Our virtual annual meeting will be held via Zoom on Sunday, June 20 at 11 am. Please plan on attending to hear about and vote on important issues and learn about how things are going in our church. More detailed information about meeting URL and virtual voting process will be coming soon. See you there!
by Tony Bianca, Program Director
As we begin to host small groups on campus and think about gradually opening back up to in-person gatherings, we're aware that, currently, children under 12 are unable to be vaccinated and which creates a natural inequity around who is able to safely participate in live gatherings on our campuses. Simultaneously, we're thinking about how this reopening offers us a unique opportunity to reimagine our programming in ways that better serve us, and more fully live into what it means to be a Family Ministry Program.
by Maureen McNair
While our church, communities, and State have been closed down for most of the last 14 months, the volunteers at our South Bay Food Pantry have lived our values, created beloved community, and established an institution. Our food pantry is the future of our congregational life. The fact that our food pantry is our future became quite clear to me during the two weeks I was taking a stay-cation. I cannot wait for those of you who have never visited us to see what we have created. It will knock your socks oﬀ!
When a BBIPoC person shares that they've been harmed by racism, please learn to listen and respond with compassion. It may seem that we hear about racism in our church more often than in our other spaces. This is not because racism is not happening elsewhere, it is because we have members who trust us with their truth because our principles say that we will hear them. How to Respond with Compassion when Someone is Hurt by Racism.
by Nina Douglass
Jeff and I have now completed the first of two weeks of covering Maureen McNair’s management of the South Bay Food Pantry. Adapting to the role has been a formidable learning experience, characterized by several distinctive stages:
1. Denial: “How complicated can it be to manage a small food pantry?”
2. Shock and overwhelm: The state of disbelief and numbed feelings upon reading Maureen’s voluminous, detailed (and essential) notes and completing San Diego Food Bank training.
As we continue to consider our reopening situation, here are some factors:
by Nina Douglass
Jeff and I are excited to join other South Bay Food Pantry volunteers in covering Maureen McNair’s much-deserved staycation from the pantry.
Have you visited the pantry on a Saturday morning during distribution? it’s impossible to distinguish shoppers from volunteers. In fact, some shoppers choose to volunteer, and some offer small donations to express their appreciation. Some volunteers and workers in the strip mall are also shoppers, along with others.
By Maureen McNair
Several months ago, Rev. Kathleen Owens asked me what the process was I used to run the food pantry. I told her it has been like laying down the tracks while the train is coming. So, after 17 straight months of creating and operating the food pantry, I am taking a vacation the last two weeks in May. I have planned a stay-cation.
The food pantry, diaper distribution, congregant food delivery, and feeding people experiencing homelessness will continue thanks to spouses Nina Douglass and Jeﬀ Kline, who have agreed to substitute for me. Many of you may not have met them because they joined our church during the pandemic.
by Maureen McNair
Saturday pantry volunteers are likely to observe that I live in fear of excess produce. It is perishable and, while the pantry has some refrigeration space, we do not have suﬃcient refrigeration space to store very much fresh produce for a week. We want food to go into the community right away, not into landﬁlls.
The pandemic situation and official recommendations are changing rapidly. We as a team are continuing to keep abreast as we prepare guidelines specific to our church situation.
We have stated it will soon be okay to resume the lowest-risk types of in-person gatherings. These are small groups in outdoor settings, provided they observe the several precautions and procedures we outlined in our last update. Opening date for these meetings will be announced soon.
Prior to Tania’s and Kathleen’s announcements about leaving, a group was involved with identifying congregational needs and how to achieve them. At their April meeting, First UU’s Board of Trustees approved a process to involve the entire congregation in an opportunity to provide their input on present and future needs before any final decisions are made.
You’re invited to attend and participate in our Focus Group Discussions. These are an excellent, welcoming space for each First UU member and friend to provide their thoughts on the best approach to improving the impact of our present and future programs, projects, and ministries. These gatherings are not for the solicitation of financial support, but rather to exchange ideas and engage everyone as we prepare for the upcoming changes of new ministerial leadership...
