2019 SUMMER FORUM SERIES

Sundays at 10:00 am
June 23 – August 18
 
June 23 –  Randy Dryer – “Social Media: America’s Youth, Privacy and the Law”
Private practice attorney specializing in 1st Amendment issues, Randy Dryer is member and former Chairman of the University of Utah Board of Trustees and teaches in the Honors College. He will discuss issues of privacy in social media today.
 
June 30 –  Mary Dickson – “Hosting International Students: The Joy of Opening Heart and Home to Strangers”

Mary Dickson is a writer and producer for public television. Recently retired as KUED’s director of Community Relations for over 20 years, Mary Dickson is known for her weekly program “Contact.” She is writing a book about her experience of hosting college-age international students in her home for many years.

July 7 –  Satin Tashnizi and Nora Abu-Dan – “Islam and Islamophobia”

Satin Tashnizi graduated from the University of Utah in Political Science, and is bilingual in Farsi and English.  Nora is a native of Utah and her parents are from Palestine. Nora is a University of Utah graduate in Economics and Spanish. Both currently work for Goldman Sachs. Persian music by the group Jannan.   

July 14 – Cami Collett – “Prepare for Your Care: Starting the Conversation About Being Mortal”

Dr. Cami Collett, M.D., M.P.H., family physician and faculty at St. Mark’s Family Medicine; longtime member of this church’s congregation.  Cami presents workshops on this topic in the community.

July 21 – Thomas Huckin and Elise Lazar – “Move to Amend: Getting Money Out of Politics”

Retired University of Utah English Professor Thomas Huckin and Elise Lazar are activists representing Utah’s Move to Amend Coalition. 

July 28 – Utah Congressman Ben McAdams – “Update: Being a Democrat in the 116th Congress”

Former Mayor of Salt Lake County, Ben McAdams was elected in 2018 as a Democrat to represent the 4th District of Utah. 

August 4 –  Howard Berkes – “28 Years and 31 Days: An NPR Correspondent’s Career”

Recently retired NPR reporter was based in Salt Lake City for 40 years.

August 11 – Thomas R. Smith – “Encounters with Mary Oliver: One Poet’s Reflections”

Thomas Smith is a poet, educator and writer visiting from River Falls, Wisconsin-  http://www.thomasrsmithpoet.com/ As someone who knew Mary Oliver, Thomas will reflect on lesser-known aspects of Mary’s work that reveal her struggle for personal healing and a reckoning with the geopolitical forces that threaten peace and the fabric of life on our planet.

August 18 – The Final Two General Election Candidates for Salt Lake City Mayor

Winners of August 13 primary election for Salt Lake City Mayor prior to November 5th will speak and answer questions.

End of Year Update!

We're about a month out from the end of the church year, which is BANANAS. The next few weeks are busy, and I wanted to take a minute to highlight a few things.

Lower School

-The last day of RE will be on May 19th. We will be having a RE talent show! This is not something, big, or stressful, but simply an opportunity to share our gifts with one another. Does your youth have a magic trick, song or dance they want to share? Be sure to come that day! 

-We resume 1 service at 10 am on May 26th. Childcare will be available until RE begins again September! 

-June 9th will be Intergenerational Flower Communion. Please plan on joining us, then going to the Church Picnic in Sugar House Park!

Upper School

-High School- Final payments for the Alabama Trip are due May 26th. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

- If you have a senior, Bridging will be on May 19th during the worship service. Please email Amanda at and let me know if your youth is participating. Thank you to everyone who already has emailed me!

- 6th/7th grade-Please start thinking about someone to be a mentor for your youth next year in Coming of Age. See my email sent this week for more information. 

I love how busy these last few weeks are! Please reach out with any questions, concerns, or great ideas!

In Peace,
Amanda Esko 

Director of Religious Education

RE Teacher Party!

Our RE teacher celebration will be on June 8th. RE teachers, look for an invite this week for dinner and an outdoor movie. Want an invite to the super cool party? We're recruiting teachers for NEXT year right now. Email Amanda at for more information!

RE Teachers Needed!

Do you love being UU and hanging out with awesome youth? Do you have a love of creating, playing, and learning? Join us next year as one of our RE Teachers! We need teachers across the grades, from kindergarten on up. Email Amanda Esko at for more information!

