Nothing About Us Without Us: Telling Disability Stories March 21, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. (Online Only at ReStream)
Elizabeth Foster Disabled people have often been viewed as objects of charity or pity rather than human beings with worth and dignity. In recent history, disabled activists, using the slogan ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’, came together to fight for civil rights and for the ability to dictate their own lives and stories, disrupting this model. We will continue the monthly theme of ‘respect’ by exploring common values of disability justice and UUism, and how we can work together to combat ableism today.
Elizabeth Foster is a UU seminarian at the Boston University School of Theology. Her research focuses on progressive Unitarian and Universalist involvement with the eugenics movement in the 1920s, and how we can learn from and come to terms with our history. She is a former DRE, currently serves as Student Minister for EqUUal Access, and is President of the BU Cross-Disability Club. She lives in Cambridge, MA with her cat, Jade.
Happy Birthday to: Doug Rix (03/17), Kathie Mattison (03/19), Michael Page (03/22), Mardie Blomgren (03/22), Warren Urbik (03/22), Angelique Bodine (03/23), Mary Diamond (03/23), & Barb Oehlke (03/23)!
Warren Urbik’s Birthday is coming up on March 22nd. He will be 80!!!!! I’d love for people to send him birthday cards or well wishes. Mail to 222 Shaw Street, Rockford, 61104 – or email at paulus.rednose@gmail. Thanks!
From Betsy Urbik
From League of Women’s Voters:
LWVGR’s nominee for the WTVOs Remarkable Woman Award, Colleen Holmbeck, will be highlighted on March 16 on the 6 pm news and on March 17 at 6 am. Be sure to tune in to see why our 50 plus year League Member was such a good choice as one of the four finalists for the award. Congratulations, Colleen. Well deserved!
Don Hurdle, a former active member of our church and singer with the Unicantors passed away peacefully on March 11, 2021, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in the company of his family. To read the obituary click here.
We will Share the Plate with EqUUal Access Their mission is to enable the full engagement of people with disabilities in Unitarian Universalist communities and the broader society. For more information click here. Click here to donate.
Clean Air at Church! We need your help!
We are planning to install 16 “Ion Generators” for our 16 HVAC units, which will keep the air in our building clean. These devices reduce the amount of dust, allergens, VOCs, and pathogens – including COVID – in the air. They are part of our way to keep us safe. Each until is $800. So, if you don’t need all of the $1400 American Rescue Plan payment many of you will soon get, and want to donate that to the church, we would be grateful. Send a check and mark it in the memo line, or give online and email us to let us know.
May 1st, 2016, was the first day of Chris Ainsworth’s service as membership coordinator at our church. We hired her to replace Bel Larson, who was moving, because Chris had the mix of personal warmth, follow-through, and creativity that was so important to that position. Over her almost five years in the position, she welcomed many of you as first time visitors, as new members, and as familiar faces. When Jamie moved to Madision, Chris took on the responsibilities for adult programs and caring team support, and was promoted to Membership Manager. She’s brought a real commitment to inclusion, kindness, and accessibility to this work. She’s a treasure to the staff team, and takes such good care of us as well as you.
Which is all to say, we’re going to miss her. Chris moved last week to Florida. Many members of her family already live there, and her children are excited to be closer to these family members. We’re excited for her, though sad to lose her. Chris will continue to work remotely for the church through the end of our fiscal year, at the end of June.
We are hoping to have a farewell party for Chris – and, belatedly, for Jamie – in July or August, which they’ll come back for. We’ll let you know when that date is set.
Please join me in wishing Chris the very best in her new adventures in the Sunshine State, and thanking her for her ministry with us.
As some of you may know, my family and I have been making plans to move south for the past couple of years. The past few months has brought about that trek for us, with the housing market in high demand!
It is bittersweet to leave, as serving you all as your membership person has been the most fulfilling and enjoyable position of employment that I’ve experienced. It has truly been a labor of love to help welcome you into a space that actively supports such heart-centered, considerate, growth-oriented work! Thank you all so much for being such an absolute delight to work for and with! I will miss you all so much!!
I’m thrilled and grateful that I’ll be able to continue to support the work of the church through the end of the year, remotely. I will be keeping the same schedule– Tuesday-Thursday and most Sundays, so please do reach out if you need!
I have enjoyed you all so much. Thank you all for making Sundays one of my favorite days of the week for the past 5 years! Please do keep in touch!
