Message from Rev. Richard ‘Bud’ Murphy, UUJF President

Just Saying May 2022

 
 

Do our congregations need a covenant? What skills do members need to be in covenantal relationships in our congregations? What skills do we all need for our relationships? 
In a great article from the staff at the Southern Region of the UUA, Natalie Briscoe, Kathy McGowan and Nancy Combs-Morgan provides some background information about our covenantal relationships and what membership implies about the practice of that covenant. 
When new members sign the membership book “What they are actually doing is signing the covenant of the congregation and agreeing to consensually enter into this holy promise about how we will be together and co-create Unitarian Universalism.”
The rule of law by the consent of the people is an example of organizing human energy in a covenantal relationship. It contrasts with authoritarian rule or the rule of the minority. A study of counseling effectiveness by Truax and Carkhuff, showed that across all counseling 
approaches, positive outcomes were associated with the counselor’s Empathy Warmth and Understanding. Those same traits of Empathy, Warmth and Understanding are the foundation of a vibrant covenant.
When we effectively practice covenant, we are striving to nourish in each other an autonomous Freedom and Responsibility vs. Rebellion and Compliance. Someone said, “When you make a commitment, you build hope. When you keep it, you build trust.”
Covenantal relationships are in marked contrast to the dynamic that seems rooted in the search for power and oppressive control. I think one of the best sources of information about the nuts and bolts necessary to live in covenant is Thomas Gordon’s Leadership Effectiveness Training. A key skill that is part of this relationship model is the ability to engage constructively when there 
is a conflict and resolve it consensually. 
Our ability to develop and use these interpersonal skills is essential to resolving the inevitable conflicts in our congregations and the world. It supports the inclusion of diverse opinions and a mutual search for solutions that all the stakeholders can support. 
If not us, who? If not now, when?

 

Legislative Update

 

Legislative Agenda

The Florida Legislature passed legislation to assault our personal freedoms, preempt local control, undermine rights of transgender people and women, and stifle efforts to teach critical thinking in Florida's public education system. Thus, this summer will be a good time to update our Legislative Agenda for presentation to our Legislators in advance of the 2023 session.  Please review the current Agenda at Legislative Advocacy – Unitarian Universalist Justice Florida (uujusticefl.org) and submit your thoughts and suggestions to info@uujusticefl.org.

 

Redistricting Florida’s U.S. Congressional Districts

In the April Special Legislative Session, the Florida Senate and House approved by party-line votes a new map put forward by Gov. DeSantis after he vetoed two alternative versions approved in March that would have added two Republican seats and subtracted one from the Democrats. The new proposal would create 20 seats that favor Republicans and just eight that tilt toward Democrats, meaning that the G.O.P. would be likely to hold 71 percent of the seats. Current party line voter registrations are evenly split 50-50% while former President Donald J. Trump carried Florida in 2020 with 51.2 percent of the vote.

Lawsuits are being prepared charging that this action violates Florida Fair Districts Amendment 6 adopted by 63% of the voters in 2010.

 

UUJF Climate Justice Ministry

 

Jan Booher, Director of UUJF Climate Justice Ministry, was interviewed for an Inside Climate News article on Hurricane Michael resiliency that was reprinted in Grist.

 

Four UU congregations (All Faiths Unitarian Congregation of Ft. Myers, UU Congregation of Ft Myers, The UU Congregation of Greater Naples and Unitarian Church of Sarasota) will be collaborating with The Osceola, Miccosukee and possibly the Seminole on the UU Service Committee’s (UUSC) How to be a Better Relative series.

An EPA $420K Enhanced Air Quality Monitoring grant application was submitted with the Climate Ministry’s assistance.  The Coalition of 1OO Black Women of Central Florida is the lead organization and fiscal agent that will be collecting air quality data from 14 predominantly Black and Brown zipcodes selected because of relevant health indicators among the residents.  The 1st Unitarian Church of Orlando has volunteered to collect air quality data in one zipcode area and stay involved for follow-up work.  UUSC will continue its involvement in this second bilingual grant addressing air quality.  Ultimately, the creation of a Community Air Quality Advisory Board comprised of representatives from underserved these underserved communities will be formed to use and apply the air quality data for better health outcomes.

 
 

News and Events from Congregations and UUJF

 
 

UUJF would like to publicize the work that you, your congregation or organization is doing in your local community.

Is your congregation affiliated with a DART organization in your area?