Youth Collaborative Art Project

This year, the Lower School youth embarked on an art journey. They created seven canvases. These canvases were a collaborative project completed by the children in our Religious Education program and their teachers. Each canvas represents one of our Seven Principles; the third canvas includes our Six Sources which give us inspiration. In addition to learning the principles and sources, our kids experimented with concepts and techniques in art with talented members of our congregation. These included photography, colored pencils, graphic design, watercolor, and crafts. In addition to being fantastic kid art, they are also a helpful learning tool when the words are set to the tune of “Do Re Mi.”  We want to say thank you to the entire congregation and especially the teachers who stepped up to help us this year. Please visit the canvases on display in Little Chapel!

RE 2019 wall art pics

In Peace and Gratitude, Amanda and Lissa, RE Class of 2018-19

 

Easter Egg Drop

What a fun Easter! This year, instead of a traditional egg hunt, we discussed the fragility of our planet, in regards to eggs. It’s our job to protect our planet, and on Easter, we worked on protecting our eggs. Eggs were launched from the balcony in Little Chapel. To the delight of all involved, most of our eggs survived!

2019 easter egg drop pic 12019 easter egg drop pic 1


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QPR: QUESTION, PERSUADE, REFER

Please join us for a very important Family Fun Night on Monday, May 6th at 6pm. We've invited trainers from the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition to join us and lead us in their QPR training. From their website, "QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer -- 3 simple steps that anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help."

As always, we will start with dinner. This month, however, we are going to start dinner early at 6:00 pm. Unlike most months where we can be a little more flexible with dinner, dinner is going to be cleaned up and put away by 6:40, so the training can begin at 6:45. Thank you all for respecting our trainers time by arriving on time and eating promptly! Older, mature youth are encouraged to attending with a parent (7th grade and above) are welcome and encouraged to join. In order to plan for dinner, we are asking for people to register in advance. Click Here to Register Please email Amanda Esko at  you have questions or have dietary restrictions.

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love history – and so you can imagine how much fun I’ve had this spring teaching UU History, with my co-teacher Christine Ashworth. The best part about it (besides the enthusiasm of our students!) has been rediscovering the stories of some of our best-known ancestors in faith: William Ellery Channing, Olympia Brown, Theodore Parker, and more. 

It’s interesting to me how often we hear stories about our great ministers from history – and certainly, I feel that I, Rev. Tom, and our colleagues in ministry have impossibly big shoes to fill. But we rarely build religious education curricula around the great laypeople of our faith: people like Lucy Stone, Martha Sharp, and Clara Barton. Maybe someday I will make time to create just such a curriculum!

It’s such a useful exercise to imagine what were the values that inspired these historic UU laypeople to act for justice, beauty, or love, and to transform the world around them. I like to make a distinction between values and principles. Having principles is important – that’s why we have seven of them that distinguish our multi-cultural, multi-religious faith tradition. But principles arise out of values. To me, values are what’s important to me, even if my values remain unexamined and under the surface. 

In my household, my spouse values cleanliness, while I value togetherness. So I find that I just don’t have time to clean if I haven’t had time to relax with my family; while he finds that he can’t relax if things aren’t clean and neat. Neither of these values is really better than the other, yet we each find that we prioritize one over the other without giving it much thought. Working together, we find some balance in our complementary values – and sometimes we clean together, which means both of us are satisfied! But when we try to distill those values into principles, we can end up at odds. 

There’s never been a more important time for us to examine our values as people of faith and as participants in democratic institutions. I find that it’s very satisfying for me to support a local congregation, both with my time and with my money, because I value institutions that are truly democratic: owned by the members, run by leaders chosen by the members, and in which people have a say in what happens. The values that inform this support are democracy, equity, and participation. 

In our society, institutions like that are rare, and those that exist are under threat. Most institutions are ruled by much different values: profitability, efficiency, power, are some examples. 

During the next few years, our congregation will be weighing its collective values, and perhaps even examining some of these values for the first time. As part of that process, we may discover that some of our values seem to be in conflict. Do we value history, or forward thinking? Authority, or equality? Buildings, or programs? Of course, there’s no reason why, in each of these examples, we can’t have both – and indeed, we will have to find ways to have both, in ways that honor the needs of the whole congregation. Now is a good time to think about what you value, so that when the time comes, we can apply that knowledge to our community’s future planning. How do we want to show up in the world, and how can each of us be a part of that future? I am honored to be a part of it with you.

