Welcome

Welcome to CommUUnique – a forum for news, events, and discussion for the Unitarian Universalist Church of Oak Cliff (in Dallas, TX).

We have decided to bring our monthly newsletter into the 21st Century and put it into blog format. Rather than putting out a monthly PDF newsletter, it will be updated on a regular basis and articles will be posted as soon as possible after they arrive in my inbox.

Everyone will also be able to comment on any of the articles posted. (Please note that all initial comments may be held for moderation and you’ll need to supply your name and email address.)  You don’t need to do anything to read our content, only to comment.

We are dedicated to keeping discussions respectful and loving, in keeping with the church’s Covenant.  Anyone who seeks to create dissonance will be removed. This does not mean we will not tolerate disagreements; it simply means we ask that those who disagree to remember there are sometimes many equally valid perceptions to any point.

If you have an article, photos, or information you would like to see published here, you  may send them to ella-editor@oakcliffuu.org.

Beth Ferree
CommUUnique Editor

Latest CommUUnique News & Events:

 

Today Amber Guyger was found guilty in the murder of Botham Jean here in Dallas. While we can’t know for certain what transpired that night, the evidence against her was damning and her conviction gave hope, not only to Jean’s family, but also to the African American community at large.

Guyger parked on the wrong floor of the apartment complex and claimed to use her key to open the door of the apartment below hers. She also claimed when she encountered Jean in the apartment she screamed at him to stop and raise his hands. Guyger stated he was advancing toward her as she called out.

I think most of us have, at one time or another, made the mistake of trying to enter the wrong apartment, or get into the wrong car. But, in Guyger’s case it just didn’t add up. How did her key work to open his door? If he was advancing toward her, as she claimed, how is it the gun fire trajectory tests indicated he was crouching at the time she shot him? It just didn’t add up.

The reaction to the verdict was one of shock, even among those seeking a guilty verdict. This is a time when racism is rampant and cops across the country have gotten away with shooting young black men who are simply minding their own business. The activist community here was on high alert, expecting the need to take to the streets in protest. Instead, there was a victory and  one less corrupt cop on the streets. The sigh of relief is almost audible in the community.

There is no real justice here. Botham Jean is no longer with his family, no longer looking forward to a long happy life. Amber Guyger forfeited her life in the moment she decided she could take the life of another person. No one wins. But, there are the seeds of hope buried within the tragedy.

Guyger will be held accountable for her actions. This sends a clear message to the police forces that the senseless brutality born of fear and hate must stop. Twelve men and women spoke for the nation today, putting those who would sow this chaos on notice. We will no longer stand for this. We will no longer stand and watch our black brothers and sons be slaughtered for the color of their skin. We will no longer allow the uniform to hide what’s ugly and demand respect simply because one wears it. Respect must be earned by everyone. It is not something to be handed out with the badge and gun. It is handed over when a good cop stops to help an elderly woman with car problems. It is earned by the officer who finds a few minutes out of his busy day to talk to the youth hanging out in the street. Not because they might be doing something wrong, but because he recognizes their need to be doing something and believes he can be one person to make a difference.

Some day soon, we want to be able to tell our children, “if you’re lost find a policeman”, rather than, “if you find a policeman, get lost.”

Thank you to those who held Ms. Guyger accountable for her actions. This is what might wake the rest of the nation up and push police forces across the nation to rethink how much they will tolerate from their officers.

