Category Archives: Uncategorized

A COVID Carol by Sally

O come all ye sinners

            but only up to six feet

                        and smile

            behind your mask

It’s the festive season

            see the traffic

                        and the mobs out shopping    

            don’t go there

Retreat to Zoom

            and look your best

                        lipstick and earrings

                                    sweatpants and slippers

Send your love

            across the airwaves

spread it into cyberspace

            podcasts and YouTube

                        let it go viral

O listen all you citizens of

            right here on earth

                        can you hear the stirrings

                                    can you smell the ozone

it’s time, it’s time, it’s past time

No chance to go back now

                        =this just in=

                                    it’s a new morn, a new day

Embrace the change, be the change

                                    Glory, hallelujah

This COVID Carol was shared at our December 27th Discussion Worship by fellowship member Sally. We are pleased to share it here with her permission.

Klamath Falls UUs: Putting our values into action at the City Council

Big gratitude to those from UUFKC who continue to side with love by bringing our Unitarian Universalist principles into the public square. We’ve seen many letters to the editor by members and friends over the last few months. Most recently, at the December meeting of the Klamath Falls City Council, our Social Justice Chair Courtney and Board Chair Franny both spoke in support of the resolution, recommended by the Council’s Equity Task Force, “condemning racism, prejudice, and bigotry in any form and recognizing the individual, societal, and economic harm caused by these inequities.”

Drawing from her experience as an educator, Franny spoke about institutional racism, where strict rules are created, but selectively enforced based on the race of the rule-breaker. She also spoke about how our Unitarian Universalist faith, and specifically our first principle affirming and promoting the inherent worth and dignity of every person, informs her anti-racism.

Courtney’s testimony drew a clear line from the founding of Oregon as a state for whites only, built on native genocide and removal, to the militia movements that we see today. She shared the everyday racist education that she experienced growing up in Klamath Falls, and highlighted the disproportionate impact of COVID on black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) in our communities. Her message was hopeful; by learning our history and addressing the inequities, beginning with the passage of this resolution, we have the power to change this community.

We are excited to report that this resolution was passed by the city council! We will continue to hold our elected officials accountable to upholding the resolution that they passed, and look forward to seeing the positive shifts in Klamath Falls that may grow out of this resolution.

Aspirations by Alison: Celebrating Thanksgrieving

WHY THANXGRIEVING?
for years, i had a hard time conceptually giving thanks on a holiday when the major players in the holiday had been massacred and their lands had been invaded and occupied: whoa! how to give thanks for that, dude?! i mean, just sit with that for a moment: if you look at it from that perspective, other than commemorating it so that no one would forget what had happened, would you really want to celebrate that day? […] Part of my main purpose in writing about WHY THANXGRIEVING? is that doing this is part of my assignment in the world to REMEMBER THE “FORGOTTEN”, especially those who lost their lives in the HIV pandemic.”

— Ibrahim Baba Farajaje, of blessed memory, former Provost & spiritual ancestor to Starr King School for the Ministry

Nearly a month out from Thanksgiving, my words have been slow to come, but no less necessary to be written and shared. Baya Akomolafe, Nigerian poet, philosopher, psychologist, and professor, shares an African saying with his audiences: “The times are urgent, let us slow down.” I’m embracing the slow path, and hope you will join me here. 

Ibrahim Baba’s words above are part of a longer piece where ze explores the Thansgrieving ritual ze adopted after a friend who had hosted their community’s epic queer Friendsgiving celebration lost his life to AIDS just before the holiday. The holiday season can be a time of deep grief for many of us, remembering those who are no longer here to celebrate with us, or being unable to go home to our family of origin because of ruptures there. This year, we also grieve the ways we are used to celebrating that are not safe right now because of the global pandemic. 

