The message below went out on Saturday, January 28, 2012 to those Standing on the Side of Love supporters who signed up for daily Thirty Days of Love emails. You can sign-up for the 30 Days of Love emails here.
I have always felt like sharing a meal is one of the most important and powerful tools for ministry. Sitting around a table and taking part together in that divine, daily ritual of dinner can break boundaries, calm tensions, create connections, and open up the space for dialog in a way that is often impossible otherwise.
Today’s action for 30 Days of Love is to invite people to share a meal, or to feed others in our community.
As congregations, we use food to build community. We serve meals in times of celebration, and we serve meals in times of mourning. We serve meals to bring people together. Whether we share meals within our church community or we take meals outside of our church walls into the larger community, we have the possibility of creating connections that will affect us in ways we can’t believe.
A few weeks ago, our congregation in Reston, VA decided to cook a meal for the people at Occupy DC. From the first day we made the announcement that we were looking for people to help cook, I was amazed by how many people were talking about the Occupy movement: why we supported their cause, what income inequality meant for us, and how we could help. Days before we even heated up the oven, the anticipation of cooking our meal stirred up dialogue and fired up passions.
Once the day finally came to prepare the food, our congregation had more donations and volunteers than we needed. Our small kitchen was packed with volunteers sharing stories about how they found our church, their families and their youth, sharing hopes for the future, and enjoying the freedom to just speak anything that came to mind. We all grew closer as we worked, and I have seen those connections continue to grow on Sunday mornings since.
The occupiers that we feed want everyone to understand that it helps them keep going and gives them strength to know that people outside of their group support what they are doing. It was also clear from their compliments that they had not had a lot of access to freshly cooked vegetables and healthy food, which gave us great joy to provide. Through that one meal, a lot of people were brought together in different ways and many more had a hot meal on a cold night. I can think of very few things we can do together in one day that can have that big an impact.
Whether we gather together as a church or we sit around our own dinner table, the power of food to make space for connection is something we cannot forget as we go through our meals each day. Open up your table to someone or someones that you hope to build a relationship with. Share a meal with those who are in need of community or support. You will be amazed with the ease that a common meal gives to finding common ground. This is something you can do by yourself, with some friends or with your church community. However and whenever you can, open your table to let it be a place of connection. It’s one more way that we can make a difference.
Director of Religious Education
Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston, VAMore >
The message below went out on Friday, January 27, 2012 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. You can sign-up for these emails here.
I’d like to invite you to be part of a real secure community.
To me, we find security in each other’s open arms, in seeking shoulders to lean on instead of backs to stand on. Security is a mother’s love or a sibling’s smile; a family gathered around a table filled with daily bread.
Unfortunately, such scenes are being threatened by a program that falsely shares the name, “Secure Communities,” but is better known as S-Comm. S-Comm is one in a series of federal immigration programs that enlists local police in the role of unjust immigration enforcement. It turns our public servants into “migra” and turns our local jails into check-points. It’s the main engine behind today’s deportation machine. Despite brave and bold actions and official opposition from governors in three states and condemnations from major newspapers, the Administration has pushed to make the deportation program mandatory nation-wide by next year.
However, the program can’t function without the voluntary participation of our local law enforcers. Places like Santa Clara, CA, Chicago, IL, and San Francisco have found ways to break ICE’s hold on our communities by treating all people who enter their jails equally regardless of documentation status and refusing to extend people’s incarceration just because ICE requested it.
Join us for a webinar next Thursday, February 2nd, at 8:00 p.m. ET to learn how to keep our communities whole by breaking ICE’s hold on them. Our families deserve to stay together, it’s police and ICE that should be separated.
Click here to sign up for the webinar.
This webinar is a collaboration of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition (IIC), of which the UUA is a member, as well as the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) and the New Sanctuary Movement (NSM). The 90-minute webinar is designed to help congregations create interfaith teams to advocate for change in their communities. Combined with a downloadable toolkit [links to downloadable PDF file], the webinar will give participants concrete tools to launch interfaith grassroots campaigns to demand their city or state break ICE’s Hold on them. Give us 90 minutes and we’ll show you how!
Sign up to participate here:
We stood firmly together in Arizona; now it’s time to face the Arizona in our own backyards. Sheriff Arpaio of Maricopa County may be the ugliest face of these federal programs but there are lesser known Arpaios at work in all of our towns. Together we can turn the tide from hate to human rights, from fear to courage, from intolerance to the side of love.