Please join us as we host RAMP, next Wednesday, March 24th at 7 pm
RAMP responds to inquiries from people with disabilities, family members,
other service providers, the business community, and the general public on programs, resources, and other issues related to disabilities. Questions span a broad range of disabilities-related topics including, but not limited to: Accessible housing, transportation, employment services, personal assistants, assistive technology, and accessibility requirements. Zoom ID: 337-267-3668
Upcoming Wonderful Wednesdays: Two-session class on “How to Have Hard Conversations.” April 14, 21 at 7 pm This two week adult program will discuss how to have hard conversations with folks we disagree with — and when not to. We’ll discuss political, theological, and social differences. When do you engage? When do you walk away? We’ll talk about how to respond to conspiracy theories as well. Most importantly, we’ll look at how to uphold our 1st principle, that everyone has worth — in a way that also respects our integrity and the truth.
On zoom, led by Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson. There will be time to practice what we learn in class and work through example situations. Zoom ID: 337-267-3668
Lunch with Matthew
Each Wednesday, starting on March 31st, you are invited to join Matthew and other church members at noon, at the church, to chat, catch up, and reconnect. We’ll talk about whatever is on our mind. Bring your own lunch if you like — and bring a lawn or folding chair, because we’ll be outside for this. (Vaccination encouraged but not required). If the weather is bad, we’ll skip that week, so check in with the church’s facebook page if you’re unsure.
Around 12:45, those who are interested are invited to join Matthew on a walk through our neighborhood, as part of the “Faith Leaders ‘Walk the Neighborhood'” challenge. We’ll see what’s going on in our neighborhood — to celebrate and connect folks.
Volunteers Needed for the Next 3 Months
Volunteers are needed to help greet people when they arrive for the COVID-19 vaccine appointment. Volunteers will help direct people to the correct locations for their shots and assist people with limited mobility using wheelchairs on site. Please report to the WCHD Vaccine site 1321 Sandy Hollow Road. There is someone at the front desk who will show you where to go. https://signup.com/go/CRzmrUR
We’re using SignUp.com (the leading online SignUp and reminder tool) to organize our upcoming SignUps. Here’s how it works in 3 easy steps:
1) Click this link to see our SignUp on SignUp.com: https://signup.com/go/CRzmrUR 2) Review the options listed and choose the spot(s) you like.
3) Sign up! It’s Easy – you will NOT need to register an account or keep a password on SignUp.com.
Note: SignUp.com does not share your email address with anyone. If you prefer not to use your email address, please contact me and I can sign you up manually.
Book Discussion Group
As the jury is selected in Minneapolis, MN, the murder of George Floyd is front and center in the news again. This one incident in a history of police brutality has awakened our country to our legacy of white supremacy, which pervades our culture and hides behind our laws.
Anti-racisim is not a destination; it’s a journey. No one book makes me an expert. But, with each book I read, a little more soaks into my soul, softening the effects of 400 years of white supremacy.
On Wednesday, March 31st we will discuss one book, So You Want to Talk About Race, by Ijeoma Oluo. Join me at 10:30 am on our congregation’s zoom link, to share your glimpses of truth from Oluo.
Do You Have Church Keys?
We want to make sure our records are correct and do a bit of “spring cleaning” on our security system. Please email Autumn at firstname.lastname@example.org with which keys you have, if you have a front door key we will need the number stamped on it and your security code. If you have lost any keys, it is ok! Just please let us know. If you do not need your church keys anymore you can drop them off in an envelope with your name written on it in our mailbox located outside the office doors.
EXPERIENCE INDIA-A VIRTUAL EVENT AND FUNDRAISER FOR WOMANSPACE-ROCKFORD & JHOOLE Looking for something joyful to do?!! I wanted to personally invite you to check this event out onwww.jhoole.orgwhere there is a vast variety of videos of performances and presentations for all ages that give you a glimpse of Indian culture and people, that you can access for free through March 31st. If you want to buy a ticket to access the premium programs, please do so by March 19 as two of the three premium programs are on March 20 & March 27, both at 10 AM, with us actually zooming into India on 3/27! There are other ways to shop and support these two organizations that are collaborating in many ways! But most of all, I wanted to make sure you knew about this opportunity- to experience some aspects of India and hear some of my story growing up there & that of others! Feel free to share this & to call me at 815-519-2949 if you have any questions. -Shiraz Tata
Update on CDFI’s
Last Tuesday I attended the CDFI Institute, an on-line workshop given mostly by federal legislators. I found this presentation by talking heads to be boring, but I learned two basic ideas.
No one knows what a CDFI is
This is the year of the CDFI
First, the letters stand for Community Development Financial Institution. More importantly, these “financial institutions” exist to infuse capital into low-income neighborhoods that are underserved by banks and credit unions. The designation, CDFI, is a governmental one. In 1977, the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) created the funds that allowed CDFI’s to exist. By providing funds that guarantee investments, the Treasury Department allows these institutions to attract money from private banks and companies that is then loaned to low-income people and small companies to finance enterprises, mortgages, and micro-loans, particularly in minority, underserved communities.