Read More and Register for a Focus Group at our Reaching for Our Future page.
Your team studying how to safely resume in-person activities at church realizes full well how anxious everyone is to return. The team continues to look at government regulations, agency guidelines and scientific details. Much care lies behind any recommendations.
By Maureen McNair
Our homeless outreach program began by complete accident. To make a long story short, for the last few weekends, we have been providing food to between 80 - 120 people experiencing homelessness. Here is how this part of our pantry story started.
Regular blog readers might recall that an anonymous opera singer donated over 2,000 pounds of food to us which he collected through a food drive. It turns out that a noticeable amount of that food was suitable to distribute to people who are experiencing homelessness.
Dear Members and Friends, This month marks my 14th anniversary serving this congregation. I’ve always held the thought that when my gifts, skills and talents no longer meet the needs of the congregation, that would be the time for me to move on. A while back, before the pandemic hit, I began to feel and think that my ministry here may be coming to a close and then the pandemic hit. I knew I needed to continue on to see the congregation through the crisis. There is now a visible reality of the crisis coming to an end though we will continue to live with this virus. There have been several costs of this pandemic, especially the loss of life as well as the long-lasting health issues of those infected. And many of us, including myself, have experienced effects, though without being infected. I feel I am at less capacity than before and for a while now, have been struggling with my own mental and physical sense of well-being.
By Maureen McNair
Twelve hundred cars drove through the North Island Credit Union Amphitheater to receive free food the last day of March. The Amphitheater, located off Hwy 805 and Main Street in Chula Vista, was the sight of the ﬁrst of two massive food distributions Feeding San Diego is holding in Chula Vista. The next one is tomorrow.
By Maureen McNair
Not long ago, I received an email from someone identifying himself only as an opera singer. The opera singer was offering to donate 85 pounds of food to the pantry from a food drive. Could I drive into San Diego to pick it up?
I agree to pick up the donation, but since I did not know the donor, I asked another pantry volunteer to come with me. So one Saturday after a long day of preparing for the food distribution and handing out food, we drove to our meeting place.
By Maureen McNair
Every Saturday morning around 8:30 AM, a dedicated group of young adults start drifting into the pantry.
For nearly a year now, Elias Malouf, the ﬁrst young adult to volunteer at the pantry, has come in to set up tables and start bagging fresh produce. He stays for an hour, then leaves for a martial arts class.
California has a history of anti-Black racism and the unjust seizure of Bruce's Beach in Manhattan Beach tells the story of one example. "In April, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to make amends for a massive land grab rooted in white supremacy, though this remedy came almost a century too late (MSN). In the early twentieth century, Charles and Willa Bruce opened a Manhattan Beach resort that offered other Black families the opportunity to vacation under the Southern California sun. The white residents of Manhattan Beach were not pleased. The Bruce’s neighbors slashed their tires. The Ku Klux Klan set fire to the resort’s deck. These horrifying acts of white vigilantism weren’t what forced Charles and Willa to leave. In actuality, it was Manhattan Beach itself. The city government condemned the entire neighborhood around Bruce’s Beach. They then seized the resort through eminent domain. Though the city said that they did this to construct a park, this park never materialized. The Bruce family, forced from the city, was compensated only one-fifth of their asking price for the land they were forced to give up." Read the full article and see steps you can take to support the ongoing campaign.
In 1968, Betty Boone became the first female president of First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego. As only the second woman to graduate from the University of San Diego School of Law she was truly a trailblazer. “I went to San Diego State University to enroll in a Master’s program, and while I was there I just happened to hear someone mention that there was a law school at USD. So I took the kids back home, called up the law school and found out they were enrolling that night!” For the next five years, Betty worked full time as legal secretary while attending law school at night. “I started with 78 classmates, all men except me. By midterm we were down to 28."
By Maureen McNair
Before we started the South Bay Food Pantry, I really never gave any thought to the difference between a pantry and a bank. But, the distinction is so important that, for instance, the Regional Diaper Bank prohibits us by written contract from calling ourselves a diaper bank. We can use other names, such as a diaper pantry or a diaper distribution, but not the word “bank."
