Please join members of the UU Trauma Ministry Team and other members and friends of the Southern Oregon UU Partnership (including UU Fellowship of Klamath County, UUs of Grants Pass and Rogue Valley UU Fellowship) on Saturday, October 10 @ 10:30 am via ZOOM for an opportunity to explore the ways in which the recent wildfires have been and are affecting each of us and how we can support each other and those around us during this important time. Whether or not you personally experienced trauma related to the wildfires, your supportive presence can help our community begin to heal.
You are invited to a Zoom meeting with the UU Trauma Response Ministry on Saturday, Oct 10, 2020 at 10:30 am Pacific
The UU Trauma Response Ministry was established in 2002 and has for the past 18 years worked with congregations across the country who have faced a variety of difficult and tragic circumstances including wildfires in southern California, Hurricanes Charlie, Katrina and Maria; the shootings at Tennessee Valley UU Church as well as many other incidents of natural and human made disaster and trauma. Those who have benefited in the past from the presence of UUTRM report that their work helped greatly, especially through the initial stages of their experiences. Even those participants who didn’t personally feel as though they needed to talk found that their presence was helpful for others who did. Please join us for this important conversation.
As I begin my third week of ministry as an intern with the three congregations of the Southern Oregon UU Partnership, I can hardly believe so little time has passed. So much has happened, in our work together, and in the wider Southern Oregon community. I began my first day with the Starr King School for the Ministry chalice lighting words:
With the kindling of this flame, We reaffirm our commitment To accept life’s gifts with grace and gratitude And to use them to bless the world In the spirit of Love.
Friends, we are already working together to bless the world. As the fires were still burning in Medford, Talent, Phoenix and Ashland, our UU siblings in Grants Pass offered space in their back parking lot to SO Equity, a community organization that has been instrumental in coordinating relief efforts, to collect donations for our Rogue Valley neighbors impacted by the fires. With all that is already underway in our Souther Oregon UU Partnership congregations, lifting up the things that matter on Sunday mornings and doing the work of our faith the other six days of the week, I can only imagine how much we will be able to accomplish together and with our Southern Oregon UU Partnership siblings over the next ten months.
Already, we have an event planned for all members and friends of the SOUUP community to engage in the work together. Thanks to your worship team, who called my attention to her work, on November 7th, Monica YellowOwl of the Klamath Tribal Nation, will offer a free training for our three congregations from 11am to 1:30pm on Zoom to help us learn more about the experience of some of the indigenous peoples who are our neighbors. This training offers a concrete way for our community to answer the call of the 2020 General Assembly’s Action of Immediate Witness statement, which asks us to “Research, identify, and acknowledge the Indigenous peoples historically and/or currently connected with the land occupied by congregations, and find ways to act in solidarity with or even partner with those Indigenous peoples.” I hope you’ll join me at this training to bring this call to action from our faith into being in our community.
In closing, I want to thank you for welcoming me warmly into your community. It was a joy to share Water Ceremony together, especially as fires raged around us. I have placed the water we poured onto the home altar I tend as part of my Unitarian Universalist spiritual practice. There are so many ways to practice our faith, and I’m looking forward to learning how you practice and where you find inspiration as a Unitarian Universalist.
I’m looking to get to know as many of you as possible, so I hope you’ll consider signing up via Calendly for a one on one meeting. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and call or text me at 541.291.2718. My days off are Mondays, so unless there is a real emergency, I won’t likely get to messages between Sunday and Tuesday.
This is the first post in an occasional blog I’m calling “Aspirations” because my official title is “Aspirant” to the Unitarian Universalist Ministry. I love being an Aspirant. Our aspirations — vision of what we hope will come to pass — move us to take action for the world we want to bring into being. What are YOUR wildest aspirations for how we might bless the world in the spirit of love? Let’s see how close we can get to making them come true.
