We Need Each Other!/Racism & White Privilege/Special Congregational Meeting – Sunday February 3, 2019 after Worship

We Need Each Other!

by , Fellowship Hall Update Team

We need each other.

How is it that we keep going? I feel certain that our get up and go is bolstered by the people around us. Sure, there is the inner voice that gives us ideas and propels us to do what we do. But what about when things get hard, and we face challenges?  What about when we are confused and don’t know the answer? What about when the tag is flipped out on your sweater and you don’t notice it? It is in those moments that we need the people around us. Albert Schweitzer says it well:

“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”

We need to set up our lives so we work in teams, are part of families, and in our case, are part of a church. I am always doing something at UUCW; in the case of this year it has been the Fellowship Hall Update! I could not have done it without my co-chair Maya Desai. When I stopped for a break she would organize something. When she was down I would send her yet another list and that would revive her.  On top of that, we could not have done it without our extended team of Vickie Cox-Lanyon and Nancy Hancock. And all of us were supported and challenged by the staff and congregation. Not only couldn’t we do it alone we shouldn’t have done it alone. It is better because we listened and let others fan our flame!

I challenge you to think about when UUCW has rekindled your fire.  Be thankful for that.

Sincerely,

Cristina Heffernan


My Thoughts on Racism and White Privilege

by 

Four to five years ago Beau Rivers (our Intern) suggested that she would like to form a book group to read and discuss Michelle Alexander’s book “The New Jim Crow”.   “Sure that sounds like fun” We read the book one chapter at a time because it was so depressing and disturbing- that’s all one could digest at a time. What Ms. Alexander had to say felt sinister and diabolical. This surely did not describe the America I lived in. People were guilty until proven innocent- not the other way around. She described a judicial system that was totally rigged against African Americans and any other persons of color. Impounding property – cars, furniture, clothing, appliances and never returning any of it. It was very sobering for me.

Of course that was just the beginning of reading and learning about this thing called “White Privilege”.

We watched a PBS series on Racism- but before we started the film, Beau asked everyone to write down how many races there were. I thought hard and decided that there were about 5 different races. We then watched the series. Again my mind was blown. There is no such thing as different races- we are all one race- the Human Race. I felt like an idiot. Then it just got better and better. Race it seems is a social construct to keep African Americans and others marginalized and separate and thus different. That made it okay to provide inferior schools, housing, employment etc. etc.

Did you know that after WWII – only White soldiers were eligible for the GI Bill and government housing – even though soldiers of color fought the same battles and endured the same hardships ??   I didn’t either. The film went on to describe that without education and a chance to own property- there was no way to accumulate assets- effectively keeping this segment of the population in poverty with no way out. Examples such as this go on and on . The injustice of this made me sick to my stomach. Why was I so oblivious to these things ???

In trying to educate myself , I read Robin Di Angelo’s book “What it Means to be White”. There is so much that we as white Americans are completely oblivious to. It was heart breaking to read all the ways in which we white people take for granted our status and privilege. Growing up cocooned in my white neighborhood and school and church- who knew ???

I feel that each and every one of us has a responsibility to educate ourselves and especially our children about this thing called White Privilege. It is time to work to change this incredible inequity .

Just think of all the things that we take completely for granted:

  • Living in a safe affordable house
  • Access to a good education
  • Fair treatment in our Justice System
  • Access to well-paying jobs- having contacts- friends in the right places
  • Eating in any restaurant or staying at any hotel you desire
  • Wearing a Hoodie and not getting killed

Special Congregational Meeting – Sunday February 3, 2019 after Worship

by , President, Board of Management

gold chalice logo

Hello all,

I hope this finds you all warm, healthy and well. I’m writing for three reasons:

First, if you have not done so already, please mark your calendars to attend the all-congregation meeting on February 3rd after the service. Myself and other Board members will be there to discuss and ask for your vote regarding the second and third items, noted below. The second presents a challenge, but the third, we believe holds great fiscal promise.

The second item is that the Board will be asking the Congregation for approval to withdraw $17,300 from investments to cover a shortfall only recently discovered in FY18 (last fiscal year). Approximately 70% of the shortfall was due to ~$12,000 less in income being received than budgeted. Specifically, our fiscal year 2018 pledges were down more than $11,000 and Fundraising was down another $4,200. This was offset to some degree by a few income streams exceeding expectations: Collection Plate, Restricted Gifts, fiscal year 2017 Pledges, and Refunds all came in above budget by ~$3,200. The remaining 30%, $5,300, was due to expenses that exceeded Budget. Utilities, Building Repair, and Grounds Maintenance were the primary culprits. We did not have any choice but to pay for these expenses if we wanted the lights to remain on, the furnace to operate and the parking lot plowed.

I suspect after reading the above that many of you will share the reaction I had when I heard this news – how could this have happened and why did we not know sooner? Simply put, we were not able to close the books until mid-November due to a bad confluence of events, including the Board not meeting over the summer and delayed invoice requests. Given it was already mid-November, the Board then decided to set the all congregation meeting as soon as practical after the holidays, the aforementioned February 3, 2019. While the news is disquieting, it is very explainable and I hope you will support the Board in granting this funding request.

Third, and last, we do have some good news. After much effort Dave Showalter, working with our own Jennifer Moore, has developed a business plan that involves using the church space three times a week to offer home schooled students’ courses. The courses will be broken out over three 12-week sessions running from September through May. When operating at full capacity, probably a few years after inception, the business plan shows an operating profit of roughly $20,000 annually. The tentative plan is to start operation in September 2019. However, in order to offer a refined, tested experience for the students (and their paying parents) we are asking the Congregation to allow us to “test-drive” the program this spring. The estimated costs would be $2,000. We would not be charging for the program until the fall, so this initial $2,000 would be considered an investment in the future success of the program.

Hope to see you all on February 3, 2019 after Church.