Day 5: Celebrate Love Heroes!
Today is Day 5 of the Thirty Days of Love. Today’s action is to honor Courageous Love in your community. Click here for more resources, family actions, and more! Click here to sign up for the daily Thirty Days of Love emails.
On Sunday, we got to help kick off the second annual Thirty Days of Love by awarding Courageous Love Awards to leaders at First Unitarian Church of Baltimore. “Honor Legacy” is the theme for this first week of the campaign, and it is an apt touchstone for our historic congregation. When Rev. William Ellery Channing delivered “the Baltimore sermon” from our pulpit in 1819, he shook religion at its core and defined an American Unitarianism that was serious, rational, and progressive.
It was a joy to celebrate the stories of our congregational leaders. As a group, they worked to pass marriage equality—by popular vote!—this past November in Maryland, and have also advocated for the rights of LGBTQ people for decades. Award recipients Sally Wall and Pat Montley were our public spokespersons, receiving messaging training, addressing the media, and organizing other congregations to mobilize for equality. Scott MacLeod was our principal cheerleader in the congregation, urging our people to volunteer at phone banks and door-to-door canvassing, and leading a square dance fundraiser.
Fighting for human rights was nothing new for award recipient Charles Blackburn. In 1961, he was a Freedom Rider in the south, challenging local segregation laws by riding interstate buses. In 2004, Charles and his partner were one of nine couples in Deane & Polyak v. Conoway, the suit for equal marriage rights in Maryland. That suit was lost in 2007. Our congregation’s response? We hung a banner proclaiming “Civil Marriage is a Civil Right” as a testament to our commitment to equal rights for all. This past Sunday, acknowledging that marriage equality could not have been won without our UU Legislative Ministry of Maryland, we were able to take the banner down with pride.
Any organization or individual can give Courageous Love Awards to those who exhibit “courageous love.” This is an opportunity to recognize the amazing change-makers in your community and inspire future social justice work. Click here for more info on Courageous Love Awards.
Together, let’s continue to put our faith into action, and stand on the side of love!
Rev. David Carl Olson
First Unitarian Church of Baltimore, Maryland
PS: The Standing on the Side of Love campaign hopes your congregation is participating in Share the Love Sunday! The SSL website has some helpful resources for planning your service, taking a collection to support the Unitarian Universalist Association, and discussing what it means for your congregation to rejoice in community and stand on the side of love. Thanks for your generosity on February 17!