Already this year, the Biden administration has earmarked $13 billion to CDFI’s and MDI’s. The PPP loans that were supposed to help small business, did not help minority businesses, which generally do not have relationships with traditional banks that administered those loans. Biden’s economic rescue package, instead, uses CDFI’s to deliver these funds.
Rockford does not have a CDFI yet, but that will change.
Submitted by Teresa Wilmot
Eliminate Racism 815
Book Discussion: My Grandmother’s Hands – Radicalized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies
By Resmaa Menakem
Event by Eliminate Racism 815 Online: us02web.zoom.us Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 6 PM CDT – 7:45 PM CDT
Price: Free · Duration: 1 hr 45 min
An In-Person and Online Future
The staff and board have created a draft plan of how we welcome in-person participation in church programs, including worship. This plan is for your feedback, questions, concerns, and suggestions. This is a community process, and we want everyone to have lots of time to consider these matters. We are planning for a future where we have both online and in-person programs, including worship. We are planning for a future when we can hug – if both people want. Where we can see each other’s faces, hear each other’s voices, and be in each other’s presence – and where robust online options, safety measures, and other steps keep everyone connected and safe.
Our general principles remain:
Inclusivity and justice: We will not exclude people and will take special care that equity and anti-oppression are centered in our decision-making.
Safety: We will do our utmost to keep our people and the community safe. We will not contribute to community spread.
Community matters: We value our community and being together. As soon as it is safe to gather in an inclusive way, we will.
Pro-science: We support vaccination for those who are able to as scientific, reasonable, and loving decisions. You protect yourself and others. We believe that vaccines are effective and trust the scientists who have worked on them.
Here is our plan:
We are in Phase 4. Matthew will be 10 days past his second dose on Feb 22nd, and at that point in person pastoral care with other vaccinated people will begin in earnest. Beginning in March, small groups can choose to meet in person or stay online. We will always continue to have some online-only small groups. However, worship will remain an online only experience.
When three criteria are met, we will plan to begin hybrid worship – online and in-person – for six weeks following the ascertainment that the criteria are met. Those criteria are:
1. Illinois has entered or is clearly on track to enter, Phase 5 of the recovery plan.
2. On CovidActNow, Winnebago County’s Infection Rate and Test Positivity is “green.”
3. The vaccine is widely available to adults. Widely available means free to patients, at multiple accessible locations in the County, with a same-day appointment.
Once these criteria are met, we will select a Sunday, at least six weeks out from that date, to welcome in-person worshipers. The first Sunday may be an outside service, before moving inside the next week.
Assuming this date is in the summer, we will have outdoor-only children’s programs through at least Sept 5th. If the weather cooperates, children’s programs will be outside as long as possible. It is important to note that we cannot begin hybrid worship until we have enough RE volunteers to staff the program, including when Lauren and Lindsay are off. These volunteers cannot be anyone – they need to be able and willing to be out in the woods, on the grounds, being active with children during Summer Sundays. Vaccines are required for volunteers who work with children, for so long as children cannot be vaccinated. If you know you will be vaccinated by mid-summer and are ready and able to be a regular RE volunteer, please contact Lindsay.
Only people who have been vaccinated should volunteer as greeters, ushers, and hospitality hosts. Contact Chris if you are interested in these roles when we return.
We pledge that we will be transparent, responsive, and deliberate about how we go about this. Below is our beginning list of questions and answers. If you have a question, please ask – it will help us think through all the aspects of this process. You can email or call Matthew at email@example.com or 815-398-6322.
What about masks?
We will require all people to wear masks until Winnebago County reaches a “herd immunity” threshold of at least 70% of the total population vaccinated. (Staff may remove their masks when working in their own office, and Matthew and Tim will remove their masks when speaking or singing, with adequate distance.)
After we reach the 70% vaccination threshold, people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, or because they are children for whom the vaccine is not yet approved, should continue to wear masks. Other people are more than welcome, though not required, to wear masks, whether they’ve been vaccinated or not. People with any COVID or flu-like symptoms should worship online, and not in person. We may adjust these requirements based on CDC and IDPH guidance.
Will we require proof of vaccination?
We will only require proof of vaccination for RE volunteers. Hospitality volunteers should be vaccinated, but that, and our encouragement for everyone who is able to be vaccinated, is on the honor system. We did not feel it was appropriate for the church to ask or keep track of this information. However, if we find that we have a large number of unvaccinated people whose choice to not get a vaccine puts those who cannot get one for medical reasons at risk, we will reevaluate this. The Board and staff agree that you can be trusted to get your vaccine – please do so.
Why don’t we worship outside all summer?
Outside worship, though lovely on a mildly warm day, is not accessible. It is hard to make audio work well outside, it can be too hot for many people, and, if we are on the lawn, folks with mobility challenges cannot access it.