As Thanksgiving came and passed, I felt deeply the grief that came with the holiday. Just weeks before, the Southern Oregon UU Partnership community learned from Monica YellowOwl about the experience of land seizure and genocide that the Klamath, Yahooskin, and Modoc peoples, on whose lands UUFKC makes its home, have endured. Our training brought home the reality of what we celebrate at Thanksgiving: indigenous genocide at the hands of my ancestors. This Thanksgiving, I also felt the grief of watching as the media portrayed the white murderer of a young black man in Ashland as a loving father fallen on tough times, sharing the murderer’s GoFundMe page before any information on the victim or ways to support his family. (I won’t link to those news articles, but you can learn more about this incident from the perspective of local black activists HERE.) I felt grief this year as I confronted these layers of the meaning of whiteness in Southern Oregon. 

But I didn’t honor Thanksgrieving. Instead, I tried to push the grief away and press on. What right do I have to take time to feel the pain of systems of oppression that I benefit from? I asked myself. But that wasn’t helpful, and it wasn’t possible to avoid the grief. My better self knows this, and I’ve even preached it. Our service in October, drawing from Resmaa Menakem’s text My Grandmother’s Hands reminds us to use the tools of settling our body to stay with even the hard feeling, so that our pain can be metabolized instead of living inside of our bodies as trauma. I’ve included a video of that worship service below, in case you need the reminder too. 

It was about a week after Thanksgiving when I realized I had no choice but to pause and feel the grief. And as I wept, I remembered a promise I made to you in September in the covenant I shared at my first worship service as your intern minister: I promise to serve as a conduit through which the Spirit of Life may flow into our midst. To fully live into that promise, I had to stop and feel the grief. Grief flows from the Spirit of Life in the face of life made disposable, life desecrated, love nowhere to be found. Sometimes, the Spirit moves us to grieve. So even if you’re celebrating late like me, I encourage you to celebrate Thanksgrieving this holiday season by allowing yourself time and space to feel the grief so many of us are holding right now for so many reasons. 

In Faith, 

Alison Duren-Sutherland
Intern Minister

CHALICE CRAFTING WITH THE SOUTHERN OREGON UU PARTNERSHIP

The flaming chalice is the symbol of Unitarian Universalism. At UUFKC, we light a chalice at the start of every Sunday worship service. By making your own chalice, you can join in on Sunday and light your own chalice at home!

Southern Oregon UU Partnership Intern Minister Alison is offering three different chalice crafting options for your family. Watch the video above to learn how to make a Candy Dish Chalice, visit the Children’s Program page of the Rogue Valley UU Fellowship (rvuuf.org/worship/childrens-program/) and click on the picture to learn how to make a Plastic Egg Chalice, and visit UUs of Grants Pass on Facebook (www.facebook.com/UUGrantsPass) to learn how to make a Wine Glass Chalice.

All the materials for these crafts can be found at the dollar store, but if you would like materials provided to your family via postal mail, please email intern.minister@rvuuf.org with your mailing address. You do not have to be a kid to make a chalice! They also make great gifts. Happy crafting, and happy chalice lighting!

December Chronicles by Barbara Turk

Now only in memories and Archives’ photos are the many December Sunday services and the, “Stone Soup Story”. Also, a roaring fire in the big fireplace, and the excitement of children in late December.

THANKS to Monica YellowOwl and Sally Ann Palcovich for their recent sharing with us.

—Former and late Gov. Tom McCall said our heroes are not only the statues in parks, but the individuals working in their community, for the community.—

THANKS to Faith Leith for stepping up as a candidate for the Oregon legislature.

CONGRATS to Phil Studenberg on his election to a second term on our City Council.

CONDOLENCES…to Dr. Rand Hale and family, on the recent passing of his mother. Pre-retirement Dr. Hale served many of us as PCP.