Charlottesville, VA. United States. Riots in Charlottesville between Alt-Right demonstrators and counterprotesters (photo Edu Bayer)

 

On Tuesday, October 1, at 7 PM First Tuesday Films will join with the Dallas Peace and Justice Center to how two Frontline episodes. Documenting Hate: Charlottesville and New American Nazis are the results of exhaustive research, conducted by Frontline and ProPublica, into the activities of Neo-Nazi groups across the country. In the films they uncover who the primary leaders of the movement are and how they recruit new members.
Documenting Hate: Charlottesville covers the 2017 Unite the Right rally in which one protester, Heather Heyer, was slain and nineteen others were critically injured when James Alex Fields, Jr., of Ohio drove his car into the crowd. Heyer’s death made her the national symbol for Civil Rights of this generation and brought to light the true nature of the white supremacist movement.
The primary focus on Charlottesville was how incredibly unprepared the city and police force were for the ensuing violence. They were not given any help from higher authorities in dealing with the crisis, nor were they even told of the possible dangers. This despite violence that had been popping up across the country involving the very leaders who led their followers to this rally. Even after the terror attack by Fields, authorities were strangely quiet on the matter. When Trump callously stated there was violence on both sides Neo-Nazis felt emboldened to come out into the open. David Duke, Grand Wizard of the KKK, thanked him for his support.
There appear to be at least two primary sources for the rise of the Neo-Nazi movement. One group is the Rise Above Movement (RAM), which advocates chaos and disorder. The other is the Atomwaffen Division which is, arguably, more dangerous because these followers hide in plain sight and advocate lone wolf attacks.
The second part of the series shown is Documenting Hate: New American Nazis. This report follows the Atomwaffen Division which has been actively recruiting from inside the military. Frontline and ProPublica follow the leads to both active military and those who served. Timothy McVeigh, infamously known for the Oklahoma bombing, was one such recruit.
The Atomwaffen Division was first discovered when a young man was arrested for the killings of two roommates. Although Devin Arthurs warned the authorities of the dangerous group and its intentions it never became clear whether his warnings were heeded by the FBI. He was later deemed insane and not culpable for his own actions.
Many of the hate groups seem to stem from only a few people, with James Mason being a primary inspiration. Mason wrote a newsletter in the 1980’s advocating Nazi beliefs. The only known archive of his work is at the University of Kansas library which has been receiving an increase in interest the past few years. His newsletter Siege is required reading for new recruits of Atomwaffen Division. In his  on camera interview  he claims no knowledge of the chaos he created but stated he would not deny those who committed the crimes and asserted the only way to Make America Great Again is to make it white again.
While the numbers of actual members in the White Supremacy groups is relatively small, we cannot discount their potential danger. Timothy McVeigh acted alone, as did Robert Gregory Bowers who committed the mass shooting in the Pittsburgh synagogue. Just as it takes only a small group of people to change the world for the better, it also only takes a small group to destroy it. We must always be diligent and aware of our enemies. The secrets that lie in the dark cannot stay hidden once we have exposed them to the light.
This is, indeed, a couple of difficult films to watch. However, as I stated in the last paragraph, what we know empowers us and gives us the tools to destroy the evil.

Be sure to join us for what is sure to be an animated discussion after the films.

 

On Tuesday, June 4, First Tuesday Films and The Dallas Peace and Justice Center will, once again, team up to bring you a documentary to remember. On this particular night it will be 13th.

When the Thirteenth Amendment was signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1865 it granted freedom to slaves; however, it left a loophole. It did not grant the same rights to criminals. And that particular clause has been used through history to create a new kind of slavery that largely targets African Americans and other minorities. 13th brings together activists, politicians and scholars to discuss the ramifications of this clause.

The sad reality is that slavery was about economics at its core. When the slaves were granted their freedom they left a gaping hole in the South that needed to be filled. Since the powers that be could not legally enslave them again they created a campaign to criminalize the African Americans that exists to this very day.

This manipulation of history began with the film Birth of a Nation. The black characters in the film were portrayed as less than human and, since it was such a popular film, it embedded that image into the brains of white Americans throughout the country.  Black men became associated with rape and crime. D.W. Griffith, creator of the film, showed members of the KKK burning crosses. A practice the group embraced after seeing it on screen.

