Sunday, May 30, 2021
Rev. Dr. Neal Jones, Guest Minister
The insurrection at our Capital on January 6 was a graphic reminder of the fragility of democracy, even American democracy. But the threat runs deeper and politics and ideology. It is spiritual. It’s the inability to put the common good before self-interest.
Rev. Dr. Neal Jones is a psychologist at the Pisgah Institute in Asheville. He came here after serving five congregations in North and South Carolina and in Texas, most recently Main Line Unitarian near Philadelphia, PA, and the UU Congregation of Columbia SC. He also serves as the chair of the national board of trustees of Americans United for Separation of Church & State.
We are going to need you. Yes, you!
As I’m writing this, it’s been two days since our Religious Education Celebration service. I’ve been reflecting on the service and thinking about how all the pieces and participants were what made it so special. It felt like the perfect culmination of this strange and extraordinary year in RE. Some of us cried, all of us laughed, and everyone gave what they could. We are extremely grateful not only to the volunteers who helped make it happen, but also to the children and youth of this congregation who participated in RE in whatever way felt right to them this year.
When Jen Johnson and I were planning for RE last summer, we must have scrapped our plans at least three times to start over. When things began to shut down in March, we already had the 2020-21 RE year planned. We were just about to start recruiting volunteers. Obviously that went right out the window when the seriousness of the situation became apparent. Things were changing so fast and the timeline for when we might reopen kept getting pushed further back. We knew that we had to offer a program that would meet as many needs as possible, but also that we would need help. Once we decided what to do, we started looking for the helpers. We were blessed to have so many folks step up to help with everything from leading online sessions to stuffing and delivering our “church in box”.
We don’t know quite what we’ll be up to in RE next year yet, but we’re working on it. Jen and I will be spending the next few weeks planning for the fall and beyond, and we’d love to hear from parents and kids about what you want to do in RE next year. We’ve been thinking about it over the last few months, but now is the time to make decisions and put things in motion. It’s definitely still going to look different than what we did pre-pandemic, but I think that’s a good thing. We’ve learned a lot about doing this work in a different way this year, and it has only made our program stronger and more committed to the faith development of children, youth, and adults at UUCA.
Not only do we need input on what our program should include, we will need folks to make it happen. We’ll need people to teach in RE, help out with family ministry outside of Sunday mornings, and help behind the scenes. If cleaning and organizing is your thing, we’ll definitely need you in August. Many of our rooms haven’t been inhabited in over a year and could use some love and attention. Please reach out to us if you know how you’d like to pitch in or what age group you’d like to work with. Being able to offer our program is largely dependent on having dedicated volunteers. Teacher training is on the schedule for Saturday, August 28, so mark your calendars! We are going to need you.
Kim Collins, Lifespan Religious Education Coordinator
Reel mowers leave a sharp snip off the grass blades while the engine-powered mowers tear tops off the blades and weaken the grass over time.
Join us for Vespers led by John Bloomer as we reflect on voyages and adventures in our lives.
The 7PM program will be the last in our Theology Series. Rev. Claudia will facilitate an exploration of Mujerista (Moo-her-ista) Theology. Don’t know what that is? Join us and find out!
This will be our last Wednesday Thing Program for this liturgical year. We will resume Vespers and Program in September. If you are interested in leading a Vespers service in the fall or have suggestions for a program contact Rev. Claudia firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why? In order to understand the current anti-racism work at UUCA and review our practices and policies we need to hear from you. The survey will provide a baseline that together with input from listening sessions to be organized in the fall will enable the Racial Justice Advisory Council to provide the board a summary report of congregational perceptions. The report will also include recommendations for ways to continue striving toward the goal of being a congregation where all can flourish; where anti-racism is an on-going practice. You, the congregation, will have opportunities to review the report for feedback before it is shared with the board.
A little history. In their November 20, 2020 email to the congregation, the UUCA Board of Trustees invited all of UUCA to join together in a congregation-wide effort to further the cause of racial justice. They asked us to put our values of justice, compassion, inspiration and connection into action by working to become a congregation that practices anti-racism. To that end, the Board previously passed a resolution at its October meeting creating the Racial Justice Advisory Council (RJAC). I would provide support and internal accountability to the RJAC. At the November 10th Board meeting Noah Hall, Eleanor Lane, Melissa Murphy, Ed Prestemon and Missy Reed were invited to serve on the RJAC. As part of our initial efforts, we seek to better understand current anti-racism work at UUCA using the UUCA Assessment Tool to capture information.
Friends, this is transformative and liberatory work that calls not only for individual learning and reflection, but organizational learning and reflection. I am sharing a link to a video with instructions on filling out the assessment tool (Thank you, Noah Hall!) Contact Rev. Claudia for the link when you are ready to complete the assessment tool.
We want to hear from as many of you as possible. Your investment of 20 – 30 minutes of your time to complete the tool will be greatly appreciated. It may take a little longer. You may not have experience with all the categories in the tool, and it will take less time. Answer what you know. That will be enough and very helpful. The deadline is June 30. If you have any technical problems or questions, please contact me at email@example.com
With gratitude, joy and anticipation for the work we will do together,
Minister of Faith Development