In December I promised to share more on Robert Bly, Amercian author, anti-war activist, who launched a men’s movement. Bly passed away November 2021, at94. Later I realized Bly had not visited UUFKC.I had confused him with writer, Michael Pyle.
The latter and a group of writers held workshops at OIT and UUFKC. (To be shared another time.) Those visits were quite a coup for the Basin.And if one wants to understand Monarch butterflies, read Pyle.In addition to his writing he journeyed an entire migration route with these natural wonders.
Bly’s 1990 book, IRON JOHN: A BOOK ABOUT MEN, followed a career as celebrated poet and literary figure.IRON JOHN made Bly, as they say, “a household name” . *About 1995 or 1996 UUFKC men, cross-generational, met to discuss IRON JOHN.
Michael Carlson of The Guardian wrote of Bly,“Influential American poet with an abiding interest in mysticism and the nature of masculinity”.
He continued,“Bly may be remembered, like the two most enduring of original Transcendentalists, for facets of his work other than poetry. Just as Ralph Waldo Emerson’s legacyis as an essayist, the influence of Bly’s essays on poetic theory and his many translations have resonated with readers and his fellow poets.He’s likely to be seen as a 20th century parallel to Henry David Thoreau, as he made his mark with civil disobedience, and later, with a hugely popular prose work…the denaturing effects of civilisation”. **
Over decades Emerson and Thoreau have often beenUUFKCSunday service topics.
IRON JOHN was on the NY Times best seller list 62 weeks. “Bly remains one of the most hotly debated American artists of the past half-century.”***
* The Week, 10 Dec. 2021 **M. Carlson, The Guardian***Tom Butler-Bowdon
In her final service to UUFKC, Intern Minister Alison attended Unitarian Universalist General Assembly (all online) as our delegate, proudly voting for Rev. Sam Trumbore for Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Board of Trustees, as well as for the Statement of Conscience and Social Witness Statements passed by General Assembly.
Statements of Conscience come as the result of a multi-year process of study on an issue voted on by General Assembly. Following the study period the UUA Commission on Social Witness drafts a Statement of Conscience that is voted on by the General Assembly and articulates a mandate for the UUA to focus their efforts and put resources toward achieving its aims. This year’s Statement of ConscienceUndoing Systemic White Supremacy: A Call to Prophetic Action, passed with 93% of the vote despite small but vocal opposition to the idea that white supremacy is a problem in our nation or our Association. This is a victory and a mandate for the anti-racist efforts of our denomination. Let’s stay active in this faithful work at UUFKC by reading the statement and continuing to implement it in our congregation!
Actions of Immediate Witness (AIWs) are non-binding statements of the will of the General Assembly at which they are passed. However, they express important priorities shared by our fellow UUs representing congregations across the nation and the world, and must be passed with a 2/3 majority of the vote. This year’s AIWs include some issues near and dear to the heart of our congregation:
April’s Theme: Awakening May’s Theme: Nurturing Beauty June’s Theme: Play
UUFKC Sunday Service 2021-2022
We are now meeting 11:00-12:00 as of March 13, 2022. We will be meeting for now face to face on the second and fourth Sunday of the month at 1918 Oregon Avenue (Friends Church), downstairs, on the same side of the building as the garden.
On Solstice night, I realized I’d spent most of my day inside, offering my last worship service with you in the morning, followed by RVUUF’s coffee hour and a Father’s Day celebration at my dad’s house. So I set off for a walk, on the longest day of the year, with the sun still bright even at 8pm.