…to the family of Dr. Sharon Melnick. She, too, had a lot of history with many of us. Physician and psychiatrist, Sharon was also a shaman. With her late husband, Robert Chinook, also a shaman, “They established a community of healers and performed innumerable rituals for community members at times of grief, celebration, and solstice.” (H&N obit)

UUFKC HISTORY TIDBIT: HOW KIN FOUGHT THE OCA

In the 1990’s progressive ministers formed the Klamath Interfaith Network, having left the Klamath ministers’ group, which supported the Oregon Citizens Alliance. The OCA put anti-LGBTQ on our Oregon ballots, over three election cycles. The OCA’s ballot measures passed three times in Klamath County, but failed, state-wide, three times.

KIN activists included Robert Chinook, Ben Kerns, Lou and me, along with liberal, mainstream ministers. We asserted the OCA’s hate messages were not a part of every Klamath County heart. That was quite a gift to our community, our churches, the UUFKC.

Tho KIN no longer exists, an off-shoot is the Peace Readers, vibrant and active. A number of us, along with, “friends” of UUFKC are involved.

Lastly, Julia Jackman broke her ankle; Terri Horn is my, “sister” in breast cancer recovery. HEAL!!!

JOYOUS HOLIDAYS!

–Barbara Turk, turkiyebabs@charater.net

Aspirations by Alison: Gratitude in These Times

My family adopted a daily gratitude practice at a time when we were struggling, not because we felt very grateful, but because we had learned about the mental-health benefits that come from focusing daily on what is good in our lives. In the years we’ve been practicing gratitude together, I’ve found that there is always something to be grateful for, even if it’s just the dinner we’re having as we share our gratitudes.

I am grateful we can eat home-grown greens. I’m grateful for the big rain that means no more fires for now. I’m grateful for our home, our family, TV that makes me laugh. When I pay attention, I find gratitude everywhere I look, even if it coexists with deep sadness, pain or anxiety.

These days, I’m grateful for the technology that keeps us connected when we’re physically distant, for the people who wear their masks to keep friends and strangers safe, for the opportunity to work from home, for the innovations we’ve made as we figure out how to cope with the pandemic–like the collaboration between our Unitarian Universalist congregations across southern Oregon that has allowed me to minister to all three together, since we’re all doing most everything online anyway.

My gratitude and my faith inspire me to work for a world in which the things that I am so grateful for are available to anyone, from the basics like food and shelter, to the ability to stay home to stay safe from the pandemic.

–Alison Duren-Sutherland, Intern Minister

Kid SOUUP Zoom for Children & Youth 1st Sun of the Month @ 10AM

Our Intern Minister, Alison Duren-Sutherland, in partnership with Religious Explorations teachers from Rogue Valley UU Fellowship, will be offering a 10am Zoom opportunity for children and youth from the three congregations of the Southern Oregon UU Partnership (SOUUP) on the first Sunday of each month. Kid SOUUP will include Chalice Lighting, Roses & Thorns (sharing our joys and sorrows), and more!

Registration is required. This just means you have to enter your email and name prior to the meeting so we can track interest and participation and keep this a safe space for our kids. Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEpc-GrqDorGdeUZPHpxPPr2BaSEsigOU2U After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with the link to join the meeting. If you’re interested, we encourage you to register, even if you’re not sure you can make it. That way, we know you’re interested and can contact you next month for our next Kid SOUUP Zoom event. You can even register while the meeting is happening and join right then.

A Salute by Barbara Turk

In November when perusing your ballot for the 2020  general election, please salute and thank our local League of Women Voters, many Oregonians, and past  League president, KATE MARQUEZ,  for  that mail-in ballot. 

Much time, many efforts put it on our ballot. It PASSED!  Oregon— first in the nation to have it. (But, do know  there were decades of  pro / con Oregon history before that vote by citizens.  Nothing good is ever easy.) Even today  OPB News states, “…in Oregon it’s old news”.  “It’s been a law now since 2000”, said Phil Keisling, former Secretary of State.