Looking forward to working together,
National Day Laborer Organizing Network
PS. To learn more about S-Comm and ICE Holds visit altopolimigra.com/detainersMore >
The message below went out on Friday, January 27, 2012 to those Standing on the Side of Love supporters who signed up for daily Thirty Days of Love emails. You can sign-up for the 30 Days of Love emails here.
But what’s next for Standing on the Side of Love? Where do we go from here? As we engage in collective visioning, what is your vision for this campaign and how it reflects your faith?
Join us today on our Facebook page at 1:30 p.m. ET for a live chat with Dan Furmansky, the Standing on the Side of Love Campaign Manager: http://www.facebook.com/SideofLove.
- What does the Standing on the Side of Love campaign mean now?
- What could it mean?
- How might the campaign hold all of the issues you are concerned with today?
- What should be ‘Next’ for Standing on the Side of Love?
Chat with you at 1:30 p.m. ET!
Standing on the Side Love
P.S. A poem for today I thought you might appreciate:
What do I desire for my country? How do I vision the land I love?
Let it be a land where knowledge is free,
Where the mind is without fear, and men and women hold their heads high,
Where words come out from the depth of truth,
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms toward perfection,
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way in the dreamy desert sand of dead habit,
Where the mind is led forward into ever-widening thought and action,
Into that heaven of freedom let my country awake.
- Rabindranath Tagore, Bengali philosopher, Nobel Laureate poetMore >
The message below went out on Thursday, January 26, 2012 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. You can sign-up for these emails here.
“If you can imagine a better world, you can make one.” – Linda Stout
I’m excited to take part in the Collective Visioning webinar today at 5pm. The webinar is hosted by Linda Stout, Founder & Director of Spirit in Action, and was planned especially for the Standing on the Side of Love Campaign in honor of our Thirty Days of Love.
It’s not too late to sign up! Click here to sign up for the 5pm Webinar.
If you sign up by 3pm, we’ll make sure to get you the information so you can join.
Collective visioning involves intentionally bringing people together across social divides and generating a positive vision that is long-term, expansive, and solutions-driven. Collective Visioning is also about action planning so that we are prepared to actively work towards what we envision. I hope to “see” you this afternoon!
Today’s community question: How do you imagine we can make a difference in the world through standing of the side of love?
Share your thoughts with our community on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SideofLove
The two responses that inspire the most FB ‘likes’ will receive a free Standing on the Side of Love bumper sticker or rally sign.
I leave you with this Sanskrit Proverb:
Look well, therefore, to this day.
Visions of hope,
Standing on the Side Love
The message below went out on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. You can sign-up for these emails here.
My name is Leilani and I stand on the side of love. But there was once a time in my life that I didn’t. I don’t know exactly what sparked in me to share my story of courageous love, but the more I think about it, the more I truly feel that it is because I am so very grateful. And the best way to show that you are grateful is to express it. I always try to remember that thanksgiving is a word of action and I was excited to see that there was a place online dedicated to stories such as mine.
I was raised in a strict religious household. I turned 18 in 1998 and always took advantage of my right to vote. In 2000 I had the chance to vote on Prop. 22, which limited the rights of the LGBT community in my state of California. I was told by the Prophet of my church how to vote, and I blindly listened, regardless of my own thoughts.
In 2003, I made the best decision of my life and married Dustin. He was not of the same faith, which my family frowned upon, but he helped open my heart and my eyes to what love really is. How important separation of Church and State is to a democracy. And how equality goes beyond opinion, it’s a right.
I had the chance in 2008 to vote again on the rights of the LGBT community, with Prop. 8. This time, I listened to my heart and reason, instead of blindly following hate. I had learned that love makes a family, and love is never wrong.
I lost my extended religious family over it, but I gained so much. My husband supported me as I walked away from the church, and into a UU congregation.Never in my young life, would I have imagined that I would be where I am today. And I know without Dustin, I would still be blindly following the words of people who don’t really know what unconditional love is. I am glad I didn’t choose that tragic path.
It took courage for a young husband to stand up to his wife’s family, to his wife’s skewed beliefs, and for that, I will be forever grateful. Thank you Dustin, I love what your love has made of me.
I would like to invite you to share a story of courageous love. I truly believe that love should be shared; that by sharing love, love will multiply.
Leilani PearceMore >