By criminalizing the black man, it enabled law enforcement to arrest them on minor charges, or even bogus ones. Once they were incarcerated they were used as labor to help rebuild the economy. While most of us like to think our country has moved past that way of thinking, it has not. Only the language and manipulation of current events has. Today the United States makes up only 5% of the world’s population yet we have 25% of the world’s prisons. These prisons, now largely privatized, have over 2 million inmates and over 40% are African Americans.

Unless we, as private citizens, start to rail against this injustice it will not stop. Private corporations are joining together to create laws and purchase our politicians in an effort to insure the prisons remain full. Today they are working on creating a GPS system that will track those who are not in prison. For a young black man who has been targeted by law enforcement there is no escape, even in the outside world.

A relatively small organization called ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) has been recognized as the group behind such laws as Stand Your Ground. This is the law George Zimmerman used to be acquitted of murder in the case of Treyvon Martin. The evidence made it clear that he incited the violence and shot Martin on April 11, 2012; however, the Florida law that allowed him to declare self defense saw him go free. Although many corporations cut their ties with ALEC after this incident many did not.

There was one statement made by an ALEC executive that really struck me. He stated that ALEC did not want voters to pass their laws, they want fewer voters. It’s easy to see how interconnected they are with the recent upswing of laws that keep people from being able to vote.

On a positive note, it does speak about the potential of Black Lives Matter. It is not an organization, but a movement. And, although, the government may try to destroy it they will not be able to. There is no address, no specific person to target and that makes it a problem for them, but a boon for those of us who continue to battle injustice.

Join us for this important film. Its creator, Ava DuVernay has done a wonderful job with this essential information and its Emmy award is well deserved.

 

 

On May 7th First Tuesday Films and The Dallas Peace and Justice Center will partner to bring Private Violence to our UUCOC screen. This film is in conjunction with the UUCOC’s social justice ministry’s Share the Plate for Families to Freedom, a nonprofit organization that provides transportation to victims of domestic violence so they might be safe.

Private Violence follows the lives of two women who have experienced domestic abuse. Deanna Walters as she works to find justice and closure, and Kit Gruelle, a past victim who now seeks justice for others.

I am not new to this topic. I have been a victim of domestic violence myself and have rescued others from similar situations. One of the things this film brings across that has always been a thorn in my side is just how difficult it is to prosecute the offenders. Walters was dragged across the country while being beaten in the back of a semi. When she returned to her home she discovered it was almost impossible to get justice because the most horrific part of her abuse did not take place in North Carolina, her state of origin. As a result, her husband was given little more than a slap on the wrist. It wasn’t until Gruelle and her personal advocate managed to make it a federal case that she found a way to punish him. It definitely wasn’t easy to make a federal case out of it either. It took a year of finding the right people to fight for Walters.

According to the National Domestic Abuse Hotline (www.thehotline.org) an average of 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States alone. That’s more than 12 million men and women over the course of a year. It affects all walks of life and all income brackets. In the film this particular point is emphasized given that a large number of the populace continues to believe it primarily affects the poor and minorities.

Another point made by Gruelle in the film is that women who kill their abuser spend, on average, more time in prison than men. The most damning question they are asked at trial is, “why didn’t you just leave?” The answer is far more complicated than the jury ever hears.

I personally did not realize I was a victim until a friend pointed it out to me. In my case, it was largely emotional abuse which did not fit with my early perception of what domestic violence entailed. This is probably true for many men and women in this situation. It’s not until the emotional abuse escalates to physical abuse that it can be prosecuted in most cases, and by that time the victim is often so invested in the relationship they cannot see what is really happening in their own home.

Private Violence is an important film to see if you are a victim of domestic abuse, or know someone who might be. It lays out what really happens in the relationship and what the consequences are when the abuse is allowed to continue.

 

 

 

On Sunday, May 5, Sisters of Turtle Island, the Dallas Peace and Justice Center and The Kolo Collaboration will join together to host A Day of Remembrance: No More Stolen Sisters. This special event will take place on the UUCOC campus from 2-6 PM. The purpose is to honor missing and murdered Indigenous women as well as women of color. The intent is to raise awareness in order to counteract an epidemic and save the lives of those we for whom we care. The event will include booths, a community marketplace, self-defense classes and much more.