A prolific writer, lecturer, abolitionist and reformer, Harper wrote many poems and novels with anti-slavery themes. A writer for the African Methodist Episcopal church and member of the Unitarian church, her activism combined African American civil rights with women's rights. One of her major concerns was the brutal treatment Black women—including Harper herself—encountered on public transportation.
"We are all bound up together in one great bundle of humanity, and society cannot trample on the weakest and feeblest of its members without receiving the curse in its own soul." ~ Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
At the time of her ordination in 1978, Carolyn joined a group of less than 60 female Unitarian Universalist ministers in the United States. A pioneer in many ways, Carolyn was the first woman President of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee and the first woman President of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association. After her undergraduate degree in Art she completed a Doctor of Divinity degree at Meadville Lombard Theological School and served as the co-minister, with her husband Tom, of First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego for 22 years. Carolyn has also been an unwavering champion of LGBTQIA rights. She offered pastoral care to the gay community from the earliest days of the AIDS crisis, performed civil unions for same sex couples when acceptance in any kind of church was a rarity and championed the rights of transgender people.
By Robie Evans, Director of Operations
We have exciting news! The “River of Life” footpath installation in our Memorial Garden will begin this June, 2021, according to Designer and Artist Jerry Thiebolt. A couple of years ago, we held three brick-stamping events at both campuses to create the “building blocks” of this footpath while leaving a little of our creativity behind as a part of this beautiful garden of six memorial walls. Over 80 congregants of all ages participated in this artistic endeavor and we are excited to see this footpath come into being.
Our Memorial Garden had been a goal of the Church since our current Memorial Wall became fully subscribed. Our garden walls will be inscribed with over 1,000 names of deceased church members in a manner similar to what our current Memorial Wall accomplishes while offering a quiet, open area for contemplation, reflection, and meditation. Esthetically, our Garden complements our Patio and offers windows onto the canyon below. All of this has been accomplished in a design that reflects our vision and mission of our church and our community.
The Garden walls’ recurring theme will be the “River of Life,” with meaningful poetry, symbols and quotes relative to our faith and our lives. The art (clay work) on the walls will be done over several years’ time. “The River of Life flows to the eternal sea,” says Jerry. “We’re here for seconds and this is a perfect analogy. It’s always moving; it keeps flowing - we can never stop it.”
Construction on Wall #1 of our Garden will take approximately one year and will hopefully begin soon after the River of Life footpath is completed. There are a couple of obstacles to overcome first: the specific clay that Jerry uses is no longer available from his clay vendors, and, Jerry is on the lookout for an apprentice in this highly-specialized field; someone who has both engineering and artistic skills.
Watch for updates in upcoming issues of the Window. All questions should be directed to Robie Evans, Director of Operations, at 619-398-4433 or email@example.com.
As Unitarian Universalists, our first two principles guide us to uphold the inherent worth and dignity of every person and to strive for justice, equity and compassion in human relations. As members of First UU of San Diego specifically, we are adopting the 8th principle, which spells out that we are working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions. Dismantling white supremacy is not a niche activity that some members of our congregation get to do in our spare time, like participating in the choir or joining the Friends of de Benneville Pines. Dismantling white supremacy is also not limited to responding to acts of overt oppression, such as participating in a counter-protest of a Proud Boys rally. Dismantling white supremacy means that we, as Unitarian Universalists, all need to work to identify inherent biases in ourselves and our fellow congregants, and hold each other accountable for microaggressions perpetuated and for any behaviors that do not help us to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community.
By Maureen McNair
A year ago this last Sunday in February, some pantry volunteers shared with the congregants at the Hillcrest campus that our South Bay campus was opening a food pantry. I spent six hours on the Hillcrest campus that day talking to 17 additional people who wanted to volunteer. About two weeks later, the governor issued the ﬁrst stay at home order because of the covid-19 virus. All the volunteers eventually quit except one.
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