I want to salute KATE MARQUEZ,  for her continued heartfelt neighborliness and good works, for all of us. Here’s why:  After vote by mail, Kate spearheaded the drive to get non-partisan voting for Klamath County Commissioners on county ballot. PASSED!  Again with LWV, she worked on the Klamath County Transient Room Tax (TRT). 

It had been brought to the League’s attention that the county’s TRT supported  ONLY the fair grounds. Those folks had no interest in sharing any funds.  What about assisting  arts,  tourism, and their meaning to our county?  

Kate researched and shared with League:
Klamath County had  lowest TRT in the state, and how other TRT’s benefitted  their counties. (It was as if Klamath County was in the dark ages.)

To expand  TRT, League gathered petition signatures. One Third Thursday, Kate and I manned a booth, and explained the petition to a local businessman. His response:  “Well, this is a no-brainer.”   It made the county ballot, and PASSED!  

About TRT:  A tourist stays at a motel or private campground, pays a TRT  (we all do, whatever state we travel!).  It goes into our county, ”tourist” grants fund.  That  moniker actually is a very broad umbrella.  Many local groups have benefitted from the tax, including our county museums.   Such continues until voters change it.

In 2014 Kate was, ”the force behind petition to create a county charter”. It was defeated., But two out of three PASSED is great.

There is no sitting around for Kate.  She also participates in: 

***The Oregon Community Foundation Statewide Leadership Council 
***Klamath Community College Board of Trustees (public election)
***Ragland Rife Foundation Board
***Kate served seven months as RRT interim director, awaiting selection of a permanent, paid director
***Klamath County Tourism Grants Review. Board 
***Klamath County Rotary
***Philanthropic Quest (local trainings for nonprofits). 

That brings me to Kate’s connection to UUFKC.  Long ago I learned she knew about UU’ism from a marvelous source—an aunt, and  U.S. Senator,  Maurine Neuberger.  She became one of Oregon’s U.S. Senators  upon the passing of her husband, Senator Richard Neuberger.  Maurine was elected, Oregon’s first (so far only) female U.S. Senator.

Tho not a UUFKC member, Kate certainly is a, ”friend” and her lifetime activities are in step  with our seven principles, and UUA’s, “Side With Love”.  Kate’s giving of her skills to the region has been most ample.  I’ve shared only a portion. 

I wanted to nominate Kate for a 2020 Spirit Award.  But, in this time of Covid-19, wild fires, and smoke, all we can offer is:

                                                        KATE, THANK YOU!

Aspirations by Alison: Let’s #UUtheVote [UPDATED!]

(scroll to the end for links to ongoing #UUtheVote action opportunities)

On my first Sunday morning leading worship as Intern Minister with Unitarian Universalists of Grants Pass, in the wake of the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, I heard our collective grief and fear for the future. I shared that, grounded in the 5th of our 7 Principles, I was preparing to exercise my right to vote, and writing letters to encourage others to do the same. And the congregation asked me, in their words and in their silence, how can it be enough?  

The following Wednesday, the day that the sitting president refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, and the day that no one was held legally accountable in the killing of Breonna Taylor, I joined UUA President Rev. Susan Fredrick Gray and UU the Vote for their Gather the Spirit online event, celebrating the work our faith has done together in 2020 to embody that 5th Principle. During the call, it was announced that the number of voters reached through the work of UU the Vote had already surpassed their goal of one million, by another 300,000 people – and the work continues! They’ve increased their goal to 2 million contacts, and we can be a part of it! Gather the Spirit ended with a call to action. Phone banks are ongoing, and their Week of Action is coming up in late October. (I’ll share more as the week gets closer.) Their partner organization, Vote Forward, makes it easy to mail out personalized letters to encourage folks to vote.  It is not too late to get involved, in fact the most important time is now. Vote Forward’s Big Send date is October 17th – plenty of time for you to get a few letters ready to mail out to encourage others to vote.

