Posts Tagged ‘Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church’

To Nourish and Sustain Us: a poem to those who have written me since the verdict

No Comments | Share On Facebook| To Nourish and Sustain Us: a poem to those who have written me since the verdict Share/Save/Bookmark Jul 25, 2013

To the mother who shared the story of her heart breaking when her six-year old autistic son told her, “don’t worry mom, they won’t kill me, I’m white,”

To the mothers, fathers and babas who have thanked me for speaking out as a white person, because they are so afraid that their Black sons could be next,

To the mother of a family of biological and adopted children who explained that since the murder of Trayvon, her young white daughter has lived in fear of her 20 year old Black brother being killed, so scared that she had her Brother call every night to tell her he was ok,

To the white people, around the country, who have reached out hungry for direction on what we can do to challenge white supremacy, end the criminalization and violence against communities of color, and do the right thing,

To the organizers and activists of color who have expressed their anger, frustration, and disappointment that more white people aren’t stepping up more often to take on racism and that even in this moment of naked truth, too many are still making excuses to not look directly at it, or trying to reduce the power of this moment of historic and institutional racism making itself plain, reducing its meaning to just being about bad individuals.

To the white anti-racists, feminists, social justice activists who are stepping up into the whirlwind of these times to bring clarity, leadership, vulnerability, analysis, and love,

To all of the beautiful people who despite the viciousness of anti-Black racism in this country, who despite seeing the racist roots of the U.S. legal system exposed, who despite all efforts to tell us that we are powerless, are marching in the streets, organizing in their communities, educating their people, and building movement for another world,

Thank you for your courageous actions, generous hearts, and tender humanity,

Thank you for helping create a better world, through your truth telling and strategic engagement, for our children.

To the white men, all of them white men, who have told me to burn in hell, to leave this country, to die a horrible death, let your hearts and minds be free of the poison of white supremacy, let go of the hatred you have for imaginary foes, who you actually have far more common with then you think.

Civil Rights organizer and legendary white anti-racist, Anne Braden, spoke of the Other America where people of all backgrounds come together to work for justice and democracy for all people. The Other America where we can live interdependently and cooperatively in our full humanity, with dignity. Reject the living hell of racism, and open your heart to the Other America. If not for yourself, then for your children.

For all of us, let the love of those who have come before us, who have take on injustice, defied illegitimate power and through their lives, created victories, legacies, poetry, culture and traditions of resistance and liberation that we inherit, let their love and all they have passed on, nourish and sustain us.

This post was written by Chris Crass. Chris is a longtime social justice organizer and author of the new book Towards Collective Liberation: anti-racist organizing, feminist praxis, and movement building strategy. He is also a member of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church.

Day 14: Create an Outpouring of Love

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Today is Day 14 of the Thirty Days of Love. Today’s action is to join our response love network to offer messages of support in the wake of tragic acts of violence. Click here for resources, family actions, and more! Click here to sign up for the daily Thirty Days of Love emails.

When I first heard about the shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin last summer, I couldn’t help but remember a parallel act of violence four years earlier at my own congregation, the Tennessee Valley UU Church (TVUUC). In both cases, a man with a gun and an agenda targeted innocent people of faith.

But along with the recollection of heartbreak and loss, I also carry with me the memory of the incredible flood of love and support that we received from our local community and from across the country. All around our church there are things folks sent to let us know we were loved.

With the events at TVUUC in mind, thousands of you responded to the shooting at the Sikh temple last summer in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. SSL supporters wrote over 2,000 messages of love and support to the Sikh community there. I think that anytime there is an act of violence targeting people because of their identities, we can and should reaffirm a message of love and a vision of a country where we all belong.

In that spirit, Standing on the Side of Love is gathering a network of people to send messages surrounding victims of violence with an outpouring of love whenever incidents of hate occur. From the shooting in Oak Creek to the recent arson attack on a mosque in Joplin, we can ensure that victims of senseless acts of hate know that they are loved.

Click here to sign up. We’re also searching for inspiring names for our response network, or “love team” and would love your help. Love Ambassadors? The Love Squad? What helps us best convey that we are here in spirit with those affected by a tragedy? Send your ideas to

In the wake of violence and tragedy, let us lift up voices of love and compassion. Sign up for the response network today and help ensure that whenever and wherever acts of violence occur, we can surround the victims with an outpouring of love.

In faith,

Rev. Chris Buice
Tennessee Valley UU Church
Knoxville, Tennessee

PS: We hope your congregation is participating in Share the Love Sunday! We have compiled 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 stand on the side of love. Thanks for your generosity on February 17!

Let Us Pray

No Comments | Share On Facebook| Let Us Pray Share/Save/Bookmark Dec 17, 2012

Let us pray for the families who have lost loved ones and little ones at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

Let us hold our own children and family members closer as we remember those who cannot do so today.