The first thing I encountered as I stepped outdoors was a small bush of yellow flowers, the kind I had woven into a sun wheel on the first summer solstice I celebrated as a solitary pagan, not yet a Unitarian Universalist, 18 years ago. Those first few times I celebrated the turning of the earth felt joyful and maybe a little silly, like I was playing make-believe somehow, even as I was honoring the very concrete, scientifically demonstrable change of seasons. In the beginning, my pagan practice definitely harkened back to the imaginings of my childhood, and while my logical mind at first found this suspect, I’ve come to see that this simply meant I was tapping back in to a way of knowing that I had left behind. Believing in magic, in the power of ritual, of words, of intention-setting, doesn’t feel silly to me anymore, but rather a return to a truth that has lived in my heart, even when my head was taught to discount it. As I walked this solstice night, I plucked a yellow flower and carried it with me.
Later on my walk, I encountered a blackberry bush, many blackberry bushes, mostly done with their flowering, now bursting with fruit, fruit still as green as the plant’s leaves. I was reminded of the theme of the morning’s service, “Coming to Fruition” and I couldn’t help feeling a certain kinship with those little green berries. Yes, they are berries, but they aren’t ready yet. Yes, I am a minister, but still a green one. To have you receive me and affirm me, in all my greenness, has been a gift and a blessing. I can’t help wanting to hurry the seasons of my life along, because it felt so good to work for my purpose and calling, held by and holding this community of fellow seekers on the quest for truth and meaning and lives that express the fullness of our principles. For the first time in a long time, I felt myself living a life that was whole, a life where I could braid family and community and purpose together into my vocation, my ministry. And yet, it is time now for me to pause in being a minister, so I can finish learning how to be the best minister I can be. I want to be a ripe berry now. But instead, I follow the wisdom of the seasons. To everything, turn, turn, turn… And I am still in the season of my learning.
My solstice walk reminded me of the wisdom of my Goddess, the living Earth. She is there for me, as long as I take time to look, as long as I follow Her whisperings in my own heart. She called me outside that night to remind me, yes, I have been on this journey a long time, and yes, there is still a ways to go. Over the next year, as I step away from this community to allow you to take back reigns of the ministry we’ve shared together this church year, I’ll finish my Masters of Divinity at Starr King. I’ll prepare myself to come before the Ministerial Fellowshipping Committee of the UUA and receive their blessing on my ministry, which could happen a year from now, or two, or more, depending on how the journey unfolds. I’ll try not to hurry myself, as the Earth never hurries, but turns at Her own steady pace. I’ll tend my family and my studies, my garden and my calling. I’ll miss tending our community together. I’ll miss you. And yet, I’ll trust the process. When we meet again, I’ll be a ruddier berry, less green, pink even, but still not fully ripe. There is a season, turn, turn, turn…
It is hard to say goodbye from so far away. My thoughts, not to mention my physical body, are planted now in Washington State, the lands of the Duwamish, Stillaguamish, Coast Salish, and Muckleshoot, with Tahoma (aka Mount Rainier) out my window, and my father at center of my care and tending. He’s growing stronger with the treatments and pain management he’s receiving for his cancer, and I’m grateful to be a part of his process of healing, though we are told he will not ever be cured. Even in this season of burgeoning life, Death is always present, and I’m learning to dance with Her as well, to savor the moments She gives us before taking it all away. Being unable to deny that Death is waiting, I’m learning, makes the beauty of life stand out all the more clearly. I cherish these moments with my dad, and I’ll always be grateful to you for giving me space to allow these moments to unfold. I can only hope and pray that as I grow into the fullness of my ministry, I will find a congregation that honors my wholeness as a human being as fully as you have done over these last months. I have found ways to hold you, even as I put my family first. I have found the limits of what I could do for you at this time, and you respected those limits and encouraged me to live within them. You affirmed my ongoing ministry even as I didn’t have as much to give as I had before, or as I had wanted to now. A year ago, I did not expect any part of where I find myself today. After another turning of the wheel of the year, I look forward to seeing who we all become.
At the request of the Board, our Intern Minister Alison represented UUFKC at the recent Pacific Northwest District Assembly. Like our upcoming General Assembly, this was an all-online event, but instead of bringing together congregations from across the country, District Assembly brought together congregations from Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Idaho to vote on the business of our district.
