By Nancy Fisk, First Words Editor with Robie Evans, Director of Operations
Our system of governing policies at First UU requires we have a Lead Minister at the helm, making decisions. In the past, the Lead Minister has had the support of the Associate or Assistant Minister, the Director of Operations, and a Lay Leader. This group of people is known as the Executive Team. Rev. Dr. Arvid Straube started the team in 2010, when he was our Lead Minister, to assist him with personnel matters.
As Rev. Tom Owen-Towle reminded us recently, things around us are always changing and the best approach to life is to be an ever-changing person. Tom's words have special meaning during our current pandemic. Of course not all change is for the worse.
Reopening Team Progress Report
Happily we have experienced two in-person large gatherings on our campus, the Saturday evening musical event in honor of Rev. Kathleen, and the Sunday worship service in the meeting house marking the end of her ministry with us after 14 memorable years. In most ways the recommended protocols about masks and distancing were observed, and so far no negative outcomes have been reported. We are pleased to continue recommending more in-person happenings.
FUUSD Reopening Team Update
Our experiences with small group meetings are going well. No major issues have arisen, and we feel more confident about how other meetings may go. Any other small groups that wish to begin to meet on campus should apply for permission through Robie Evans. Church groups are free to meet off campus. Vaccinations are recommended. Mask wearing should continue. Of course anyone with symptoms should not participate. Each group leader should keep track of those who attend. Larger groups, up to about 30 people, will now be permitted to meet on campus. Please apply through Robie Evans to get the okay. The on-campus mask "mandate" continues, along with the other recommendations set out for small groups. The church has acquired a portable sound system which could help facilitate large group meetings.
128 voted. There were 36 absentee votes and 92 regular votes (all weighted equally).
Board Officers (elected with at least 84.38% of the votes): Vice President/Pres. Elect FY21-22 / Pres. FY22-23: Cora Pendergast. Treasurer: David Rogers (one-year term), Rosalba Ciampi (three-year term) and Rhiannon Roselle (three-year term).
Nominating Committee (elected with at least 93.75% of the votes): Sarah Ormond (one-year term) and Mindy Hochgesang (two-year term).
Budget: Passed with 93.75% of the votes.
8th Principle: Passed with 86.72% of the votes.
Statements of Conscience: All passed. #1 (93.75% of the votes), #2 (91.41%), #3 (95.31%), #4 (91.41%), #5 (94.53%), #6 (95.31%), #7 (96.09%), and #8 (92.19%).
If you missed the meeting, please watch the Annual Meeting video (membership login required).
Journey Toward Wholeness What Can I Do? Learn more about California's history of anti-Black racism
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."
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.
The Genesis of a Food Pantry
By Maureen McNair
In June of 2019, four or five congregants attending the annual meeting in the Meeting House wrote down that their vision for the future of First UU included a food pantry or a soup kitchen. At the time, the primary concerns on the minds of most people at that meeting were things such as how we would respond to the offer from UCSD Medical Center to purchase our Hillcrest campus; whether we would expand our music, dance, and art programs; and, requests that we find more ways to enjoy meals together. I didn't believe those few requests to start a food pantry would make it into the top five goals of the new strategic plan the congregation was providing input for. But, those requests reflected such an acute and immediate need that, as a newly elected member of the Board of Trustees, I thought we should do something about them.
Over the course of several years, First Church undertook an ambitious plan to completely renovate the central meeting center. Now called the Welcome Center, this shining new building hosts events, ceremonies, workshops, services, a full commercial kitchen, a library, meeting rooms and many activities.
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