I love the vibrant spring and great opportunities to be out in the community. Several community organizers have started Umajaa Farm Project, and are selling garden starts and seeds Sat Apr 21 starting at 930am at the beautiful June Key Delta Community Center, built on a reclaimed brownfield across from Peninsula Rose Gardens. Amazing intersections of food sustainability, green building and Black/African-diaspora activism.
I’m also hoping to check out the Love & Struggle NW Tour that comes to the Reflections Cafe (446 NE Killingsworth) on Sun Apr 29 3pm to hear local organizers Walidah Imarisha and Mic Crenshew discuss the 60′s, Weatherman, SDS along with author Terry Bisson. These events really surface our shared history of resistance and how we continue to bless the world with vision and social change.
Tomorrow at PCC Cascade around 6pm, Winona LaDuke is speaking to kick off Earth Week in Portland. She was one of the first keynote speakers for the Coalition Against Environmental Racism (CAER) conference I co-organized in the early 90′s.
It made me reflect on several other meetings of great activists. I spoke on a panel last week at Portland State about community partnerships for the Social Determinants of Health symposium alongside Bob Bullard (a grandfather of Environmental Justice), another CAER keynoter. And just a few weeks earlier was at the South Los Angeles Library for a Labor/Strategy Center discussion with Fred Ho whose book on Afro-Asian relations is a must read for community organizers. (nudge to www.bigwowo.com for a place to talk more about this?)
UPDATE 1: It’s Rev. Bill Sinkford! Read the Announcement here.
This morning the Search Committee at First Unitarian Portland, Oregon, will announce a major update in the Senior Minister transition. Rev. Tom Disrud has served as Acting Senior Minister for the last year since Rev. Marilyn Sewell retired. More news in a few minutes.
I’m usually reading comments that remind me of the awful side of human nature. Took a gander at the white-hot Garrison Keillor rant against Unitarian Universalists (along with Jews and Christmas secularism), and went further to skim the comments, and had a blast! They were funny, reminded me of the wit of humanity, and well, seemed to have the most redeeming value of the whole literary episode. Hat tip of course to Rev. Fred Small of First Parish Cambridge who wrote a nice reply via the UU World.
- Hey, if you’re going to nit pick (in the spirit of Christmas), don’t go translating a perfectly lovely German song into English.
- don’t worry: it’s bad enough just the way it is.
- You might wake up with a big question mark burned into your front lawn.
- Garrison’s going to return the favor and never touch songs like “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” and “Jingle Bells” and “Over the River and Through the Woods” that were written by Unitarians? You’d think a guy who rewrites lyrics on his show that often would be a little more open-source, but there you go.
- Garrison…don’t even try to belittle us Unitarians…we bite!
The Unitarian Universalist Association is electing a new President this month, and the politics are heating up to the point that I’m breaking out of my non-blogging phase. For 10 years and through one major election, I worked for the UUA and so technically had “no opinion”, which makes sense. Now I’ve been out of the system since Dec 2007 at which time I was ordained and moved back into community ministry in my hometown of Portland, Oregon. Here is my brief, from the gut, two cents. I’m sure I could write something far more nuanced, but it is after midnight and I’ve got three kids to wake up tomorrow, and a taiko performance to prepare for.
The election appeared for almost a year to be a coronation of the singular candidate, Laurel Hallman, a wonderful preacher and large church minister in a suburb of Dallas, TX. I have really never met Rev Hallman formally, and have mixed feelings about her given the unfortunate and inappropriate behaviors of her congregation during the last of the Young People of Color Leadership Development Conferences and significant youth and young adult anti-racism/anti-oppression ministrys. Some of this is documented in the UUA’s Special Commission Report of 2006, although I believe it really missed the mark with respect to the root causes and recommendations. One fact that has stayed with me is the eiree silence of Rev Hallman on the events publicly, that underscores a concern of mine – her readiness to minister in a multicultural world and understand the experiences of people of color within Unitarian Universalism. Laurel strikes me as an amazing pastoral care (not sure about communities of color/immigrant and refugees) and administrative professional.
Peter Morales jumped in the race late, and was virtually a guerilla candidate. Nearly all the powers that be have lined up against him, particularly what I would categorize as the status quo. There is a nice diversity of anti-racism activists and ministers who are split between the two candidates, including people of color. But all in all, the money and powerful UUA players are in the Laurel Hallman camp. I have known Peter since the days when he wrote the original letter calling together religious professionals of color – a group that became DRUUMM in 1998. Peter had some serious conflicts, some direct and some indirect within these communities due to what I viewed as miscommunication and a difficultly in finding common ground on an anti-racist analysis that honored diverse people of color experiences. I honestly have always found Peter to be very candid, a refreshing personality within what is often a challenging and frustrating UU culture. He is not perfect, is willing to experiment, and also be honest about failures.
I’ve chosen to endorse Peter for UUA President, particularly after talking with several trusted colleagues and Peter himself. Most of my closest collegial friends in the ministry are actually supporting Laurel Hallman. What was most interesting to me is that all had the same reasons – that they were asked by another trusted colleague, most commonly Wayne Arnason. None of them had a clear enough reason for me to support Laurel, and frankly the social justice ministry as well as ethical conduct of UUA power players is what I am most interested in during this upcoming election. Peter to me is the best candidate for the job.
- His parents were uneducated, but became wealthy. They were immigrant farmers from Spain.
- After the revolution in Cuba, Fidel came to the USA for a tour, and was widely welcomed, although Eisenhower sent VP Nixon to meet with him at the White House.
- The US organized terrorist attacks in Cuba before the Bay of Pigs in 1961, including one of the first known use of secondary bombings. They blew up a supply ship in the harbor, and then rigged additional bombs to go off when First Responders, Medical and Fire were responding, killing dozens of other persons.
From the American Thinker: The Unitarian Church and Obama’s Religious Upbringing (Dec 29, 2008)
At the time of his resignation Obama told reporters:
“I’m confident we’ll be able to find a church that we’re comfortable with. We probably won’t make any firm decision on this until January, when we know what our lives are going to be like. My faith is not contingent on the particular church that I belong to….”
Obama discarded the mushy Unitarian agnosticism to work as a community organizer on Chicago‘s Southside.
Obama discarded the angry anti-Americanism of Trinity UCC as a presidential candidate.
What kind of religion does Obama need to act as a President?
In Portland, OR, Rev. Marilyn Sewall has led First Unitarian Church into the upper echelon of UU congregations. They are, or have been, the largest UU congregation. They have nurtured a social justice ministry, led heavily by now Rev. Kate Lore, that has spread the UU gospel across the Tri County region.
One of her particular emphases has been upon economic justice. In sermons, in action. The participation of First Church in the Seattle WTO protests in 1999 garnered popular attention, and some criticism.
This week, First Church played host to a wonderful event, a speaking engagement of Chuck Collins (a UU and founder of United for a Fair Economy – the folks who brought us the Racial Wealth Divide curriculum) and Barbara Ehrenrich (Nickeled and Dimed). Their new project is the Working Group on Extreme Inequity. Chuck Sheketoff, uber-analyst on economic and social affairs in Oregon, wrote a nice piece for Blue Oregon.
Thanks Rev. Sewall and First Unitarian.