The highlight of the afternoon is to be The REDress Art Show Project. This particular show was created by Canadian artist Jamie Black in honor of the over one thousand First Nations women who are missing in Canada. Those attending the event will be given the opportunity to add to the art with their own red dress to create a hauntingly beautiful reminder of the women who might have worn them. According to Black the red represents the lifeblood of the women and connects us all to one another. (https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/these-haunting-red-dresses-memorialize-murdered-and-missing-indigenous-women-180971730/)

Stolen Sisters is a movement that started in Canada and has moved throughout North America. In 2014 Emmanuelle Walker wrote a book by the same name that focused on two young Aboriginal women who were victims of brutal violence.  The author’s investigation into the matter exposed a tragedy made worse by the lack of response from the government and law enforcement. This same systemic failure to respond to native cultures is also evident in the rest of the continent.

For those of us in the United States, it exposes a truth that has been largely hidden for at least 500 years when Christopher Columbus first landed here. Before departing he kidnapped young Native American women and took them to Europe. Once settlers arrived the First Nation people were consistently viewed as “heathens”, giving the white men of the time justification for rape and murder. As the nation grew they were placed on reservations and their children given away to white families in a misguided attempt to “Christianize” them. Even after the Indian Welfare Act was passed in 1972 the Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare continued to actively campaign against the Act. (https://www.occupy.com/article/%E2%80%9Cno-more-stolen-sisters%E2%80%9D-why-nativelivesmatter-about-more-policing#sthash.VwehVU1z.kEtkulra.dpbs )

Only in recent years have Indigenous activists become more vocal and begin taking the lead in protests against the very things threatening their cultures.  An event such as No More Stolen Sisters is an opportunity for all of us to join the effort on their behalf.

 

 

First Tuesday Film for April 2: The Brainwashing of My Dad

 

 

On Tuesday, April 2nd, the First Tuesday Films and DPJC will, once again, join forces to show us a great film focused on current social justice issues. This time we will be viewing The Brainwashing of My Dad, a film created by Jen Senko. She began this film after observing her father go from a reasonable, open-minded individual to one filled with hatred and anger after tuning in to the Fox News network and listening to pundits such as Rush Limbaugh on his long commutes for work. She wondered if he was being brainwashed by the Alt Right commentary and pursued this line of questioning.

Ms. Jenko takes us on a journey to discover the origins of the propaganda machine through interviews with former members of the movement, experts in the field of communications, neuroscientists and people who have become estranged from family exhibiting the same personality changes.

She winds her way through the maze of false truths and the origin of the Fox network, a brainchild of Rupert Murdoch, who appoints Roger Ailes as CEO. It is Ailes who expertly transforms just another news network into a spin of never-ending obfuscation of facts and leads millions into the culture of anger addiction. Ailes manipulated the white male ego into believing everything wrong with this world stems from the actions of the liberal talk machine and the movements brought about in the ’60s counter culture.

While she brings us back to the start with the John Birch Society in 1958 and the beginnings of the Red Scare, she does not go back to the true start of propaganda. This term was coined in the late 1920’s when Edward Louis Bernays, nephew of Sigmund Freud, wrote the book Propaganda. As a result he became known as the father of public relations. This book laid the groundwork for the propaganda of WWII, and Joseph Goebbels used the techniques as a gifted public speaker to further the cause of Hitler. Certainly, Goebbels’ influence has been brought forward to be used in the rhetoric of today’s Alt Right movement.

It is his original voice we often hear when Fox commentators reference despising those who are not male and white.

