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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
By Maureen McNair
Have you been looking for a way to volunteer for the South Bay Food Pantry without working inside the pantry or at the food distribution itself? We are looking for a few drivers to join our team of food delivery volunteers. We have a few church families to whom we deliver food every Saturday. We are looking to expand our team of drivers who would pick up boxed or bagged food at the pantry them deliver it to homes. Volunteers only work the Saturdays for which it is convenient for them. Pick up and delivery time is a bit flexible.
By Maureen McNair
Our hard working volunteers handed out food for over 3,300 individuals last month at our southwestern Chula Vista pantry. Our main pantry clients are families and individuals.
I wanted to start our pantry in the 91911 zip code because I knew they community needed more food. We do have clients come from outside the neighborhood, but we are ﬁlling a void in a location where there simply has not been enough food ﬂowing into the community.
By Maureen McNair
I Love to Glean is a start up, non-proﬁt food bank located in Chula Vista less than two miles from our South Bay Food Pantry. I am thrilled to share with you that I Love to Glean is also the recipient of the Sunday generosity oﬀerings for February and March.
I Love to Glean is the brainchild of Karen Clay, a visionary and activist who currently lives in Imperial Beach. Karen is a retired event organizer. South Bay Food Pantry volunteers recognize her behind her mask when they see her long gray hair and ancient red pick up truck.
Karen created this non-proﬁt food bank to rescue the tons of edible food currently going to landﬁlls. I Love to Glean does not distribute rescued food directly to individuals. Instead, they provide that food to pantries, and pantries distribute the food to people experiencing food insecurity. Currently, Karen works with about three dozen pantries.
Karen’s idea is brilliant and one whose time has come.
For Black History Month we're re-sharing resources from our Journey Toward Wholeness initiative. From videos and sermons to articles and stories, these first appeared in the ongoing series "What Can I Do?" which runs in The Window, our weekly church newsletter. Each presents a simple, daily action. If you've been thinking "What can I do about racism?" these are a great place to start. Visit our Celebrating Black History Month page.
Journey Toward Wholeness What Can I Do? Read "a word for white people, in two parts" and watch "Loosen Loosen"
Recent events have exposed the extent of white privilege in our society. Working to dismantle white supremacy and institutional racism is messy, uncomfortable work.
Read slowly, reflect, and wonder at adrienne maree brown's "a word for white people, in two parts"
Listen to Aly Halpert's "Loosen Loosen" song/prayer.
By Maureen McNair
Food pantries across San Diego County, including ours, face several months of food shortages. The US Department of Agriculture farm to family program from which our South Bay Food Pantry has received many tons of food, has largely cut SD County out of federally funded food distribution contracts that cover the next several months. Our South Bay Food Pantry will be relying on food from the Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank and Feeding San Diego. However, both food banks limit the amount of food we can get from them. Feeding San Diego currently allows us food from their warehouse only two days a month. We shop weekly at the San Diego Food Bank warehouse, but our credit limit restricts the amount of food we can purchase there.
Organizing White Men for Collective Liberation (OWMCL) is a national network mobilizing white men to learn, grow, and take action against white supremacy and patriarchy. "White Men Resisting Violence & Hate," is an online discussion of patriarchy, whiteness, & how to organize white men into our justice movements. Learn more and RSVP.
For many communities, having police show up makes a situation worse or harmful. Are you confused about how you'd feel safe if police are defunded? The American Friends Service Committee offers a webinar "What to Do Instead of Calling 911" to explore ways to help all community members feel safe while treated with dignity, respect, and care. Learn more at www.afsc.org/ action/webinar-what-to-do-instead-calling-911.
As consumers, how we choose to spend our money makes a difference. View our list of 12 companies that prioritize the environment in the way they do business.
For more information on recycling, see:
As vaccines begin to roll out and we mark the longest nights of the year, many of us are celebrating our first hints of future light and hope at the end of what has been a long and lonely ten months. Your re-opening committee has been meeting regularly to discuss not how to open our church – our church community has always been open – but when we might be able to see one another in person and how we can best do that safely.
By Maureen McNair
I met the homeless man I will call Angelo in a moment of synchronicity. Angelo, who was so gracious, considers his life a success. I want you to meet him too, at least virtually. Here are the events that converged to bring us together and what he shared about himself. County Public Health closed down another food pantry in Chula Vista for a couple weeks because that pantry has an outbreak of Covid-19. Again. Pantries cover for one another, so last Monday, I drove over to a donor of the closed pantry to pickup 185 pounds of free frozen meat. Our clients at the South Bay Food Pantry will be thrilled to receive such a bounty the Saturday before Christmas!
Friday, Dec. 18th at 7:00pm. This is a ‘one-time-event’, so mark your calendars NOW! All lyrics will be scrolled during the Zoom Singalong, or you can download the lyrics in advance here, or you can use a separate device to download and view the lyrics. A maximum of 100 devices will be able to sign-on to the Singalong. There will be some time to say ‘Hello’ to others before and after the Singalong. Hope to 'see' you for an hour of singing some of your favorite holiday songs with your UU community!
In September 2020, members of the Living the Homestretch committee shared a presentation on many different ways that people can learn, explore, and entertain themselves while remaining safe at home or socially distancing. The ideas shared ranged from scenic local walks, to programs offered by universities, to virtually visiting museums, and even to taking a peek into outer space! While some programs are specific to elders, many options are open to people of all ages. At the end of the meeting, participants shared their own ideas for fun and enriching pandemic activities, adding more options for anyone looking for a meaningful way to spend some winter weeks indoors. Check out the list here: safe_pandemic_activities.pdf.
The First UU Church of San Diego blog is your resource for upcoming events and past event recaps. Leave us a comment to let us know what you think!