The major vote taken at this year’s District Assembly was a revision to the District’s bylaws that provide for ways of dissolving the district. While it is best-practice for any non-profit to include such a process in their bylaws, there was another reason that the District proposed and voted on this amendment: the ongoing move toward a regional structure rather than a district structure.
When the Unitarians and Universalists merged in the early 1960s, there were around 20 different districts, each with volunteer boards and paid staff to serve the needs of the congregations included in the districts. Now, 50 years later, the duplication of systems represented by 20 different regions has become unsustainable. As wage stagnation worsens, and families must work more hours to meet our basic needs, many districts are no longer able to find the volunteers to staff their boards or the funds to pay their staff. Regionalization, replacing many small districts with five larger geographic “regions,” is being pursued with the goal of eliminating duplication of efforts, streamlining our organization, and enabling our regions to find the volunteers and staff they need to meet the changing needs of our 21st-century faith. If you’re interested in more details on this process, please CLICK HERE for the explanation of regionalization presented to the district assembly by our Regional Lead Rev. Carlton Smith and UUA Director of Congregational Life Staff, Jessica York.
Currently, UUFKC is part of both the Pacific Western Region and the Pacific NW District. However, as the denomination as a whole moves toward regionalization, our district is one step closer to being able to choose to dissolve and participate in the Pacific Western Region alone with the bylaws revision that was passed at last weekend’s District Assembly. If you would like to participate in a district-wide online listening session on Monday, May 24th at 7pm to share your feelings about the regionalization process, CLICK HERE to register. If you want to read more about regionalization across the denomination, CLICK HERE.
Thirty-five years ago, I met two of the most important people in my life: the little boy who would become my husband, Jamie; and the little girl who has been my best friend ever since, Emily. I met these two beautiful people as a result of the elementary school community that all our families were a part of. When times really get rough, Jamie & Emily are always there for me, to this day.
Communities are often built in this way, by good fortune and shared proximity. As Unitarian Universalists, though, we come together to build community on purpose, grounded in principles. And yes, when our UU communities lead us into bonds of lasting friendship, we can count ourselves fortunate. But this is a case where we have made our own good fortune, by choosing to be together, choosing to be vulnerable, choosing to go deeper together. We are co-creators with the Great Mystery, as we participate in the alchemy that transforms a room full of individuals into a beloved community.
I made this choice on purpose as soon as I became a mom. I knew somehow that I needed UU — that I needed YOU — even though then I’d never heard of Klamath Falls, and would never have imagined myself as a clergyperson. The beloved communities that are our UU fellowships had something that the nuclear family I was creating desperately needed. Humans are meant to be together, but our US culture of individualism, capitalism and white supremacy undermines our ability to meet our need to be art of strong, connected communities. The more I participate in beloved UU communities, the more I see that the act of community care is a radical act that helps us reconnect to our shared humanity. We’ve seen this prominently in the last year as the model of mutual aid has flourished in response to the pandemic.
It is in this world that I am becoming a clergyperson, and I’ve been so honored to be YOUR clergyperson for the last eight months. At the same time, I continue to be just another human held in this beloved community. Just last week, my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer, and I was able to fly up to Seattle (so grateful to be fully vaccinated just in time!) to be with him as we begin to negotiate what comes next. Every one of you in the UUFKC community who I have spoken with about this challenging time have affirmed the importance of me being with my father and participating in his care. You’ve held me in your prayers, even as you too are struggling, after a year of isolation and now a time of both rising vaccination rates and rising COVID cases. You’ve offered me grace as I make mistakes because there’s too much on my mind. You’ve given me space to be human. And, together, we keep moving forward, slowly but surely, to get the work of community done.
I’m back in Southern Oregon, and I’m still here for pastoral care, administrative support, and of course, Sunday worship, even as I help coordinate my dad’s care from afar. I’m not sure what the future will bring, but I do know that your support is what makes it possible for me, and for this fellowship, to flourish, in the midst of it all. Thank you for holding me. I, too, am holding you. That is the work of beloved community.
