April Chronicles By Barbara

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.)   

–Barbara Turk, UUFKC Archivist

Aspirations by Alison: Empowering Connection with Soup for SOUUP

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. 

–Alison Duren-Sutherland, SOUUP Intern Minister, intern.minister@rvuuf.org

Trans Day of Visibility Worship Draws Participants from Around the U.S. & the World

On Wednesday, March 31st, we gathered together for an interfaith worship service to celebrate the lives, work, dreams, and contributions of trans, non-binary and gender-nonconforming siblings in Klamath Falls and around the world. UU Fellowship of Klamath County & Klamath Falls Friends Church hosted Rachel Crandall, founder of TDOV, to share the origins of this holy day. Pastor Anthony of the Friends Church will led us in the ritual of Waiting Worship. In this sacred space, we honored the image of the Divine in which trans people are so beautifully made.

Our worship on Wednesday was a testament to trans joy, made all the more powerful by the fact that the US president recognized Trans Day of Visibility for the first time on that very day! Rachel shared with us her excitement that a project she had started because she couldn’t wait any longer for it to come into being grew so broadly. One participant in our worship service Zoomed in from Indonesia, and shared that they too had held an interfaith Trans Day of Visibility service, emphasizing the global impact of this sacred day and Rachel’s important work.

Thanks to all who attended and shared. Our hearts are filled with joy.

Thank You for Supporting Citizens for Safe Schools with Out Dance Project

UPDATE: While there were some technical difficulties during the UUFKC-sponsored performance of OUTDance Project, prerecorded performances are available to view via YouTube HERE (scroll down till you see the video stills, and click to watch). Thanks to all who came out to support this project, in spite of the tech challenges! We appreciate you, and the youth and mentors of Citizens for Safe Schools appreciate you too!

UU Fellowship of Klamath County Social Justice Committee joins our partners at Klamath Falls Friends Church in sponsoring OutDance, a virtual performance of queer stories and dance from rural Oregon. To learn more about the project and purchase tickets, CLICK HERE.

While the performance can be viewed via live stream for free, we encourage folks to buy tickets to the 1pm performance on 3/28, as proceeds from this performance support local Klamath Falls non-profit Citizens for Safe School (CFSS) who says:

“We are a grassroots, positive youth development, non-profit organization. Our main focus is on a one-to-one, community-based mentoring program for youth in the 4th-8th grades. We pair a child with a volunteer mentor and they spend at least one hour per week together for one year. The match is focused on having fun and developing appropriate social skills, but significant positive impacts are made on the youth’s school attendance and academic performance as a result of the relationship with their mentor.” UUFKC Social Justice Committee chair Courtney serves as a CFSS mentor.

The performance draws from stories and songs submitted by queer people living in rural Oregon, weaving words and movement together to remind ourselves and our communities that we are here, queer and fabulous, enriching our rural communities every day. There will be multiple performances, but to support CFSS, please purchase tickets to the 1pm performance on 3/28. Following the performance, there will be a facilitated conversation prioritizing the voices of queer, rural Oregonians as we reflect on our own experiences and how they relate to the performances of OutDance.

Oregon UUs are Talking About the 8th Principle

REPORT: PROSPECTIVE NEW UUA PRINCIPLE  # 8 BEING DISCUSSED IN PORTLAND

On February 10, 2021, our Archivist Barbara Turk attended a conversation on the proposed 8th Principle held via Zoom through 1st Unitarian in Portland, OR. Barbara has prepared this report on the conversation to help introduce this community to the proposed 8th Principle, which has been passed by UU congregations across the country, though not yet by the UUA

For this special  Feb. 10th  ZOOM, the speaker was Paula Cole Jones, of All Souls Unitarian in Washington, D.C.  A member of  All Souls since 1969, she described it as a “multicultural” congregation.  (Having visited it, I concur.)