Vanity – Thy name is clergy…

Clergy shouldn’t really care that much about clothes, or do they? Somehow, the phrase “clothes make the minister” doesn’t really fit the image. The public doesn’t expect their clergyperson to make a fashion statement, but why not? 

Although most clergypersons don’t feel entirely free to wear styles that run contrary to the stereotype of clerical dress, (always black shoes), there’s a growing trend that allow clergy to put down their begging bowl and become fashionably hip.

Once fearful of resembling the styles of the rich rather than the meek, filthy materialism has become tantalizing for some who prefer their garb not reveal their professional identity. And it’s mostly about shoes; actually sneakers.

An Instagram account recently popped out called “PreachersNSneakers,” showing clergy wearing footwear so expensive that it could easily exceed what members of their flock would shell out for a few months rent or mortgage payments. Walking in the “path of God” while wearing a pair of blood-red Air Yeezy2s, a sneaker made in collaboration with Kanye West, can easily run the parson upwards of $5000. It begs the question: Can a clergyperson look too good? Congregations surely want their clergy to be comfortable in their attire, but is there a limit to footwear that bars no expense? 

As a wearer of sneakers myself, I have often been chided for wearing sneakers to church during Jazz Vespers. My footwear didn’t fit the expectations of even laidback jazz lovers. Perhaps I would have gained some respect had I worn a pair of Nike Air Fear of God sneakers going for $500 online.

The conversation about what walking the talk really means has received quite a buzz, but clergy prefer not to go there. Nor do they feel they need to account for owning a $1900 Gucci bag or a pair of pants running for $500. They may have received the call to serve God, but there was no stipulation as to appropriate or inappropriate attire. Where does it say you can’t do spiritual work looking good? 

When pushed by a confused public, however, to offer some explanation, these styling clergy will appeal to the need to relate to millennials. Young people, they maintain, are opposed to traditional worship and traditional dress codes. The clergy have thus traded in their suits for leather, and their footwear, well, seems to guarantee religion as “cool” for young generations. It all comes down to branding, and hip clothes, apparently, is the brand of choice for future worshipers. 

So, I have my eyes set on a pair of Yeezy Boost 750’s that run merely $700. I am told that “prominent pastors” wear them, so if you see me with the fancy footwear, I hope you feel proud of your minister rising to prominence. Or do most people carry a double standard for how clergy dress, precluding a little pizazz? Is it fair to deny a pastor’s penchant for luxury, and on what grounds? Should particular lines of clothing be prohibited for the clergy?

A robe used to make life a lot easier for everyone. The clergy never had to decide what to wear, and the congregation never rendered an opinion. But these days, religion presents (too many) options. Ultimately, how hip do you want your clergyperson to be, and in the decreasing membership affecting so many denominations, will the right pair of sneaker bring in a new generation? TRG

PLEDGE ROUND-UP: We’re at $469,121 or 80% toward our goal of $583,000. If you’ve been meaning to get around to it, now’s the time.  Knowing what we have to work with is extremely important as we begin to budget for the 2019-2020 church year. And thanks to all who have pledged to date!

LUNCH BUNCH: May 5 at El Chichauchau, 3926 Highland Dr, SLC, Utah 84124, 801-272-8091, www.elchihuahuaslc.com

FAMILY FUN NIGHT: Monday May 6th at 6pm, Eliot Hall, QPR: Question, Persuade, Refer suicide prevention presentation following dinner.

ENVIRONMENTAL MINISTRY: invites you to a 5-week book discussion led by Vaughn Lovejoy.  We will meet in Room 218 on Mondays 6:30-8:30 PM 5/13-6/10: “A New Republic of the Heart, An Ethos for Revolutionaries” By Terry Patten. A vision to address our environment, economy, politics, culture, and to catalyze the radical whole-system change we need now. Patten shows how we can come together in our communities for conversations that matter and describes new communities, enterprises, and forms of dialogue that integrate both inner personal growth work with outer awareness, activism, and service.  Please come to the first meeting on 05/13/19 prepared to discuss pp 1-64, Chapters 1 & 2.  Please contact Vaughn Lovejoy at  to join the discussion or with any questions

