Jonalu’s Journal – January 2020

We are dedicated to challenging ourselves and society into wholeness.

A vibrant, inclusive congregation, UUFM is widely known as a safe haven and a force for social justice.

These words came together to describe our mission and vision after participation from almost half the membership on a December weekend.  Yes, a weekend in December!  I’m so impressed with the commitment of this congregation.

UUFM had not reviewed its mission for many years, and though the vision had been spelled out beautifully more recently, the length of the vision statement limited its usefulness.  The new statements are short and powerful.  Even a little scary.  If it weren’t pushing ourselves, though, we would become stagnant.

Challenging ourselves is never easy, yet religion is all about becoming the best people we can be.  Challenging society may be even harder.  Saying out loud that the criminal justice system is broken and racist, that the Indian symbol for the high school is disrespectful, that there needs to be room in Manhattan for diverse religious expressions–these expressions of our faith challenge our community to grow in ways that may make a lot of people–even us–uncomfortable.  Yet, that is what we dedicate ourselves to.

We want to be a safe haven, yes, and yet we want to be much more than that.  We want to be a force for social justice.  Many of our members come to UUFM looking for ways to engage in the social and political issues of our time, as well as to find a place where they are supported and comforted.

As we try on this mission and vision for size, we can think about how they help us to engage with the decisions we are making about the future of UUFM.  We also can consider what they mean for our work in the world.

To that end, I’d like you to think about two different opportunities.  First, on January 12, our Racial Justice Team will present a service that grew out of our engagement with the book Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson.  We see issues of race deeply embedded in our criminal justice system, and feel called to respond to these issues.  I hope you will come to that service and leave inspired to take something on, even if it’s a small step like self-education.  We hope to see the movie together, as well, so maybe you can join us there [learn more on page 5 of the January newsletter] .

The second opportunity for engagement is making a trip to the legislature.  I recognize that UU’s tend to be good citizens, consistent voters, and knowledgeable about the issues.  If you want to take the next step, there are several opportunities to join with groups that share our values for lobby days.  I know many of you cannot join in because of work and family commitments.  It would be great, though, to see UU’s represented to some extent at various lobby days.  I’ll list them in the newsletter, list serve and Facebook.  If you’d like more information about any of them in particular, talk with me and/or check out the links I’ve included [find more information and links on page 7 of the January newsletter].

Our world needs more people challenging themselves and society.  Our region needs a UU congregation as a safe haven and force for social justice.  May we be what’s needed.


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