Jones has been a “Principle Originator” of the proposed 8th Principle since 1999. That brings me to a long-ago story shared by UUFKC founder, Ben Kerns.  Ben spoke of a fork in a road: One direction  has a sign, “TO HEAVEN;” the other has a sign, “DISCUSSION ON HEAVEN.” Ben said that UUs always take the road to ‘Discussion,’ meaning that change is often a long time coming.

In contrast, Jones asserted UUs can be a vanguard of social momentum, and shared that over the past four years 29 UUA churches, from PA to HI, have given approval to the proposed 8th UUA Principle, which reads: 

“We covenant to affirm and promote journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse, multicultural beloved community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.” 

Jones opened with, “WORK EQUALS GROWTH”.  (Amen to that!). Next she explained the following  visual:

A: Dominant Cultural Paradigm
*White men *White traditions

B: Multicultural Paradigm

Under A, we have our history, our principles, our documents and our structure. This is our history, but what’s our design for B? Jones is hopeful that the 8th Principle will act as “a bridge” between A and B.

Jones continued with the following points:

  1.  Our (USA) system has been damaged by segregation
  2.  Jones stated current UU Principles are basically, “feel good statements”. So we must ask: “Is this how we live, or do we just work toward it?”  She added that the Principles don’t hold us accountable—not one, “Thou shall / shall not.” 
  3. Do we truly relate with, affirm, covenant and coordinate our Seven Principles?  
  4. We have a Mission Statement, we have a vision of our community, we covenant and basically promise one another.
  5. We have history. Jones asserted, “That’s not by chance. History is who we are”.
  6. “And overall we have accountability–definitely not to be overlooked.  History and accountability go together.” 

Jones shared that the 8th Principle is for “spiritual wholeness,”  emphasizing that passage of the 8th Principle, by a congregation or by the UUA as a whole, doesn’t mean much if the principle is not then embodied by those who have passed it. 

Basically, Jones shared, UUs need an identity change.  The old stance of, “Beloved Community” is fine, but we need to find ways to broaden who is included in these beloved communities, and become a “community of communities.” 

Folks may be kin, but think very differently.  How does each fit in?  How are we living diversity in our cities?  Can we become part of a community of communities, beyond our own beloved community? Can/will we truly become a “JUUST Community?”

Giving us an abundance of questions, Jones ended as she began:           

                             “WORK EQUALS GROWTH”   

–Barbara H. Turk                                                                         

March 2021 Chronicles by Barbara Turk

To keep up with Peace Readers I continued reading Toni Morrison’s, BELOVED;  also read, TO BE A SLAVE, by Julius Lester; and viewed all OPB’s  BHM programs.

Lester’s book gave me a reality check:  “The ancestry of any black American can be traced to a bill of sale. In many instances that cannot be done.”

He wrote that in the early 19th century the American Slavery Society, and other northern abolition groups, took down stories of thousands of blacks, who escaped the south.  Those narrations swayed northerners’ attitudes about slavery, and the eventual Civil War.  Interest in the ex-slaves stories diminished until 1930’s, when a Federal Writers’ Project interviewed former slaves, still alive & willing to speak.  

In 1963 Lester learned the 1930’s narratives were kept in the Archive of Folksong, at the Library of Congress. The Writers’ Project had verbatim  narratives, preserving speech patterns, language,  giving posterity the “earthy directness communication”. (Lester pg. 14-15)  

In the 19th century the white abolitionists, in many instances, rewrote, “…to conform to literary standards of the time”. (Lester pg. 14)  And they faced  this possibility: If former slaves were quoted verbatim, that provided, “…ammunition for arguments of black inferiority”.  (Lester pg. 14)   

The goal of slave owners’ was to break the spirit of another human. But, such produced a  rampant misfortune,  FEAR—that slaves would rise up.  In a word, owners created their own hell, then had to live in it.

Aisha Hauser, MSW,  of the UU Church of the Larger Fellowship’s Lead Ministry Team (a trio), wrote in a February 26 email she’s reading James Baldwin’s, THE FIRE NEXT TIME.  (Peace Readers, take note for a possible selection.)  She shared, “Baldwin’s stark truth-telling resonated deeply with me.  I have been on a mission as a truth-teller to create a vision of this faith’s potential.”