How is your congregation doing the work that Earth Day calls us to do? 
What is your congregation doing in response to Ukraine?

Are you participating in UUtheVote or other efforts increase voter registration or turnout?

Send news of your involvement to info@uujusticefl.org along with any additional resources you or your group might need to increase your impact and effectiveness.  Remember that a UU presence in the community will attract attention, support for your cause and perhaps new members.

 

"Big Money, Racism and Sugar Cane."
Justice Saturday 30 April 1:30pm

The Southeast Cluster of UU Congregations' Justice Saturday program will be on Saturday April 30 at 1:30 p.m. To obtain a Zoom link please email vicepresident@seuucluster.org.

The topic is:"Big Money, Racism and Sugar Cane." UU Justice Florida, which represents our 44 Florida congregations, is the Zoom host. The keynote speaker is Dr. Rashid Shaikh, co-convener of the UU Ministry for Earth's BIPOC Caucus on Climate Justice. Jim Smith of the UU Fellowship of Boca Raton, who assembled a panel of six advocates for a panel discussion, will moderate. The aim of the program is to highlight the health problems caused for Black and brownpeople by the pre-harvest burning of sugar cane and to call for at least a 27-mile buffer zone to insulate communities such as Pahokee, Belle Glade, South Bay and Clewiston in western Palm Beach County from the smoke and carcinogens that result from the process.               --Jim Smith, UUFBR Healing Justice committee.

Visit the Stop Sugar Burning Website

 
 
 
 

Florida's Agricultural Commissioner, currently Nikki Fried, has been the target of our advocacy for Stop Sugar Field Burning, as she is the singular office holder with the authority to ban this practice. In 2023 we will continue to pressure whoever the next Agricultural Commissioner is to ban sugarcane burning beginning with a minimum 27-mile burn-free buffer zone surrounding nearby impacted communities. You can learn more about the campaign's buffer zone demand and take action here.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Write to Vote - National Letter Writing Party 

Monday, May 9, 6:30pm

Join UUtheVote for the first National Day of Action on May 9! Help us reach our goal of sending 1,000,000 letters to potential voters in the 2022 midterms. We’ll be joined by special guests from our partners at Vote Forward. Don’t miss the party! Join us on Monday. May 9 at 6:30pm ET/3:30pm PT #UUtheVote #VoteLove #DefeatHate

 

Here is the UU the Vote 2022 Launch Media Kit

 
 

UUA General Assembly

General Assembly (GA) is the annual gathering of Unitarian Universalists, where the business of the Association is conducted, theological underpinnings of our faith are examined, and participants lean fully into mission and principles.

From Wednesday, June 22 through Sunday, June 26, 2022 in Portland, Oregon and online, this 5-day immersive experience offers inspirational worship services and informative workshops. Whether in person or on-line, there are opportunities to  reconvene with friends and colleagues, and explore the exhibit hall.

GA is an unforgettable experience for the thousands of UUs who attend.  You’ll leave with renewed energy and innovative ideas to share with your congregation and community-at-large!

GA will offer dozens of outstanding programming selections (workshops, panel discussions, worship services, and other presentations) over the course of five days.

Programs will provide attendees with concrete and usable tools to further the work, and the balance needed to explore multiple identity-based and theological perspectives. The theme for General Assembly 2022 is "Meet the Moment: Reimagining a Radical Faith Community." 

Each year a distinguished guest speaker is invited to address the General Assembly as the Ware Lecturer. This year the Ware guest speaker is Dr.  Ibram Xolani Kendi, American author, professor, anti-racist activist, and historian of race and discriminatory policy in America. In July 2020, he assumed the position of director of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University. Kendi was included in Time's 100 Most Influential People of 2020. Wikipedia

Register here.     

 
 
 
 
 
 

Primer Leadership Experience (Southern Region UUA)

Southern Region in response to popular demand, is bringing back the Primer Leadership Experience for Spring 2022 with scholarship funding for Florida UUs offered by UUJF.
 
Participants will emerge from this experience equipped with the foundational knowledge needed for congregational leadership. This series focuses on Unitarian Universalist History, Polity, and Theology. This event includes both self-paced video learning and a live, online, group-processing session (you choose the live date that works best for you). The cost is $35 per person. Live discussion dates to choose from are June 1, Sept. 14, and Feb 8.

Forward a copy of your Registration Acknowledgement to mmhartgering@gmail.com and UUJF will reimburse you for the $35 registration fee.

