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Some News and Appreciation

What a time we are living in. I keep saying to myself that this moment is the opportunity of a lifetime for me (as a white progressive) to be the person I say I am. I know that I am not alone in my discernment in this moment, as so many of us struggle to lead, follow and engage. I think we are struggling because we want to be able to look back at this time and feel that we were people of integrity, even in a time when it can be terrifying to be such people.

I want to let you know that I have decided to step down as the Standing on the Side of Love Campaign Director. I am taking a position as Vice President of Movement Leadership at Auburn Seminary to be able to do multi-faith and national movement building work. What I really want to say is thank you. Thank you so much to all of you who have found our recent work as Standing on the Side of Love helpful in your work for justice. I am glad that many of you have appreciated the tools, or found them heartening. But, I am most proud that our work has been of use. 

As Solidarity with Standing Rock Continues, We Need You

As Solidarity with Standing Rock Continues, We Need You

Back in September, MUUSJA: The Minnesota Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Alliance invited the Rev. Karen Van Fossan, minister to the Unitarian Universalist Church & Fellowship of Bismarck/Mandan (UUFCBM), to join us for our monthly statewide Convening Call to speak about the ongoing battle against the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock. At that time, the UU congregation of 60 members and one half-time minister--one of only three in North Dakota, and the only one with professional clergy - had already been building deep relationships with the Water Protectors since April. Rev. Van Fossan spoke of her people’s deep sense of calling in this work of service, followership, and solidarity. At that point they were already offering concrete solidarity by hosting travelers, serving as a through-point for supply donations, and taking a bold public stance with the #NoDAPL movement in a region in which virtually no other religious group would risk speaking out for indigenous people, or the earth that stood to be harmed by the pipeline.  Standing Rock was only beginning to get national media coverage at that point, and the story of our UU kin showing up in such a faithful, prophetic way inspired all of us in Minnesota.

Shortly following that Convening Call, Rev. Van Fossan and I spoke again about what a broader, nation-wide UU response to Standing Rock might look like--and how we, as a religious people, might better support the congregation in sustaining their faithful support of the Water Protectors as representatives of our entire faith.  More conversations followed, with representatives from the UUA, MidAmerica Region, Standing on the Side of Love, the UU College of Social Justice, and others.  As a result of these collaborations, a broad network of UUs from a wide variety of our organizations and congregations mobilized a nimble, accountable rapid response to directly support the Bismarck congregation, and the Water Protectors. Together, by leveraging our relationships and our institutional resources, we supported hundreds of Unitarian Universalist clergy and lay people traveling to North Dakota to attend nationwide calls for physical presence at the camps.  We schemed together to get the “Interfaith Living yUUrt” transported from Minnesota to Oceti Sakowin camp, and made that space available to both indigenous folks and people of faith who needed a place to stay.  We raised funds to support Rev. Van Fossan’s ministry, and the work of the congregation.  And when the needs shifted and the weather changed, we created the Ministry in Residence Program, sending a series of Unitarian Universalist clergypeople for a week at a time to be with Rev. Van Fossan and the UUs in Bismarck, adding to their capacity and representing our solidarity in an embodied way.

We Are Needed at Standing Rock NOW

We Are Needed at Standing Rock NOW

Good evening dear ones. Below please see an urgent call for solidarity at Standing Rock for tomorrow, Wednesday, February 22, 2017 at 2:00pm. We know it is last minute but share this immediate request from the UU Fellowship and Church of Bismarck-Mandan in conjunction with their work at Standing Rock. See a message from Jack Gaede, Minnesota UU Social Justice Alliance (MUUSJA) Ministerial Intern for Justice & Religious Leadership. If you cannot get to Standing Rock tomorrow, please follow along with the UU Fellowship and Church of Bismarck-Mandan on Facebook for their latest updates and how to support their ongoing ministry, including through the current Ministry-in-Residence Program.

eloved friends, let me just start by saying that it is such a privilege to be able to serve in my role as the MUUSJA intern this year. It has been a joy, and I am learning so much. There is an urgent call that needs our heeding, but before I even get to the call, I want to take a moment to remind us why we do what we do.

Expanding Sanctuary Today

‘Sanctuary’ is a word that many faith communities are engaging heavily with since Election Day. This word means many things to many different people. For some, it is about making sanctuary in our places of worship. For some it refers to policies that create sanctuary for undocumented people in cities and towns. For others, it signifies the kind of organizing communities are taking on to protect and defend Muslim communities, undocumented communities, LGBTQ communities, and Black Lives Matter activists who are being targeted by Trump’s administration. However, we are defining the word - we all have questions. The questions are basically stemming from a place of love, as we try to concern how we can show up for ourselves, our families, our neighborhoods and communities as specific communities are targeted for attack, violence, and removal. 

Rituals of Sustenance

Rituals of Sustenance

Welcome to week four of Thirty Days of Love 2017. We hope you find these resources and reflections of use to the work you do from your congregation to your community and beyond.

Click here for the downloadable companion worksheet on sustenance and movements. It provides both spiritual reminders as well as a number rituals and practices to sustain you and yours for the work ahead. These activities were first published in our Fortify The Movement Chapbook as part of last Fall’s #ReviveLove Tour. Once you’ve done that, consider checking out a video from our Organizing on the Side of Love online course on life cycles of movements you can find here