ISSUES & ACTIONS GROUP: Utah Legislature 2019 and Political ActivismThurs, May 16th, Elliot Hall, 7-9pm – The Issues and Action Group will host a panel presentation by Elizabeth Weight, Carole Straughn, Melanie Hopkinson, and Mark Rothacher.  Liz Weight, representative in the Utah Legislature  HD31 -Taylorsville, will summarize some of the key bills passed and killed this year and how bills really become law or are killed.  Carole and Melanie were up at the legislature every day this last session and they will share their impressions, Carole will also discuss how you can build a relationship with your Utah and Federal representatives based on her experience in the Citizens Climate Lobby. Mark Rothacher, as a House District Chair for the Democratic Party, will talk about how to get involved politically, how to write letters to the editor, and how to be more effective on social media.  The goal is to share information on the recent Utah legislative session and on how to become more politically effective and involved.  Please enter via the double doors at the North Entrance.

ENVIRONMENTAL MINISTRY: We are pleased to announce a delightful evening of music photos on Friday May 17th, 7-9pm. "Canyon Echoes”, Parks of the Colorado Plateau, Songs, Photos and Stories by Art Lee.  As part of the program, 15 copies of Overdevelopment, Over population, Overshoot will be given to lucky members of the audience.  Please enter via the double doors at the North Entrance.

RE BRIDGING: Do you have a high school senior this year? Bridging will be on Sunday, May 19th during the 11 am service. Email Amanda at  if you would like your youth to participate.

SING A LONG: Join Jim Thornburg and Lori Shields for a Sing-A-Long, Thursday May 23rd 7-9pm in Little Chapel.

ARTISTS DISCUSSING ART: The last Monday of every month artists gather at 7pm in the Haven to discuss each others art.  The group is open to all visual artist, watercolor, acrylic, oil, mixed media, fused glass, and clay. Bring work to discuss or just come to listen. Bring a light refreshment to share.

DREAM GROUP: Meets the 4th Sunday, 12:45 pm in Room 201. (11:30 am during Summer Schedule)

MEDITATION WALKS:  Nature Walks along the Jordan River, every Tuesday 10am to Noon,  Meet at Arrowhead Park, 550 W 4800 S. Friendly dogs on leash welcome, 1 to 3 miles.

MINDFULNESS MEDITATION CIRCLE: 

  • Meets Sunday at 10am in the Parlor (9am during Summer Schedule)
  • An evening of Buddhist teachings investigating the foundations of mindfulness meditation. What is mindfulness and how might it be of benefit in our personal lives, alone and together as a community? We will consider how to cultivate a daily practice of mindfulness as taught by the Buddha and is practiced today. All are welcome. Come to the Parlor on the third Wednesday at 6:30 pm. For more information

MYSTICAL SPIRITUALITY: Meets the 2nd Sunday, 12:45 pm in Room 201 (11:30am during Summer Schedule)

SANCTUARY:  You may have heard that we have 200 Sanctuary volunteers ... but in reality the number who are actively volunteering is more like 70 and they need YOUR help.  Please engage or re-engage with Sanctuary, renew your background check, get caught up on training, and start actively volunteering at least once a month.  We have volunteers in Eliot Hall after both services ready to answer your questions and to help you engage or re-engage with Sanctuary.

    • VOLUNTEER:  To volunteer to become a Sanctuary Host, sign up at: https://slcuu.org/programs/sanctuary 
    • BACKGROUND CHECK: (New and Renew) Consent:   http://tinyurl.com/UUBCKT  - $15 donation – All Sanctuary Volunteers need to get their background checks upgraded/renewed
    • SANCTUARY TRAINING: Complete the training survey to let us know what days/times work for you: survey is included in the Background Check Consent form linked above 
    • DONATE:  Online donations to the Sanctuary Family Fund may be made at:  https://slcuu.org/sanctuary-fund, To donate by check, make check payable to:  First Unitarian Church of SLC, and write: Sanctuary Family Fund in the note. You can also donate through the GIVELIFY app, just check the Sanctuary Family Fund.

YOUNG ADULTS: A community of people in their 20's, 30's, or young at heart. See all of our upcoming events on Facebook: First Unitarian SLC Young Adults, or email us to receive notifications via email: , or you can reach out to Heather Drenckhahn

The camping trip is attended by approximately 80 to 120 people depending on campsite. It is a community building activity were attendees of both services and their families can take time to get to know each other away from the church. For many attendees it is a family church tradition. Childrens activities are planned so there will be something to do for all ages!

