CUUC

CUUC

2018-07-26

From the Minister, Fri Jul 27

Every two years, in even-numbered years, the delegates at General Assembly select one issue for our congregations to study and act on for the next four years. It's called a Congregational Study/Action Issue -- CSAI. We're always in the first two years of one CSAI while in the second two years of another.

In Jun 2016, General Assembly in Columbus, OH selected "The Corruption of Our Democracy" as the CSAI for 2016-2020. Read about it: HERE.

Last month, the 2018 General Assembly in Kansas City, MO selected "Undoing Intersectional White Supremacy" as the CSAI for 2018-2022. The study and actions taken on this issue in our congregations may lead to a Statement of Conscience to be voted on at the 2021 or 2022 General Assembly.

The premise of the issue we are asked to take up is:
"White supremacy culture operates economically, institutionally, politically, and culturally, shaping everyone’s chances to live healthy, fulfilling lives. It is also the nation’s most toxic export, shaping policies and practices that do profound harm to the Earth and all living things."
Congregations will study and take action on the issue as each congregation sees fit. The CSAI description, as adopted, includes some suggested starter questions for exploration:

  • How are people socialized into various overlapping supremacy systems, creating a white dominated hetero patriarchy that serves the interests of US corporatism?
  • How do different racial and economic strategies get applied to different racial groups, often disguised in coded language that pretends to be colorblind while having racialized impacts?
  • How can we, as UUs, build transformative relationships of trust and accountability across race lines?
Good questions, not easily answered. I look forward to exploring them with you. Read the full description of this CSAI as adopted: HERE.

The 2018 General Assembly also adopted three AIWs (Actions of Immediate Witness):
"End Family Separation and Detention of Asylum Seekers and Abolish ICE"
"Dismantle Predatory Medical Care Practices in Prisons and End Prisons for Profit"
"We Are All Related: Solidarity with Indigenous Water Protectors"

Yours in the faith we share,
Meredith

The Liberal Pulpit.
Index of past sermons: HERE.
Index of other reflections: HERE.
Videos of sermons are on the Liberal Pulpit Youtube Channel: HERE.

Practice of the Week: Stay on Your Path and Explore New Paths. From Jun 15 through Jul 31, we won't be highlighting any particular Practices. We'll return in August to highlighting one each week -- sometimes introducing a new one and sometimes drawing your attention to a previously mentioned practice. In the meantime, stay on your path! And explore new paths! There are 165 "Practices of the Week" listed and indexed HERE. Look them over and choose your own Practices to highlight until August.

Your Moment of Zen: The Stick. Grandma had been living at Vinecot for as long as anyone could remember. She was white-haired and bent, and walked with a stick. She was a friend of Turkey, who had free run of her house. One day she came to see Raven who promptly flew up into the Assembly Oak. “Come down here, Raven Roshi,” she said. “I want to talk to you.” Raven flew down before her and observed, “We understand each other.” “Oh,” said Grandma, “I’ve been living in the forest for READ MORE
Zen at CUUC: Sat Jul 28

2018-07-13

From the Minister, Fri Jul 13

The third of the three AIWs (Actions of Immediate Witness) passed by the delegates at General Assembly 2018 was: "We Are All Related: Solidarity with Indigenous Water Protectors." The action addresses the Dakota Access Pipeline, which is on Great Sioux Nation Treaty Land, and the "intercultural community of transformation and prayerful resistance" that formed at Standing Rock to oppose the Pipeline's construction under the Missouri River -- which flows on down through Kansas City, where the 2018 General Assembly gathered.

Through 2016 and into 2017 Lakota/Dakota/Nakota (Sioux) peoples were joined at Standing Rock by "people from more than 300 Indigenous nations" and "allies of many colors" to protect the waters of the Missouri. The Obama administration halted Dakota Access Pipeline construction pending an Environmental Impact assessment. However, President Trump reversed this action and construction resumed. The pipeline was completed in April 2017 and oil began flowing through it the next month.

The AIW notes that "Unitarian Universalists play a unique role among faith communities, forming strong bonds as relatives with Indigenous Water Protectors," and that "unprecedented numbers of Unitarian Universalists, Indigenous and otherwise, were propelled by our values to respond to this call for solidarity and were generally welcomed as relatives" at the Standing Rock protests.

"Seven Indigenous Water Protectors face federal charges in Bismarck-Mandan. A National Jury Project randomized survey concluded that 77% of the jury-eligible population in Morton County and 85% in Burleigh County have already decided that Water Protectors are guilty, yet requests to change trial venues have been denied."

