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"Sacred Public Witness: Commit2Respond"
Date: Jul. 5, 2015, 10 a.m. Minister: Rev. Jennifer Brooks. Description: In Portland last week at the UUA's General Assembly, thousands of Unitarian Universalists gathered to meet, to learn, to worship and to make visible our values and our commitment. At GA 2015, UUs joined the Lummi Nation to protest the proposed desecration of Xwe'chi'eXen (Puget Sound’s Cherry Point) through the construction of the largest coal port in North America. In Unitarian Universalism today there is a growing understanding of the urgency of work to slow the rate of climate change. In Portland, our public witness united that cause with an appreciation for the Lummi Nation's sacred lands and waters. This moment was a resonant reminder of the interconnected web of existence of which we are a part. Music: Catalin Dima. Religious Exploration: No Summer RE classes in session. Nursery available to age 5.
Date: Jul. 12, 2015, 10 a.m. Minister: Rev. Jennifer Brooks. Description: As she promised last August, today Rev. Jennifer offers a message with the same title but different content. This “bookend” to the first sermon she preached at UUCF is her farewell after serving here for a year. And not just any year. It’s been a year that lifted up the treasure of community: a year where loss and tragedy retreated in the face of mutual support, love and growth. Today Rev. Jennifer shares what she's learned from UUCF. A farewell reception with cake will follow the service. Music: Houseband. Religious Exploration: Summer RE classes in session from age 2 to rising Grade 8. High School youth are encouraged to attend the worship service.
by Rev. Jennifer Brooks. What a week it has been. I’ve been at the Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly (GA) in Portland, OR, since last Monday. The 5,000 UUs at GA gathered in energizing worship, learned stimulating new ideas in an array of workshops and stood in solidarity with the Lummi people to support their resistance to the taking of their sacred lands for use as a coal loading port. Dr. Cornel West electrified the assembly in his Ware Lecture. On Thursday, when the U.S. Supreme Court released its decision affirming marriage equality, we gathered in an impromptu service of celebration. We also held a healing circle to support the trans and gender-nonconforming folk who continue to face discrimination without the protection of the law – people who still need allies to stand with them. Delegates at General Assembly passed three Actions of Immediate Witness: one asking to end immigrant child and family detention, a second supporting a strong, compassionate global climate agreement in the Paris climate talks in December (our own Bill Repsher spoke convincingly in favor) and a third supporting the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Also during the last week, in response to the soul-searing tragedy in Charleston, SC, Rev. Laura Horton-Ludwig and I sent a letter of condolence to Emanuel AME Church. The shooting there of nine black members and ministers, who had talked and prayed with their killer for an hour before he pulled out his gun, resonated over and through the events of General Assembly and deeply in my own heart. This young white man, Dylann Roof, has set out his racist manifesto for all to see. His actions at Emanuel Church were part of his mission to eradicate black Americans. Many of you know that my son, Kevin, is black. I have learned over the last 22 years of being his parent that having black or brown skin in America invites racial hatred. When my son was only 7 years old, one of his classmates (apparently not registering that he was describing Kevin) said casually, “All blacks should be killed.” The child didn’t hate my son. But what he heard at home shaped his unexamined opinions. All people of color in America, and parents of black and brown-skinned American children, are constantly aware that their race is an invitation to acts of hatred and harm. Dylann Roof says in his manifesto, “I was not raised in a racist home.” But he was raised in a culture that shaped his racist understanding – a culture in which jokes about blacks are viewed as nothing more than humor and people of color are readily regarded as less than human. His conclusion? “All blacks should be killed.” Black lives matter. At General Assembly, the resolution to support the “Black Lives Matter” movement passed overwhelmingly. Yet when white delegates sought to override some of the language offered by delegates of color, the discussion became painful and frustrating. Despite a desire to stand in solidarity with people of color, white UUs can unconsciously assume the superiority of their own understanding over that of the people whose lives are actually at stake. People inevitably see the world through the lens of their own experience. Experience is a powerful teacher; after years of adulthood we often are sure we know the best course of action. But white Americans do not inhabit the same world as black Americans. To be allies with people of color, white UUs might begin by listening attentively, accepting that we don’t know the reality of life in a dark skin. We might check our certainty at the door. We might, instead, heed the wisdom of people who experience “living while black” as high-risk – and sometimes a crime punishable by death.