The event covers 3 nights and 4 days on average. Family friendly activities take place every day and there is a huge pot luck that is often also attended by people who drive up just for the day (another 10 people or so). This summer we will be camping at Pine Valley North Group Site A located up Mirror Lake Highway. The site holds 120 people (number of vehicles 25).  Cost is $36 per car.

Arrival Date: Thu Jul 25 2019 Check-in Time: 2:00 PM  Departure Date: Sun Jul 28 2019 Check-out Time: 1:00 PM

Overview: Pine Valley North Wasatch Cache Group Campground is located on the beautiful Mirror Lake Scenic Byway in the Uinta Mountains of northeastern Utah. The Uintas are known for their abundant recreational opportunities and scenic beauty.

Natural Features: The campground is situated among shady pines and aspens at an elevation of 7,400 feet. The dense stands of trees provide nice shade.

Recreation: The Lower Provo River is nearby, offering good trout fishing. Numerous hiking, biking and horseback riding trails crisscross this beautiful mountain area, including North Fork and Shingle Creek Trails. Off-road vehicle trails are in the vicinity.

There is limited parking, so please sign up  early by filling out the form and pay fee at by clicking here.  

Any questions contact Jim Thornburg or Amanda Finlayson at

First Church is deeply saddened by the deaths of 3 of our members. 

Flo Wineriter passed away Sunday, March 24, 2019.  A Celebration of Life Open House will be held in Eliot Hall Monday, April 8th from 6pm to 8:30pm.  
 
Adelyn Polevoy passed away this past week.  Adelyn and Leonid both were long time members and they will be missed.
 
On Thursday, Marjorie Coombs, wife of Alan Coombs, passed away peacefully in her sleep. A memorial will be held Saturday, June 15th, time TBA.
 
PLEDGE DRIVE: RISE TO THE CHALLENGE

Let’s build on this strong start to reach our goal! By Wednesday we had received 169 pledges for a total of $420,579 or 72% of our goal of $583,000.

FAMILY FUN NIGHT: Monday, April 1st, 6:15 in Eliot Hall. Baked potato bar, followed by adults meeting with Rev. Tom about complexities of parenting, kids will celebrate spring. Contact Amanda to register or for dietary restriction at .

LUNCH BUNCH
  • April 7, 2019, The Garage on Beck,1199 N Beck St, SLC, Utah 84103, 801-521-3904, www.garageonbeck.com

  • April 14, 2019, Saffron Valley Sugar House, 479 E 2100 S, SLC, Ut 84115, 801-203-3754, www.saffronvalley.com

  • April 21, 2019  (Easter Sunday) ******

  • April 28, 2019, Spitz Sugarhouse, 1201 E Wilmington Ave, SLC, Ut 84106, 385-322-1140, www.spitzrestaurant.com

  • May 5, 2019, El Chichauchau, 3926 Highland Dr, SLC, Utah 84124, 801-272-8091, www.elchihuahuaslc.com

NEW MEMBER CEREMONY: Please join Rev. Tom, Rev. Monica, and the Hospitality Team for a New Member Ceremony on Monday, April 15 at 7pm in Eliot Hall, celebrating all those who are joining the church this year. This ceremony will honor those who have signed the membership book since last summer, and there will be an opportunity for new members to sign the book.  We also welcome current church members who wish to support our new members to attend in support.  All new members who sign the book at this gathering will be eligible to vote in our congregational meeting in May. Families are welcome to attend together! Child care may be available if requested no later than Thursday, April 11 - please contact Rev. Monica to request child care.

UU BOOK CLUB: April 18th, 7pm, The Haven - "Men Explain Things to Me" by Rebecca Solnit.

ENVIRONMENTAL MINISTRY is hosting The Good Grief Network, beginning its weekly 10-Step Program to combat despair, deepen self-awareness, and embrace interconnectedness. We invite everyone grappling with the enormous challenges of systemic sociopolitical, environmental, and spiritual change needed to reign in climate collapse and other large-scale ills to join us in building psychosocial resilience starting 2/27/19 from 6:30-8:15 pm in Room 218 (continuing Wednesdays through 5/01/19) Drop-ins are welcome but you can contact to RSVP or for more information.

