Tuesday Talk

[Decorating the Christmas tree. There is also a mitten tree that could use new or gently used mittens, socks, and other warm items for the homeless.]

Tuesday Talk

December 17, 2019

Life does not stop with the holidays. Sometimes, in the midst of the hustle and bustle, we have to take time to do what is needed. In response to ICE sending Edith, who has been in sanctuary for 2 1/2 years at the Columbus Mennonite Church, a final order of removal, a threat to reinstate $500k in fines, and to criminalize her case, a rally was called to support Edith on the morning of her ICE appointment. About 20 First Users joined with others from the community to show support. See pictures near the end of this email.

I had the privilege to speak to those gathered as well as join Pastor Joel Miller and others in going downtown to meet with ICE officials. To our surprise, they talked with us for about 30 minutes. While one official kept repeating that if Edith would just leave the country, she could pick anywhere in the world to start a new life. Never mind that she has a husband and children – a family – right here in Columbus. The other official acknowledged that if ICE came into the church – breaking the long-standing policy of treating houses of worship as sensitive no-go spaces – it would be messy. That would be an understatement. If ICE entered a house of worship, it would violate separation of church and state and would make a mockery of religion’s core values of mercy and compassion for the stranger and the most vulnerable.

Here is what I offered to the gathering at the Mennonite church before we went downtown to meet with ICE.

In the season of Christmas, we celebrate a refugee. Jesus.
 
Born in a lowly manger, one stop away from his family being homeless that night, Jesus knew what it was like to be without.
 
Hurried as a baby into Egypt to escape violence from Herod, a king determined to have no competition to his power, Jesus was a refugee.
 
Jesus was vulnerable to the innkeepers who had no room for his birth and to kings who from his birth, tried to put him to death.
 
Jesus did not forget. Nor did he leave the refugee behind. 
 
The religion that formed after his eventual death – the Christianity that many believe in today, holds the truth of what it means to be human – to be in relationship with others and not just a narcissistic infatuation with one’s own self or idolized power used to harm others.
 
Jesus taught us about the Good Samaritan and what it means to have mercy for the stranger, for once we were all strangers. 
 
His formal teaching concluded with an imperative to take care of “the least of these”; to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and welcome the stranger. 
 
Jesus did not forget. He knew what it was like to be a stranger in a strange land. Jesus was a refugee.
 
For all those who rally around the United States as being a Christian nation, what did we miss? Have we become a nation that would rather debate the merits of Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas rather than doing the work of Christmas – to have mercy and compassion?
 
A country is judged not by its wealth but how it treats the most vulnerable. Surely, we are failing any test of religious or moral integrity.
 
How dare we separate children form their families? Over 5000 to date.
 
How dare we turn our backs on people fleeing violence?
 
How dare we strip dignity away from those who most need it?
 
And how dare we threaten a person – a family – who has sought refuge in a house of worship, a sanctuary built upon the very message of mercy and compassion. 
 
Who are we to turn away – or turn over – a refugee, an asylum seeker, a person without papers? Or even a person in process of getting documentation?
 
Regardless of our religious beliefs, this threat to cross the threshold of a house of worship – any house of worship – is a threat to the humanity of us all.
 
None of us are removed from the plight of the most vulnerable. Our riches lead us into false security and our comforts mask our own fears.
 
Religion teaches us to have mercy, to have compassion, to love.
 
Today, we are in solidarity with Edith, her family, and everyone who is vulnerable.
 
Today, we are all refugees. 
Today, we are all immigrants.
Today, we are all human.
 
This Christmas, this church is a sanctuary, a manger. May we learn its message and do likewise.

Blessings,
Rev. Marian

MUSIC SUNDAY!
A spectacular service was presented by our choirs.
Peace Pals!
Our children’s choir sang, played kazoos, and led the congregation in singing. They won everyone’s hearts. Thank you to Kathryn Long and Barb Fisher for co-directing this amazing choir.
Rising Voices and Spirit of Life Choirs
Under the direction of Michaela Jones-Brown, the Rising Voices youth choir and the Spirit of Life choir, which sings for the 9:00 Sunday services, did an excellent job. Congratulations on making beautiful music.
Chalice Choir
Sixty member strong Chalice choir sang Gloria by Karl Jenkins. Each piece was separated by readings from world religious traditions. Farrell Brody read the texts in Sanskrit, Mandarin Chinese, and Arabic. Leslie Armstrong sang the solo. The choir is directed by Brandon Moss.
THANK YOU!
Well received standing ovation for our choir directors and accompanist. Brandon Moss (Chalice), Michaela Jones-Brown (Rising Voices and Spirit of Life), Barb Fisher and Kathryn Long (Peace Pals), and Nathan Hamm (pianist)

SHOUT OUTS!
Opportunities and Reminders

Singers and Music makers
Thank you to all the choirs, directors, and musicians.
What a wonderful service of music. Almost 500 people enjoyed a delightful morning of song. Thank you to the choirs (Peace Pals, Rising Voices, Spirit of Life), directors (Kathryn Long, Barb Fisher, Michaela Jones-Brown, Brandon Moss), and pianist extraordinaire (Nathan Hamm).

Shout out to Seth Kraut
Seth is living his values in a public way
Life-long First UUer and immediate past Board president, Seth ran a good race for a seat on the Worthington City Council. It was close and after a re-count fo the votes, he was short just one vote. Seth, we’re proud of you!

From our Auction Team…
Our First UU Auction:  Come Fly with Me! is Saturday, February 22 at 5 pm.
We need many donations in order to make our auction “take off”! Please enter your items online. We will have an auction table in Beach Hall on December 22 and 29 after the services. At the auction table you can sign up for childcare, to bring an appetizer, to volunteer, to make a donation and to get your questions answered. Can’t think about what to donate? Ask us! We have lots of suggestions.

