As Unitarian Universalists we must speak and act to stop the frequent, state-sanctioned violence committed against members of our shared community. The murders of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, Tony McDade in Florida, and George Floyd in Minnesota, among so many others, were all committed by police or former police. Here in San Diego, we also see police brutality such as that perpetrated against an individual walking her dog on the beach as well as in La Mesa when a police officer had an altercation with a black man at a trolley station. This is not about a few rogue officers. This isn’t about the need for more training. This isn’t even about a change in leadership. Replacing one police chief with another is not enough if the pervasive racist system that empowers them is unchanged. The work of transforming our law enforcement and justice system into a true JUSTICE system will be long and difficult, messy and painful. We commit to that work, in solidarity with our partners. Violence against Black and Brown bodies, committed by officers of the law, demands this system must be remade.
The COVID-19 virus has further highlighted and worsened this country’s systemic inequities. The pandemic has struck Black, Indigenous, People of Color communities at much higher rates than non-Black, non-Indigenous, non-People of Color communities. This is yet another injustice heaped on the great mountain of injustice we as a country have created and allowed to fester - all compounded by the policing of Black and Brown lives to the point of death. All this creates the rage being expressed in the protests.
As people of faith who affirm and promote the interdependence of all life and the inherent dignity and worth of each person, we are called by Love to act.
It starts wherever we are…in ourselves, in our neighborhoods, in our congregations, throughout the San Diego region. It starts now. It starts with US.
From the First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego, Social Justice Executive Team in collaboration with our Journey Towards Wholeness team.
By Martin Kruming
On a warm, sunny day in March, San Diegans went to the polls. After showing identification, they received their ballots, stepped into voting booths, made their choices, handed the ballots to poll workers, and hurried off to work, home, or elsewhere. Thousands of miles away, citizens of Azerbaijan, a former Soviet Republic surrounded by Russia, Iran and Turkey, showed up at polling stations on a cold, blustery day in February to choose members of the Azerbaijan Parliament. They showed IDs, took a ballot which they marked, returned it to the election officials, and stuck around to socialize with fellow voters. Two places-16 hours apart by plane-each trying to make democracy work during a very unsettling and confusing period in history.
By Tony Brumfield
I want to begin my reflection on resilience by talking about the tree outside our window. That tree needs certain things to withstand difficult times. For one, it needs to be firmly rooted. The Earth not only holds it in place but provides nutrients. The tree needs water. When a tree doesn't get enough water, or the quality of its water is poor, the tree becomes vulnerable to disease. Trees also need air. Trees breathe. Trees need sunlight. Sunlight, water, and air are needed for trees to generate food. The temperature of the air can neither be too hot nor too cold. But trees need more than physical things. Trees thrive best in a forest. I must say that we human beings need the trees in our lives. Not just the trees but all the other living things in our world. And they need us. The resilience of this world very much relies on us human beings being responsible, not just for us, but for all of life.
By Rev. Tanía Márquez, Assistant Minister
When I was 14 years old, while visiting my family's town in Southern Mexico, a group of friends invited me to climb to the church's bell tower from where we could see the procession of people coming into the town to celebrate its annual festival. To get to the bell tower, we had to go through a dark and narrow spiral staircase. While looking forward to the view from the town's highest building, the time we spent in the staircase seemed endless. I was afraid, mostly because it was hard to see beyond the step I was about to take, and it was the voices of the people I couldn't see, but who were there with me, that encouraged me to keep going.
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.
By Kathleen Swift, Family and Lifespan Ministry Director
Like most of us, your fears and anxieties over the coronavirus COVID-19 are probably elevated right now. Although the risk for children and young adults appears to be less than for older adults, news of this pandemic is changing daily and is alarming. Many parents are wondering how to talk about it with their children in away that is reassuring, but factual. According to experts at the Child Mind Institute, it's better to talk about it than avoid the subject. Your children have probably already seen people wearing masks and have heard stories from their friends. Not talking about it can make kids worry more.