"As Unitarian Universalists," the AIW declares:
  • We express our gratitude to Standing Rock, Sacred Stone Camp, Oceti Sakowin Camp, Sicangu Rosebud Camp, and associated camps for welcoming us as relatives and affirming that all people belong to the human family.
  • We affirm solidarity with Water Protectors, including defendants, inmates, and their loved ones.
  • We pledge our direct and tangible support for local Indigenous movements that seek to protect the environment and restore traditional Indigenous ways of life.
The AIW urges extending "relationships of solidarity with Water Protectors, leveraging our spiritual, financial, human, and infrastructural resources in support of Water Protectors, especially those who face ongoing charges and prison sentences, and their loved ones." It also asks "the UUA to supply materials and guidance such as curriculum development, educational materials, and support for networking among UUs to work in solidarity with Water Protectors."

Read the full statements of all three AIWs. Here are the links:
"End Family Separation and Detention of Asylum Seekers and Abolish ICE"
"Dismantle Predatory Medical Care Practices in Prisons and End Prisons for Profit"
"We Are All Related: Solidarity with Indigenous Water Protectors"

Westchester UU minister, Rev. Karen Brammer, was at Standing Rock in Nov-Dec 2016. She posted about the experience at "Voices of Liberal Faith." See HERE, and scroll down to "Brammer, Karen".

Yours in the faith we share,
Meredith

The Liberal Pulpit.
Index of past sermons: HERE.
Index of other reflections: HERE.
Videos of sermons are on the Liberal Pulpit Youtube Channel: HERE.

Practice of the Week: Stay on Your Path and Explore New Paths. From Jun 15 through Jul 31, we won't be highlighting any particular Practices. We'll return in August to highlighting one each week -- sometimes introducing a new one and sometimes drawing your attention to a previously mentioned practice. In the meantime, stay on your path! And explore new paths! There are 165 "Practices of the Week" listed and indexed HERE. Look them over and choose your own Practices to highlight until August.

Your Moment of Zen: Emptiness. At a Tallspruce party, Porcupine cornered Raven and said, "I wanted to tell you that I've found that there is no basis for emptiness." Raven looked startled, then she and Porcupine burst into laughter. READ MORE
Zen at CUUC: Sat Jul 14

2018-07-06

From the Minister, Fri Jul 6

The 2018 General Assembly (Jun 20-24) adopted three AIWs (Actions of Immediate Witness). Last week I summarized the first: "End Family Separation and Detention of Asylum Seekers and Abolish ICE." The full AIW is HERE.

This week, let me tell you about the second AIW: "Dismantle Predatory Medical Care Practices in Prisons and End Prisons For Profit." It notes that "prisons for profit encourage longer terms of imprisonment and maximize profit by minimizing services and rehabilitation," and that many prisons "charge for necessary medical care using private, for-profit medical companies." Prisoners' limited ability to pay "perpetuates illness, debility, insurmountable debt, and chronic poverty. People in prisons are dying every day due to prohibitive medical cost." It is a "a system of oppression that perpetuates and further criminalizes poverty." The Supreme Court has declared these practices unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment (Estelle v. Gamble, 1976), and the practices violate the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners -- yet the practices continue.

The AIW "denounces the predatory practice of charging medical fees to people in prison," and calls on UUs to:
  • Contact Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner urging him to sign HB 5104, which is currently on his desk. This bill would end medical fees for people incarcerated in Illinois.
  • Contact Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and state legislators to demand an end to fee-for-service medical care in their states.
  • Publicly oppose the practices of Corizon Health, which profits from privatized health care in Kansas, Missouri, and in twenty other states, as well as Wexford Health, MHM Services Inc. and other companies that supply health care for local, state, and federal prisons and ICE detention facilities.
  • Get more deeply involved in direct service prison ministry through such actions as beginning or joining local prison ministry efforts within your congregation or community organization; networking with others engaged in prison ministry; leading worship or small group ministry within prisons; becoming a pen pal; and welcoming post-incarcerated persons into your congregation.
  • Continue to educate ourselves on the adverse impacts of prison privatization and the many injustices such as a) grossly disproportionate impact on marginalized groups, b) solitary confinement practices, c) prison-based gerrymandering, d) voter disenfranchisement and e) employment discrimination.
Read the full AIW HERE.

Yours in the faith we share,
Meredith

The Liberal Pulpit.
Index of past sermons: HERE.
Index of other reflections: HERE.
Videos of sermons are on the Liberal Pulpit Youtube Channel: HERE.

Practice of the Week: Stay on Your Path and Explore New Paths. From Jun 15 through Jul 31, we won't be highlighting any particular Practices. We'll return in August to highlighting one each week -- sometimes introducing a new one and sometimes drawing your attention to a previously mentioned practice. In the meantime, stay on your path! And explore new paths! There are 165 "Practices of the Week" listed and indexed HERE. Look them over and choose your own Practices to highlight until August.

Your Moment of Zen: Saving the Many Beings. Mallard appeared in the circle after a trip and asked, "The first of our vows is to save the many beings. You told us that the Sixth Ancestor said this means, 'You save them in your own mind.' Is that all there is to fulfilling this vow?" Raven said, "Completely fulfilled." Mallard said, "But what then?" Raven said, "Not just your skull." READ MORE
Zen at CUUC: Sat Jul 7