A COVID Carol by Sally

O come all ye sinners

            but only up to six feet

                        and smile

            behind your mask

It’s the festive season

            see the traffic

                        and the mobs out shopping    

            don’t go there

Retreat to Zoom

            and look your best

                        lipstick and earrings

                                    sweatpants and slippers

Send your love

            across the airwaves

spread it into cyberspace

            podcasts and YouTube

                        let it go viral

O listen all you citizens of

            right here on earth

                        can you hear the stirrings

                                    can you smell the ozone

it’s time, it’s time, it’s past time

No chance to go back now

                        =this just in=

                                    it’s a new morn, a new day

Embrace the change, be the change

                                    Glory, hallelujah

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aspirations by Alison: Celebrating Thanksgrieving

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Faith, 

Alison Duren-Sutherland
Intern Minister

CHALICE CRAFTING WITH THE SOUTHERN OREGON UU PARTNERSHIP

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

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

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

December Chronicles by Barbara Turk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UUFKC HISTORY TIDBIT: HOW KIN FOUGHT THE OCA

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

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

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

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

JOYOUS HOLIDAYS!

–Barbara Turk, turkiyebabs@charater.net

Aspirations by Alison: Gratitude in These Times

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

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

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

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

–Alison Duren-Sutherland, Intern Minister

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

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

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

For LGBTQ+ Community & Allies: Transgender Day of Remembrance Service, Nov 20, 7pm via Zoom

Klamath Falls Friends Church and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Klamath County are holding a Transgender Day of Remembrance Service (TDoR) on Friday, November 20th at 7pm. TDoR is an annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. We will light a chalice, singe together, Pastor Anthony of the Friends Church will preach, and we will honor our departed, so that their troubled spirits may become our beloved ancestors.

This event is for LGBTQ+ folks and Allies.

Nov 20, 2020 07:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Indigenous Cultural Awareness Training with Monica Yellowowl

Join this event via Zoom on Sat, Nov 7 at 11am by clicking HERE.

Intern Minister Alison Duren-Sutherland writes: “Thanks to the folks at UU Fellowship of Klamath County, Monica YellowOwl of the Klamath Tribes will hold a cultural awareness training for members and friends of the Southern Oregon UU Partnership congregations on November 7th, from 11am-1:30pm.

RVUUF’s Anti-Racism groups have generously agreed to include this training as one of their Saturday morning meetings. You can join the meeting at 11am on Saturday, November 7th via Zoom by clicking HERE. In the meantime, you can learn more about Monica and her work HERE and by watching the video found HERE.

I’m excited about this opportunity for us to come together from all the UU congregations of Southern Oregon to engage in the work of decolonization and anti-racism, in answer to the call of one of the 2020 General Assembly’s Action of Immediate Witness statements (found HERE), 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. Whatever the outcome of the election, we can continue our work as Unitarian Universalist by deepening our relationship with our indigenous neighbors.”

Nov 2020 Chronicles by Barbara Turk

An Oregonian headline September 16th read: “Oregon’s new Episcopal Bishop follows journey of faith to historic first for church in U.S.   

The grandparents of the Rev. Diana Akiyama, and their children, including Akiyama’s father, were shipped from Hood River, “…to a camp in Idaho”, Wrote reporter Tom Hallman, Jr. “Having been raised in Hood River, she was, “…forever aware of the injustices perpetrated against her grandparents during WW II.

Initially her family may have been sent to an, “assembly center” at Puyallup, WA fair grounds, then to Idaho’s camp, Minidoka.  A first-hand witness, our friend, Mitzi Asai Loftus, of RVUUF, shared with me that in 1942, as a Hood River elementary student, she & her parents were first sent to, “the horses stalls” at Puyallup (they slept on straw!), then to Tule Lake, Calif., and later to camp at Heart Mountain, WY, all while three brothers wore U.S. uniforms, one in 442nd in Europe; two in the Pacific.  

Mitzi first spoke to our UUFKC in Pine Grove 1997. She has spoken twice since that time.  At 88 she’s always robustly active. When asked, Mitzi said she doesn’t know Diana Akiyama (61), but remembers well her grandparents & father (all deceased).

Mitzi’s parents and Akiyama’s grandparents owned fruit orchards near Hood River. In the 1940’s their properties were un-seized, but homes were looted, and completely stripped. After their 1945 release from camps, all returned to Hood River to rebuild their lives. A nephew of Mitzi’s still runs the Asai orchard.

Akiyama, “..believes her ancestors would view her election to bishop as a sign people can overcome a bitter past.”  Moral courage!!

To clarify, Akiyama’s 2020 election was an on-line convention, first for the church. Her election makes her the first Asian-American woman in the U. S. to be an Episcopal Church bishop. But, what’s another first?!? Previously Akiyama was the first Japanese-American woman ordained to Episcopal Church’s priesthood.

In Hallman’s piece she shared her new role is not considered a promotion in the way the secular world may understand. “I had to have a detachment and an absence of ambition. It could not be about me. I had to trust in the unknown. It’s a reminder we are not in control.” Moral courage!!

As Klamath Falls’ & St. Paul’s own, Dr. Ralph Eccles, recently shared, “We of the eastern / southern diocese have twice the territory, but she has the most under 40 Episcopalians”. East of Cascades it’s, Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Oregon.

Akiyama will be consecrated early next year, then will oversee the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon (W. of Cascades), and its 15,000 congregants. 

QUICK TRIVIA 

Just re-read Defying the Nazis—The Sharp’s War“. When FDR signed Executive Order #9066, in February 1942, it empowered the U.S.  Army to, “relocate those of ‘foreign enemy ancestry’ to assembly centers, and then to internment camps”   Ten camps spanned the U. S., east to Arkansas.   

Thousands of Japanese-Americans, 60% of whom were U.S. citizens, as was Mitzi, were sent to camps.  Oddly enough, President Roosevelt had TWO object to his signing #9066—“the unlikeliest of allies”:  Eleanor Roosevelt and J. Edgar Hoover.  (E.R—Moral courage??; J.E.H—???)

I’m not a minister, nor board member (been there, done that!)  As Archivist, I believe I have a “ministry” to share and inform; lessons old, new for some.  Example: Unitarian Universalism has no bishops or dioceses.  “Boston” acts as guide; regional guides include Pacific Western Region (PWR). It covers four time zones, and 822,000 square miles in Alaska, western Idaho, and Oregon. Ministers are NOT sent to us.  We, “call” a minister. If a minister accepts, it becomes teamwork, until either party seeks change, or a minister retires. 

My thanks to Oregonian writer, Tom Hallman, Jr., for his Akiyama piece. Also, Artemis Joukowsky  (Sharps’ grandson), & his Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War”.  (Beacon Press, Boston, UU publishing house.)   

“HI HO” to Dawn Albright. It’s been a while! I looked at my Fred Meyer pharmacy white sack, and saw a smiling Dawn, “keeping the REAL in real estate”. Good wishes!

To All: HAPPY THANKSGIVING STAY WELL!!!

                                                                          –Barbara Turk