She closed with:  “I believe that if UUism can be the place where whites live authentically and learn to sit in discomfort and face the realities of targeted communities and take substantive (not white savior) action toward dismantling systems of oppression. For folks living with targeted identities, my wish is UUism offers a place of solace  and care for their spirits.”

–Barbara Turk, Archivist

Kids’ SOUUP Zoom Group Adopts Covenant Using Democratic Process

In our monthly meetings, Southern Oregon UU Partnership kids from Klamath Falls, Grants Pass & Ashland congregations get to practice Unitarian Universalism in community lighting a chalice, sharing joys & sorrows (“roses & thorns”), and practicing living our faith. In creating and voting on our covenant, our kids are learning about what this free faith means.

As we voted over Zoom — thumbs up for yes, down for no, sideways for unsure — the folks with down and sideways thumbs often shared that they were worried that these promises might be hard to live up to. This is the beauty of the practice of covenant: when we fail to live up to our promises, we can use our covenant to call us back into right relationship. The video below is the covenant reminder we’ll use at the beginning of each Zoom session on the first Sunday of the month at 10am. To register your child for Kids’ SOUUP, click here.

Community Care Drop-in Zoom on the 2nd Saturday & 4th Wednesday

Did you ever wish for a chance to share more deeply during Joys & Sorrows? The SOUUP Community Care Group might be just what you’re looking for.

When the SOUUP communities gathered with the UU Trauma Response Ministry last October to help us debrief the experience of living through last September’s wildfires, many of us expressed our desire to see some similar, ongoing space for sharing and holding our collective joys and sorrows in community. Growing out of that conversation, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and new UUGP member Jerry Allen and SOUUP Intern Minister Alison Duren-Sutherland are pleased to announce a new project open to members and friends of Rogue Valley UU Fellowship, UU Fellowship of Klamath County and UUs of Grants Pass

Alison & Jerry will facilitate a Zoom Drop-In Community Care Group twice each month, on the 2nd Saturday at 5pm and the 4th Wednesday at 3pm. Registration is required, which means you need to enter your name and email address to be emailed a link to the meetings. This helps us track interest and participation, communicate with participants by email, and also keep our Zoom room a safe place for open-hearted sharing. You are welcome to attend both Wednesday and Saturday meetings, so if you think you might like to come on both days, make sure to register for both session by clicking each of the two links below and following the prompts: 

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR 2nd SATURDAY 5pm SESSIONS.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR 4th WEDNESDAY 3pm SESSIONS.

Each time we meet, we’ll light a chalice, review and agree to our ground rules, get an opportunity to check in, sharing our joys and sorrows with the gathered community, and as time permits, we’ll share a practice you can take home with you to use in daily life to help withstand the impact of the ongoing traumas of these difficult times we are living through. Feel free to attend this group regularly or whenever you are able. 

One of the key ground rules is that we will create a safe space to share. All sharing will be confidential to the group present. Everyone will agree not to share other members’ words or stories with anyone outside the group. Kindness will prevail and no one is required to share. It’s all voluntary, and there is no cost for this gathering. We hope to see you there, to give and receive support from this beloved community of Southern Oregon UUs.

February Chronicles by Barbara Turk

Had a recent, brief discussion with a fellow UU. We are confused by
Christians turning to the Old Testament, when Jesus is the New Testament. In Basic Principles of Christianity my frosh year in a Catholic liberal arts college for women, Sister Catherine Clare shared Jesus was the, “NEW LAW”. Does that suffice for the New Testament as well?

Moving along, Jesus’ teaching—LOVE—-seems most appropriate for the
Valentine month.

In our past some in our fair county wanted the Ten Commandments on a
wall of the commissioners’ chamber in the Government Center. (Still there.)

So, I share a story of a UU and Jew. Both lovers of teaching, respectful of
one another, leaders of their spirit communities. Ben Kerns brought
Unitarianism to Klamath Falls; Paul Warshauer was the rabbi-figure for the Jewish community.

