Tucsonitarian Home Page

April 2018

The monthly newsletter of the

Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson

4831 E. 22nd Street, Tucson, AZ 85711, 520-748-1551, www.uuctucson.org.

To view previous editions of the newsletter, click here.

Newsletter editor: Craig Rock at newsletter@uuctucson.org.

Send us your editorials, stories, poems and photos.

Photos in this issue by Mary Hoover, Janet Williams and Craig Rock.

Lead marchers in the Tucson March for Our Lives, eight thousand strong.

March for Our Lives

Justice Building in America

by Craig Rock

Young people of America found their voice on March 24, 2018. The day will go down in history as a day of remembrance and resistance for students who lost their friends, and for families who lost their children, at Columbine (1999), Virginia Tech (2007), Sandy Hook Elementary (2012), Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (2018), and in thousands of neighborhoods across America where gun killings have been out of control, with assailants ranging from lone gunmen, to gang members, and sometimes to the police themselves.

Enough is Enough

The day will also go down in history as the beginning of an era when youth will lead their parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and just about everyone else in shouts and slogans, all with really one message, "Enough is Enough." And if the shouts are not heard, history books will also record it as the beginning of the end to many political careers, and maybe to at least one political party.

One local member of Tucson's City Council, Steve Kozachik, urges caution, stating that change will not come quickly on gun control. On the other hand, LA Times writer George Skelton reminds us, "Not many years ago, most of us would not have envisioned gay marriage, legal marijuana, public smoking bans or — two or three generations back — racial desegregation across America. When enough voters demand change in a democracy, they get it."

As UU teenager, Kari Gottfried, writes in recent article for the UUA: "Unitarian Universalism affirms the belief that every person has inherent worth and dignity. As cliché as it is, it’s always been my favorite Principle, because it’s the one I struggle with the most. How can we hold worthy the legislators who refuse to use their power to do the right thing? How can we hold worthy the powerful lobbyists at the NRA who claim the media loves mass shootings while stating that the gun violence problem in the United States is caused by something—anything—other than guns?" (Read the full article.)

You don't have to subscribe to Unitarian Universalism or any religion to realize the complicity of the multi-billion-dollar small arms industry, many lawmakers, and the NRA in the rapid rise of civilian deaths from automatic and semi-automatic gun ownership. True, this is an American problem, but it is also a problem worldwide.

There are both race and class dimensions involved as well. But this challenge should not be a competition among various groups that deal with one issue in their campaigns and fundraising materials. Poor neighborhoods in the U.S. - and in poor countries - have experienced the increase in shooting deaths of women, children and men since the rise of automatic and semi-automatic weapons and their easy availability to drug-related gangs, politically motivated death squads, and individuals with mental illness. It's time for all groups, whatever their political or social reform goals, to join together to stop these killings.

Justice for All

Gun violence in black neighborhoods caused 11-year-old Naomi Wadler to speak out at the "March for Our Lives" event in Washington: "I am here to acknowledge and represent the African-American girls whose stories don’t make the front page of every national newspaper, whose stories don’t lead on the evening news. I represent the African-American women who are victims of gun violence, who are simply statistics instead of vibrant, beautiful girls full of potential."

(Ironically, in Tucson, a few days before the march, the trial began of a border patrol agent who killed 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez by shooting him ten times, mostly in the back with a semiautomatic pistol. The youth allegedly threw stones at the agent over the Nogales border wall in 2012. One popular Tucson columnist predicted the agent will walk free just like in similar shootings by regular police across the United States. The Attorney General's office, the courts, and Congress have all failed to resolve this lack of justice from the unwarranted killings by poorly trained and selected police, men and women.)

Another indicator of injustice from Congress and the President is the lack of empathy for the Dreamers and refugees from Mexico and Central America who are fleeing neighborhoods and regions controlled by drug cartels. Cartels feed the drug cravings of many Americans and operate with weapons often purchased in the United States and almost always paid for with drug profits. Cartels have not only ordered the murders of competing drug dealers but of Mexican journalists, public officials, students and other human rights defenders who work for reform in Mexico.