One of the most important points to come out in this film is that there are two kinds of brainwashing. One is the kind that is forced and often takes place in dark hidden recesses away from the public. The other is far more insidious and has become part of the current culture. This type of brainwashing is called “stealth” or “filtered.”  Stealth brainwashing takes place right before our eyes and seeks to divide people into “us” and “them.” Those who feed their brains only on Fox news and other ultra conservative diets become victims of this mindset and, once indoctrinated, it is virtually impossible to talk any sense into them. You may present them with the facts, but facts don’t matter. What you tell them may make perfect sense; however, if it doesn’t support what they are being told by their favorite Fox commentators they won’t believe you.

The film ends on a happy note. After finding ways to subtly change her father’s environment he finds his way back to the right path. If this experiment tells us anything it’s that those who consistently watch Fox News are, indeed, being brainwashed. Since this is the network is often shown on televisions in public areas such as restaurants, hospitals and clinics it becomes obvious we are all being subjected to propaganda that is intended to draw us away from truth and objectivity.

This is not simply a battle to understand why our loved ones suddenly change into strange creatures of hate. This is a battle for our own minds, and it is a battle to save those we care for.

Louisa May Alcott was born on November 29, 1832, her father’s 33rd birthday. Although she was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania her childhood was nomadic. Amos Bronson Alcott was a forward thinker and firmly believed in the power of education for all children. As a result, his methods of training up his students were considered to be tantamount to sacrilege in the days of Victorian ethics. He refused to discipline children by physical means and allowed them the freedom to ask questions. This was a courageous move at a time when child rearing was peppered with axioms such as, “spare the rod and spoil the child” or “a child should be seen and not heard.”  Despite all this he refused to compromise his convictions and established several schools only to have to move on to another location when his student population dwindled to only his own children. At one of these locations he welcomed a young black girl into the school, causing a scandal.

Amos and his wife, Abigail May Alcott, were staunch abolitionists and, at one point, ran an underground railroad. Abby was also a force to be reckoned with. She was considered to be one of the first paid social workers when she ran a relief agency for young Irish immigrant women. They could come to the agency for information on which employers were considered to be reputable and guide them away from those who were not.

Amos and Abby were Transcendentalists and maintained friendships with many like-minded persons of the time, such as Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson was, in fact, a Unitarian minister who left his position to pursue the course of reaching perfection through self reliance and philosophical dissertation. In fact, they did attempt to create a communal living situation called Utopian Fruitland in Concord, Massachusetts that ultimately collapsed.

Louisa was the second born of four sisters. Just as in the book Little Women, the eldest Anna, took a very traditional path and married, giving birth to two boys. Younger sister, Elizabeth, died at a young age, much in the same manner as the character, Beth, and May, the youngest, went off to Europe with a friend where they studied art. She might have become a very famous artist had she not died after the birth of her daughter, Louisa (Lulu) at the age of 39.

Louisa was 35 when she wrote Little Women in 1868. When the book speaks of their father coming home from the war very ill, it was actually referring to Louisa herself. She spent a short six months as a nurse at Union Hospital in Georgetown. There she contracted Typhus and had to return to her family home to recover. At the time, Typhus was treated with a form of mercury which could be attributed to her poor health the rest of her life.

Even though she struggled with health issues Louisa managed to write Good Wives (1869), Little Men (1871) and Jo’s Boys (1886). With her earnings she provided a more comfortable existence for her parents who had brought them up in extreme poverty.

Louisa was considered to be one of a small group of women writing during what was termed the Gilded Age who addressed women’s issues in an open and candid manner.  Although she did enjoy success, one wonders what she might have accomplished had she not succumbed to her illness in 1875 at the age of 55. It’s interesting that she died just two days after her father.

When I was considering what to write next, I knew I needed to return to the Principles but I also realized February is Black History month. Originally, I planned to write of the two separately; however, the more I researched the more I realized they really aren’t necessarily separate topics. The goal of Martin Luther King, Jr. and other black activists is also the Sixth Principle of the Unitarian Universalists. We all want to work toward a community of inclusion and wholeness as members of the human race.

Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke often of a beloved community:

“The end of violence or the aftermath of violence is bitterness. The aftermath of nonviolence is reconciliation and the creation of a beloved community. A boycott is never an end within itself. It is merely a means to awaken a sense of shame within the oppressor but the end is reconciliation and the end is redemption.”

For King, the ultimate goal of his hard work is a community within which we are not only connected physically, but also spiritually. Together we can build a haven of love, safety, peace and justice.

There are beloved communities cropping up across the globe as I write this. As such, while this may seem a lofty dream at first glance, it is already happening. Homes are being shared where everyone participates in running the household and they come together to stand against injustice as one. Democratic communities, such as the tiny houses community in Denver, Colorado, are designed to give the homeless a say in their own lives. Churches, such as the Unitarian Universalists in several cities around the world, are joining forces to battle against hatred, racism and injustice.

We will get there because we must- for the sake of us all.

 

The Dallas Peace and Justice Center (DPJC) will host a panel discussion to present legal, moral and economic arguments for the abolishment of the Texas death penalty.

Panelists:
Rev. Holsey Hickman, Greater Dallas Community of Churches, St. John Missionary Baptist Church, and former Chaplain at Lew Sterrett
Dr. Rick Halperin, Director – SMU.Human Rights, Internationally Renowned Resource on the Death Penalty
Susybelle Goslee, Capital Punishment Issue Chair, League of Women Voters
Justin Moore, Esq.
Melanie Hebert – A family member of an executed death row inmate

Moderator:
Sehla Ashai – Civil Right Activist/ Immigration Attorney

Sponsors:
Dallas Peace and Justice Center, SMU Human Rights Program, Friends of MLK Library, and Amnesty International DFW

Join TalkBack in the Sanctuary after the service.
Participate in our Religious Exploration programs.
Walk the Labyrinth & the Sacred Grounds.
Meditate in the Shambhala room of the Charity Building.
Enjoy connecting in beloved commUUnity.

February 17th, 11:15 am, Workshop 2

Where Do We Come From? UU Roots: This workshop offers a brief overview of Unitarian Universalist history, focusing on ideas and people more than on institutional and denominational structures.

This is part of “The New UU” program. Please visit our Religious Explorations page for more details.

Sunday, January 17

Some people think it’s time to retire Black History Month, while others say we need it more than ever. This talk will examine both sides of the matter.
– Donna Leach will return to our pulpit.

UUCOC Online:
Do you want to know where to go to connect with our church, our members, and our community?
Visit our “online” page to break down all of the exciting options now available:
www.oakcliffuu.org/online
ROY ZIMMERMAN returns to UUCOC on February 7th!
Our February 7th Roy Zimmerman Concert is also a fundraiser for our Social Justice Ministry and we are accepting donations for baked goods,  If you can contribute pies or make a donation toward the purchase of pies, please contact Beth Ferree at 214-861-1336.
RiZe Up

The simplest way to explain Roy Zimmerman is to say he sings “Funny songs about Peace & Justice.” Add pointed satire and amazing insight into the world around us, and you get a bit closer.

“With music this good and humor this insightful, there is good reason to be optimistic.” – No Depression Magazine
Donations; $20 at the door, or pay what you can.
A portion of the donations will benefit the Social Justice Ministry of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Oak Cliff

See RoyZimmerman.com for more on Roy and his music!

The First Tuesday Social Justice Film Festival Presents:
A Man Named Pearl
February 5th, 7:00 pm
Cosponsored by the Dallas Peace & Justice Center
A Man Named Pearl tells the inspiring story of self-taught topiary artist Pearl Fryar. It offers a message that speaks to respect for both self and others, and shows what one person can achieve when he allows himself to share the full expression of his humanity.
—Anonymous
Did you know that our Social Justice Ministry chair, Beth Ferree, reviews all of our films?  Visit our CommUUique blog for her review of A Man Named Pearl.