Having turned 83 in April, I share these words of Jack Nicol, who passed 31 December 2020: “It’s a big job keeping up with a young heart and mind”. (H&N Feb. 2021)
’Tis May. Let’s remember Mother’s Day. “Moms make life half as hard, and twice as good.” (A necklace)
One gift from my mother was laughter. From my birth to first grade she kept an annual diary (just discovered) of my young life. No words of first tooth or first steps. She shared comical moments.
Fear not. I have scrapbooks of unending items, cards from baby shower, etc. etc. No wonder I’m into archiving!
I laughed SO heartily as I perused her excellent penmanship. I shared some of her trials and tribulations during April family celebrations: two dinners and three cakes. (Love that math.)
Seems early on I fell off of, or out of beds. My first fall at about four months, a bachelor uncle was living with us. He was to watch me. Claimed he heard a thud, & rationalized a dropped shoe. Really? Mom wore sz-5. How much thud can such make?!?
Not in diary, but definitely my memory, just prior to 2nd grade. A high school neighbor girl was pushing me on my best pal’s backyard swing. Suddenly I went flying to the ground. I was rushed to the ER. Fortunately no concussion or broken bones.
For my family, the written witness of my early falls, was pure testimony to any wackiness I’ve ever or will demonstrate. We all laughed uproariously! (I’m certain such will continue.)
Another written witness was the tale of 2 1/2 -3 year old having to pee, AND unable to refrain from using her father’s hat. Mom did not clarify if it was his winter hat, or his summer Panama. (Both useful in Detroit weather patterns.)
Reading the diary I rationalized that the Panama, set upside down, might seem to a child, “my size, suiting my need”! (I have yet to share this with grandsons.) But, I’m still snickering. Thanks Mom!
Let’s offer THANKS to Sustainable Klamath and the Mills Neighborhood Association for Earth Day Activities. Chief Seattle stated:
“MAN DOES NOT WEAVE THE WEB OF LIFE, HE IS MERELY A STRAND IN IT. WHATEVER HE DOES TO THE WEB, HE DOES TO HIMSELF”.
Then there was Eleanor Roosevelt. In her day some Right leaders blasted her actions as, ‘unworthy of an American mother’. As a mother Eleanor bore six children, losing one in infancy. (She and I share loss of a child.)
In reality her entire life is national and global heritage. Author Tonya Bolden wrote, “Except for her clothes, nothing about ER has gone out of date. She fought battles still being fought, and our world is still not at peace”. (My hope: The world’s young folks!)
Post-Chief Seattle, and prior to UUA Principle 7, Eleanor stated,
“HATE AND FORCE CANNOT BE IN JUST A PART OF THE WORLD WITHOUT HAVING AN EFFECT ON THE REST OF IT”.
Whatever your age, this from Eleanor:
“KEEP YOUR GREATEST GIFT—CURIOSITY—ALIVE” SHARE YOUR STORIES FOR MOTHERS and MOTHERS-OF-HEART HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY
“Since 1675 this American experiment with race and racism is so off-balanced, it makes people think they have to attain a PhD to learn how to be human.” – Kokayi Nosakhere, community organizer and Black man living in Southern Oregon, 2021
Most Americans in 2021 acknowledge racism remains a prevalent societal ill. The question becomes how to address it. Nosakhere proposes seven insights and suggests several personal practices to effectively interrupt basic American socialization, which makes racists of us all.
Learn what a soul wound is and why everyone in America has one.
Learn the history of the idea of race in American history and society.
Learn functional definitions of culture and the new boundaries emerging around said idea as humanity moves towards self-actualization.
Learn how to manage your actions on social media to foster the healing needed in America around the ideas of race/racism.
Learn the 11 tactics Dr. DiAngelo has outlined which reinforced a whiteness-centered worldview. Explore the counters to said tactics designed to decenter whiteness and expand our collective capacity to enter greater and greater humanity.
