The MidAmerica Board has covenanted with each other as a group to be intentional in developing a personal and a board deepening practice regarding Anti-racism, Anti-oppression, and Multicultural Awareness and to consider ARAOMC Awareness as foundational to our governance work in the MidAmerica Region. In our newsletters, we hope to move forward stories from our congregations to let others know about what is happening throughout the region, to encourage those who hold this value, and to honor congregations in their social justice work. For our last face-to-face gathering at the end of 2013, each board member was invited to collect ARAOMC stories from a congregation they knew or were interested in, and to share that story during our gathering. We will have a congregation’s gathered story reviewed by an appropriate spokesperson for the congregation prior to distributing it.
The following regards White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church in Mahtomedi, Minnesota, a congregation of over 700 adults and 350 children. The size of the congregation allows many hands for social justice work, but congregations and fellowships of all sizes may find possibility in WBUUC’s experience. What’s been happening at WBUUC regarding ARAOMC?
A. Self Education Opportunities
Our Adult Education opportunities recently have included a series by the Rev. Dr. Mark Morrison-Reed, UU Minister and Meadville Lombard affiliated faculty member, who offered both sermon and workshop, and whose involvement with us included sales of his books prior and post appearance and book discussions. Paula Cole Jones, Director for Racial and Social Justice for Joseph Priestley District, has also recently spoken here regarding the fact that our community can be most supportive of ARAOMC work by showing up as apprentices, not trying to take over or solve life experiences of others. We also offer book groups and discussions on such readings as The New Jim Crow, Nickel and Dimed, and others.
B. Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast
WBUUC is a remote location for the MLK Breakfast in the Twin Cities. We invite the community to join us for breakfast, offer the live feed of the primary MLK speaker at the Minneapolis Convention Center, and include a related speaker on location. This allows us to offer a visible expression of support for Dr. King’s work, a witness to the value of anti-racism in the suburbs, and has also led to our congregation’s involvement in Project Home, an overflow shelter for Minneapolis/Saint Paul families who are without a home.
C. Twin Cities Discussions Involvement
Some of the leaders of our congregation have participated in Beloved Conversations with other UUs regarding ARAOMC possibilities in the Twin Cities. While these conversations have yet to lead to new offerings at WBUUC, the groundwork is being laid for collaborative work.
D. Resting Place for Activists
Several in our congregation are involved in solo or small group work with others outside the congregation, such as with Immigrant Rights work, Prison Ministries, and more. A real service which WBUUC offers is a resting and recharge place for those activists whose work can be lonely, overwhelming, and physically tiring. To find community and be held in it is a gift of the congregation to itself and to the world.
On February 1, 2014,WBUUC hosted Rondo ’56, a musical look at the vibrant Rondo community, primarily African-American, which was split and dispersed in 1956 with the construction of a highway through its heart. The evening was one of three in a concert series which is a major fund-raiser for WBUUC.
Each congregation in the MidAmerica Region, no matter its size, has a story to tell regarding its work in the areas of Anti-Racism, Anti-Oppression, and Multi-Culturalism. Send an email to: [email protected] with the core of your congregation’s story. We hope to share one each month as we all come to know the vital work taking place throughout MidAmerica.