Wednesday Thing, February 12

Dinner–Vespers–Great Programs! Be Sure to RSVP by 10am Tuesday Morning, February 11 Dinner is at 5:45pm
Suggested donation for dinner is $10 per person, $20 per family or pay as you are able. Vespers with Elizabeth Schell begins at 6:30pm. Programs begin at 7pm: Parents Supporting Parents – begins at 6:30 (23 Ed), Peacemakers (21 Ed), Intercultural Development Inventory (S) Multigen: Love Resists (SH) Dinner is soup and salad from Loretta’s Cafe.

RSVP for Dinner Here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd5lx3i4Y9lGYa018ECn2x0k-pe4VIyYYtLzoY8OTVlH_YMmA/viewform?usp=sf_link

Looking Ahead: Wednesday Thing Presentation 2/19, 7:00 pm.
WWII and the Flaming Chalice

Learn how WWII gave birth to the Unitarian Service Committee (USC), Sharps’ War and the flaming chalice logo. Jerry McLellan and Chris Van Wandelen will deliver a fast-paced story of intrigue and danger surrounding the formation of the USC and creation of the flaming chalice symbol. Included are some experiences of UU Minister Waitstill Sharp and his courageous wife Martha.  A story adapted for the PBS movie “Defying the Nazis” by Ken Burns. Chris, born in war torn Holland after the war, will provide background on his experience growing up there including stories of the underground resistance during Nazi occupation.  

 

Bending the Arc Toward Better Elections

When I mention to people that before entering the ministry I spent 25 years in newspaper journalism, they often ask what I miss from that former life. The truth is: not much. At about the time I was leaving for ministry, the newspaper world was changing dramatically. Newspapers were shrinking, the demands on reporters were exploding, and compensation was falling. There is still good work to do in journalism, but it’s a rougher go these days than it was.

Still, there is one recurring moment when, even now, 15 years after leaving the field, I feel the old tug of newspaper life. And that’s on Election Day. It was always an electric moment. As reporters, we were among the first to get the election returns, and the adrenaline was pumping as we called in to the candidates for their responses and then banged out our stories as fast as we could for a deadline that was always NOW.

I had those same feelings watching the returns from the Iowa caucuses the other night. I sympathized with the beleaguered newsfolk, who I’m sure were tearing their hair out as the caucus machinery fell apart and they were left with nothing to report. But it also reminded me that for the quirks, faults and frustrations with our electoral system, it is in the end a marvel of sorts.

That for over 200 years we have managed to maintain a system that at least in concept and over the years increasing in fact assures every citizen a say in their government is kind of amazing. Yes, there have been setbacks: the Supreme Court has hobbled the franchise through the Citizens United decision, which put moneyed interests in the driver’s seat in campaigns in an unprecedented way, and by shrinking the effectiveness of the Voting Rights Act, once again endangering representation of minority voices. But the bones of a good system are in place and are waiting to be built on.

This is all a way of calling attention to the importance of the UU the Vote campaign that our congregation has joined in. Our country may be consumed in partisanship these days, but UU the Vote goes deeper. It takes us to the heart of trying to make our democracy truly representational. Look at the bulletin board in Sandburg Hall and you’ll find many things that we can all do to help assure that every person, especially people in marginalized communities, have a voice in our elections.

We can’t know how this work will impact the ultimate results in the election, but we can help bend the arc of justice toward a fairer and more equitable system of government.

Rev. Mark Ward, Lead  Minister