Posts Tagged ‘National Standing on the Side of Love Month’

Day 29: What have the Thirty Days of Love meant to you?

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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! 

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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,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jennifer

Jennifer Toth
Campaign Manager
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!

Day 28: ‘Calling In’ as a Practice of Love

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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.

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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,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nora Rasman
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.

Day 25: Creative Love

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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.

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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

Intergenerational Connections


“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!

In faith,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faith-in-Action Team

Countryside Church Unitarian Universalist, Palatine, Illinois

P.S.
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.

Day 24: An Invitation Into the Sacred Pause

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Today is Day 24 of the Thirty Days of Love. Today’s daily action is to commit to inserting sacred pauses into your life as you go about your day. Click here for resources, family actions, and more! Click here to sign up for the daily Thirty Days of Love emails.

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In this final week of Thirty Days of Love, we are invited to first pause, then reflect, then celebrate. As a practicing Buddhist, the spiritual practice of pausing is a large part of living out my faith in the world, and I’d like to invite you to join me in practicing the sacred pause today, throughout this week, and beyond.

Many people think of mindfulness meditation as sitting still for long periods of time and noticing one’s thoughts. Although this can be true, that is an advanced practice, and it’s not the only option. Mindfulness can be lived moment-to-moment in our daily lives in a profoundly simple and accessible way: all that is required is to simply pause, and notice, in the moment, what is happening for you.

The sacred pause is about just taking a breath—inserting a breath between stimulus and reaction. We are taught to leap to action; we are not taught to sit with what is real for us before reacting. We are also not taught how to bear witness to someone else’s truth. By inserting a breath after we receive a stimulus, the breath invites awareness, and out of awareness can grow an intentional response. The question becomes: can I be more intentional about what I add to the world? Can I bring a response to the conversation or even to myself that comes out of a sacred honoring of stillness and of breath and of humanity and of what’s here?

The sacred pause is not simply a stopping, it’s not a quick brusque assessment or a moment to stop and relax—what makes the pause sacred is that it is a call to bear witness, to notice what’s happening for us, to see what’s here right now. For example, take a breath. What’s happening in your body—what’s your heart rate, where are you holding tension? Are you hungry, are you thirsty? What are your emotions? Is there an unmet need in this moment? Breathe in, breathe out.

The sacred pause also calls me to bear witness to who’s with me—particularly when I am face-to-face with someone with whom I disagree or with whom I am in struggle—and take a moment to see the human being in front of me. Not the cause, the organization, or the politics, but the human being, because there’s always a human being. Part of the pause, the invitation to investigation, is a call to see my humanity and the humanity that’s around me.

I will never tell you that this is easy. The idea of taking a breath sounds simple, and it is—but it is a skill, a difficult and powerful skill, one that has to be practiced. My own history of trauma and PTSD mean that my instinct was once to either lash out or retreat so deeply inside that no one could reach me. Practicing the sacred pause, creating space between the world I had been trained to anticipate and the world that was currently in front of me, was a way to crawl out of immobilizing fear and disconnecting rage.

I invite you to try on this transformational practice that has allowed me to heal and to be an effective agent of change in the world. Today, commit to inserting deep breaths—sacred pauses—into your life as you go about your day. Maybe it’s ten times throughout the day. Maybe it’s on the hour every hour. Maybe it’s every time you stop at a red light or every time you open your mouth to speak. Pause, take a deep breath, check in with your humanity and the humanity of those around you, and whatever you do next, do it with intention.

Namaste,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teo

Teo Drake is a spiritual activist, an educator, a practicing Buddhist and yogi, and an artisan who works in wood and steel. He is affiliated with Off the Mat, Into the World and the organization Transfaith. When this blue collar, queer-identified trans man living with AIDS isn’t doing faith-based welcome and inclusion work, he can be found teaching martial arts, yoga, and woodworking to children or blogging at www.rootsgrowthetree.com.

Day 23: Thanks from the UUA and the UCC

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Today is Day 23 of the Thirty Days of Love. Today’s action is to learn about the social justice work of another faith and journal about what about that work inspires you. Click here for more resources, family actions and more! Click here to sign up for the daily Thirty Days of Love emails.

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Yesterday, members of the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ participated in the Moral March on Raleigh in Raleigh, N.C., as part of a group of thousands of concerned North Carolina citizens and committed individuals from throughout the country. We sang, prayed, and marched together to raise awareness about the threats to voting rights in North Carolina that are spreading to other states.

As we stood surrounded by people who shared our concerns and listened to our collective cry for change, we both paused and reflected that this is love reaching out in action—raising our voices for those who are being silenced by voting restriction tactics. Showing people who we don’t even know, have never met, that we love them, that they matter, and that we won’t let their power be taken away from them.

Back in April of last year, the UUA and the UCC once again stood together in Rhode Island and celebrated and worshipped with citizens of that state as they worked to pass marriage equality. And soon after, they became the 10th state to grant all people the freedom to marry the person they love!

We must, as communities dedicated to justice, peace and love, reach out to others to share the transformational stories of what our unique faiths have to offer. Each one of us has a powerful story to share about how our faiths have touched our lives, how it has transformed us, and helped us to make the world a better place. We need to be telling these stories, listening to others, and helping people grow in spirit and in service.

Thanks to you and everyone who embraces the principles of love and justice, we now have nearly 20 states with marriage equality, and we continue to move closer to comprehensive immigration reform that will recognize the human worth and dignity of the 11 million undocumented individuals living in the United States. At yesterday’s march, we stood side by side with the NAACP and other partners to show that we are equally committed to voting rights and access to a fair and open democracy in this country. While there is still much more to do, let’s take this time to pause, reflect, and celebrate all we have accomplished together and all that we will accomplish in the future.

Thank you.

In Faith,

Rev. Peter Morales and Rev. Geoffrey Black

UUA President + UCC General Minister and President