Let us pray with our work to make this world safer for all children and reaffirm our sacred obligation to protect the weak from the strong, the many who are peaceful from the few who are violent, the innocent young from the actions of reckless and dangerous adults.

Let us hope for healing in this time when healing seems unimaginable.

Let us love one another with a deeper appreciation of the sacred worth of every child and every human being knowing that when we do so there is a power greater than ourselves that can renew, restore and sustain us.

Rev. Chris Buice

This prayer was offered by Rev. Chris Buice of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville in response to the recent shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. A shooting at that congregation in 2008 inspired the creation of the Standing on the Side of Love campaign.

An Unprecedented Outpouring of Love for the Sikh Community

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The Standing on the Side of Love campaign has been amazed by your overwhelming response to our request for messages of love and compassion for the Sikh community. More than 1,800 of you have submitted messages. This level of engagement is unprecedented for Standing on the Side of Love. In fact, more people have taken action to send love to Oak Creek than on nearly any other campaign in our history.

In the coming days, volunteers will handwrite all of your beautiful messages onto orange Standing on the Side of Love cards and string them together in a “love” chain. A coalition of local Unitarian Universalists will then hand-deliver the “love” chain to the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. Rev. Chris Buice of the Tennessee Valley UU Church told us that the visual expressions of love that they received after the 2008 shooting are still displayed in their congregation. We hope that this will provide a similarly powerful visual message of love and solidarity to the Sikh community in Oak Creek.

Many of you are also attending local candlelight vigils to honor the victims of the shooting and show solidarity for the Sikh community. At one vigil in San Diego, Julie Schauble was interviewed by the local news while wearing her Standing on the Side of Love t-shirt and offered this beautiful statement:

“He didn’t even see the people he was shooting. He just saw an object for his hatred and fear and anger. And I wanted to say to the Sikh community that… we see you. We see who you are and we recognize you as our brothers and sisters.”

Watch the full coverage of the event here:


Click here to find out if a vigil is planned in your area.

In this midst of this gorgeous outpouring of compassion and love for the Sikh community, we must not forget our Muslim neighbors in Joplin, Missouri, whose mosque burned down last weekend in a suspected arson attack. It’s essential that we continue to remain vigilant in speaking out against religious bigotry and intolerance in our communities.

This week, our partner Shoulder to Shoulder is also encouraging people to join their local Sikh community for worship and the traditional langar community meal as many temples will be dedicating their Sunday services to responding to this tragedy.

Click here to find out if there is a Sikh Gurdwara (temple) near you.

Thank you for helping us to create an outpouring of love for the Sikh community. Your heartfelt words inspire us to continue striving for a just, love-filled, beloved community.

In faith,

meredith ga

Meredith Lukow
Program Assistant
Standing on the Side of Love

The message above went out on Friday, August 10, 2012 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. You can sign-up for these emails here.

Send Love to the Sikh Community

58 Comments | Share On Facebook| Send Love to the Sikh Community Share/Save/Bookmark Aug 06, 2012

The message below went out on Monday, August 6, 2012 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. You can sign-up for these emails here.

“As we move forward in the weeks and months ahead, we must do more than express compassion. We must reflect on what conditions make repeated acts of deranged violence possible and take action. The killings we keep witnessing in America are symptoms of a culture that is too tolerant of hatred and too reluctant to restrict access to deadly weapons.”

–UUA President Rev. Peter Morales, in a statement about the tragic murders this weekend at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin

When I was fourteen, my Unitarian Universalist youth group and I traveled to the neighboring town of Oak Creek, Wisconsin to visit a Sikh temple. Yesterday, I was horrified to learn that six of these community members who welcomed a group of rowdy UU teenagers with open arms were murdered. Never could I have ever imagined that something so violent and hateful could happen a mere fifteen miles from my childhood home. The gunman has been described by the Southern Poverty Law Center and others as a “frustrated neo-Nazi” and white supremacist.

Will you join us in creating an outpouring of love for the Sikh community? Click here to send words of prayer, compassion, and love to the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin.

As a born-and-raised Unitarian Universalist, the news of this tragedy evokes memories of July 2008, when the Tennessee Valley UU Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, was attacked by a lone gunman with hate in his heart, killing two. The impact was felt by UUs the world over. The astonishing outpouring of support that the Knoxville UU community received from their broader community paved the way for the creation of our campaign for love and justice.

In the wake of this tragedy that strikes so close to home, let us reach out to our Sikh neighbors in compassion and love, welcome them into our hearts and our prayers, and show solidarity with a community that has been so brutally attacked.

Please join us in sending love and compassion to the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. Click here to send your message today.

In faith & love,

meredith ga

Meredith Lukow
Program Assistant
Standing on the Side of Love