SOCIAL ACTION – GREEN SANCTUARY

INTERFAITH WORKSHOP AT THE KUUC — Saturday, October 28 — 1:30-5:00pm — Parish Hall

Healing the Muslim  ~  Non-Muslim Divide: A Friendly Faith Exchange

The Keene Unitarian Universalist Church (KUUC) is hosting two opportunities for Muslims and non-Muslims to share faith experiences in a supportive, safe, structured environment and to pray together for peace, healing and harmony among the peoples of the world.

Healing the Muslim  ~  Non-Muslim Divide;  A Friendly Faith Exchange will be led by Rev. Dr. M’ellen Kennedy of Peace and Unity Bridge.

The following day during worship service on Sunday, October 29 at 10am, Dr. Kennedy lead the service with KUUC Rev. Michael F. Hall assisting. At the service, Rev. Kennedy will preach her sermon, What I Love about Islam. The tension and misunderstandings between the Islamic World and the West are costly and severe.  This sermon is an effort to bridge that gap of misunderstanding.

Rev. Dr. M’ellen Kennedy is a Unitarian Universalist minister and also a Sufi minister.  She serves as minister for the UU Congregation in Springfield and Washington, Vermont. M’ellen is founder of “Peace and Unity Bridge,” (PUB), an organization dedicated to cultivating friendship and understanding among Muslims and non-Muslims (www.peaceandunitybridge.org)

These events are free and open to the public. Snacks and drinks will be provided. Pre-registration is not required.  Donations to support the work of “Peace and Unity” bridge will be gratefully accepted.  This program is supported by the Downing Trust and the Washington UU Church.  For more info contact the Keene UU Church at 603-352-1719, email office@kuuc.org or visit the website, www.kuuc.org

 

HOLY SOLAR!

Interested in how the solar panels are doing?

The monitoring program is accessed with:    monitoring.solaredge.com/solaredge-web/p/site/335839/#/dashboard

office@kuuc.org (user)        7principles (password)

The Green Sanctuary team is delighted to report that in September 2016 KUUC fulfilled a decades-long vision: as of November 2016 we are generating electricity on the roof of the RE wing with  a 17 kW photovoltaic system. The system will provide for essentially all of the electricity used by the church buildings (averaged over a year’s output).  Generating our own energy from a clean, renewable source – installed by a local business – is in keeping with the Unitarian-Universalist  7th principle to respect “the interconnected web of all existence.”

KUUC has had a vision of adopting solar power since the 1970s. During the energy crisis of that era, the south-facing flat roof on the 1950’s education wing was rebuilt to an angle optimized for capturing solar energy, but the cost of solar panels at that time proved prohibitive.  Members of the KUUC Property Committee and the “Green Team” continued to discuss how to achieve an installation. Over the past decade a number of different models for financing solar installations have become available.  The model selected by KUUC is a “Power Purchase Agreement (PPA),” in which an investor/investor group owns the PV system and the property owner purchases the electricity generated by the system from that entity.

You may see a daily/monthly/annual “dashboard” of how the PV system is functioning at this website: https://monitoring.solaredge.com/solaredge-web/p/site/335839/#/dashboard

The site also shows the environmental benefits of the system: in its first five months, the system has already reduced our CO2 emissions by 4700 kg –  equivalent to the benefit of planting 260 trees!

“Under the roof,” water and energy and resource consciousness are being observed at the monthly Slice of Fellowship potlucks (BYO dishes, local foods when possible) and at the Community Breakfasts held six days a week during the five months of the 100 Nights Shelter season.  In the KUUC Religious Education program, this year the curriculum included an Earth Circles focus on water issues.  Classes did some water waste inventorying at KUUC, went on several water related field trips (see the KUUC Facebook page for pictures and descriptions), and looked at how much water is actually “clean” compared to that which is non-potable.  The classes also looked at Energy & Food in terms of how much energy is used to transport and grow the food we consume.

The Church has instituted a number of “green” measures since its 2008 certification in the UUA Green Sanctuary program.  Much more could still be done to decrease the carbon footprint of our 1890’s building and its 1950’s addition, and to advance the other Green Sanctuary visions adopted by the KUUC congregation.

The Green Sanctuary team is now small in number due to changes in life circumstances of many of its members.  Please contact anyone on the team if you would like to become involved – especially if you feel able to step up to leadership of our efforts as we approach our ten-year anniversary as a UUA Green Sanctuary.

 

IS A LIFE OF WHITE PRIVILEGE WELL-LIVED?  

–By Mary Heafy     [Mary was recently elected as the new President of the Northern New England District (NNED) at its annual meeting on April 22.  After the service on May 7th, Mary will lead a discussion on issues of race in our denomination and the efforts, beyond the “White Supremacy Teach-In” to address them. ]

Is a life of white privilege and white supremacy a life well lived?    

Until a year or so ago, I would have vehemently stated that I do not have a racist bone in my body.  I suspect many of you would join me in that statement.  I have more recently come to acknowledge that my statement is not true.

I live a life of white privilege. I do not even think about my own race aside from the occasions when I check White or Caucasian in some box.  I have not needed to think about my race because I live in a society where the systems and rules are designed for the benefit of while folk.  Yes, I said for the benefit of white folk.  This has created a system of white supremacy.  I am not saying the systems and rules were intentionally designed to benefit white folk but when white folk are the majority, it just happens.  And it happens within Unitarian Universalism as well.

Our UU movement has had a history with many proud moments and actions related to race, and other moments of which I am less proud. Recently, the president of our association, the Rev. Peter Morales, resigned over decisions he made regarding the lack of hiring of people of color (POC) and subsequent comments he made about this.  In the days that followed, two more key leadership staff at the UUA have also resigned though they will remain in their positions for a transition period through June.

I have mixed feelings about the resignations and feel that as people of faith struggling with issues of race, we need to stay in relationship and conversations together – even when we blunder and do not live out our principles.  Race, white supremacy, and white privilege are all weighing heavily on my heart and mind these days.  At the same time, I am grateful to be part of a faith that challenges me to think more deeply about the issues that are pressing within Unitarian Universalism and in our country.  https://www.standingonthesideoflove.org/    http://www.uusc.org/

We are a largely white denomination.  It has not always been so.  We live in NH, a predominantly white state. It would be easy to say that since we do not have more POC in our area, race issues are not relevant.  But they are and until we grapple with how our lives lived with white privilege shape how we think and how POC are impacted then we are perpetuating a system built on white supremacy.

The Black Lives UU (BLUU) Movement http://www.blacklivesuu.com/ has challenged congregations all over the country to dedicate April 30 or May 7 to focus our Sunday service on these issues and Rev. Michael chose to participate in this effort (#whitesupremacyteachin).  on May 7. Please join us in this powerful, emotional, and important work.  Join us in a journey of examining business as usual and the role we play individually and organizationally in perpetuating white privilege. Let me close by quoting something from the BLUU website, “Everyone has to start somewhere, and it takes a commitment to disrupt business as usual.”

A Common Read  http://www.uua.org/re/adults/read invites participants to read and discuss the same book in a given period of time. A Common Read can build community in our congregations and our movement by giving diverse people a shared experience, shared language, and a basis for deep, meaningful conversations.

Each year’s Common Read is chosen by a committee including both headquarters and field staff of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). Anyone may nominate a book. Read the criteria for Common Read selection. Nominate a book for 2017-18 using our online form. Share your congregation’s participation.