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Sunday, June 26, 10:00am

“Postmodernism and the Legacy of the Enlightenment”
In many ways contemporary culture is caught between a dedication to science and the use of rationality on the one hand and a skepticism about the human ability to be rational combined with moral relativism on the other. The tension between these two outlooks is present within UU circles. One way of looking at these issues is to see them as a struggle between Postmodernism and the continuing influence of the Enlightenment. This sermon will try to shed some light on these questions. Our Affiliated Community Minister, Rev. Dr. Jerome Stone speaking.

June 26, 2016 – “Postmodernism and the Legacy of the Enlightenment – Rev. Dr. Jerome Stone

Welcoming Congregation

The Unitarian Church of Evanston holds the status of a “Welcoming Congregation” within the Unitarian Universalist Association and continues to follow a course of study developed by the UUA to uphold that status. As a Welcoming Congregation, UCE pledges to address the needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender people at every level of congregational life, and celebrate the lives and loves of all people in the spirit of the first principle of Unitarian Universalism.The Welcoming Congregation program initiated by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) is a volunteer program for congregations to become more inclusive towards bisexual, gay, lesbian, and/or transgender people. The goal of the program is to reduce prejudice by increasing understanding and acceptance among people of different sexual orientations.

UCE has followed the UUA program and has been granted the status of “Welcoming Congregation.” UCE has audited its practices of welcoming gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people and has worked toward increasing understanding and acceptance among people of different sexual orientations.

As the UUA states, “Our vision goes beyond the Welcoming Congregation Program. By taking this first step, we hope to explore more issues such as sexism, racism, ablesim, and others. Being a Welcoming Congregation can act as a catalyst to learning more about ourselves and to ending exclusion. Only when we are truly open to the wealth of diversity in our world will the inherent worth and dignity of every person be affirmed with a large voice.”

Why do we have Black Lives Matter yard signs at UCE?

 March 2015

After both services, as we celebrate Selma Sunday this week, Peace and Justice Committee members will be at a table in the back of the sanctuary with “Black Lives Matter” yard signs. You may wonder why the signs affirm that Black Lives Matter, why they don’t read “All Lives Matter,” or how this issue affects our church members. Don’t worry — you’re not alone! Most UCE members have not found ourselves in the center of the Black Lives Matter movement. We may not be close to anyone who risks violence simply because of the color of their skin. We sincerely may not understand why youth continue public protests as the cold Chicago weather goes on, or why it matters to Unitarian Universalists.

A national group of UUs addressing racial justice, Are UU Awake, asked churches nationwide to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement by displaying banners and signs. It means a great deal to them that UU churches show our neighbors, and especially the African American community, that we care about what’s happening.

Of course all lives matter, but Black youth are losing their lives to police and vigilante violence at a stunning rate. The Department of Justice report this week sheds light on the racial disparities of Ferguson’s court system, and the blatant racism in local law enforcement emails. The deaths of Black youth and the systemic lack of accountability for these killings will not change unless people who are not directly affected care, and speak out for change.

Our UCE mission, “Nurturing the Human Spirit for a World Made Whole”, and our UU principles, call us to care about the lives of people whose circumstances are vastly different from our own. Check out the UU World March 2015 for a great article by Kenny Wiley on efforts to raise awareness in Denver. Read UU Minister Daniel Schatz’s response to a community member’s demand that he change his church banner to say “All Lives Matter.” Take a moment to consider this New York Times Op-Ed, What’s Wrong with Black Lives Matter? Ultimately the conversation, as difficult as it is, helps us move closer to a world of less hatred and mistrust, greater solidarity and justice.

We have sold 44 yard signs so far. If you would like to purchase one for $5 for your yard or your window, we welcome you to check with us at the back of the sanctuary after either service on March 8. We expect to take some criticism from neighbors, family, and friends. These conversations are well worth having, and richly reward us in building understanding, compassion, and justice in our community.

REPARATIONS STUDY TOWN HALL

Submitted by Tom Hempfling, April 2016

In January 2016, a petition was initiated at UCE to express support for Rep. John Conyers’ House Bill HR 40. This bill will conduct a study of proposals for reparations to the descendants of slaves in America, and it includes studying the effects of slavery and its later manifestations in our society today. A key purpose of HR40 and of making reparations to the African American community is reconciliation – to help make one
America from this divided nation.

