Articles, Reflections, & Announcements
Tend the Spark, Carry the Flame
A Pledge Drive Message From Your Minister
This past year I have been amazed by all we have had to contend with and I have been amazed by all the ways this congregation has adapted and shown up for each other and our wider community. I still remember that first week in March when I scrambled to learn how to run a zoom meeting and the subsequent hours spent studying online worship in order to design a worship service that would meet people’s needs in an online format during a global pandemic. Almost a year later, it’s remarkable that almost all of our normal pre-pandemic programs, groups, and classes are happening (mostly online, a few outside with masks and social distancing). It’s remarkable that some things, like our Religious Education program, which has added new families and increased participation to 100% while engaging in innovative online and socially-distanced programming, are actually thriving more than ever.
When the pandemic started we were finishing up our pledge drive. We always say that the pledge drive is about so much more than raising money but this year the truth of that sentiment became obvious in a new way as we used our pledge drive teams to organize phone calls to check in on members and supporting friends to see how people were coping and offer additional support where needed. A dedicated team of volunteers has remained committed to that effort. While in some ways it remains challenging to keep our community connected, in other ways we’ve been able to weave a tapestry of love and care in new ways that have helped us prioritize caring for our most isolated members and friends and deepening connections throughout our community.
And we haven’t just cared for UUCT members and friends. At the outset of the pandemic, when it was most desperately needed, this congregation raised an unprecedented amount of money for The Kearney Center. In addition to that, small groups have met, masked and socially-distanced on the verandah, continuing our commitment to Manna on Meridian and The Kearney Center by preparing donations for the food-insecure, the homeless, and the essential workers providing care to the homeless.
By the time George Floyd’s murder sparked popular uprisings for racial justice throughout our nation, you had already heard me speak from the pulpit about the disproportionate effect of the coronavirus for black and indigenous individuals and communites of color. We were already offering the UUA’s anti-racism curriculum, Building the World We Dream About. We already had a monthly BIPOC meeting so BIPOC members and friends had a haven for supporting each other. And since those tragic events have lit a chalice flame of justice in our hearts we’ve deepened our commitments to anti-racism here at UUCT. UUCT members and friends sent thousands of postcards to formerly disenfranchised voters across the country, with a particular focus on formerly disenfranchised voters of color, both leading up to the national election in November and the senate runoff in Georgia in January. A monthly book discussion group was started that reads books by BIPOC authors. As Unitarian Universalists we know that a memoir can be as sacred and as revelatory a text as anything in the Bible, the Quran, or the Vedas. We’ve also started our own chapter of Allies for Racial Equity(ARE), ARE@UUCT, a group of white allies who use a non-hierarchical leadership methods to engage more deeply in deconstructing and dismantling racism in ourselves and our institutions (to quote the proposed 8th Principle) and work in partnership as allies with BIPOC at UUCT to help all of us at UUCT deepen our engagement with anti-racism. As Unitarian Universalists we know that our personal growth and justice work are intimately connected, with each supporting the other.
These are just some of the ways we’ve journeyed together through this incredibly challenging year, tending the spark of resilience and mutual care within our congregation and carrying the flame of universal love and justice-making out into communities far beyond UUCT. It’s been an incredibly difficult year and I know it’s still very difficult. Even though there is hope on the horizon, we likely have another challenging year ahead of us. In this coming year, we’re called to continue to tend the spark within this congregation and to carry the flame of our faith in service to the common good. I know I’m not alone in feeling that there is no community of people I would rather journey with through such rough terrain. As we begin our pledge drive on February 7th, may we give generously to this community so we can continue to tend the spark and carry the flame.
Tallahassee’s Solar Program Now Available
By Steve Urse
In January 2018, the city started receiving electricity from the 20 megawatt (MW) solar farm it built near the airport and created a solar customer participation program that Sustainable Tallahassee, LWVT, and ReThink Energy, with UU’s leading the way, had strongly advocated for. The program quickly became fully subscribed with over 1700 residential customers and a waiting list was created.
Subsequently, the city contracted for a second solar farm, adding 42 more MW, which became operational in January 2020, and on February 26th, the city commission approved Phase 2 of customer enrollment. Interrupted by the onset of the COVID pandemic, however, the email campaign for further sign ups was postponed until June.
All those who have not yet subscribed are encouraged to do so now. Residential, small- and medium-sized commercial customers can elect for all or a portion of their monthly electric bill to reflect solar at one of three rate levels: 25, 50 and 100%. To date, there are more than 2,100 Tallahassee Solar participants, but room for at least 1500 additional participants if all sign up at the 100% level – or more if a some sign up at the 25 or 50% level.
Customers who choose to purchase energy at the solar rate will pay 5 cents per kWh for the fuel charge portion of electricity. That amount will be fixed until September 30, 2037. While the current fuel change for natural gas rate is 2.808 cents per kWh, given the volatility of fuel markets, Tallahassee Solar customers, will likely see their energy bill decrease over time as compared with non-participants.
In the meantime, participants will be helping to support the city’s investment in reducing our carbon footprint and meeting our goal of being carbon free by 2050. The average Tallahassee household that participates in Tallahassee Solar at the 100 percent level will save 5.9 tons of carbon dioxide from entering our atmosphere annually. That’s the equivalent of planting 2.4 acres of new forest each year.
