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

Just Saying 10/21/2021

David Johnson suggested I focus on new leadership in a changing world.  He wrote, 

“A few weeks ago, you asked for topic ideas for your newsletter column, so I’d like to suggest you focus on an organization’s need for new leadership in a changing world. You could speak in general terms, but I am specifically concerned about UUJF. Driving forces are the aging process, burnout, and the need to keep up with changing times and finding innovative ways to realize our goals.

I wish I had some specific solutions to offer, but I don’t except for the suggestions I’ve made during our meetings from time to time.

Ultimately, the success of UUJF depends on the success of Florida’s congregations. But the lack of membership growth in the numbers we’ve been tracking and the difficulty some congregations are having in forming new social justice committees reveal obstacles we face along the way."

I suggested to David that perhaps I could tie it in to my 80th birthday which could also benefit from a positive spin.

I offered a program in 2014 that focused on the issues of aging.  I offered it again recently, and as I refreshed my notes, I was struck by how much the Internet had changed in those 7 years.  One major shift was the growing emphasis on capturing the attention of the public. It validated Marshall McLuhan’s concept that the “medium is the message,” that a medium affects the society in which it plays a role not so much by the content delivered over the medium, but by the characteristics of the medium itself.  An army of influencers compete for our attention as the content of the message is subordinated to the goal of capturing our clicks and eyeballs for the marketers.  Specialist in analytics massage the choices made by millions of users and statistically project future choices with persuasive reliability.  Given the obstacles we face along the way, what is the solution? How can UUJF welcome new leadership for changing times? 

Let me speak to you very personally.  If you are reading this, you are likely interested in making a difference in a troubled world.  Check us out.  UUJF needs you to help create a desirable and sustainable future.  Do you belong to a congregation that shows collective compassion through acts of generosity, but struggles to promote Social Justice initiatives, participating in UUJF initiatives is a way for you to make that difference?  If your congregation is engaged in Social Justice initiatives, UUJF may be the next step in amplifying your influence by building solidarity on a State and National level.  Connect with me or one of our board members to explore the difference you can make.

Richard (Bud) Murphy Pres. UUJF

 

Legislative Update

Drop a note to info@uujusticefl.org if you would like help in forming teams, in creating agendas or talking points or to offer suggestions on improving Legislative Advocacy efforts.

Watch for Action Alerts on bills to restrict women’s reproductive freedoms and a possible Special Session to enact legislation prohibiting mask and vaccine mandates.

Redistricting Matters

What you and your neighbors can do-

  • Listen and read about redistricting mapping in your area, pay attention. 
  • Contact the redistricting committee and subcommittee members in the House and Senate near where you live, and say you want the new maps to follow Fair Districting guidelines.
  • Advocate for public hearings and participate in local redistricting activities.
  • Organize with others to advocate for Fair Districts.
  • See the FairDistricts Coalition and Brennan Center Profile on Florida for more information and action plans.

Expect more discussion until the vote during the Legislative session and possibly longer, depending on the maps. In the past Florida (and many other states) have drawn lines to benefit elected officials, political parties and/or special interest groups and to disenfranchise others.  The goal of Fair Districts is to create districts equal in population (mandated by the constitution), that have partisan fairness, are compact in shape, and offer fair representation to minorities.

Census information, mapping information and a formal invitation to the public to become involved  is online at the Florida redistricting website.

The end goal: Encourage your elected officials to follow the guidelines and get the mapping completed so that court intervention is not needed and the path to the upcoming 2022 fall elections is smooth.

 

Congregational News and Events

 

Southeast UU Cluster Meeting - Saturday Oct 30th at 12:00 pm

The SE UU Cluster is excited to have Paula Cole Jones as the Keynote Speaker at our Annual Meeting on Saturday, Oct 30, 2021, from 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm. Paula will discuss the proposed 8th Principle for Unitarian Universalism. She is one of the principal authors of the Principle:

"8. Journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountability dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions."

There will be a panel discussion of congregations that have adopted the 8th Principle. To register for the free meeting send an email with your name and congregation to Secretary@seuucluster.org. This event is open to all Florida UUs.  A Zoom link will be returned to you.

 

First Unitarian of Orlando’s Green Team in the News

 

The newly formed Green Team at First Unitarian Church of Orlando (1U) was interviewed by the local news station when an air quality monitor was installed on the 1U campus.  View the TV news interview of the chair of the Green Team, Mary Dipboye and the UCF Air Quality researchers.

 The UCF researchers, funded by a National Science Foundation grant, will be installing 100 sensors around the City of Orlando and Orange County during the next few months. They will provide data on the quantity of two important air pollutants that affect air quality and people’s health. These monitors will supply real time data over the next two years and are considerably less expensive than other outside monitoring devices.

The UCF researchers will provide focus members with the air quality data from their sensors and training on interpretation of the data. A member of the Green Team will lead a small focus group of sensor hosts. If residents decide that their air quality is not satisfactory, the researchers will offer ways the groups can advocate for better air quality with public officials.   Other focus groups will be meeting in their respective neighborhoods.

For more information, contact the researchers at airquality@ucf.edu.

 

UUA, UUSC and Southern Region

 

Essentials Leadership Experience

November 2021 - February 2022

UU Justice Florida is offering up to three scholarships per congregation-17 scholarships maximum for the state congregations.  Talk to your minister and/or Board Leadership about strengthening your skills, learning from other UUs and taking the class.

The following is Southern Region’s announcement:

The Southern Region Essentials Leadership Experience (Essentials LE) is an online experience with self-paced lectures and supplemental materials and includes live processing sessions. This series spans from November through February, with three live sessions in December, January, and February. The topics for the three sessions are Congregational Foundations, Faith Development, and System Theory. The cost is $75 per person. Please note there are prerequisites for participating in this event. Additionally, we ask that at least one other person from your congregation participate in this event with you. Your registration certifies that you have or will meet these requirements.

Download the Essentials LE Handbook to learn more.

 
 
 

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) helping Haiti

 

On August 14 of this year, after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti, the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) jumped into action.  UUSC has always done an excellent job with their Emergency Response Fund.  By reconnecting with partner agencies on the ground in Haiti, UUSC has been able to help grassroots organizations and groups on the ground.

Rev. Margalie Belizaire, First Unitarian Church’s new minister, has family in Haiti and spent time in Haiti growing up.  To honor their new minister, a generous member of 1U announced a $7500 matching gift to UUSC. Many 1U members and friends gave and ultimately another member at the end of the giving drive gave a $1000+ gift so that the total gift for Haiti for UUSC could reach $15,000. The generosity of members and friends makes this outreach possible.

How is your congregation connected to the struggles in Haiti?

How has your congregation helped Haiti?  Let us be inspired by one another.

Send your congregation’s story to UUJF.

 

The UUJF Board knows our congregations are working toward justice.

Inspire and encourage other congregations by sharing your congregation’s efforts in your community with UU Justice for the newsletter.

Easy Ask:  Orlando just had its Pride Parade. First Unitarian Church of Orlando (1U) has photos with a message.  Please send a recent Pride Parade photo-with your congregation’s name and showing your justice message.

Send news of your congregations’ social justice efforts to info@uujusticefl.org.

 
 
 

Please submit news and upcoming events in your congregation for the December newsletter to info@uujusticefl.org in time for publication November 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 link or more information 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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