Watch an introductory video here. Register today!

 
 
 
 
 

DRUUMM (Diverse & Revolutionary UU Multicultural Ministries)

DRUUMM is asking Congregations to contribute to a May 4, Worship and Fundraiser.

Two excerpts from the Announcement and Request letter:

As DRUUMM President, I am writing to seek your support for our 2022 DRUUMM Worship & Fundraiser. It will be held on Wednesday, May 4th, 2022, at 8:30pm Eastern. Our working theme is This is an Altar Call with the Reverend B. Tyler Coles. This will be a public virtual event.

DRUUMM’s Worship & Fundraiser is an opportunity for the wider world of Unitarian Universalism to connect with DRUUMM and be in community together. The Worship is open to everyone while prioritizing space for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. We particularly encourage our DRUUMM members in multiracial families and White antiracist allies to join.

UU Justice Florida has contributed to the DRUUM fundraiser, and we invite you to learn more.   For more information, see the request letter here and the DRUUMM website.

 

8th Principle Updates

Accountability is a Key Part of the 8th Principle

We white UUs are accountable; we are required or expected to be responsible for actions to dismantle racism. We can’t just sit back and do nothing. To make sure whites do what they say they promised white UUs need to hold themselves accountable to communities of color. In practice, that means having a People of Color Caucus within congregations, Regions, etc., to discern and express needs and concerns to the rest of the community.

Black UUs hold each other accountable and help each other see and dismantle signs of racism. We need an effective mechanism or structure to ensure this, like a People of Color Caucus. More than the language of the 8th Principle itself, we are moved by the ongoing conversations about what it means to be accountable to each other, and how we must—through our actions—take on the work of anti-racism and anti-oppression as an inextricable part of our Unitarian Universalist faith.

The 8th Principle up for adoption is: “We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote: journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.”

+from Board of Directors member, Steve Jens-Rochow

 

Jubilee Antiracism Scholarship attendees report back--

UU Justice offered a few scholarships so that UUs could attend the Jubilee Anti-Racisim weekend training online:

Three comments from three attendees:

List one take-away about antiracism that you learned or felt that relates to your congregation.

  • We need to educate ALL the congregation that being “not racist” isn’t the end of your path re racism.

List one personal take-away about antiracism that you learned or felt from taking the Training.

  • White people need to do the work and be sensitive to BIPOC feelings as we discuss Others.  I made good connections with other from different places. 
  •  A big personal takeaway for me was how many deaths happen that I don’t even hear about or that I don’t remember and the privilege I have to be able to not remember/hear. Much growth is needed on the whole for UU.
 
UUJF Funding Announcement
Congregational Member Funding Opportunity

 

UU Justice Florida (UUJF) is offering a funding opportunity to kick start, energize or supplement your Unitarian Universalist inspired outreach work.

What we are offering

UUJF is offering grants of up to $1,000.00 to aid a UU group’s work that supports UU Justice Florida’s major goal of promoting justice, equity, and compassion in public policy in Florida. UUJF’s core issues are Democracy in Action, Environmental Justice, Public Health and Safety, Immigration Reform, LGBTQ+ and Gender Justice.

Request an application here.

Applicants need to complete the Google Application form to receive funding for your UU group’s work and submit it to UUJF for review and acceptance.  Once your request is approved by the UUJF Board, you, your minister or/and Board president will be sent the approved application and they will be asked to acknowledge your grant and plans. Please remember, your project’s purpose(s) must align with UU Justice Florida’s goals and core issues as described above. 

Your responsibilities

You will be responsible for saving receipts of expenditures and writing a simple narrative report regarding the results of your project within 6 months of grant acceptance. If the project continues past six months, a preliminary report and receipts collected to that point needs to be submitted, with a final report and receipts by the end of 12 months.

More detailed information will accompany the application.

 
 
 
 
 

We are taking a break until after UUA General Assembly.  Please submit news and upcoming events in your congregation for the July newsletter to info@uujusticefl.org in time for publication June 25.

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Visit the UUJF website and UUJF Facebook group
View archived UUJF newsletters.
 
Does your congregation have an online sermon or event that addresses a Justice issue?
Is your congregation involved in upcoming social justice initiatives in our area? Send us a note to info@uujusticefl.org for more information or to publicize your programs and actions.
 

Unitarian Universalist Justice Florida
P.O. Box 1310 | Orange Park, Florida 32067
  info@uujusticefl.org

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