It is a time when hyperbole is easy to fall into. Social media seems to be always exploding with the latest outrage or triumph, and it’s hard to not get carried along. But, as I said after the election, the work we are called to do in the world hasn’t changed: we still want answer to call of love, we still want to stand strong for the vulnerable, we still want to create peace and fairness and justice. What is required of us to do that has changed some, but the basic task is still the same: save the world.
What has also changed is the urgency that many of us feel to be walking our talk. I feel a great urgency to make certain that what I do in the name of all that I believe to be true is effective. It feels essential that no time or effort be wasted. You may be experiencing some of that, too.
In early 2016 we held small group meetings to talk with each other about what was most important for Tacoma UU Congregation. One of the strongest responses was for us to find ways to be engaged with social justice in meaningful ways. The opportunity has rarely been so ripe for us to organize and engage.
There are several things to say first about this:
— We already engage in social justice work as people in the world. Many of us are generous to organizations that further the work that we see as needed in the world. Members and friends volunteer time and energy to local and national issues, and others take time to feed the hungry, support women seeking health care at local Planned Parenthood offices, tutor in the schools, and many more that I’ve not heard about. We already walk our talk in lots of ways.
— The Board agreed last year to make use of our space to support local groups organizing in ways that are in alignment with our Principles and our congregation’s energy and ethos. We have shared our availability with a variety of groups, and have hosted a few events, but hope to host more. Feel free to share this information with any groups you are engaged with, and check with me or Scott Redman.
— As we don’t have a creedal test for being part of this congregation — we do not require any affirmation of particular beliefs — we also don’t require a political test. It is also true that the values and principles that are at the core of our religious community tend to support more left leaning political stances, but as we appreciate diversity in belief, we also appreciate diversity in opinion in how best to make those beliefs come alive in political structures and everyday life.
And, we want to be engaged with each other as we respond to this opportunity and urgency to walk our talk and do what we can to heal the world. There are two significant opportunities for all our members and friends to be involved together. The first is to reach out in the community around our building, and the second is widening our connection to each other for support, inspiration and solidarity in walking our talk.
Building a Relationship with Mann Elementary School
Mann Elementary School is just a block away from our church building, and is a school that can use some help. I met with Ms. Prevost, the family and community connection staff person and we’re plotting ways that our congregation can support the school. We are looking for that sweet spot between what we have to offer and what they need most. Are you interested in being part of a group who works to build that relationship and discover how we can creatively and joyfully support them? Contact me and we’ll find a time to meet and make our plan for supporting them. In the meantime, if you are interested in helping out during their lunch period in the cafeteria or helping on the playground, let me know and we’ll get that started right away. It’s a need they have that never goes away.
Social Justice Summit
On Sunday, February 12, you are invited to come to a meeting after church to explore how we will work together on the issues and concerns that are most important to us. Where is the passion now? What are you doing that you want to share with others? How can we support each other in the work? I’ll facilitate a conversation about how we’ll go about it all. Please come!