This $225 class has been discounted to $75 for Southern Oregon UUs. To register for this class, make your $75 payment here: https://www.paypal.me/KokayiNosakhere Make sure to provide your contact information so Kokayi can send you the Zoom link to Monday’s workshop.
Objective: Develop white-bodied allies in Oregon who understand their personal responsibility to heal the American soul wounds and interrupt supremacy socialization practices.
Show LOVE to yourself.
After living in the Rogue Valley for the past two years, I know who it takes to inspire the growth and development most of us can agree on social media many of us want. However, the bridge we all need is a human process which creates the allies strong enough to communicate the benefits of cultural diversity. A collection of open minds can take the next step and envision the practical steps necessary to get there.
As you read in my book, “When and Where We Feel Safe,” first responders inside the organizing planning sessions for the 12th Annual Beloved Music Festival, provided me with the experience of a BIPOC Sanctuary. The space was the brainchild of four young inter-racial geniuses. Their experiment paved a way to showing we pioneers how to fortify BIPOC persons in a sea of white bodies; how to regulate the fear/freeze/flight response and implement the healing modalities shaped at the festival into our community life.
Protect the vulnerable.
Before you is opportunity to do what has never been done before – in Oregon: heal the white racial trauma which lives here. Ashland is home to the pilot program of this healing experiment: a BIPOC Sanctuary. Ashland is the first community to write the next chapter in this story of providing “medicine for the people.” Eugene, Oregon can be the second. Salem can be the third. Bend can be the fourth.
Here is what I am suggesting you do next.
Include the marginalized.
Enroll into the Seven Insights into Anti-Racism Work ZOOM-based class coming up Monday, April 12, 2021 at 6 pm. Cost is $225 per student. (Because you are a UU member, this class is discounted to $75 with a limit of 10 persons total.)
The following endorsement comes from a student of Solsara, who attended a three day event, Interrupting Whiteness, held in the third weekend of February 2020. I attended that event and made a few contributions towards this transformative experience.
“It is my absolute honor to be writing about a very inspirational man and his work. Not only a heart-centered and deeply caring person, his writing and teachings are articulate, passionate, and researched. His investment in his Oregon communities is a humanitarian gift. I imagine he left a large footprint in Alaska, as well; his soulful presence is singular. Indeed, the work he is doing is desperately needed by a society that has been drafted upon marginalized backs. And: he is woefully alone. What measurement of courage, what immensity of spirit is needed, to heal and teach in this environment? In my mind, this makes him a Warrior Leader.
Kokayi Nosakhere is leading by example, through his sharing of life experience as a POC, and by professorship. He is breaking holes in the institutions and spaces that perpetuate a white racialized America, while providing sanctuary for his Brothers and Sisters. Kokayi’s writing is raw and honest, and commands a white audience to listen. He commands us to be still and go within. He writes from a very examined and direct place, which requires – to even begin to enter dialogue with him – to question what it is to be white, or experiencing white privilege. He is teaching us about centuries of oppression from a boundaried place. He is teaching us about who we are, in collective relationship to one another, from a boundaried place. He is doing and sharing his healing, from a boundaried place. And because he is so carefully boundaried, Kokayi is potentially one of the most compassionate people I have ever met. Thank you for who you are, and for all of your work. In our brief knowing of each other, you have changed my life. I expect I am just a humbled one among many. Much love.”
NOTES FROM THE ARCHIVES, PLUS UPDATES ON SOME PAST MEMBERS
Spring has officially arrived. Let’s start with THUMBS UP for two former board members. First, SALUD to Wendy & Bob Millard.
On March 13th Wendy emailed: “On the 15th we have a crew coming to rake the soil on our 3 city lots below our house, between us & city park. Next they’ll sow $600 worth of wildflower seed I bought, & tamp it into soil. The hope is a beautiful field of wildflowers between us and the park, and a field kids from the park can pick wildflowers for their moms. (Seed is specially formulated for arid climates, drought). The city’s working with us, and have agreed to help with sprinklers.”