From the filmmakers:
A MAN NAMED PEARL tells the inspiring story of self-taught topiary artist Pearl Fryar, whose unlikely journey to national prominence began with a bigoted remark. In 1976, Pearl took a job in a can factory in Bishopville, South Carolina. New to this rural southern town, he and his wife Metra looked at a house for sale in an all-white neighborhood. The Fryars’ real estate agent was notified by neighbors in the prospective neighborhood that a black family was not welcome. A homeowner voiced the collective concern: “Black people don’t keep up their yards.”
Pearl was stung by the racial stereotype. But rather than become angry and embittered, it motivated him to prove that misguided man wrong. Pearl bought a house in a “black” neighborhood and began fashioning a garden that would attract positive attention. His goal was modest, but clear: to become the first African-American to win Bishopville’s “Yard of the Month” award.
Realizing he would have to do something spectacular to impress the Bishopville garden club, Pearl began cutting every bush and tree in his yard into unusual, abstract shapes. He didn’t know it then, but he was creating a magical wonderland that would, in time, not only garner local recognition, but also draw thousands of visitors from across the United States and around the world.    …
But the impact that Pearl and his art have had on his community is not just economic. He’s also had a profound spiritual influence. As Pearl’s minister, Rev. Jerome McCray, says of the garden: “It’s the one place in all of South Carolina that people can go, both black and white, and feel love.”
You can view the trailer here:
https://youtu.be/dIOYYbsPYu8
Every month, at 7:00 pm on the first Tuesday, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Oak Cliff, with the Dallas Peace and Justice Center, screens a film focusing on an important social justice issue. We hope you’ll leave inspired and ready to hit the road in your own quest for a better world.
The Right to Die  
Monday, February 4th, from 7:00  – 9:00 pm
Beth Ferree is presenting a series of workshops on various aspects related to death and dying
There will be no charge to attend. Any donations will be shared with the church.

 

Starting February 3rd:
The Young Adults will roll into a program for all adults to participate in Religious Exploration.

Adults at UUCOC are encouraged to:
• Join in the TalkBack in the Sanctuary after the service.
• Participate in our Religious Exploration programs.
• Walk the Labyrinth & the Sacred Grounds.
• Meditate in the Shambhala room of the Charity Building.
• Enjoy connecting in beloved commUUnity.

February 3rd, 11:15 am – Belief-O-Matic!
Bring your smart phones and join a group activity where we all take the (in)famous Belief-O-Matic online quiz, discussing questions about god, the afterlife, human nature, and more. What faith are you really? Belief-o-Matic can tell you!

“The Do’s and Don’ts of Cultural Appropriation”
Borrowing from other cultures isn’t just inevitable, it’s potentially positive. Yes / No / Maybe?
Rev. Larry Brumfield will be in the pulpit.

the Men’s retreat is coming March 22-24, 2019 and

The Women’s retreat is March 29-31, 2019

 

Registration is open for you to come and enjoy a quiet weekend with familiar faces and new friends at UBarU!

Lodging in the Dwight & Marie Brown Center along with your meals from Friday dinner – Sunday breakfast are included.

Early Bird cost is $155 for the weekend with shorter stay options, if you prefer.  Arrive after 4 p.m. on Friday

 

A rejuvenating time for fun, quiet and renewal is awaiting you in the Texas Hill Country.

Bishopville, South Carolina was once a sleepy little town suffering in the ever-changing economy until Pearl Fryar arrived.

He is a simple man. A southern gentleman whose only desire was to get a job and care for his family. But, when this black man wanted to purchase a home in a primarily white neighborhood his life suddenly experienced a major shift. He was told he was unwelcome because they didn’t feel black people were as likely to take care of their yards. Rather than argue with them Pearl decided to show them what he could do.

He, instead, purchased a home in a black neighborhood and went to work creating a series of topiary masterpieces in his yard. At first, his goal was simple: to win the Bishopville garden club’s yard of the month. Once that was accomplished he gradually created a place where people from all over the world would come to find peace and beauty. As a result, one humble black man changed the economic status of an entire community.