ARTISTS DISCUSSING ART: The last Monday of every month artists gather at 7pm in the Haven to discuss each others art.  The group is open to all visual artist, watercolor, acrylic, oil, mixed media, fused glass, and clay. Bring work to discuss or just come to listen. Bring a light refreshment to share.

DINNER AND DIALOGUE: Meet other UUs on a more personal level over a potluck dinner. Sign up at the Congregational Life table in Eliot Hall to host or Join a group. Contact with questions.

DREAM GROUP: Meets the 4th Sunday, 12:45 pm in Room 201. 

MEDITATION WALKS:  Nature Walks along the Jordan River, every Tuesday 10am to Noon,  Meet at Arrowhead Park, 550 W 4800 S. Friendly dogs on leash welcome, 1 to 3 miles.

MINDFULNESS MEDITATION CIRCLE: 

  • Meets Sunday at 10am in the Parlor
  • An evening of Buddhist teachings investigating the foundations of mindfulness meditation. What is mindfulness and how might it be of benefit in our personal lives, alone and together as a community? We will consider how to cultivate a daily practice of mindfulness as taught by the Buddha and is practiced today. All are welcome. Come to the Parlor on the third Wednesday at 6:30 pm. For more information

MYSTICAL SPIRITUALITY: Meets the 2nd Sunday, 12:45 pm in Room 201

SANCTUARY:  Sanctuary Questions? Want to learn more about our Sanctuary effort? Stop by the Sanctuary table in Eliot Hall after each Sunday Service.

  • VOLUNTEER:  To volunteer to become a Sanctuary Host, sign up at: https://slcuu.org/programs/sanctuary 
  • SANCTUARY TRAINING: One-on-one sanctuary training is provided to new sanctuary volunteers, after sign up 
  • DONATE:  Online donations to the Sanctuary Family Fund may be made at: https://slcuu.org/sanctuary-fund. To donate by check, make check payable to:  First Unitarian Church of SLC, and write: Sanctuary Family Fund in the note.
  • ASK: You may have heard that we have 200 volunteers ... but in reality the number who are actively volunteering is more like 70 and they need your help.  Please engage or re-engage with Sanctuary, renew your background check, get caught up on training, and start actively volunteering at least once a month.  We have trainings scheduled this week and next and we have volunteers in Eliot Hall ready to help you engage or re-engage after this service today.
      • Training Dates:
        • Thursday April 2nd 10:00am
        • Thursday April 4th 6:30pm
        • Wednesday April 10th 2:00pm

YOUNG ADULTS: A community of people in their 20's, 30's, or young at heart. See all of our upcoming events on Facebook: First Unitarian SLC Young Adults, or email us to receive notifications via email: , or you can reach out to Heather Drenckhahn

The scales of justice currently have a right-wing thumb pressed down real hard. Our society reels from the conspiracy to distort democratic principles, from a right-wing Supreme Court, to a right-wing Senate, to a right-wing Attorney General appointed by a right-wing President. Mr. Barr has just rendered his four-page interpretation of a two-year investigation by Mr. Mueller into the collusion of Russia and the president undermining the election process in the U.S. Although it came as little surprise that the Attorney General essentially reinforced the president’s claim that the investigation was a witch hunt, most Americans were awaiting something a bit more honest. Not everybody thinks the investigation is over, but the president contends he hears the “fat lady” singing. Nonetheless the wind has gone out of the sails among those who hoped that some form of retribution might take place, even at the highest level of government.

Our nation is not entirely in a new position. We are experiencing a recycling of White racism/ supremacy with a bit more legitimacy from the top of the political pyramid than in the past. But the basic theological principles remain the same. Yes – theological. Theology is nothing more than a reflection on values and convictions. Values determine what we believe to be important in life. Convictions reveal how we live our values. Among the many efforts to crystalize why we are such a divided nation, I believe the divide can best be interpreted as White Theology vs. Black Theology.

Sixty years ago, white people were astoundingly silent about racism in general, and the Civil Rights movement in particular. Of course there were exceptions as there always are, but the legitimate question raised at the time by Malcolm X was whether Christianity was a white man’s religion, or if Islam reflected the true religion for black people. Malcolm further asked if a Black person could authentically be a Christian. This question stirred the pot among black Christian ministers especially. James Cone who then started a movement called Black Theology. Even before Liberation Theology which famously addressed the plight of the poor mainly in Central and South America, Cone began Black Liberation Theology. The thesis was that God identified with the oppressed. As was written in the Gospels and in Isaiah, “preaching good news to the poor” consisted of proclaiming freedom from captivity. 