On Saturday, May 2nd, 2020 we enjoyed a very moving and beautiful online ordination for Reverend Everett Howe. Press the play button to watch the recorded live stream go to our Facebook or YouTube pages to watch and see comments (and add your own). Go to our Facebook page | Go to our YouTube Channel | Download the Ordination Order of Service | Traducción al español .
Len and I spent six weeks trying to escape winter weather, on the Sea of Cortez, near Guaymas, Sonora, where it was a bit warmer than here on the Pacific Ocean. We rented a beautiful hacienda style house, steps from the shore. We settled in and adopted a daily routine: sleeping until the sun woke us, Len feeding and walking the dog while I cooked breakfast, enjoying the sun's warmth while eating breakfast on the patio, watching the fishermen, a diver, brown pelicans, seagulls and an occasional bottlenose dolphin begin their daily routine right in front of us. Getting acquainted with a new kitchen is always a bit challenging, but, after a few days, I could fix breakfast without too much difficulty. Until one morning when I lost the can of Pam Cooking Spray.
The South Bay food pantry will be open every Saturday in May from 11 am - 12:30 pm.
Our virtual annual meeting will be held on Sunday, June 28th at 1 pm. 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!
Hillcrest: bring your food donations to the Hillcrest parking lot every Saturday from 8am-9am. Deliver bags and boxes to the bed of Dana Tomlinson’s dark grey Ford pick-up truck with camper shell.
South Bay: deliver donations directly to the food pantry from 9:30am - 10 am. Get directions to either location.
Peanut butter is our most frequently requested food! We cannot buy it in bulk, so your individual donations of 1 or 2 jars makes a difference! Our other frequently requested items are:
Please join us on the First UU website home page on Saturday May 2nd, 2020 for the online Ordination of Everett Howe. Many UU ordinations include a laying-on of hands, where the people present give a blessing to the new minister and their ministry by a physical connection. The physical connection part is not going to be possible due to the need to stay safe through social distancing so instead, Everett has requested that anyone who is inclined can write a one- or two-word blessing for his ministry in large thick highly-visible letters on a piece of paper and take a selfie with the message. Messages can be anything from "Good Luck" to "We're With You" to whatever you like. When finished, email the photo to EverettsOrdination@gmail.com by midnight on Monday, April 27. We'll make a slide show of the photos we get and show it as part of the online service. As Everett says, "Seeing your friendly faces and your blessings will be a gift to start me on this new phase of ministry with a sense of the loving community that has supported me throughout. Thank you!" Remember to email your photo in by midnight on Monday, April 27th.
It’s time for preparation and submission of your Ministry Team / Affiliate Group / Committee reports for our 2020 Annual Report. Click here for your report instructions and template. Refer to our 2019 Annual Report here, and submit your reports and pictures no later than Friday, May 15 to Rose Riedel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are the top 8 jobs where the pantry could use more support.
Here’s your video Easter gift from First UU Church! Take a moment to enjoy the wonderful flowers in bloom on our Hillcrest campus this week. Photos by Ray Evans. Music: “Morning Mood" from the Peer Gynt Suite by Edvard Grieg.
Both one-time and monthly sustaining donations help us stay open! No amount is too small, or too large.
To donate by check:
Make your check payable to FUUSD, write "SB Food Pantry" in the memo line and mail to to FUUSD, 4190 Front St., San Diego, CA 92101, Attn: Robie Evans.
To donate by credit card:
Go to firstuusandiego.org/donations.html.
Follow the steps and under "Fund" select "SB Food Pantry."
Remember to select the frequency for your donation.
Photos by John and Peggy Holl. Click for a larger view.