The March 13th H&N published an education piece, printed over three pages. On page 7, “U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley recently acknowledged Chiloquin Junior/Senior High School Principal, Scott Preston, Chiloquin Elementary Principal Rita Hepper, and VP Janelle Emard, for helping more than 70 Chiloquin families last summer during the fire”. They were presented a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol.
Early in his career Scott was a UUFKC board member, & outside his classroom, cameras in hand, he shot county schools’ athletic highlights; also assisted schools with year books. Scott, et al, SALUD!
In the March 13th H&N, a big photo & caption recognizing 5th anniversary of Blue Zones’ Launch in Klamath Falls, & our certification: Blue Zones Community. Klamath County celebrated having been awarded the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health. YAHOO!
Way back, pre-SOUUP, any given summer Sunday, UUFKC, “closed shop”, & car-pooled to Ashland for a RVUUF service. One trip, our ride included a loud, clunk, clunk under the hood. (That day, passengers’ & our guardian angels did extra duty. We safely arrived & returned to the Basin.) First thing Monday we were at auto shop. Can’t recall which, but an engine-mount bolt was either loose OR lost!
Had a call today, (03/29), from Angela Foxhawk. She went to her Oregon work position in Beaverton in 2020, a month prior to COVID. Now she’s had 14 months there in unemployment benefits.
Best news: They found a house, in Albany. Their offer was accepted this past weekend. Months of search found them looking farther and farther from Beaverton area.
Briefly, she’ll commute to work in the department’s Wilsonville office. Once settled in new home, she’ll work from home.
Her hope: To eventually transfer to the investigations’ aspect of abuse of unemployment benefits. With a name like Foxhawk, she has a good start. Plus, previous extended work years in Colorado’s unemployment benefits. (She shared the two states’ laws vary greatly. Definitely not as one would assume.)
Join the SOUUP Luncheon via Zoom on April 25th after Sunday Service
It has been such a joy to worship together, share together, and learn together among the three congregations of SOUUP. This month, Rogue Valley UU Fellowship in Ashland lives into their mission statement’s call to “Empower Connection” as they bring one of their fellowship traditions online, and open it up to this beloved SOUUP community.
RVUUF has a tradition of a quarterly Soup Luncheon. Soup and bread makers would bring their creations to church on Sunday morning, and after the service, Coffee Hour would be replaced by a bread and soup lunch. Each table would have some conversation-starting questions to help the fellowship flow as the soup was eaten. It has been more than a year now since RVUUF has been able to engage in this tradition, and it is missed. So, RVUUFian Krynn Lukacks and I have reimagined the Soup Luncheon for Zoom and for fellowship with our UU siblings in Southern Oregon.
Find RVUUFian’s favorite bread and soup recipes HERE (this links to a downloadable PDF recipe book). We encourage folks to choose a recipe or two and try them out at home in preparation for our SOUUP Lunch on April 25th right after Sunday Service. On the 25th, we’ll join the SOUUP Luncheon Zoom by clicking HERE. Bring your bread and soup, we’ll have some time to slurp soup together with mics on mute while we hear a song or story. Then we’ll head into breakout rooms and share our soup and bread-making experiences, or dig a little deeper with some of the conversation prompts provided. Sharing food together has always been an important part of congregational life, and we want to be able to continue that experience even though we’re not ready yet to gather and eat in person.
Many of us share the goal of seeing SOUUP connections strengthened as a result of my internship, with our congregations working together to see our UU principles manifest in our Southern Oregon communities. One important way of strengthening those connections is by building relationships, coming together not with the goal of accomplishing work or learning something, but simply to get to know each other, to establish the friendships that will lay the foundation for coordinating our work, learning, and worship in the years to come. I hope you’ll join us on the 25th for some essential fun to empower the connections between us.