What happens if new variants or slow vaccine uptake changes things?
In all cases, we’ll follow the most conservative advice of the WCHD. That includes how we might respond to a new strain, to rising case numbers, or other measures.
What happens if we have an outbreak in the church?
If an outbreak occurs among our people (5 or more cases that may be linked), we will pivot immediately to online-only worship while we assess what happened and what steps we should take.
What happens if we can’t get enough RE volunteers?
If we cannot secure sufficient RE volunteers, we will have on-line worship only that week. Under no circumstances will we have in-person worship without an RE option.
What about singing?
When and how we begin to sing at worship is an open question. We await the science on this. It may be that we can begin to sing when we return, or it may be that we wait for a herd immunity threshold.
What if lots of non-vaccinated people are coming and putting folks at risk?
If we become concerned that a large number of unvaccinated persons is putting the health of those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons at risk, we may require vaccination (or proof of ineligibility) to attend. The Board will make this decision. Please, plan to get vaccinated if you can.
I know this is driven by metrics, not dates, but what’s your best guess for when we will start in-person worship again?
The key measure is when vaccine supply outstrips vaccine demand. Folks have been guessing that this happens in May, which means it is possible – but by no means for sure – that we will have an outdoor informal worship on July 4th and begin in person worship on July 11th. That’s a reasonable guess, but it could be a few weeks later or earlier, since some are now estimating that supply could outstrip demand as earlier, as production increases.
What about Staff who can’t get vaccinated for medical reasons?
Staff who are contraindicated for a vaccine because of a history of medication-related anaphylaxis or another similar reason will be offered a reasonable accommodation when possible, and in accord with our staff policies. That might mean limiting their exposure to crowds though shifts in duties (but not a reduction in hours), providing social distance space around their work area, or other measures. We will not generally disclose which staff are contraindicated for vaccination, and we strongly encourage congregation members not to pry into the medical status of employees. Staff who are not medically contraindicated may receive some accommodations, but there are no guarantees. They have chosen to take that risk.
How do I submit a question?
Email Matthew at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 815-398-6322.
Literature Link for Mar.14, ’21 sermon Calling out or Calling in
IntersectionAllies: We Make Room for All byChelsea Johnson, Latoya Council, Carolyn Choi, Ashley Seil Smith (Illustrator), Kimberle Crenshaw (Foreword) is a “celebration of solidarity, allyship, and community. The brainchild of three women-of-color sociologists, IntersectionAllies is a smooth, gleeful entry into intersectional feminism. The nine interconnected characters proudly describe themselves and their backgrounds, involving topics that range from a physical disability to language brokering ….” For a fuller review, go to https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50880505-intersectionallies
Mahogany L. Browne reading excerpts from ‘Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice’ This is just delightful poetry reading from one of the authors. 20 minutes. Check the 6 comments. One line: “freedom for some is not freedom.” She defines allyship, silencing, waking, and more https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olhMOLVy9Hc
• “A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune” by Chris Crutcher is one of my favorite short stories. As the overweight son of divorced, gay parents, the protagonist Angus Bethune hardly meets his classmates’ definition of “normal.” Yet Crutcher’s story focuses on the damage the standard of “normality” can inflict and extols self-acceptance as a liberating force. [Homosexuality was far more stigmatized when Crutcher first published this short story in 1989 than it is now.] Here is a pdf of the full story. https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=Z3JhZGVkLmJyfGFsbHltaWxuZXIwMHxneDo5ZWI2ZmIyZDY5ZDA0MzY
*ZOOM Church Calendar*
Most “all church” events will be 337-267-3668. This is the Personal Meeting
ID for “Thomas Kerr,” our online identity (and the minister from 1870-1900,
who used all the new technology of his time to reach those he
served). Generally, there will be a waiting room and the host will need to
– Coffee Hour on Sunday. 337-267-3668. 11:10 am. Chris will
– Touchstones: contact your touchstones group facilitator for the time
and meeting ID, if you don’t already have it.
– Caring Team Meeting – The first Tuesday of each month at 6 pm. ID 337-267-3668
-Membership Team Meetingsare on the 1st Thursday of the month at 7 pm. Meeting ID: 980 2780 4780
Want to have a group – a book group, a parent group, a “circle supper”, or
whatever you like? You can create a free Zoom account (40-minute limit,
though often waived by zoom at minute 35). Or, you can use “Thomas Kerr’s”
– just email Autumn email@example.com she can give you the login
and password. Please make sure to tell Autumn if you are having a meeting so we can put it on the calendar.
The Unitarian Universalist Church, Rockford, IL | 4848 Turner St., Rockford, IL 61107 | 815-398-6322 | uurockford.org |