- Starting this week and until further notice, Thursday Supper will be offered as a take-out option; Saturday Lunch has been canceled until further notice. Guests at the meal can expect distribution of some of UCM’s store of perishable food, as we seek to ensure that food resources we have been able to accumulate do not go to waste.
- For all other purposes, UCM is closed until further notice. This includes regular UCM programming, as well as meetings of community groups scheduled to take place in UCM’s building.
UCM staff will be periodically checking our voicemail and email, and will respond to contacts as quickly as we are able.
Because we want to help where we can, we’ll be sharing information and resources on social media and via email as it becomes available, and we want to hear from you what you know and what you need that we might be able to help with.
- UCM staff will be periodically checking our voicemail and email, and will respond to contacts as quickly as we are able.
- Because we want to help where we can, we’ll be sharing information and resources on social media and via email as it becomes available, and we want to hear from you what you know and what you need that we might be able to help with.
On January 20, UCM Executive Director Rev. Evan Young delivered a prayer at the beginning of the 20th annual MLK Silent March at Ohio University. It was an extemporaneous and heartfelt prayer, and it has taken us some time to find a recording and transcribe it for sharing. We’re indebted to Athens NEWS Associate Editor Conor Morris for sharing with us a recording of the event, our transcription of which we now share with you.
One of the great challenges of doing social justice work in the present age is that the pace of our information economy undermines the spiritual discipline of memory. In the 24-hour news cycle that increasingly defines our experience, today’s news effectively displaces and erases yesterday’s news, and renders us both rootless and directionless. As the great labor historian and folk singer Utah Phillips said, “the long memory is the most radical idea in this country. It is the loss of that long memory which deprives our people of that connective flow of thoughts and events that clarifies our vision, not of where we’re going, but where we want to go.”
UCM’s story is rooted in the modern ecumenical movement within Protestant Christianity. The modern ecumenical movement was founded on a call for Christian leaders throughout the world to work for peace and justice. This call was a new expression of a millennia-old yearning for a return to unity within the Christian Church—unity that perhaps never existed, and certainly had not existed since the 4th century of the Christian era. The most important—and potentially fruitful—locus of that unity was in our shared ethic of service and restoration. So the movement sought to continue, expand, and integrate efforts of unifying the church globally around the idea of helping all those in need, whether that need be physical, emotional, or spiritual. The movement promoted an understanding amongst the churches that, despite difference, they could join together to be an element of great change in the world, an agent of hope and peace amongst the chaos and destruction that humans seem to create.
This is where UCM comes from, and why we look the way we do. This is the history that underlies our programming and our ministry. This is why there’s a Thursday Supper and a Saturday Lunch, this is why there’s an Appalachian Ohio alternative spring break service/learning trip. And ultimately, as our understanding and identity have expanded beyond the traditional bounds of Christianity, this is why we’ve devoted ourselves to building interfaith relationships of understanding and trust—to addressing our common need to be welcomed, accepted, honored, and attended to within the communities in which we live. This is the story we continue to tell, to invite others into, and to pass on as our heritage of transforming love.
Happy Friday! We hope you all are looking forward to the weekend. As we enter March, Better Together has a new project to share with you all. Currently, interns Saraya Abner and Sam Houtchens are leading a fundraiser in support of My Sister’s Place.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with My Sister’s Place, MSP is a domestic violence agency in Athens, OH that serves the Athens, Hocking, and Vinton Counties. MSP provides a 24/7 hotline, outreach counseling, and an emergency shelter. If you look on MSP’s website (http://www.mspathens.org/), you can view the organization’s current needs, which ranges from clothing to toiletries to cooking and cleaning supplies.
MSP has requested that Better Together raises at least $500 to purchase a cookware set. So far, Better Together has raised $210 towards this goal. However, if you view the GoFundMe page for the fundraiser, you will notice that we have set our optimal goal at $2000. Given that Better Together functions under the umbrella of United Campus Ministry, we are aware of the trials and tribulations that come with organizing, supporting, and fundraising towards a nonprofit’s efforts. In hopes to support My Sister’s Place on an organizational level, such as in providing funds towards MSP’s support staff and internship program, we intend to exceed our original goal of $500.
