Our 150th kickoff celebration on January 28th was a big hit. In the morning, members gathered to visit on the lower patio and enjoy the sunshine. Our sound therapist Terry provided healing sound sessions, which were very popular, while others enjoyed the meandering magician and fascinating historical art show by John Keasler, which lined the walls of Bard Hall.
Soon enough it was time for our short program in the Meeting House with special music and visiting dignitaries. Highlights included a message from council member Chris Ward (a church member) and San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, who provided a special proclamation. Click photos to view larger, click Read More for more info and photos.
Chris Chambers started work as our new Social Justice Coordinator in January 2023. Their pronouns are the singular they, their, and theirs and they are 30 years old. Chris became an activist at 16 and has been involved in grassroots organizing ever since. They worked at a food justice project, called Food not Bombs, in Seattle before moving to this area. Chris moved to Tijuana in 2011 where they continued to work with Food not Bombs (or Comida No Bombas) with people who've been deported and/or are unhoused. They felt this corner of the world has special geopolitical significance, that would challenge their white privilege while allowing them to continue working in social justice. Chris worked with Angela Fujii, our previous Social Justice Coordinator, at Casa Arcoiris, in Tijuana. Most recently, they've worked with transgender asylum seekers, as a paralegal.
Great news! Youth and Young Adult programs are BACK! Youth aged 12-21 are strongly encouraged to email Lara Anderson at email@example.com with days and times they are able and willing to connect with one another. Please include your interests and wishes for this space. Keep an eye out for monthly events such as a movie and game night that happened in January.
Young Adults aged 22-35 began gathering in early December. We meet regularly on Mondays from 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm. These meetings include space to discuss issues and topics of interest, time for playing games, enjoying food, and planning events. Lara looks forward to meeting each and every one of you. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions, comments, preferences, or concerns.
February 20, the youth and young adults are gathering to strengthen our writing and poetry skills, play some games and eat some yummy food together. Eva Garcia Mayers is leading us in the writing activities, which is fabulous, because Eva is fabulous.
Michael Odegaard will join us on February 23rd, as our next presenter in the Adult RE Speaker Series, to tell us about his current project to preserve the Kumeyaay Language. This event will be one more step toward establishing an accountable relationship between First UU and the Kumeyaay People. Michael serves as a Director of the United Nations Association of San Diego to coordinate implementation of the United Nations 2022-2032 Decade of Indigenous Languages' goals, which includes ecuring legal status for San Diego County's two indigenous languages, Kumeyaay and Luiseno (Chamtēela).
The Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego, the fifth oldest church in the city, will celebrate the 150th anniversary of its founding with a year long series of celebrations. An opening festival for all ages will take place at the Front Street campus on Saturday, January 28, featuring dignitaries, food, face painting, stilt walkers and music. Choral festivals, special worship services and a series of speakers on the cutting edge of religious thought are planned throughout the year.
By Sebastian Hochgesang
My name is Sebastian. I'm 10 years old and I go to Martin Elementary. We have been volunteering at the Diaper Pantry since it first opened. My mom and I started volunteering about a year and a half ago. In the beginning, it was a little bit hard, but eventually I got used to it. It was nice to know other people in the community. And my mom and I usually go for a treat after we volunteer. Here are some of the things I help my mom with when we volunteer:
By Isabella Furth, Pantry Volunteer
For years, I have been fiercely protective of my Saturdays. As it is for many people, my work week is a bustle of work and meetings and activity. Sundays are full of church, music rehearsals, and gearing up for the week to come. But Saturdays! For me, they are the day of rest. There’s time for a swim, a walk, an outing, visiting a friend, doing the crossword, cooking. A time to relax, to think, to slow down and make room for things outside the world of work and consumption and productivity. Saturdays are my Sabbath. For years, when faced with any standing commitment, no matter how important or worthwhile—if it meant giving up Saturdays I would give it a pass. And then in March 2020, Maureen McNair called me, looking for volunteers to work at the food pantry. On Saturdays.
January 28, Saturday, Hillcrest Patio, 1 pm - 5 pm.
Please join us as we kickoff our 150th Celebration with a fun, multigenerational festival (art show, food, face painting, magic and circus arts) that is sure to please! We will have a short program in the Meeting House with visiting dignitaries and special music starting at 1:30 pm. For more information, please contact Tony Bianca.
We expect a large turnout, so please be sure to register for your FREE tickets.