Board President Franny Howes writes: This summer, our UUFKC board was presented with a tremendous opportunity: to have a ministerial intern support us, together with the other Southern Oregon Unitarian Universalist Partnership congregations in Ashland and Grants Pass. In consultation with committee leadership and after a review of our finances, we voted in favor of this and we will be working with Alison Duren-Sutherland this coming year. We are incredibly excited about all that Alison brings to us, and we will all be getting to know her better throughout the coming months. And now, you can hear from her in her own words:
My name is Alison Cole Duren-Sutherland, Duren from my mother, Sutherland from my father, and Cole for the street in San Francisco we lived on when I was born. I am excited to have the opportunity to introduce myself today as the incoming Ministerial Intern for the church year running September 2020 – June 2021.
At the mid-point of my distance-learning Masters of Divinity with Starr King School for the Ministry, and a recognized Aspirant to the Unitarian Universalist Ministry, I am honored and humbled for the opportunity to serve the three UU communities of Southern Oregon (UUs of Grants Pass, UU Fellowship of Klamath County, and Rouge Valley UU Fellowship) as Intern Minister under the supervision of Rev. Sean Parker Dennison of RVUUF.
I look forward to creating worship experiences for each community, and some that we can all share together. I look forward to organizing with you, inspired by the Actions of Immediate Witness passed at our Unitarian Universalist General Assembly this past June and the call of our 5th principle to uphold the democratic process. I look forward to getting to know you as we share joys and sorrows, triumphs and defeats, as we do the work of being beloved community and Widening the Circle of Concern. And I am excited to share with you some of the Education to Counter Oppression that I am receiving at Starr King.
To learn more about my internship, CLICK HERE for the proposal, keeping in mind that this is a living document that provides a framework for my ministry, which will evolve to meet the needs of our community. Through this internship serving the three congregations of the Southern Oregon UU Partnership (SOUUP), I seek honor the memory of Gordon O’Hara of UUGP by serving his vision of a strong and interdependent Unitarian Universalist movement that is a force for good in Southern Oregon. The COVID-19 Pandemic has changed the ways that we can be together, and the Unitarian Universalist Association has provided excellent leadership and resources to help us keep our faith and each other alive by coming together online. In some ways, this gives us more opportunity to participate together in the work of our faith.
A bit about me: I grew up in Portland, Oregon in a liberal off-shoot of the Mormon church. In my early teens, a series of anti-gay measures sponsored by the Oregon Citizen’s Alliance appeared on ballots in statewide and local elections. The hateful message was couched in Christian rhetoric, and when I came out as bisexual, I no longer trusted my faith community to love me as they said they did. At the same time, I was learning about the Bible as an historical artifact, a collection of early common era writings curated by the most privileged men of the 11th century, translated again and again, and ultimately, in my family’s faith, explicitly revised to fit one man’s vision of God’s truth. During my years at Smith College, studying mathematics and anthropology, organized religion was largely absent from my life.
Working at a women’s reproductive health clinic in Seattle after college, I learned about the Unitarian Universalists through the Our Whole Lives curriculum. When I had a tiny person that I was responsible for teaching values, and determined to live into my queerness in a way that was visible to her despite my straight-passing marriage, I ended up in a UU church. Reading the principles and sources, hearing that service is our prayer, and reading #530 Out of the Stars in the gray hymnal, I thought, “Here is a place where the wholeness of myself and my belief is reflected and welcome!” I came home to a community that held the faith that was alive in my heart
I came to Southern Oregon to manage a birth center in 2011, and the roots I have put down here run most strongly through the Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship; I was at RVUUF the first Sunday after we moved. When they invited me into the pulpit, I felt all the talents I love most to use come together into joy, as I researched, wrote and shared the loving, liberal, queer, feminist, sex-positive, justice-seeking UU pagan faith that is alive in me. The call to ministry came in my heart and from my people.
I live in White City with my husband Jamie, and our two daughters, Ramona (12 years) and Frances (5), plus four chickens, two pear trees, and an ever-burgeoning thicket of plums. We love to visit the Oregon Coast, but are staying home these days to protect Jamie, who is at increased risk of COVID complications due to an underlying medical condition. Our garden has been an incredible source of solace for the family during these times of staying at home.
I look forward to sharing more with you, learning the stories you have to share with me, and being of service to and with the UU communities of Southern Oregon. Merry meet, merry part, merry meet again!
