By Donna Johnson Worship Team Chair In March 2020, WUUC jumped straight into virtual Zoom church services with two days’ notice and a can-do spirit. This “show must go on” attitude kept us together as a congregation during a scary time, but resulted in some craziness from week to week.
Now, in the not-too-distant-future, when the time is right, WUUC will begin to offer worship services and other events in the church buildings again, and this time we can take our time to plan this new version of church. It is likely that most gatherings will be offered as both in-person and virtual events, so people who are not able to come to church will still be able to participate.
Many things will need to happen to make this “hybrid” and “multi-platform” future possible. An ad hoc, livestreaming group has been considering all the technology and people that will be needed to broadcast from the sanctuary while some people attend services in person and others participate at home. WUUC staff and volunteers are planning and working to get the building ready for people again.
A survey will be sent to WUUC members and friends to gather information about personal choices and preferences for worship services, social gatherings, and committee and team meetings. Stay tuned, there will be more to come and more opportunities to participate in reinventing church in the coming months.
By Donna Johnson Worship Team Chair Our stories help us know ourselves and know what matters in our lives. “Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories.” (Chimamanda Adichie)
We tell the story of who we are. “I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.” (Brené Brown)
We are shaped and created by stories. “Stories shape us in so many ways—when they resonate with our own experience, they tell us something about who we are. When they jolt us into a new perspective, they broaden our sense of the world. When they share where we have come from, they remind us that we are part of a larger narrative……Sometimes just sharing our story and having it be held by others is helpful. Sometimes hearing a story that sounds like yours, but with a different ending, can give you hope. Sometimes listening to someone whose perspective is totally different opens up new worlds and new understanding.” (Rev. Emily Gage)
We are connected by stories. “Humans make meaning by connecting stories.” (Rev. Karen G. Johnston) “…..stories connect us in ways that abstract thought and opinion do not.” (Rev. Rod Richards)
Stories set us free. We cannot wish old feelings away nor do spiritual exercises for overcoming them until we have woven a healing story that transforms our previous life’s experience and gives meaning to whatever pain we have endured. (Joan Borysenko)
Stories have power. “Those who tell the stories, rule the world.” (Proverb, exact source unknown)
Stories drive social change. Storytelling is dangerous to those who profit from the way things are because it has the power to show that the way things are is not permanent, not universal, not necessary. (Ursula K. Le Guin)
Change the story, change the world. (Terry Pratchett)
The March special collection raised $570 for JUUstice WA, which strives to inspire, educate, empower, and nurture the capacity of Unitarian Universalists (UUs), as well as our community allies, to collaboratively advocate for and undertake social and environmental justice initiatives. They support legislative change that aligns with our UU values in Washington state and beyond.
Our next special collection will be during the service on Sunday, May 16 to raise money and awareness for Circle Faith Future, an organization chosen by the WUUC youth group. Circle Faith Future provides a healing presence to organizations and communities in Oregon, Washington and Idaho by offering chaplaincy, presentations, workshops, crisis intervention, and/or local conversations addressing climate change, incarceration, poverty, trauma, racism and healing. One of their programs, the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition, seeks to provide quality, innovative, and stable programming and services to court-involved youth. Their motto is “listen, listen, love, love” which supports their core values of listening, cultivating community, anti-racism awareness, and practices of peacemaking.
The ASJ Committee thanks WUUC members and friends for their generous support of our monthly special collections, which take place during services on the third Sunday of every month. Instructions for giving are posted during the service, and you can also donate anytime the following week at https://onrealm.org/wuuc/-/give/now, or by sending a check to WUUC at P.O. Box 111, Woodinville, WA 98072. Please make checks out to WUUC and write “ASJ Special Collection” in the notes.
By John Hilke The Declaration of Independence talks of inalienable rights – inherent rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Some might take these as natural rights or “God given” rights. Another wording might be the right to vital participation in the context of reality.
We are all familiar with human rights as a term defining natural rights for humans. The term “rights of nature” might be less familiar, but it has similar roots. Wikipedia identifies rights of nature as a legal and jurisprudential perspective that describes inherent rights associated with things like ecosystems and species, similar to the concept of human rights.
Proponents argue that laws grounded in rights of nature direct humanity to act appropriately and in a way consistent with modern, system-based science, which recognizes that humans and the natural world are fundamentally interconnected. Proponents of rights of nature argue that, just as human rights have been recognized increasingly in law, so should the rights of other natural systems be recognized and incorporated into human ethics and laws.
This claim is underpinned by two lines of reasoning: 1) the ethics that justify human rights, also justify nature’s rights, and, 2) the survival of humans depends on the health of systems of which we are a part.
Thomas Barry, and many others, have contributed to the understanding and acceptance of the rights of nature, a concept that has critical resonance with the cultural, religious, and ethical precepts of indigenous peoples globally.
Rights of Nature laws increasingly are being adopted in various jurisdictions, some by treaty with indigenous nations and some independently. Wikipedia puts the count of such jurisdiction to date (2021) at 17 nations (including Canada), plus dozens of U.S. cities and First American Indian Nations.
As a result, a record of associated judicial ruling under these laws is developing in which natural ecosystems are given standing by the court and can be legally represented in disputes with individual or corporate entities.
John Hilke for WUUC’s Advocates for Social Justice Climate Justice Ministry, John Hartman, Chair. Many thanks to Chuck Fowler for reviewing an earlier version.