Today is Day 29 of Thirty Days of Love. Today’s Daily Action is to incorporate the weekly theme of Pause, Reflect and Celebrate into your lives today and everyday. As part of that reflection, think back on the 30 Days campaign, then take the survey and offer us your feedback! Click here for resources, family actions, and more!
We are now almost at the end of the Thirty Days of Love. I don’t know about you, but with all these truly fascinating messengers we’ve had so far, I’m feeling inspired to take action, eager to put more love into the world, and, well, I’m also a little exhausted. So, today I’m creating space to pause and reflect, before I celebrate tomorrow during Share the Love Sunday!
How about you?
We hope you have taken time over these past four weeks to truly soak in all of the stories shared throughout the campaign, and maybe write in your journal along the way. (And if you’ve missed a few days, don’t worry, so have I!). But I’m going back through some of the days to re-share them and re-write in my journal as I feel inspired. Even though the Thirty Days might be drawing to a close, the resources and blog posts are still calling to me to dig a little deeper.
For today, we invite you to take some time to slow it down, and briefly reflect on what has been most meaningful to you. It was a joy for me to help create and curate the resources we’ve put together, and to work with all of these messengers to bring you stories to challenge and inspire you. Was it joyful for you? If so, we would love your help and ideas in crafting more Standing on the Side of Love campaigns. Just email us at love at uua.org if you are interested in helping shape future projects, and of course fill out our survey to offer your feedback!
Looking forward to continuing this journey for social justice with you,
Standing on the Side of Love
PS: If you enjoyed the resources and messages during the campaign, please feel free to re-use them in any way that is inspiring for you beyond the Thirty Days of Love! Use them in worship services, in RE classes, with your family or social justice group—anywhere that people would find them helpful!More >
Today is Day 28 of Thirty Days of Love. For today’s daily action, we invite you to read more about the practice of “Calling In” on today’s resources page, then journal about how calling in can help you during your next courageous conversation. Remember: Practice makes a practitioner. Click here to sign up for the Thirty Days of Love emails.
When I first learned the language of “calling in,” I was a little confused. I knew I was extremely well-versed in calling OUT. Throughout my adolescence and young adulthood, I spent time both making barriers and building bridges. I distanced myself from people I thought didn’t “get it.” I built with people who I thought had found the answers that I so desperately needed. And in the process, I cut myself off from a lot of amazing, dynamic and life-altering relationships. I’m excited to dig in as the new Campaign Coordinator with Standing on the Side of Love, a role I think that will provide many opportunities to call, and be called, in.
Our culture of competition and scarcity makes it hard for us to “Sit in the Fire“ as our whole selves. That fire may be a conflict with a loved one, a professional leadership crisis, or a challenging casual interaction. Re-thinking how I call out made me aware that my approach often lacked love, strategy, and accountability. My approach was stopping me from building with some of the people I loved most. We know that we will mess up. And when we do, we want to know people will love us through our growth. This is not to dismiss or minimize the hurt and pain of these mistakes or the importance of interrupting violence. But it recognizes that transformation takes time, commitment, and love. The Standing on the Side of Love campaign seeks to provide resources and collaborative support to congregations and individuals who want to use love as a theme and principle in their organizing efforts.
Exploring the concept of “calling in” has allowed me to more honestly and lovingly engage with people I want to build with and be accountable to. We can build towards our vision of justice, equity and transformation by learning how to “call in” as we “Sit in the Fire.” For me that means convening intentional and loving space with white people, cisgender people, queer people, middle-class people, and artists while also building with people across different identities.
How would calling in change the way we do our work, build relationships, and create communities and movements? Today Standing on the Side of Love is hosting a facebook chat at 1pm EST/10am PST to talk about our work. Click here to RSVP. We want to hear your ideas, feedback, and love. Sitting in the fire can be hard. But we need you to stay.