I’ve signed up for my first UU the Vote phone-banking session, calling voters in Florida, on Tuesday the 29th. I’d love to see some familiar faces there on Zoom with me. Folks who shared about their participation in these phone banks during Gather the Spirit said that even as introverts who didn’t like to call strangers on the phone, they had felt well-prepared by the Zoom training provided and had had fulfilling conversations with the voters they called. Make no mistake: these contacts will lead to more people voting. This is crucial, and not only from a UU perspective. The most important thing we can do to ensure a peaceful transfer of power is to make sure the outcome of the election is clear and resounding, impossible to deny. My UU faith assures me that the more people participate, the closer we will come to achieving justice. The arc of the moral universe is long, and it is ours to bend.

Starr King President Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt shared with me recently a teaching that she carries close to her heart these days: “It is too early to despair.” While there is work still to be done, it is too early to despair. While we are here to do the work, it is too early to despair. While the outcome is yet unknown, it is too early to despair.  So, my friends, let us not despair yet. Instead, let us #UUtheVote!

UPDATE! With one phone banking session under my belt, I feel at ease with the technology and excited to continue to multiply our impact by working together in this way. Although many of my calls ended in hang-ups, I was able to identify a few Spanish-speakers to get a follow-up call in their own language, as well as help a woman figure out that she could vote early, and where her polling places would be for early voting. I immediately signed up for the next Florida phone-bank on October 27th, and I’d love to see you there.

I’ve also learned that my fellow Ministerial Intern, Jennifer Hackett in Eugene, has organized an ongoing West Coast UU the Vote action, where folks can join to make calls every Saturday at noon up until the election. As with the national UU the Vote actions, all training will be provided when you log on to Zoom for the event at noon on Saturdays HERE with additional training materials available to review prior to the Zoom events HERE.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED & #UUtheVOTE:

  • Sign up to phone bank with other UUs from around the country with #UUtheVote national HERE.
  • Sign up to write letters to infrequent voters with Vote Forward HERE.
  • Join West Coast UUs to phone bank. CLICK HERE to join the Zoom session on Saturdays at noon.

–Alison Duren-Sutherland, Intern Minister
Southern Oregon UU Partnership

UUA Common Read

Common Read 2019-20

A Common Read invites participants to read and discuss the same book in a given period of time, building community in our congregations and our movement by giving diverse people a shared experience, shared language, and a basis for deep, meaningful conversations.

Each year, the Unitarian Universalist Common Read is chosen by a committee including both headquarters and field staff of the UUA. Anyone may nominate a book. Read the criteria for Common Read selection. Nominate a book for 2020-21 using our online form.

The Common Read Selection Committee is pleased to announce that An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (Beacon Press, 2015) and An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People adapted by Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese (Beacon Press, 2019) are the new Common Read. 

covers of Indigenous Peoples' History of the US and young people's version

In 2015, Beacon Press published an extraordinary book by Indigenous scholar and activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz that challenged readers to learn US history through a narrative that centers the story, the experiences, and the perspectives of Indigenous peoples. In 2019, Beacon Press published an adaptation for young people by Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese. Upending myths and misinformation that have been promulgated by leaders and media, it asks readers to reconsider the origin story of the United States taught to every US school child.

In 2020, our nation will approach the 400th anniversary of the much-mythologized encounter at Plymouth between colonists and those native to the land, and our own General Assembly 2020, in Providence, RI, will speak to the truths that contradict the mythology. At the same time, movements in response to global and local environmental emergencies, many involving UUs, are increasingly recognizing the connection between indigenous rights and climate justice. This Common Read invites UU congregations, communities, and individuals to learn the story of trauma and resilience that is the Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States.

If you are not familiar at all with this history, we suggest that you read the version for young people. The discussion guide, available in mid-October, will work for readers of either version. Note: the original version is available as an audio book.

For more information see: https://www.uua.org/books/read?utm_source=Members&utm_campaign=1d7a4f827a-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_09_06_02_38_COPY_13&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_4fe96110f7-1d7a4f827a-224627873