James Cone also played off Malcolm’s question by asking if racists could ever be considered Christian. Stokely Carmichael called for Black Power in the arena of politics and economics. Broadly understood, Black Theology became the counterpart to Black Power. And white people dismissed the movement as “Marxist.” This is how the Roman Catholic hierarchy rationalized its rejection of Liberation Theology.  Priests fighting for liberation for the poor and powerless were just “Marxists.”

And here it comes again. White supremacists desperate to hold on to their oppressor status, have made it their religion to disenfranchise the poor. This is what they believe to be important, and how they live their values.  And those who seek justice for all people are readily dismissed these days as “socialists.” It’s a label of such negative connotation that the real issues we need to confront are easily dismissed. 

Impeaching the president was never a high priority of mine. That would have solved little, if anything at all. Our real issue under the banner of Trump is Trumpism. The oppressors in our society today wield a malicious power that threatens not only a system of justice as written by our founding fathers, but threatens human decency as written by biblical scribes. The Mueller report represents but a single thread of our painful predicament. Our commitment to justice cannot decelerate.  Our work has just begun. White Theology must lose its influence. Democracy must prevail. TRG 

 

News From the Refugee Resettlement Committee

In August of 2017, the Refugee Resettlement Committee (RRC) at First Unitarian Church launched the Welcome!Basket project in response to the federal government’s lowering of the refugee resettlement ceiling for 2017 from 110,000 to 50,000. The ceiling for 2019 is only 30,000 - the lowest ceiling since the refugee program was established in 1980 - in spite of the worst refugee crisis in history

Thanks to the generosity of the First Unitarian community, 40 families (241 individuals) have received an especially warm welcome to the Salt Lake Valley in the form of a laundry basket full of NEW basic household items, NEW toys for children and NEW picture dictionaries. One basket remains in storage waiting for families to arrive. 22 of the families receiving baskets were from the Democratic Republic of Congo, 8 from Afghanistan, 6 from Burma, 2 from the Central African Republic and one each from Pakistan and Ethiopia. The total value of the baskets, including the one yet to be delivered, is approximately $4500. 

While the RRC is discontinuing the Welcome! Basket Project, we want to continue to provide the following five items to as many families as we can: basic tool sets ($10 at Ikea), laundry baskets, tea kettles, soccer balls, and picture dictionaries.  If you wish to donate other NEW items from the list below, please leave them in the back right corner of the Little Chapel. If you prefer to let us do the shopping, cash donations can be left in the church office or given to Joe DuBray or Nancy Rasmuson. 

Thank you for your support of Salt Lake’s refugee community! Refugees ARE welcome here!

 

FOR THE HOUSE

FOR THE KITCHEN

FOR THE KIDS

LAUNDRY BASKET

FOOD STORAGE CONTAINERS

SOCCER BALL

WELCOME MET

COLANDER

BUBBLE SOLUTION

BATH MAT

FLATWARE STORAGE TRAY

SIDEWALK CHALK

HAND TOWELS

TEA KETTLE

 

WASHCLOTHS

KITCHEN TOWELS

 

TWIN SHEET SET

POTHOLDERS

 

BASIC TOOL SET

SMALL KITCHEN KNIFE

 
 

POTATO PEELER

 
 

KITCHEN SCISSORS

 

FOR THE FAMILY

   

RICHARD SCARRY’S BEST WORD BOOK EVER

 

RICHARD SCARRY’S BEST PICTURE DICTIONARY EVER

 

OXFORD PICTURE DICTIONARY, MONOLINGUAL, 3RD ED

 

 

The Pedal Project was also launched in 2017 and since then, approximately 41 bikes, helmets and vests have been delivered to refugee families from DR Congo, Burma, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iraq, and Ethiopia.  We are still in need of bikes.  WE ALSO ARE IN NEED OF BICYCLE LOCKS (last one was just given out). Please contact Chad Mullins at 455-7909 to arrange a pick up of your donated bicycle. 

Lastly, if you have time, we need volunteers who can help with apartment setups where no heavy lifting is required.  The time commitment is approximately five hours a month.  Please contact Nancy Rasmuson if you are interested.  801-633-5666