All good things,
Campaign Coordinator, Standing on the Side of Love
P.S. We’re celebrating the 5th Anniversary of re-imagining Valentine’s Day as a social justice holiday. Check out videos and stories from the past five years here.More >
Today is Day 27 of Thirty Days of Love. Today’s daily action is to learn about the work of people most impacted by the minimum wage and take action locally. Click here for resources, family actions, and more! Click here to sign up for the Thirty Days of Love emails.
This weekend, millions of us will be celebrating love with our partners, families, and friends by eating out in restaurants. Before we celebrate, I invite you to pause and reflect with me, on the plight of millions of workers in the restaurant industry and what we, as Unitarian Universalists, can do, both as individuals and as a faith movement.
The people who prepare and serve our food in restaurants are members of our community and it is our duty to ensure that they are treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve. We can share our love with them through our gratitude and generosity but also by speaking up for a raise to the minimum wage and in support of earned sick time. If we all join together, we could make this the last 2/13 with a federal tipped minimum wage of $2.13.
Rev. Bill Schulz
President and CEO
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
Today is Day 26 of the Thirty Days of Love. Today’s daily theme is incorporating celebration into our lives. Worship services are an important way to invite people into our communities and inspire them to stay. For today’s daily action, we invite you to think about the worship services that have been most impactful to you; what were the celebratory elements that made you feel something? If you aren’t part of a “brick and mortar” congregation, are there other spiritual communities you are a part of that incorporate celebration? Reflect on this in your journal or over social media, and share with people who are crafting worship services! Click here for resources, family actions, and more! Click here to sign up for the daily Thirty Days of Love emails.
Before becoming the full-time music director at All Souls Church, Unitarian, in DC, I worked in arts administration for an orchestra in the Philadelphia area. I remember attending an arts marketing conference a year or so ago where there was a presentation about how to engage younger audiences and get them excited about classical music. I learned that several prominent orchestras nationwide have created “technology sections” in their concert halls, where attendees are encouraged to record, tweet, and post audio and video clips from the concert in real time.
It occurred to me during this presentation that, being a (somewhat) young, (somewhat) hip and cultured city dweller, I was the demographic that was being targeted for these “Twitter seats.” Upon realizing this, all of the hairs on the back of my neck bristled. Don’t people come to the orchestra to escape the hustle and bustle of their daily lives? I thought. Don’t people crave that transcendent experience of being carried away by the music? Don’t people still get a small thrill when they’re forced to turn their phones off for a few hours and engage with the community around them? I had a hard time wrestling with the possibility that I might be in the cultural minority on this issue.
When I stand in front of the congregation at All Souls on any given Sunday, I am reminded that I am not in the minority. Or, if I am, it’s a minority group that I consider to be very good company. I witness and participate in a community where people of all ages, races, classes and sexual orientations come together to celebrate with one another; to shrug off the stresses of the week; to avoid the vibrating phone or the time-sensitive weekend email for one hour just to be together.
And I realize that each person is making a conscious choice to be there. That’s the beautiful thing about church: we go because we need time to tune out the rest of the world. To feel inspired. To recharge so we can carry on the work beyond our doors. To continue searching, both inwardly and outwardly, for the ways to build a better world: an active search to find what we’re looking for.
I try to consider this when I select music for Sunday worship, too. Our hope at All Souls is that when someone walks into the church for the first time, they will see others who look like them, they will hear at least one musical selection that speaks to them, and the sermon or prayer will inspire them and call them to action. There is no “typical” Sunday worship here, but you can almost always expect to hear some type of classical piece from one of our awesome choirs, a selection from the pop or soul genre, and something from the gospel or spiritual tradition. Regardless of your personal taste, we want worship to make you feel something.
In a faith tradition that is so strongly rooted in social justice and in efforts beyond our church doors, it is often easy to forget about the magic that needs to happen within our congregations. A worship experience is often the first opportunity we have to connect with one another: to share our values and mission for the community at-large. We need to remember that any Sunday could be someone’s first step toward finding what they’re looking for, and they’ve chosen our church as a place to start. Seeking is tough. It’s much easier when we have one another. I challenge you to be brave enough to help build that beloved community within our doors, so we can recharge for the work to do beyond them. We all know there is much to be done.