Get to Know Our Intern Minister
Alison asks, “Please schedule an online meeting so we can start to get to know each other. All meetings will be via Zoom, and a link will be provided once you schedule. I’m excited to learn the story of this fellowship and how you found your way here, the gifts you bring and your hopes for our future together. CLICK HERE to schedule a meeting. If you can’t find a meeting time on the calendar that works for you, email me at email@example.com and let’s make a plan to get together a different time.”
UUFKC is seeking a qualified individual to serve as the office manager for our growing fellowship. Please send your completed application and resume to PO box 391, Klamath Falls, OR 97601. Questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
For our potluck, you are invited to bring some ‘soul food’ that may come
from a family recipe or that reminds you of your ancestors. You are
also invited to bring a token or photo of loved ones who have died. Join
the event on Facebook!
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.
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.
This is a national training just for small congregations created by the small congregation specialists from all over the UUA. There are four webinars and one in person meeting.
A Year of Learning and Connection for Smaller Congregations
Brought to you by your Regional UUA Congregational Life Staff
We know that small congregations are sharing the Love and Grace of
Unitarian Universalism with their people and their communities every
day. We also know that small churches can be faced with big challenges.
Together we can help small congregations reach toward their greatest
Our congregation may participate in:
Smalls Making a Big Difference Oct. 16
Right Sizing Your Congregation’s Operations Nov. 13
Stewardship and Sustainability for the Long Haul Jan. 15
Being Beloved Community Feb. 12
Pi Day In-Person Event Near(ish) You! March 14, 2020
Why Pi Day? Small number, infinite possibility!
Facilitated by our regional staff with a video welcome from UUA president Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray
Meet other smaller congregation leaders
Share support, ideas, and resources
Explore opportunities for collaboration and ongoing shared learning
First Sunday of the Month–we are recruiting lay speakers!
theme for lay speakers this year is: What sources of knowledge led to
growth and transformation for you? Book, movie, story, source of
knowledge, etc. (AKA: What is “scripture” to you?) How does this source
inspire you, comfort you, or help you make meaning?
We invite lay speakers from our fellowship to speak on this topic this
year. We have reserved the first Sunday of each month for these
Other questions you might consider:
What did the source mean to you when you first encountered it? What does it mean to you now?
What do you like about the source? Do you have any criticisms of the source?
How does this source inform your spiritual practices/personal theology?
We invite you to share a portion of the source with us during the service.
Contact email@example.com to volunteer. The Worship Committee is
available to help interested volunteers develop their talks.
Dear Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Klamath County,
We in the Pacific Western Region are delighted to announce that your congregation has been selected to receive the Unitarian Universalist Association 2019 O. Eugene Pickett Award. This national award is given annually to a small congregation that has made an outstanding contribution to the growth of Unitarian Universalism. The award comes with a certificate of merit as well as $600 to further your good ministry in the world.
Your congregation has embodied the phrase, “small but mighty”. You lost your building to fire about a decade ago, but did not let that be the end. You have, like a phoenix, been born anew. In your small and conservative community, you have been showing inspirational growth in participation. Simple programs, like family game night, have helped you become a welcoming home to many young LGBTQ families in your community. Your use of social media and engagement with the local newspaper project a joyful image of your work. You are a visible face of inclusive welcome and social justice in your small Southern Oregon town. You are living our faith out loud.
Not only do you care for your community, you are well connected with the larger faith. You make good use of UUA resources, from leadership trainings to educational resources. You are active in SOUUP, the Southern Oregon UU Partnership, working with other small town UU congregations in your part of the state. And you are an honor congregation, reliable in contributing your fair share to the larger association.
Thank you for the good ministry you are doing. It is an honor for us all to walk with you in this important work.
Blessing, Rev. Sarah Schurr Pacific Western Region – Unitarian Universalist Association
The Rev. O. Eugene Pickett was president of the UUA from 1979 to 1985. Ordained in 1952, he served as minister of congregations in Florida, Virginia, and Georgia, as well as the Church of the Larger Fellowship. He is minister emeritus of the UU Congregation of Atlanta and the CLF and now lives on Cape Cod with his wife, church musician Helen Pickett.