Many of us sat down and watched Defying the Nazis: The Sharps' War on Tuesday, September 20, 2016. It's not often that a Unitarian minister and his wife get featured on a PBS documentary with a national television audience. The Sharps have an incredible story of resistance, sacrifice, and courage in their efforts during WWII to rescue Jews, dissidents, and refugee children. For congregations wishing to go further, check out "Defying the Nazis - UU Action Project" which includes a congregational study action guide, resources to counter bigotry faced today, and a map that displays congregations doing work related to these efforts. (Waitstill Sharp served as minister at our UU congregation in Davenport, Iowa, from 1954-1963.)
In the MidAmerica Region we have several congregations working to counter bigotry faced today. In Oak Park, IL, Unity Temple is partnering with RefugeeOne to host refugee families from Burma and Cote d'Ivoire. To learn more contact the Unity Temple Refugee Response team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Earlier this month the Unitarian Church of Evanston (IL) welcomed a family from Aleppo, Syria. Prior to their arrival, the congregation studied the issue for 7 months, partnered with RefugeeOne, raised money for rent, and engaged many lay volunteers. If you would like to learn more, please contact Carol at email@example.com.
The UU Church of Greater Lansing, MI worshipped in a local mosque this summer while awaiting completion of their building. Reverend Suzelle Lynch of the UU Church West of Brookfield, WI has an active presence countering Islamophobia in her community.
All of this work begins with relationships that build trust and a network of support. Small acts of welcome and hospitality over many years lead to larger offers to use a building or help a family in need. If such a project seems overwhelming to you, see if you can partner with other organizations and/or congregations. We do this work together in faith and covenant, spreading our values one loving relationship at a time.