating fuel and allowing us to move on to other sustainability projects in our building. This is a key component of our eventual Green Sanctuary certification.

Asbestos Abatement

The total cost of this project has proven to be a major stretch for this active but small congregation. Driving up the bottom line substantially was the discovery that the original roof contains a thin layer of asbestos felt—common in roofs installed before 1972. Asbestos abatement will need to be done by licensed professionals and timed for when the building (including the preschool that rents our space) is closed, and asbestos-containing materials will have to be specially disposed of. Air quality monitoring (both indoor and outdoor) during this abatement period has also been included in the project budget.

Financial Security for Our Congregation’s Future

Our total project budget is approximately $160,000. This includes the full replacement of the roof, asbestos testing and abatement, insulation and drainage, and the project manager/consultant. To date, members and friends of the congregation have raised over $30,000 and we have reasonable expectations of being able to secure a $100,000 loan. The congregation will use a portion of our financial reserves to cover the remaining costs—but to pay for the whole thing would deplete our reserves below a level we consider responsible. If we raise more than our goal, additional funds will be used to offset debt service and reduce the amount of the debt we incur in the project.

Our congregation’s mission calls on us to welcome, inspire, share and love. We would like to use our annual budget in a way that lives our values and mission to the community—for justice work in Northern Westchester, for faith formation and religious exploration, and for deep, creative worship for all ages. This project will allow our small congregation to focus on our mission in a building that is sustainable and dry while keeping ourselves in a strong financial position to invest in our future.

Support the Ordination...

It has been my deep joy and privilege to prepare for the role of a lifetime- that of a Unitarian Universalist minister. After several years of study and service, I will be ordained on June 10th, 2018 at the 4th Universalist Society in New York. Your support will allow me to fund the reception, photography, printing and other costs associated with this milestone celebration, which is open to the public. I am so excited to share this event with you!

So many people have shaped this journey- dedicated members of congregations, mentors, teachers, ministers and religious educators, and countless friends from all areas of my life. If you know me from the various ministries I have served- in Ohio, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut- if you have been touched or inspired by me, if you have worked alongside me, I thank you for your support of this special day in my vocational life.

Raise Up Unitarian Culture, Build Places to Gather

To survive as a community, people create spaces to come together. Places to share traditions and cultural values. Music. Dance. Language. Food. Play. Story. It’s the same in Transylvania, Romania, as it is around the world.

First U of Yarmouth, Maine, and Unitarian Kaláka ask for your help to create and expand gathering spaces in three Unitarian communities in Transylvania. Varosfalva, in the video above, is one of the three communities raising funds through our Faithify campaign.

In Transylvania, “kaláka” is the practice of working together – like barn raising in the old days – to accomplish shared goals. Each of these community-building projects will be achieved locally by village volunteers, matched with your financial support.

How will the funds be used?

1 To create a safe play space for children in Városfalva

Since the village school was closed, there are no play spaces for children in the Unitarian community of Városfalva. This “kalaka” project, initiated by parents, creates a vital playground, a safe and healthy environment essential to a child’s development – an oasis of freedom.

The new playground will serve the village’s 30 children, as well as parents, village elders, and young people of all ages.  All will benefit from this communal gathering space, and all are eager to volunteer in some way to make it happen.

“Remember your childhood…”

“We plan to build the playground with volunteers and we want to buy all the equipment from local companies to support the neighboring economy… Remember your childhood and the joy you had on playgrounds. Every child deserves such an oasis of freedom.”  – A Városfalva volunteer

2 To raise the walls on a new church hall wing in Torockoszentgyorgy

Urgently in need of expansion, the church hall is the center of Torockoszentgyorgy life, hosting the growing number of community groups who gather there: youth groups, the women’s association, children’s workshops and more.

Volunteers will construct a new wing with running water for a kitchen and bathroom, meeting rooms, and space for communal celebrations. With this project, the village is determined to preserve its traditional way of life.

“We have started to lose our traditions…”

“In the last 70 years, the world has evolved and we have started to lose our traditions. Our goal is to bring back those traditions with kaláka projects like this. We began building a new wing for our Community Hall two years ago. We hope that this year we can raise the walls, brick by brick.”  – A Szentgyorgy community member

3 To restore the community hall in Brassó

In Brassó, the Hall of Brotherhood is where villagers in surrounding communities gather to celebrate and solidify their Unitarian Hungarian roots. Groups come together – 100 to 200 each week – to dance, sing, learn English, play music, make handicrafts, and share precious time with each other.

After 35 years of use, the hall is in desperate need of renovation. The floor is slippery and uneven; walls need re-plastering; and tables and chairs have deteriorated. Restoring this hall will transform this community.

“Where traditions and cultural values are transmitted…”

“This hall is where traditions and cultural values are transmitted. The room is used continuously and now needs extensive renovation to remain safe and attractive. Through this communal effort, the Brotherhood Hall can once again serve our community.” Brassó community leader

Please help! These kaláka projects provide places to gather, play, teach, learn, celebrate, and work together – helping to preserve Unitarian village life in Transylvania. 

Thank you!

 

Help Us Build Sanctuary

In April of 2017, the congregation of the First Unitarian Church of Providence, Rhode Island voted overwhelmingly to become a Sanctuary Church. In the months since then, we have been hard at work creating a space, making community connections and coming up with a plan for how we will carry this out. We are currently the only church in RI we know of close to being ready to offer sanctuary. 

Extra seating doubles as a sleeping area for family.

Extra seating doubles as a sleeping area for family.

One of the final hurdles we face in being ready to take in a guest is to install a shower in our building.  This is why we are launching this campaign. We need to raise money to install our shower, replace the current sink and plumbing in the room, add a countertop to the kitchen area, and install a lock on the door. These items will make our sanctuary space feel like a home away from home for the guest or family who seeks our help. Can you help us meet our fundraising goal of $7,500.00?

If for some reason we are not able to fulfill our goal of becoming a sanctuary church, we will donate any unused funds to another sanctuary project in our area.

This journey we are embarking on is filled with uncertainty, but as Unitarian Universalists, we feel called to stand with and support those in our community who are vulnerable to unjust deportation. We feel called to resist those who would break up families and communities based on discrimination, fear, and hate. We thank you for considering our call to help.

A New Van for Unirondack

Unirodack’s current fleet of vehicles is aging beyond what we can maintain. Long winters and rough roads have taken a toll on our (now deceased) 1998 Chevy Blazer and our 2004 Dodge Sienna minivan.

We’re seeking to replace both vehicles with one 12-passenger van that will save us on gas by preventing caravan travel and allowing fewer staff to make off-camp trips happen.

This van will be used to visit nearby Eagle Falls, Mosier Falls, Stillwater Reservoir  Cranberry Lake, Panther Pond, various Lowville/Watertown field trips, and for trips to Whitaker Park and will have towing capacity for our canoe trailer as well as room in the back for packs filled with adventure gear!