Sierra Foothills Unitarian Universalists
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
A free and responsible search for truth and meaning.
UULM Justice Weekend
The Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of California (UULMCA) hosted a conference Nov. 18-20 at Camp de Benneville Pines, a UU camp in the San Bernadino Mountains. It was called 'Walking the Walk for UU Values in CA.' The Rev. Lindi Ramsden who is the lead minister and the executive director of UULMCA invited the Rev. Wendy Bartel to help create a framework of music for justice.
The weekend was an incredible opportunities for UUs from all over CA and even a couple of folks from Oregon and Arizona, to come together to learn, celebrate, struggle, listen, share food, strategize, worship, and just be together. Over 80 people attended this weekend. We engaged in the spirituality of activism and advocacy. We examined our own privilege, even in questioning the name of Walking the Walk and how that might be less inclusive than our aspirations currently hold. Throughout the weekend, we attended worship, workshops, and key note addresses. There was even a very fun history event to celebrate UULM's 10th anniversary, followed by Justice Follies which allowed us to move, sing, laugh, learn, and release some stress that sometimes results from doing this work.
From Rev. Wendy:
It was a great honor to be invited by the Rev. Lindi, to not only participate in this wonderful event, but to also assist in the framework and planning for this great opportunity for justice leaders, advocates, peace-makers, and UU leaders of many stripes. From the ingathering to the closing worship, music infused the whole weekend. The Rev. Leslie Takahashi Morris, the Rev. Rick Hoyt, and I planned the Friday evening and the Sunday morning services and they were terrific to work with. Several other ministers and seminarians were part of the weekend and they were also part of worship, workshops, and other gatherings. The Rev. Susan Frederick Gray, the minister in Phoenix who was arrested last summer while protesting SB 1070, came to speak with us about GA, building partnerships with community folks there most impacted by this terrible law, and encouraging us to build partnerships with people in our own communities who are most impacted by immigration discrimination. It was a powerful presentation and a mixture of sadness and hope.
The workshops seemed to all be wonderful and it was hard to choose during each session, which workshop to attend. I chose to attend Creating Shared Stories: Our Social Justice Narrative, Being Strategic, and Leading Across Difference on Saturday. Sunday morning I attended We Need Not Think Alike to Love Alike: Justice Ministries When We Don't All Agree. Many of the speakers affirmed Rev. Lynn's and my recommendations of choosing sustainability as a part of justice work, focusing efforts, the use of compassionate communication as critical in the success of this work, and that successful justice ministries include a wide variety of ways to get involved so that people can participate in their own ways, and that love motivates far more than guilt or shame ever will. I spent a great deal of time in preparation for my parts throughout the weekend, to learn the stories and histories behind the music that can inspire and sustain us as we transform ourselves and the world. It was a LOT of work and worth every minute to be so warmly received and appreciated by colleagues on this path of peace, compassion, and justice.