Rebuild the Churches. Black Lives Matter. Go USA.

Written by Elizabeth Nguyen // July 3rd 2015 // Issues and Trends, Mosaic, Social Justice // no comments

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This week: black churches burned, our the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association passed an Action of Immediate Witness in support of the Black Lives Matter movement calling for “police reform and prison abolition, which seeks to replace the current prison system with a system that is more just and equitable.” And I wore the flag of the United States of America. As I look out over July 4th, I feel the same discomfort and complexity I’ve always felt about belonging to the red white and blue – this nation where I was born and gives me the privilege of that USA passport; this country that opened its arms to my father when he immigrated…

Radical Inclusion

Written by T. Resnikoff // June 27th 2015 // #LivingUU, Future of Faith // no comments

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LOYCE by Beth Cortez-Neavel ecortez.neavel@gmail.com @ecortez_neavel I was pretty grumpy Thursday by 4 p.m. and rushing out of the #LivingUU “office” to find an empty, quiet couch for a nap. “That outfit is fresh!” the words hit my ears but didn’t quite compute. I stopped. “What,” I asked. “Fresh. I said that outfit is fresh,” she said. Loyce Newton Edwards looked at me. She liked the parachute pants I was wearing. Her compliment completely made my day and broke me out of my afternoon fog like a cup of hot strong coffee. She was wearing a purple feather arrangement in her hair. She looked warm and had a kind, yet imposing demeanor. Loyce said her…

Spirituality… In an Open-Minded Way

Written by T. Resnikoff // June 26th 2015 // #LivingUU, Future of Faith // no comments

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 DICK by Kristen Psaki kristen.psaki@gmail.com @kristenpsaki Dick Burkhart Church of the Larger Fellowship “When you’re drawn toward something you don’t always quite know what it is,” says longtime UU Dick Burkhart. Looking back, there’s been a pattern in the spaces and relationships that make him feel most alive. For Dick, #LivingUU means life-long interfaith and multi-cultural learning. He remembers feeling the tug when studying world religions in Middle School and learning about whole new ways of living, gathering and believing. “We don’t have to be embedded in one little aspect of it. I built on that through my life.” In Seattle, Washington Dick was part of a UU fellowship that dissolved recently and he partly…

Humor is Crucial

Written by T. Resnikoff // June 26th 2015 // #LivingUU, Future of Faith // no comments

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 BEVERLY by Kristen Psaki kristen.psaki@gmail.com @kristenpsaki Beverly McCormick Valley UU in Chandler, Arizona Beverly McCormick knew she was a UU as soon as she walked through the doors of her church and saw the seven principles. She laughs while telling the story. “I thought it was a Unity church!” Surprised but excited by this new and welcoming community, Beverly now calls Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Chandler, Arizona home. On #LivingUU You might find Beverly McCormick collecting signatures for her “Support the Black Lives Matter Movement” Action of Immediate Witness in high traffic convention center corridors. She describes Valley UU’s commitment to action as what sustains her in the community. “There are things that need…

Not a Unitarian Universalist by Choice

Written by T. Resnikoff // June 25th 2015 // #LivingUU, Collections, Future of Faith // no comments

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 BETH by Beth Cortez-Neavel ecortez.neavel@gmail.com @ecortez_neavel I did not become a UU by choice. But, after being reluctantly dragged into Religious Education classes most of my young Sunday mornings, I have grown up choosing to live it. I recently, within the past six months, returned from half a decade of spiritual hiatus. The part of me that I thought of as “religious” got somehow disconnected between those years. I had a complicated falling out with myself on the heels of a grad school transition, cyclical dives into depression and congregational drama at my home church. But here I am: healing, reconnecting, moving forward. And here I am, choosing to be Unitarian Universalist again.  If our…

God is Weeping, Screaming, Holding, Calling

Written by Annie Gonzalez Milliken // June 18th 2015 // Issues and Trends, UUA // 2 comments

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Yesterday evening a group of people gathered for prayer and Bible study at an African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. These people, part of an historical African-American church in a historic African-American denomination gathered to worship an embodied God who knew suffering. Gathered to worship a divine human who is said to have called out in his anguish “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” This line, in the Gospel of Matthew comes from Psalm 22, a psalm of lament that asks “Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?” There have been so many cries of anguish this year, this decade, this century,…

Emerging Faith: Beyond the Fads

Written by Annie Gonzalez Milliken // May 22nd 2015 // Future of Faith, Guides and Tools // one comment

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Covenants Aren’t “Cool,” and Fitness Won’t Fix the World In April I got to go home for work. I don’t mean home to the house I share with my partner and housemates here in Boston. I mean back to the part of the country I say I’m from, back to the people who raised me and made me Unitarian Universalist (UU).  I went back to my childhood state, Illinois, to attend the MidAmerica Regional Assembly. Like many young adults, I’ve moved a lot. Since I first left home at age 17 I’ve lived in 5 different states and both coasts of the U.S. I’ve also been a part of 6 different UU communities. It felt so comforting to…

Why I Choose to Serve as a Leader

Written by jnewhall // May 15th 2015 // Stories and Voices // no comments

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An Exploration of Faith and Leadership I chose to serve as a leader in Unitarian Universalism (UU) because of the community, and encouragement of spiritual seeking. I consistently find myself in communities filled with Unitarian Universalists. It is in these communities that I feel most welcome and connected. From a Unitarian Universalist College of Social Justice (UUCSJ) civil rights pilgrimage to youth caucus staff and Summer Seminary, I always feel embraced within Unitarian Universalism. Unitarian Universalism stands apart from many other religions as it encourages spiritual seeking and developing faith from many sources. This builds our community of seekers, each constantly revisiting, developing, and evolving our faith. Even though I do not identify as Christian,…

Cultural Respect

Written by Elizabeth Nguyen // April 28th 2015 // Guides and Tools, Issues and Trends // one comment

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Culture Heritage to Share – Not Appropriate Culture is an expression of identity, and Cultural Appropriation is when a peoples’ identity is changed without their consent. Yet sharing cultural experience is a powerful way to build respectful, inclusive, welcoming community. Now more than ever, we can all benefit from some wisdom and resources on how to share culture in accountable, respectful ways. Not sure what the difference is between cultural appropriation and cultural exchange?   Amandla Stenberg explains, “The line between cultural appropriation and cultural exchange is always going to be blurred. But here’s the thing: Appropriation occurs when a style leads to racist generalizations or stereotypes where it originated, but is deemed as high…

Safe Space and a Way Forward

Written by T. Resnikoff // April 15th 2015 // Featured Young Adults, Future of Faith, Stories and Voices // no comments

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And Natural Extension of Unitarian Unversalist Core Values Talkin’ ’bout unconditional love, equality and justice – This is one way Unitarian Universalist congregations engage their community: When two young adults realized that homeless young adults were falling through the cracks Sam Greenberg and Sarah Rosenkrantz determined to open a shelter to help them find a path forward. When they decided to do something about it, First Parish in Cambridge, MA determined to help by hosting the shelter dedicated to homeless young adults (between the ages of 18 and 24) during the coldest months of the year. Said Rev. Fred Small, the senior minister at First Parish, “Their proposal was very exciting, because it’s a natural…