Because we’re doing all we can to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and staying at home, we won’t be gathering for our traditional Seder ritual and dinner. And we still want and need to acknowledge this important time. Passover begins tonight at sundown and ends at sundown on April 16th. According to an article in Sunday’s Union Tribune on Religion and Spirituality, many know this year’s Passover will be different. While gathering together with families and strangers for the traditional meals will not happen this year, they can happen virtually. Even in the most traditional practices of Judaism, permission from Rabbis has been given to use social media platforms to gather virtually for the Passover ritual and meal. As Rabbi Laurie Coskey says, “We’ll all have our tables set with our ritual foods, and we’ll all come together as best we can. …Although no theological significance can be attributed to the pandemic, a sense of the vulnerability for our humanity and our need for connection is heightened at a time when we cannot be comforted by our loved ones or beloved rituals in ways we have in the past.” However, she says, “rituals and connections are what nourish our humanity” and so Passover will be observed. Here’s a link on how this year’s Passover can happen for you. May this year’s observance inspire deeper connections to all you hold dear. https://jewishfed.org/news/events/webinar-how-host-virtual-seder
Church member and psychologist Lynn Northrop and her colleague Amanda Mendez are sharing an important tool for self-care in the time of COVID-19. This tool, rooted in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, was created by psychologist Russ Harris. I hope you find this helpful and my deep appreciation to Lynn and Amanda for sharing this tool. ~ Rev. Kathleen Download a worksheet based on the video worksheet en Espaniol | worksheet in English.
We want you to participate in our Flower Communion. You’re invited to send a selfie with a flower and email your photo to Tony at Tony@firstuusandiego.org Please send it by Thursday, 4/9/2020, at noon. Thanks!
Hello friends. It's Meditation Monday. Here to lead us today is Rev. Kathleen.
During this time of physical distancing, it is more important than ever to maintain our social ties to our communities. This is why we will be taking our Social Hour online, starting Sunday, April 5th!
Join us on Zoom after Sunday service for an opportunity to chat in small groups with friendly faces that you would usually see in Bard Hall or on the Patio. Feel free to bring your own mug of coffee or tea to sip while connecting with folks.
The Social Hour meeting will begin at 10:30, using the meeting ID 824-042-297. This meeting will require a different password each week, which will be communicated during the Sunday Service Live Stream - so stay tuned! If you have trouble accessing the meeting, please contact Jenner at email@example.com.
This Zoom meeting will include the use of Breakout Rooms so that we have an opportunity to talk in small, randomized groups and can avoid the chaos of all being in the same meeting at once! Please see the below tips (courtesy of Rev. Sharon Wylie from Chalice UU Congregation) that should help you navigate this new method of doing Social Hour in a way that is enjoyable for all!
By Maureen McNair
In December last year, Rev. Tania gave the go-ahead to open a food pantry at our South Bay campus. Since then, our members and friends jumped right in with their labor and donations. Today, volunteers keep the pantry open three days a week. We have already distributed thousands of pounds of food to our congregants and the wider community. We will continue to grow. The in-person pantry volunteers and donors of food and funds are the heart and soul of the food pantry. It is a testament to our congregation's deep commitment to this pantry that every single time the pantry has needed something or someone, that need has been immediately fulfilled.
Hello Dear Friends,
Many of you may have been targeted by email scams, seemingly coming for our ministers - but from an unfamiliar email address. Please know that no one on our church staff, including the ministers, will ever ask you for money or gift cards in this manner. Check out this article regarding this type of scam: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2019/07/worshipers-targeted-gift-card-scam
Here is a helpful link with information about how to report them: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/paying-scammers-gift-cards
We know this is a time of anxiety and uncertainty. As a community, we can stay connected in Love, even with physical distance. We want to know how you are doing. A team of callers has already been reaching out and spoken to many of you, but it is possible that we may not have your contact information. If you have been attending our church and haven't received a call or email in the last week, please reach out to us with your contact information so we can add you to our outreach list. We are here for you, we can remain connected even with physical distance. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to provide us your contact information.
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