Among other areas of inquiry, HR 40 would:
• study the economic deprivation and physical and emotional suffering of the descendants of slaves, including deprivation that occurred because of U.S. Government policies
• seek to expand educational efforts to help Americans move toward a “common memory,” and thus a greater sense of true community in our nation.

If reparations are enacted, the form they could take has yet to be defined, but an example could be public works that include racial justice in their mission.

Our proposal and its rationale was described in an article in the Jan 8, 2016 UCE newsletter and was discussed at a Crackerbarrel session on January 24. On Feb 17 we presented 77 signatures to the Board of Trustees, well in excess of the number needed to bring the proposal to the congregation. A discussion is scheduled for the May 1 Town Hall Meeting, and the proposal is on the agenda for the May 15 congregational meeting.

If it is approved, we will inform elected representatives and others at a later date of its approval and submit a Proposed Congregational Study/Action Issue (CSAI) to the UUA prior to its next deadline of October 1, 2016, for consideration and eventual adoption as a Statement of Conscience by the UUA, or for incorporation into the existing CSAI in progress on “Escalating Inequality.”

SPECIALTY RECYCLING

The Green Sanctuary Composting/Reduce/Reuse/Recycling team has set up a “special” recycling center for our church, and we will make sure that these items find their way to special recycling centers located in Evanston or Skokie. Our church’s special recycling center is located near the bathrooms on the main floor and has labeled drawers. The following items can be placed in the drawers:

Batteries: AA, AAA, C, D and 9 volt, as well as rechargeable batteries (NiCad, NiMh, lithium ion, and lithium polymer).

Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL): these contain a small amount of mercury, so please put them in a zip-lock-type baggie and place them in the drawer carefully. Non-CFL bulbs are not recyclable.

Cell phones (we will be hosting larger electronics recycling periodically throughout the year)

Used Toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes, floss containers

Pens and Markers

Old Glue Bottles

Brita and PUR Water Filters (brand specific)

Printer Cartridges

Nylons: including pantyhose, nylon knee highs and tights- No Nonsense will take all of these used products (all brands) and turn them into park benches, playground equipment and carpets!  Or, if you prefer, you can send them in yourself with USPS mail return labels that you can download yourself from their website (http://www.nononsense.com/PantyhoseRecycling.aspx) or which will be provided at the special recycling center- just affix the label to a brown envelope filled with your used nylons, take it to the Post Office, and mail back to No Nonsense.

And look for occasional educational updates at the recycling center for information on additional items you probably didn’t even know you could recycle!

If you have questions or suggestions, please contact Heather Brown at [email protected] or Eileen Wiviott at [email protected]

NEWS FROM GREEN SANCTUARY – FEBRUARY 2016 A TALKING FARM UPDATE SUBMITTED BY: JEANNE KERL

The Talking Farm (TTF) is a group of folks primarily from Evanston, Chicago, and Skokie who work on sustainable urban farming projects. UCE’s shared plate proceeds have funded TTF in the past, so we thought we’d update you on what TTF has been doing the past few years.

Here’s an excerpt from an article that appeared in the Huff Post recently:

“The Talking Farm (TTF) advocates sustainable agriculture and organic growing practices and runs the Edible Acre and Howard Street Farm projects. The organization was founded in 2006 out of the efforts of the Evanston Food Council.

The Howard Street Farm has been in existence since 2010, after the village of Skokie offered TFF, a 20 year lease on a 2 acre parcel of land right on the Roger’s Park/Skokie border. However, obtaining the land was only the beginning of getting the farm up and running. Over the next few years, The Talking Farm went through the long process of making it legal to have an urban farm in Skokie and sell the produce, which was the first of its kind in the area…

In 2015, TFF sponsored intern programs at their Howard Street Farm in Skokie, provided 285 hours of school instruction to Evanston Township High School, Y.O.U. (Youth Opportunity United) and the TOT Learning Center, 2498 hours of volunteer time were donated to help the Howard Street Farm operate. They now sell their produce from the Howard Street Farm to Local Foods in Chicago and several area restaurants including Farmhouse and Boltwood in Evanston. The farm continues to grow and flourish amidst the bleak industrial landscape surrounding it. Every September, they hold their annual Hullabaloo, which is a celebration of the farm and sustainable farming.”

The Green Sanctuary folks are hoping to organize a UCE work day this spring or early summer combined with tours of the Howard Street Farm. Stay tuned. We also want to celebrate the amazing work done by this local organization with the support of UCE.