Aspirations by Alison: Toward Healing, Together

My ministry in October has been focused on trauma and healing. Our Southern Oregon UU Partnership community came together with the UU Trauma Response Ministry on October 10th to share our experience of the September wildfires. We learned that so many of the responses we may be experiencing — including irritability, lack of focus, headaches and insomnia — are normal, human responses to an abnormal event. We also learned that we are not alone. We share so much of our experiences of the fires in common, whether we live in Ashland, Klamath Falls, Grants Pass or somewhere in between. We saw that we can provide a community of support and care that stretches across Southern Oregon. At the event on the 10th, we began to discuss the possibility of a weekly, drop-in Zoom meeting for members and friends of all three SOUUP congregations. I was incredibly encouraged to see folks in attendance asking for something that I had been hoping we might one day create — a regular opportunity to experience the love, faith and community which, as Jackie Clement says, “if nurtured…can serve as the very bedrock of our lives.” Stay tuned or be in touch if you’d like to help with or participate in a drop-in community care Zoom with your siblings in faith across Southern Oregon. 

This month, I’ve also lifted up the intergenerational trauma that black folks carry as a result of living with white supremacist oppression in North America for 400 years, and that white folks carry as a result of accepting and perpetrating that oppression. Healing that trauma so we can move forward into something different and better is the focus of Resmaa Menakem’s book My Grandmother’s Hands, which is so much more than the taste I offered you with the help of my friend Kokayi Nosahere at our service on October 11th.  I want to encourage you to read Menakem’s book and use the tools he presents, not just for healing racialized trauma, but for healing any trauma you are holding in your body. Using our breath, our song, and the sway of our body to stay settled and not let our trauma get the best of us can help us process the trauma of wildfire as well as white supremacy. One of the most encouraging messages I took away from Menakem’s book is that healing myself isn’t something I do only for me, but rather contributes to healing our world as well.  

As 2020 winds down, many of us would describe this year as piling trauma upon trauma: COVID 19, so many deaths, living through climate catastrophe, and our deep political divides about to culminate in one of the most significant elections of at least my lifetime. Tools for staying grounded in these times are so essential, and that is a big part of why my ministry this month has been focused on trauma coping. In closing, I’d like to offer you two tools for the weeks ahead. The first is an embodied practice you can use any time, focused on healing trauma through the movements of Tai Chi. I was introduced to this practice in one of my seminary courses, and although it seemed a bit cheesy at first, I’ve returned to it again and again over the past year, along with my five year old daughter, who loves to do these 15 minutes of Tai Chi with me. Every time I revisit this video, I am amazed at how different I feel in my body, mind, and spirit when the 15 minutes are up. 

I also want to make you aware of an offering from UU clergy and congregations across the country to provide spiritual grounding on Election Day, November 3rd. Any time from 7am to 7pm Pacific, you can join the Zoom meeting here (meeting ID: 995 5323 1971, passcode: 954636, find your local dial-in number at https://uuma.zoom.us/u/aeHgtFP7Ry) for as long or short as you like, to find respite, positive energy, peace and spiritual practice on Election Day. As Unitarian Universalists, we understand the democractic process as key to the values and the practice of our faith. What better way to move through this election season than in the company of our siblings in faith? I know I plan to drop in on the 3rd, and I hope you will consider doing the same.  

Finally, please know that I am here to provide you with direct support as well. I am available Tuesday through Sunday to meet by Zoom or by phone, or even just for an email or text message exchange if that’s what you prefer. Email me at intern.minister@rvuuf.org or contact me by voice or text at 541.291.1718.  

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

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!

Let’s start to heal from the trauma of wildfire: Zoom event 10/10 @ 10:30am

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

You must register in advance for this meeting!
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

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.

Question? Email Intern Minister Alison: intern.minister@rvuuf.org.

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

Aspirations by Alison: My first two weeks

September 16, 2020

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.

Our ceremonial waters of beloved community on Alison’s home altar.

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 intern.minister@rvuuf.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. 

Merry Meet, Merry Part, Merry Meet Again! 

–Alison Cole Duren-Sutherland, Intern Minister

Southern Oregon Wildfire Relief: You can help!