Is an Intern in our future???
Contribute a Teaching Share to the Intern Fund 
If we would like to have a ministerial intern in the coming years, we have to put the funds in place now. In order to say ‘yes’ to a school and a potential intern, we have to know that we can uphold our promise. If you are interested or would like more information, please contact Rev. Marian soon.

This Sunday
***
Middle HourMiddle HourMiddle Hour***
10:15–10:45am, Beach Hall
CAROL SING-A-LONG
Join us in Beach Hall for an all-ages holiday sing-a-long.

THIS WEEK

For additional churchwide activities and events, please see First UU News (emailed on Fridays and in the Sunday Order of Service).

For information about family and child-focused events and classes, see the RE News (emailed to families and in the Sunday Order of Service).

Friday, December 20th, 6pm, Beach Hall
Rainbow Connexions Potluck and meeting
This group is for anyone who identifies on the rainbow. While we love our allies, this group is for those who experience life with marginalized LGBT+ identities.
Our December gathering will be a potluck and White Elephant gift exchange ($10 or less or get rid of something you don’t want). Dress for the season, bring your favorite holiday CD, and be ready for fun. Hope to see you there.

Sunday, December 22nd, 9:00 and 11:00am, Sanctuary
“Lights of the Season” with Rev. Marian
From campfires to yule logs to sacred stories, humans have found ways to mark the winter solstice and make the dark days brighter. Light not only brings heat for the body, it warms the soul. In this season of holiday, some lights invite deep reflection while others bring a sense of joy and hope. ***Wear your favorite holiday attire, including ‘ugly’ Christmas sweaters.

Christmas Eve
Tuesday, December 24th, Sanctuary
5:00 pm Family Christmas Eve service
7:30 pm Carol Sing-a-long
8:00 pm Candlelight Christmas Eve service
All are welcome. Hot cider follows each service. Feel free to bring holiday goodies to share.

Spirit of Life choir members visited and sang Christmas carols with fellow choir member Rev. Lynda Smith. Lynda is recovering at Mt. Carmel rehab hospital from broken bones she sustained in a fall a couple weeks ago. Lynda’s spirits were good as the docs hinted that she might go home two days before Christmas.
SAVE THE DATE…
Holiday Appeal
December

Consider a holiday gift to support all the great things we do…caring, services, programs, justice, engagement, community involvement, and so much more. Your special gift this season helps us be a stronger congregation and live our values more fully. Give online or see Patricia at the Holiday Appeal table on Sundays.Minister’s Discretionary Fund (MDF)
December
The Christmas Eve offering will go to the MInister’s Discretionary Fund to help those in need. We serve mostly First Users who need emergency assistance. Christmas Eve is the only collection for this fund although you may donate anytime. Donate online or write “MDF” in the memo line of a check. Thank you for your generosity and care.Labyrinth
December 26–January 1

Coordinator: Cath Saveson
We will be hosting the “Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth” again this holiday season in the Worship Center. The schedule for its availability is:
– Thursday – Monday, December 26-30: 3–7pm
– Tuesday, December 31: 7pm–midnight
– Wednesday, January 1: 10am–3pm
Volunteers are needed! Sign up to host or help with labyrinth set up/takedown.
Musicians are invited to perform contemplative music to provide a meditative environment for labyrinth walkers. Sign up to provide musicMid-Year Congregational Meeting
January 19th, 12:30pm, Sanctuary

Board of Trustees
We will gather as a community for our mid-year meeting to discuss the important business of the church. An agenda will be posted soon. Please attend: a quorum is required.First UU Auction: Come Fly with Me! 
Saturday, February 22, 2020
To really take off, we’ll need many donations to zoom in and take the bidding sky high! You can donate from the auction website or email.  We’ll have a table in Beach Hall starting near the end of November, then on January 5 and February 9 we will have Auction 101 sessions during Middle Hour to share auction information and answer questions.

Save your stuff!
Rummage Sale
May 2, 2020 weekend

We will also need volunteers. Please contact Seth Kraut (614-477-0099) or Rachel Kraut (614-774-2362). We need household items (kitchen decor, small appliances, baskets, lamps), jewelry and accessories, working toys/games/puzzles, garden, travel and camping items. More information will follow.

Supporting Edith in Sanctuary

First UUers gather at the Mennonite church on Tuesday morning to support Edith, who was given a final order of removal from ICE. Edith remains in sanctuary at the church as clergy (Pastor Joel Miller (Mennonite) and Rev. Marian) and a few others presented Edith’s legal response and letters of support to ICE supervisors downtown.

JUSTICE UPDATES

Gift cards are needed to provide food for Edith Espinal, Miriam Vargas, and the Honduran family living at Just North. Kroger cards are preferred. Jan Phillips is collecting the gift cards. You may give them to her at church, or leave them with Rev. Marian.
THIS MOMENT IN UU HISTORY
Sponsored by the First UU Archives Group
December 19, 1820
The abolitionist Mary Ashton Rice Livermore was born in Boston. As a young woman, she worked as a governess on a plantation in Virginia, where she witnessed the brutality of slavery. In 1845, she married Daniel Livermore, a Universalist minister, and became devoted to the principles of Universalism. Mary Livermore worked to raise money for medicine, food, and supplies for the wounded during the Civil War and helped found the Home fo Aged Women and the Hospital for Women and Children in Chicago when the war was over. She founded and served as president of the Illinois Women’s Suffrage Association and formed the American Woman Suffrage Association with Julia Ward Howe and Lucy Stone. Livermore was also active in the temperance movement. She wrote an engaging autobiography, The Story of My lIfe, in 1897. Livermore died on May 23, 1905.