By Rhea Kuhlman, Pantry Volunteer
In the two and a half years that John and Peggy Holl have been picking up bread donations from Con Pane Bakery at Liberty Station, hauling it to the South Bay Food Pantry in their small car, weighing it, and individually wrapping or bagging each loaf or pastry assortment, they’ve handled about 7,200 pounds of bread, or a little over 3.6 tons. That’s a lot of tonnage for a couple in their 80s! Now the Holls are passing the torch to a new generation of volunteers, to satisfy their children, who worry about their night driving on the freeway.
We have two 20 hours per week job openings. Take a look and feel free to send to a friend who might be interested. Job Posting for South Bay Coordinator | Job Posting for Social Justice Coordinator
By Isabella Furth, Pantry Volunteer
Did you know that the parking lot at the Chula Vista campus/food pantry is in fact a five-dimensional shape-stacking Tetris alley that defies the laws of time and space? It’s a modestly sized strip-mall parking lot, with a single entrance/exit and maybe 75 parking spots total. During our Saturday distributions about a dozen of those spaces are blocked off to allow room for deliveries and our lineup and registration areas. Another handful are reserved for customers at Carmen’s beauty salon and Alfredo’s deli, our wonderful and supportive neighbors.
Directed by Music Dept. Chair, Derek Cannon and Manny Cepeda respectively, the two ensembles filled our meeting house with popular Afro-Cuban and Brazilian originals and standards including Mambos, Cha-Chas, Bossa Novas, Sambas, Merengues, and Afro-Cuban 6/8. What a show!
By Nina D, South Bay Food Pantry Volunteer
In late 2019, when former FUUSD board member Maureen McNair first engaged us in launching the South Bay Food Pantry, neither my husband Jeff nor I had been involved in such a project before. I anticipated distributing mushy canned green beans and other basic (and unappetizing) canned goods, and wondered how much difference such items could make.
By Nina D. and Jeff K, South Bay Food Pantry Volunteers
South Bay Food Pantry volunteers were thrilled to learn that the FUUSD Social Justice Executive Team had made the pantry the recipient of the November Generosity Offering. We are deeply grateful for the church’s recognition of our work to address food insecurity in our community, and for all who have donated their time, skills, funds and goods.
Performing pieces from their hit show "Motown and More", Darryl F. Walker and The Saxations righteously rocked an audience of about 300 in the Meeting House. It was a great family-friendly evening the packed audience dancing in their seats and singing along. As the fourth performance in our free Community Events series, the Saxations brought in many church members, neighbors, friends and people who had never heard of First UU. We're excited by the growing awareness of our church in the community and hope to continue this success with our next event; the Grossmont College Afro-Cuban Jazz Ensemble. Save the date for December 13th! More info coming soon.
By Pantry Volunteer Rhea Kuhlman
There was a lot going on at the Pantry as we built up to an exciting Dia de Los Muertos week distribution. The Sunday before, we finally got our gigantic almost-new commercial refrigerator, transported on Valerie Jaque’s even more giant (and ancient, and extremely green) horse trailer, appropriately dubbed The Pickle. A hearty team of volunteers, including Robert, Manny, and Jim, valiantly wrestled the old fridge, now hobbling on its very last legs, out the door and adroitly maneuvered the new fridge in, accompanied by vociferous instructions from our devoted team of back seat drivers.
By Nina D., South Bay Pantry Volunteer
The mission of the South Bay Food Pantry is to serve nutritious food and other basics to people living with food insecurity in the community. We strive to maximize our impact through careful stewardship of donated funds and goods and volunteer hours (i.e., we shamelessly beg, borrow and steal before dipping into our savings.) The frugality and creativity of our volunteers have led to some innovative practices at the pantry, some of which also provide a bit of comic relief.
By Nina D., South Bay Pantry Volunteer
The South Bay Food Pantry has grown in many ways since it was founded by Maureen McNair three years ago. The number of clients benefitting from the variety of food items, period products, Covid tests and infant and adult diapers we provide has increased to over 300 families each week. The volunteer contingent has also increased, from a handful of FUUSD-connected individuals to a large group of FUUSD and South-Bay based volunteers active throughout the week.
Flamenco dancer, Lakshmi Basile "La Chimi" delivered a dynamic show to a full house last Friday night at First UU Church of San Diego. Accompanied by Jeff Basile on Bass, David Morales on violin, Kambiz Pakan on guitar and special guest singer Pepele Mendez, La Chimi guided the audience through a magical Flamenco journey - to enthusiastic applause.