And it's all connected to other issues in this country affecting the poor and the disenfranchised, especially to the lack of sufficient federal and state funding for decent medical care, housing, and education. The continual theft of Native American lands by mining interests ties in here as well. A recent interview on MSNBC with Reverend Dr. William Barber, Apache leader Wendsler Nosie, and a "March for our Lives" spokesperson, Matt Post, tie these issues together nicely. Click here to hear their conversation. Also read about the recent desecration of Apache lands right here in Arizona -- see page 4 of this newsletter.

I'll end this column by paraphrasing Parker Palmer: When we go crashing through the woods shouting for the soul to come out so we help it (and it can help us), the soul will stay in hiding, but if we are willing to sit quietly and wait for a while, the soul may show itself. Well, the souls, past and present, are coming out to remind us, and to show us, how to act against gun-related injustice everywhere, including in our own backyards. Help stop gun violence, wherever you can. Watch and act as options for involvement are created by neighborhood groups, church groups, non-profits, and governmental groups.

Recommended Reading

Fully Loaded, Inside the Shadowy World of America's Ten Biggest Gunmakers,

(Mother Jones) Click Here

Elites vs Populists, The Conflict Goes Back 500 Years (LA Times) Click Here

(More March for Our Lives photos on page 3)

Newsletter Contents

Page 1 - New Ministerial Candidate; Community Building at UUCT; and March for Our Lives.

Page 2 - Finance Report; SAZCUUPS Update; Announcements; Share the Plate Nominations; and "No, the Rape Documentary."

Page 3 - More Photos; Tucson Festival of Books; Oscar Martinez; Baja 4 Tent and Sierra Club Updates on Border Wall.

Page 4 - Apache Resistance to Arizona Mines; and Report from Physicians for Social Responsibility on Fracking, Clean Power and Nuclear Winter; and Campaign Against Dirty Money.

UUCT's Ministerial Candidate Selected

Reverend Bethany Russell-Lowe

The Ministerial Search Committee is thrilled to announce that we have selected a candidate to present to you, Rev. Bethany Russell-Lowe. Rev. Bethany is incredibly warm, wise, balanced, thoughtful, compassionate and enthusiastic, and we are so excited that she has agreed to be our Ministerial Candidate!

Rev. Bethany will be joining us for Candidating Week from April 29 through May 6, culminating with a congregational meeting, after the Sunday service on May 6, to vote on whether to call her as our next settled minister. In addition to the two Sunday services she will lead during that time, there will be numerous opportunities for you to get to know her and ask her questions throughout that week. Watch the e-blast, website, or Facebook for more information in the coming days, and plan to join us!

We hope you share our excitement, and we can’t wait for you to meet Rev. Bethany!

The Ministerial Search Committee: Aston Bloom; Beth Britton; Todd Maynard; Janet Moore; Margo Newhouse; and Wendy Gordon Weeks, Chair

To the members, friends, youth, and staff of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson,

I am thrilled that your Ministerial Search Committee has asked me to be your Ministerial Candidate. From the moment I began reading your Congregational Record, I felt like our dreams for Unitarian Universalism were cut from the same cloth. A cloth which is woven from threads of spreading love, seeking transformation, and building Beloved Community. When I met with your Ministerial Search Committee online, and then eventually in person, I felt a synergy that is best summed up by what ministers often refer to as “call.”

A call to do ministry alongside a people whose dreams and vision echo my own. A call to do ministry alongside people whose strengths and gifts complement (and amplify!) my own. A call to do ministry alongside a people who genuinely wish to grow into a 21st century congregation – and are willing to do the experimentation and collaboration that that growth takes! This is a vision I will be happy to live out alongside you all, if you vote to call me as your next settled minister. There will be time to talk more about that vision during Candidating Week from April 29th - May 6th. I hope to see you a few times that week!