You may sign up online at: https://www.talgov.com/you/solar.aspx
Thanks to Meta Calder, LWVT, for the substance of this article.
The next solar article will describe UUCT’s solar array and how UUCT’s electric use has not only declined but is carbon neutral due to Tallahassee Solar.
30 Days of Love: Week 3 Educating for Liberation
Each week of 30 Days of Love, there will be a weekly theme with a menu of do-it-yourself activities in the following categories:
Read: Articles, book excerpts, poems,
Watch: Videos, concerts and roundtables discussion
Participate: Artist workshops, writings and actions
Listen: Music, meditation, lectures, poetry
Worship: Worship moments – alone or together – to refuel
Week Three: Educating for Liberation (January 31 – February 6)
Our General Participate events require pre-registration to participate. Most will also be livestreamed on the Side With Love Facebook page, but not all, depending on copyright and/or creator request.
We have menus for our general, kids, youth, and multigenerational/family audiences. Use one or all of the menus, or pick and choose from each
Special Newcomer Gathering Next Sunday, February 7 at Noon
Newcomers, whether you have attended one virtual service or many, please join us for a gathering immediately following the Sunday service. This will be an opportunity for us to get to know each other and for you to ask questions you might have about UUCT.
The gathering will last an hour maximum, but please come even if you cannot stay for the whole time. There will be similar gatherings the first Sunday of every month directly after the service, so if you cannot make this one, plan on attending in the future.
Important: Click here for a separate Zoom link than the Sunday service link. Log in directly after the service. The passcode for the gathering is: newcomer.
If you have any questions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
– The Welcome Team (Trudy Deyle & Sally Andersen)
Indwellers Group at UUCT
Adults 25-49 are invited to join Indwellers, a new cohort group for socialization, community connection and spiritual exploration.
You can look forward to a bimonthly Zoom discussion on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month, social events, and community care. Join us for our next Zoom discussion on Tuesday, February 9 at 8 p.m.
Old Guys Lunch
The next Old Guys Lunch will be Wednesday February 10 at 11:30 am on the veranda of UUCT. Social distancing and current facility use guidelines will be followed. We will continue meeting every other Wednesday weather permitting.
If interested in joining this group or for more information, contact John Sample.
Christian Spirituality @ UUCT
Join us for a twice-monthly, Zoom Bible study. While each week’s Bible passage will be the focus of the meeting, the real purpose of Christian Spirituality is to create a friendly association, to give and receive support, and to find our lives expressed in the Bible.
Our meetings will be the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. For zoom information contact Kay Stuart-Tilley at email@example.com. Our next meeting is February 10.
February Food for Thought – a healthier you, a healthier planet
Due to our stimulating conversation last month, we are going to continue our discussion on dairy (its impact on our bodies and the environment, substitutions, and recipes) at our February meeting. So, if you missed January’s meeting and would like to join us, you might consider viewing this short interview with John Robbins as he discusses dairy: https://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/baskin-robbins-heir-speaks-out-against-dairy-industry-video/
In addition, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has a FACT SHEET, which also provides some background information: https://www.pcrm.org/good-nutrition/nutrition-information/health-concerns-about-dairy#:~:text=Milk%20and%20other%20dairy%20products,%2C%20ovarian%2C%20and%20prostate%20cancers
Please consider joining us for our Food for Thought meeting – a healthier you, a healthier planet zoom meeting on Thursday February 11th at 7 pm. If you are not on our email list and are interested, please email Linda Oaksford at firstname.lastname@example.org. A link will be sent to you prior to our meeting.
If you would like a little teaser and would like to try an ice cream recipe that is 100% dairy-free, and has no saturated fat, try one of these simple-to-make recipes: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/238092/vegan-banana-ice-cream/
Centering BIPOC Voices, February and March
By Robin Gray
On Saturday, February 13th at 3:30 PM the Centering BIPOC Voices group will meet the discuss “The Fire Next Time” by James Baldwin and the documentary video “I Am Not Your Negro. The video is available on Netflix for those who have the service, and for small rental fees from other streaming sources. If you are going to have trouble accessing the video, please contact Susan Fleming (email@example.com) to let her know.
If you’d like to join any discussion and have not met with Centering BIPOC Voices before please contact Robin Gray (firstname.lastname@example.org) to be added to the mailing list and to receive important information for the group.
Looking ahead to March 13th the book under discussion will be “Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir” by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey. Kiese Laymon reviewed “Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir” for the New York Times, he wrote: “Memorial Drive” is, among so many other wondrous things, an exploration of a Black mother and daughter trying to get free in a land that conflates survival with freedom and womanhood with girlhood. It is also the story of Trethewey’s life before and after the day in 1985 when her mother was murdered by her ex-husband, Trethewey’s former stepfather, in the parking lot of her apartment complex on Atlanta’s Memorial Drive.”
Church Work Day Next Saturday
Join us Saturday February 13 from 9am – 2 pm for our monthly church work day. Feel free to bring your lunch. Social distancing guidelines will be followed.
Hope to see you there!
The Big Bend Homeless Coalition is still in immediate need of the following items to assist their homeless veteran population:
- adult socks
- ready to eat meals
- sleeping bags
Bus passes are also greatly appreciated. They are used by the veteran population as well as the families of Hope Community.
All donations can be mailed or dropped off at BBHC 2729 W Pensacola St, Tallahassee, FL 32304