As the fires still burn, good people throughout this community are taking action to help their neighbors. Our UU siblings at the Rogue Valley UU Fellowship in Ashland, where at least eight families have lost their homes, has published a comprehensive list of ways you can help on their blog HERE, including donations through RVUUF or to community organizations including the MRG fire relief fund which is being administered by local grass-roots groups, and by assisting low-performing GoFundMe campaigns for fire survivors.

The Klamath County Library Services District also has some fire information especially pertinent to those in our area on their website HERE, thanks to UUFKC member Nac Payne. This includes ways to stay abreast of what’s happening with fire activity in our area, ways for folks to get help if they are affected by the fires, and ways that we can help those affected.

Finally, the Klamath Tribes are working hard to participate in relief efforts. Find information in the infographic below for both providing and obtaining assistance for local fire survivors. In addition, relief supplies will be available for pick up by folks affected by the fires on Wednesday & Thursday, September 16th & 17th, 11am-3pm at 204 Pioneer Street in Chiloquin as well as on Monday as shown below.

The Klamath Tribes is still accepting donations at 3949 S. 6th St in K-falls, and via their GoFundMe https://gf.me/u/yx6sc2

Water Ceremony: A UU Ritual & Our First Worship of the Church Year

Bring a chalice or even just an LED candle to light, and a container of water and something to pour the water into for the first service of our church year. You’ll have a chance to light a chalice in community and share a few words about what your water means to you as you symbolically pour it into the bowl of beloved community. We gather together over Zoom at 10:15am on September 13th. Looking forward to seeing you then!

Our new intern minister

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 intern.minister@rvuuf.org and let’s make a plan to get together a different time.”

White Fragility book Group

Book Group: White Fragility: Why Its So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism

by Robin Diangelo
Many of our members have expressed interest in reading and discussing this book over the summer as we work to become anti-racist. The meetings will happen via Zoom. Meeting links will be sent the week of the meeting.

Tuesday, July 14th, 7:00 pm   Discussion on Chapters 1-4 

Tuesday, July 28  Discussion on Chapters 5- 8

Tuesday, August 11 Discussion on Chapters 9 – 12

White Fragility Reading Group Discussion Guide


Ebook Resource:

Z-lib https://z-lib.org/
This website has lots of ebooks on Anti-racism, including the book White Fragility: Why Its So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism

Job opening: office manager

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: klamathuu@gmail.com

Printable Application

Online Application

Approximately 5 hours per week. $11/ hour. Job description below.

Main Duties:

Bookkeeping for Fellowship, Managing Fellowship Communication

Weekly: 

  • Pick up Mail from post office box; sort & distribute as appropriate to Board and Committee boxes 
  • Deposit collections to Umpqua Bank and keep records.
  • Maintain & update Membership list (in concert with Membership Committee chair), finance reports, and master calendar (in concert with worship committee).  
  • Update Facebook and social media to advertise services and events, and as requested by Board & Committee Chairs 
  • Email Weekly “Faith Brief” blurb to newspaper & membership by midweek. 
  • Email volunteers to remind them of their commitments 
  • Check klamathuu gmail account, responding to or forwarding to committees or board. 
  • Respond to any google voicemail. 

Bi-Weekly: 

  • Processing timesheets.

Monthly: 

  • Email Monthly Newsletter and weekly reminders (This week at UUFKC)
  • Update Website As Needed 
  • Prepare Income/Expense Statement and give to Treasurer for Board Meetings 
  • Reconcile Bank Accounts 

Quarterly: 

  • Send out Pledge update letters 

Annual: 

  • Maintain our registration with the UUA 
  • Order W-2 forms and 1096 form from IRS in the Fall 
  • Prepare and mail out W-2 for each employee in January
  • Distribute Pledge Forms and Letters to all Members (under direction of Stewardship)
  • Distribute thank you letter to all pledgers (under direction of Stewardship)
  • Attend monthly board meeting

Other duties as directed.

Qualifications: 

  • Familiar with Facebook and WordPress 
  • Familiar with Mailchimp or similar newsletter software 
  • Familiar with Microsoft Office and Google Drive/Google suite
  • Familiarity with ChurchSoft is a bonus.
  • Good writing skills. 
  • Finance skills 
  • UU experience preferred