This film is a must-see for anyone who appreciates art, gardening, or just the wonderful story of one man with an indomitable story. It shows us how his faith and determination got him through it all.

Pearl started out his garden with the scraps from a nursery. As the plants and trees grew he taught himself to cut the trees into various shapes using his chainsaw and an affinity for mathematical shapes.

You’ll see his love for people come out in the way he greets visitors, both expected and unexpected. There’s little not to love about his story and the inspiration he has spread through the world.

So, join us on Tuesday, February 5th at 7 PM in the sanctuary at UUCOC to see this awe-inspiring tale of hope and determination.

This film is co-sponsored by First Tuesday Films and The Dallas Peace and Justice Committee

Why Does the World Need UUism?

This question was asked at a workshop. I’ll give you my answer and a few other thoughts.

Daniel Polk will be in the pulpit

When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.”Leviticus 19: 33–34

The current situation at our borders is both inhumane and immoral. It’s become a militarized zone where human beings are mistreated on a daily basis and families are torn apart with little hope of being reunited. Immigrants seeking asylum from atrocities in their homelands are greeted with tear gas and hatred. Children whose only crime is being born in a foreign land are dying from abuse and neglect. Thousands seeking the American dream are met with the new American nightmare. Can we truly proclaim to be “One Nation Under God” when we turn away those seeking our help?
The irony of this situation cannot be ignored. America is largely responsible for the destabilization causing people to flee the home of their ancestors. One example of this is our military policies in Guatemala during the Reagan administration. By supporting the wrong factions in South America we created and upheld the oppressive government people are fleeing. Then, once they arrive, they are denied asylum.
Let’s be clear. The Trump administration does not believe every immigrant is a terrorist. That particular message is pure propaganda aimed at feeding on the inner fears of their political base. In reality, the fear of the administration is that the current white dominance is being threatened. With more brown-skinned people moving in there will soon be a majority of other nationalities with voting rights.
As Americans, we cannot stand by and watch the inhumane treatment at the borders. We must be outraged and demand justice for them. The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival is calling for persons across the nation to stand behind the moral imperative as we demand:
*A clear and just immigration system that strengthens our democracy through the broad participation of everyone in this country.
*An immigration system that, instead of criminalizing people for trying to raise their families, prioritizes family reunification, keeps families together and allows us all to build thriving communities in this country we call home.
* The demilitarization of our communities on the border and the interior
Immigrants are not criminals, terrorists, or gang members. They are our fellow human beings and deserve the same respect as the rest of us. It is time for all of us to stop our passive stance and speak out against these atrocities clearly and loudly.

Written by: Rev.Larry Brumfeld, Chaplain

 

“You Aren’t Racist/Sexist/*Ist, But Your Brain Probably Is”

Your brain is easily fooled by implicit bias, but you can fight back.

Vijay Tanwar is in the pulpit


Recognize Jan 20th
Dee Stofko 01/14/2007
Ed Stofko 01/14/2007

Recognize Jan 27th
Uma Snively 01/22/2017
Rebecca Mohr 01/24/1999

A time to reflect and look toward the longer days. The solstice celebration is an opportunity to deal with the changes brought through death and the resurrection of life.

 

 

 

We glance back on what was and look at what will be tomorrow.

Blessed Be!

Do you need great photos for cards, Facebook, Instagram, or maybe your Breeze profile?

Or just to have some wonderful images of your family?

Vijay Tanwar, our Congregation President and very talented photographer, is offering a special deal on family photographs. Take them at the Gaylord Texan, Dallas Arboretum, or anywhere in the local area. The charge? A $25 suggested donation to UUCOC!

Please contact Vijay at President@OakCliffUU.org for details.

You can download past issues of the OakLeaf from January of 2012 to April of 2018 from our archives.