For now, I want you to know a little more about me and my family. I was raised Unitarian Universalist in Lexington, Massachusetts. That community taught me to love beyond belief, ask tough questions, and prioritize justice in my thoughts, words, and actions. I first felt a call to ministry while I was delivering my credo as part of my Coming of Age service. Since that day, I have been on the track towards ministry. In college, I created my own major and studied religion and social engagement. Soon after college, I began attending Andover Newton Theological School. Not too long after that, I started working full-time as the Social Action and Youth Programs Director at First Parish in Concord, Massachusetts, an historic 700+ member Unitarian Universalist congregation. I worked there for four years before starting a two-year part-time ministerial internship with two Unitarian Universalist churches in Syracuse, New York. While completing my part-time internship in Syracuse this past year, I have also served as the Consulting Minister at a small congregation in Cortland, New York. You can learn more about me, my work, and my vision for ministry at my website: www.revbethany.com/.

My husband, Bryan, will be joining us for the second half of the Candidating Week. Bryan is a talented musician and sound engineer, and he also works at Trader Joe’s (we hear you have a few of those in Tucson). He is currently completing a Master’s Degree in Audio Arts at Syracuse University. He will graduate in mid-May. Bryan also grew up in Eastern Massachusetts, where his family still lives. My immediate family lives in Northern Vermont where three generations of my family – my parents, brother, sister-in-law, and niece – attend the Unitarian Universalist Society of Burlington. Bryan and I currently live with one cuddly mutt named Isbell and two exceptionally friendly felines named Shakes and Theo.

Bryan and I are beyond excited to come to Tucson later this month to meet you all! Until then, keep imagining that world and church you dream about…and give some extra love and gratitude to your Ministerial Search Committee. They deserve it! I look forward to meeting you in person and imagining what we might learn, create, and build together in the years to come.

See you soon!

Rev. Bethany Russell-Lowe

Community Building at UUCT

by UUCT President Frank Valdes

Truly one of the pillars of our wonderful church are the many activities outside of Sunday Worship Service. This is what we call "community building.” This is where we share our "spiritual paths," which is a key part of our UU vision of religion. Carolyn and I were reflecting on this as I wondered what to write in this column. We had just hosted a barbecue dinner the day before for a small group of our church friends. This was the first time we tried offering an auction dinner at our modest abode. Besides the grub, we talked about many things in our lives such as our experiences with school and school discipline.

There are so many of these community-building events that are happening at UUCT. I'd like to recognize some of these; I say "some" because I cannot mention all of them. In the same weekend as our barbecue there was the Open Mic Night and the Parents’ Night. At the open mic we shared our awesome talents and for some, such as myself, a chance to stretch ourselves in performing. The Parents’ Night is where parents can share their parenting challenges and successes. We were sorry we missed it that weekend because it conflicted with our dinner.

We also have the gift of other auction dinners. We went to one wonderful one in March and have a couple to look forward to in the future. The Auction itself, which brought these dinners about, was another, somewhat bigger, community-building event that also served to financially support our church. A few others Carolyn or I participated in during the last month are the World Religions discussion group, the Landscaping team, the Happy Hour get-together, and Desert Chorale. I can't fail to mention that a little further back were the Welcoming Potlucks hosted by many people. There are also some groups that we have not been able to be involved with such as the Quilters, the Men's group, the Young Adults group, and Exploring Spirituality.

The regular coffee house gatherings hosted by our Rev. Lyn most Wednesdays has been valuable in building community between our interim minister and the congregants who attend, talk, and brainstorm about our church. A few of us have had the privilege of witnessing the community- building that goes on at staff meetings; we have had a loyal, long-serving staff because of this bonding. CUUPS has been building community for many inside and outside of our church, as has the LGBTQ group.

While committee work is not normally recognized as community-building, it is, in fact, part of the process. For example, I have heard from members of the Settled Minister Search Committee that the intense experience, while a lot of work, has been a tremendous bonding experience for them. Finally, as this is a column from your president, I should mention the Board of Trustees. People may not recognize it as such, but the Board is also a small group ministry. While we work together on the important needs of our church and we also take time to get to know each other; it is truly something worthwhile.

It takes time and work to organize these community-building activities, as Carolyn and I found while preparing for our dinner, but it is so worthwhile when it comes together. Thank you to all those who do the work of bringing our community together and everyone who participates and brings something of themselves to our church community.