Click images to view larger.
White People for Racial Justice 101 Workshop
Sunday, October 16, 2022 1:00-5:30pm
Hybrid event, join us in-person at the Hillcrest Campus or on Zoom
Please register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know if you plan to attend in-person or on Zoom
Presented by Showing Up for Racial Justice-San Diego (SURJ-SD) in partnership with the Journey Toward Wholeness (JTW) core team at First UU
Join us for an interactive workshop where we will go over the basics of systemic racism and white supremacy in the U.S., and explore such topics as microaggressions and why they matter, how “white fragility” operates to maintain white privilege and dominance, and why white anti-racists need to call in other white people. Bring your questions! Participants will gain practical tools for examining our socialized biases and behaviors as white people, recognizing and interrupting everyday racism (including our own), and taking accountable action in multiracial movements for racial justice. Most importantly, this workshop is a space for white people to strengthen our anti-racist resilience and commitment by talking honestly and caringly together about race, racism, and our own stake in ending white supremacy.
Pre-registration is encouraged for this 4 1/2-hour workshop. Registration is open to all interested members of the UU community, and people of all identities are welcome. However, please be aware that this workshop will be facilitated by white members of SURJ-SD, with a primary focus on basic anti-racist learning, reflection, and discussion for people who are white, white-presenting, and/or benefit from white privilege. Some exercises and breakout sessions may be in caucus. For covid safety and because this will be an active and interactive workshop, space may be limited. For questions and more information, please contact email@example.com
Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ) is a national network of groups and individuals working for racial justice by undermining white supremacy. Through community organizing, mobilizing, and education, SURJ moves white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability. SURJ-SD builds accountability relationships with local racial justice organizations led by people of color. At our monthly chapter meetings and in our action teams, we provide space to learn, connect, and take action.
Journey Toward Wholeness (JTW) is the Unitarian Universalist Association's initiative, which implements each congregation's anti-racism, anti-oppression commitment on a church-wide basis. At First Church, this group focuses on dismantling racism, eradicating oppression, and on bringing about transformation through increased awareness.
By Nina D, Pantry Volunteer
Volunteer participation with the South Bay Food Pantry has led folks like Jeff and me to many valuable new experiences, relationships, and awareness we otherwise would not have developed. A recent example is with the Sunrise Chapter of the Chula Vista Rotary Club.
Friday, October 7th, 7:30-9pm
Featuring singer Pepele Mendez from Southern Spain
Front Street Productions presents a showcase of traditional dance, singing, guitar, and incorporating alternative instruments - not to be missed! Flamenco dancer, Lakshmi Basile "La Chimi" oozes sensuality, strength, and emotion as she dances, glides and taps on the wooden dance floor. Her expressive face, feet and hands show her graceful passion for flamenco. Sometimes it seems almost like she is in a trance as the music and her body become one. La Chimi, as she is known in the flamenco world, may have been born in California but her soul is pure southern Spain. She brings her love of flamenco to San Diego. Joining her is Jeff Basile on Bass, David Morales on violin, Kambiz Pakan on guitar with special guest singer Pepele Mendez. Not to be missed! Register for your free seats.
By Nina D., Pantry Volunteer
Our Food Pantry ministry began quite modestly nearly three years ago, with just a few boxes of canned goods in the front room of Suite 101 at the South Bay Campus. Former FUUSD board member Maureen McNair’s mission to serve South Bay community members facing food insecurity has become a significantly larger and more complex operation, providing nutritious food and other necessary basics (including infant diapers, feminine hygiene products and Covid-19 test kits) to over 300 households each week. We can thank Maureen for her vision to create a pantry system based on best food acquisition and distribution practices, and for establishing strong collaborative ties with community food justice organizations such as Feeding San Diego https://feedingsandiego.org and the San Diego Food Bank https://sandiegofoodbank.org.
by Valerie Jaques, Pantry Coordinator
I started with the pantry about 2 years ago, when Tony Bianca shared on Facebook a plea for someone with a truck to help with a weekly large shopping trip at the San Diego Food Bank. I said, sure, why not, at least for a few months I should be able to handle it. I’m one of very few members of First Church who happens to own a large pickup truck. Might as well make use of it to help my community. Somehow, I am now the Pantry Coordinator.
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