This blog post comes from remarks delivered by The Rev. Peter Morales on the eve of the Mass Moral March in Raleigh, NC. Click here to see The Rev. Peter Morales’ full remarks in celebration of The Rev. Clark Olsen.
Today, we reflect on the long history of the struggle for democracy in the south. This issue of voter suppression goes back to the 1960’s. Civil rights were under attack. Racist practices were keeping African Americans from voting. In 1965, Unitarian Universalist ministers James Reeb, Orloff Miller and Clark Olsen answered the call from Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to come to Selma.
What follows is a story of heartache and tragedy. Many know that as these three ministers walked on the sidewalks of Selma, white supremacists attacked them. The Rev. James Reeb died two days later as a result of his injuries. Orloff and Clark lived, and each one of us here today honors their sacrifice, their struggle, their pain, and their fervent hopes for a future of compassion and equality. Tonight, the Rev. Clark Olsen is with us and I’d like to take this opportunity to recognize his life of service.
Simply put, the Rev. Clark Olsen is an extraordinary man. His career spans the parish, service in our Unitarian Universalist Association and the business world. As the son of a Unitarian minister, he carried on in his father Arthur’s footsteps. Clark was ordained in 1959 and served as minister for over 20 years in three congregations. For two years he led at the national level as vice president of program and planning for the Unitarian Universalist Association. He served on numerous continental UUA committees and on the board of Starr King School for the Ministry, our UU seminary in Berkeley, California. For 28 additional years, Clark served as a consultant and trainer for nonprofit organizations and for Fortune 500 corporations, specializing in strategic planning, organizational culture change, management and supervisor development, and team building. During those 28 years, he continued to serve the denomination in numerous ways. And we are so thankful he did.
Clark, today we honor your many contributions to our faith. Your leadership, your passion and dedication, and especially your courage, are an inspiration to all.
Our Standing on the Side of Love campaign bestows a special award – the Courageous Love Award – to individuals and groups who live our values of peace and justice out loud in the world. The award is for those who demonstrate in extraordinary ways, the conviction that all are born with inherent worth and dignity. This award is for those who take a stand for the oppressed. This award is for you. May we emulate your strength and your heart.
With deepest appreciation,
The Rev. Peter Morales
Today is the final day of the Thirty Days of Love. For today’s daily action, we encourage you to participate in Share the Love Sunday. If you are part of a congregation that is holding a love-themed worship service today, wonderful – let us know how it goes! If not, perhaps you can encourage your congregation to hold a Share the Love service later in the year. Click here for more details! Click here for resources, family actions, and more!
We are a community of seekers joined together in a circle of love. Thirty Days of Love is a special time for our community. It reminds us of the power we have when we join together. Our actions and reflections change us – and change the world.
Over the past month, thousands of us have come together to share stories, take action, and build community. We have seen extraordinary examples of people reaching out in love and making a difference for others.
On the final day of this Thirty Days of Love, I look back on the actions and conversations that have occurred and I am truly inspired. It has been powerful to see so many people come together to stand on the side of love. Together, we have honored the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and explored what it means to live out his dream. We have learned about the importance of knowing and sharing our own. We have laid the foundations for building bridges of love, so that we may reach across barriers to practice radical love and inclusion. And this week we have taken the time to Pause, Reflect, and Celebrate together.
Today, congregations and individuals across the country are celebrating Share the Love Sunday together. These special services will lift up this month of action, service, education, and reflection. If your congregation wasn’t able to plan a Share the Love Sunday service for today, remember that Standing on the Side of Love makes an excellent worship theme any time of year. And if you are not participating with a congregation, I still encourage you to take a moment today to reflect on the past thirty days and to celebrate. Celebrate all that we have accomplished and shared. Celebrate because we have been a part of something important and meaningful. Share the Love Sunday is a chance for us to pause in the midst of our daily lives, to reflect on what it means for us to stand on the side of love, and to celebrate our work for justice and love during the past thirty days, as well as throughout the year.
As we conclude this year’s Thirty Days of Love campaign, let us commit to continuing the fight for justice and an end to oppression. Let’s take what we have learned and share it with others. Let’s stand on the side of love.
Rev. Terry Sweetser
Vice President for Stewardship and Development
Unitarian Universalist Association
P.S. One way that you can share your love is to make a financial contribution. Any support, no matter the amount, helps to provide the essential resources that make the Thirty Days of Love and other Standing on the Side of Love programs possible, and successful, for years and generations to come.More >
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