Director of Music and Arts
All Souls Church, Unitarian
Today is Day 25 of the Thirty Days of Love. Today’s action is to inspire creativity, facilitate action across generations, and share the love! Click here for resources, family actions, and more! Click here to sign up for the Thirty Days of Love emails.
Like many congregations, we celebrate child dedications several times each year. Through music, words and symbols we dedicate young people to a life of clear vision, honest and powerful speech, generosity and love. When our minister gently rubs dirt into the palms of the children’s hands and says:
“We rub this earth into your hand to remind you that it’s good to get your hands dirty doing the work of the world”
Many people in our congregation are visibly moved. Such a simple and symbolic gesture. Such a powerful charge.
Four years ago, our children’s religious education program added a Faith in Action (FIA) component. FIA includes monthly workshops inviting students to share stories, connect their UU beliefs and principles with action, and experience their power to make a positive difference. By cultivating young people’s natural sense of justice, empathy and compassion, we are beginning to transform not only how our youth learn, but also the way we engage in service and justice work together – across generations.
It all started in 2010 when the earthquake hit Haiti. We knew we needed to do something – but what? A few parents and youth gathered at a pottery studio owned by one of our members. Soon our hands were covered with wet clay, as we got dirty “doing the work of the world!”
We made clay chalice pendants and our religious education classes turned the pendants into necklaces. They were remarkably simple, yet beautiful, and in one coffee hour we raised over $1,200 for the UUA/UUSC relief efforts in Haiti. During a time of loss, we discovered that we could take action to make a positive difference. Art connected us, across generations, in affirming our shared faith, and the mystery and miracle of life.
Each year more and more artists, enthusiasts and activists have joined our team. We have made murals, posters, notecards, jewelry, ornaments, and so much more. Thanks to our generous congregation, and many artists, we’ve raised over $6,000 to support the work of organizations in our community. More importantly, we are learning how to work together to bring about positive change. Art has been a unifying element of this process!
On February 9 we celebrated our fourth annual Faith-in-Action Art Faire. Our Faith-in-Action team, a group of retirees in our congregation, students, and teachers, all came together for the month of January to learn, share stories, and create art. Check out reflections from a few participants below:
Let this Be a House of Love
“We talked about how people live in many different types of homes, but we all have the same need for shelter and love. Each of our houses, made from recycled paper and cardboard, has a heart somewhere, symbolizing both love and home.”
~Kathryn Hillyer, Art Faire Team Member
“Members of our Transitions group of retirees were more than happy to share our skills and interests, and help with the sewing projects. Young people learned a bit of sewing, we all had fun, and were grateful for the opportunity to help others through our efforts.”
~Juli Cicarelli, Art Faire Team Member
The Power of Love and Art
“The arts lend themselves to love in infinite ways . . . the words we speak, the lines in a book, each note in a song. Love finds its way into our hearts and our artwork because it is one of our most powerful emotions. Love is a tricky thing, but when we find the right notes and colors and words to express it, it turns our art into magic.”
~Emily Cruz, 14, Artist, Singer, and Art Faire Team Member
Making the World a Better Place
“I feel strongly that art is a powerful way to make the world a better place and connect people with each other. I think we’re all born as natural artists, and when we put our affinity for art to use to help others, it inspires all of us.”
~ Janet McDonnell, FIA Team Member
Feel the Love
“Making the projects for the Art Faire is fun. I like making the bowls, heart plaques and fused glass. I feel helpful and loving and caring.”
~T.J. Allison, 8-year-old FIA student
Our Faith in Action program exposes our youth and congregation to many ways that we can stand on the side of love. Through advocacy, service, and art, we are learning new ways to put our faith into action. Art is one powerful way to express feelings, claim power, and engage all ages in standing on the side of love. We look forward to hearing more of your stories!
Countryside Church Unitarian Universalist, Palatine, Illinois
If you would like to learn more about any of our projects, workshops, or to share ideas, please contact us at: re [at] ccuu.org.