In 1997 Ben wrote a Letter to Editor. From our Archives:
“Recently a letter appeared in these columns stating that Thomas
Jefferson’s addition of freedom of religion to our Constitution did not mean that he would not allow prayer in the schools or the Ten Commandments on the walls. Jefferson was a Unitarian, as were four other of our presidents, and believed firmly in separation of church and state. He would not condone one religion’s prayers or the Christian Ten Commandments on the wall of a government building.”

Ben concluded quoting some Jefferson writings on the issue.

Paul responded, and was published September 4th:
“With great respect to Ben Kerns in his letter of Aug. 28, the Ten
Commandments are not Christian. They were given to the Hebrews (Jews) at Sinai by God and brought down the mountain by the great Jewish sage and leader, Moses. In point of fact, Moses delivered the commandments and the rest of the Hebrew Bible called the “Old Testament” by some for all humanity to learn from and utilize. So, Moses was one of us. For the record, Ben did call many of us in the Jewish community to apologize. Now that’s being a mensch (a good person who does good deeds). The rest of the letter was OK.

(signed) Paul Warshauer”

“NO VOICE WITHOUT ALL VOICES”
(That from the late William Stafford, Poet Laureate of Oregon and the USA.)

–Barbara Turk

Aspirations by Alison: Beloved Community in Southern Oregon

Above: The first meeting of the Southern Oregon UU Partnership

One of the goals I held for my ministerial internship since it was only a glimmer in my eye is that we would find ways for all three of our Southern Oregon UU Partnership (SOUUP) congregations to share in worship together, worship not as in bowing down before anything, but from the Old English root weorthscipe, which means lifting up what is of worth, “worth-ship” as Franny, the board chair at UU Fellowship of Klamath County (UUFKC), referred to it in our December service together. I’ve been so grateful to the people of Rogue Valley UU Fellowship (RVUUF), who have already stepped out of their usual Sunday morning routine to join me for Zoom worship with UUFKC as well as UUGP. Today, I am excited to provide details of a plan for three weeks of shared worship between our SOUUP congregations in February 2021, focusing on the theme of beloved community.

Like UUFKC, UUGP offers a Zoom worship service at 10:30am each Sunday. On Sunday, 2/14, all three SOUUP congregations will join UUFKC’s Zoom, and RVUUF and UUGP will have the opportunity to experience Sunday morning with UUFKC. The following week, 2/21, UUGP will open their Zoom sanctuary to the people of RVUUF and UUFKC. Then, on 2/28, for something completely different, we’ll join RVUUF for their pre-recorded worship service (available to watch on YouTube at your convenience) followed by “Coffee Hour” fellowship time via Zoom at 11:30am, where we’ll be able to share together in small-group discussion and do the work of relationship building that is the foundation of beloved community.

So, for the last three weeks of February, two of your Sunday mornings will be a bit different from what you’re used to. On the 21st, you’ll still log on to Zoom at 10:30am, but the service will be managed by the folks at UUGP, using the readings and worship elements that are part of their liturgy. On the 28th, the whole flow of the morning will be different, as I’ve described above. I want to ask you to enter February with an open mind. In addition to building beloved community, my hope is that we will be able to learn from each other, to see what we appreciate most from the different worship styles our communities have, what we can bring back that will work in our individual congregations, or what we really appreciate about our own ways of doing things. I also hope that as we invest our time in small-group sharing with our SOUUP siblings across the region on the 28th, we’ll reinforce the connections that already exist between us.

One of the great joys I’ve found in my internship so far is making connections: connecting local organizers to folks doing similar work on a national scale; connecting individuals in one congregation to counterparts doing similar work in another SOUUP community; connecting Southern Oregon UUs with opportunities to learn, act or worship with our larger denomination and affiliated organizations. I see our coming together for these three Sunday mornings in February as one more piece of the work of “empowering connection,” as RVUUF says in their mission statement. I hope you will accept this invitation to experience new ways to worship and connect with our faith siblings in Southern Oregon next month.