This is where you come in. We are asking friends, family, supporters of UCM, and the Athens and OU communities to donate towards our fundraiser and to help us promote, share, retweet, blog about, and talk about this fundraiser everywhere. You can find our fundraiser here: https://www.gofundme.com/my-sister039s-place-fundraiser
We thank you for reading, for investing your time into supporting UCM and Better Together, and of course, for donating to our My Sister’s Place fundraiser!
Today is a good day to breathe, to visit, to share a coffee or other beverage with a friend and comrade, and to reflect on the transformative work your relationship is doing in each of your lives. I know my relationships with the folks I’ve been working with for the last two years have changed me in deep and lasting ways. And for that, today I’m giving thanks and praise.
Shattering the previous record, at least 114 women won statewide or federal seats across the country—including 94 US House seats, 12 US Senate seats, and 8 Governorships. These women include a number of firsts: the country’s first Muslim and first Native American women elected to Congress, the youngest women elected to Congress, Massachusetts’ first black congresswoman, the first woman Governor of Guam, and the first two Latina congresswomen from Texas.
Colorado elected the country’s first openly gay Governor.
In statehouses across the country 129 LGBTQ state legislators will soon take office—including Ohio’s own Senator-Elect Nickie Antonio, who will be the state’s first openly LGBTQ State Senator.
Like you, I am horror-struck by the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh this past weekend. Heart-sick, dismayed that such a thing happened, could happen, anywhere in this country but particularly in a city and community I’ve visited and loved, where people I know and love are reeling and hurting and grieving together. The impact of such a thing happening in a place of worship that serves as sanctuary and community center is beyond my power to imagine. And that all I have to offer is my sympathy seems very weak tea indeed.
On the Approaching Election
Rev. Evan Young, Executive Director
In this election season, there’s something I want to make sure to say to you.
Voting is highly recommended.
Not because it’s the be-all and end-all of participatory democracy, not because it’s some panacea that holds out the promise of curing all our nation’s ills. I’m well aware of the significant flaws in our democratic process, as currently practiced. Well aware of the interests it weights too heavily, well aware of the interests it excludes from the conversation, well aware of the corrosive influence of money and its erosion of the power of our representative democracy to . . . well, represent.
I still highly recommend that you vote. Because it’s a gateway activity to the kind of engagement and activism for social justice out of which real change can emerge. Take the time to become educated about the choices on offer in this election season–both candidates and issues. Let your research stimulate questions and lead you into reflection on the world we have, the world you want to see, and what it’s worth to you to take action to move us in the direction of your vision. Let your reflection lead you into action, collaboration, and deeper, more interdependent relationship with people who share your vision (or who embrace a vision you had never imagined before that fills you with hope for the future).
Voting is the low bar, the entry point, the first step on the path toward engaged, informed, contributing citizenship in our community, our nation, the world. So do it. And be advised–since our current leaders are invested in limiting access to the means of participation (i.e., voting) particularly in strongly liberal/progressive areas (like Athens), you should take advantage of the opportunity to cast your vote early (for days, times, and locations click here). Avoid long lines and make sure your vote is cast, recorded, and counted. And then . . . get to work.
Hello, all! Join us at the Multicultural Genealogical Center in Chesterhill, Ohio for Better Together’s Multicultural History Tour on October 20th from 12 PM-5:30 PM! We will be learning about the center’s work in documenting the history of multicultural and multiracial communities in Southeast Ohio while sprucing up and organizing the center’s space, collections, and grounds.
The Multicultural History Tour serves as the first Better Together service day of the 2018-2019 school year. After a successful eighth annual 9/11 Interfaith Peace Walk, UCM interns Samantha Houtchens and Saraya Abner look forward to introducing new programming during the Better Together campaign that engages students in educational, service, and community-building work to build relationships across faith divides, celebrate all faith and philosophical worldviews, and express common values.
If you want to take a break from that Homecoming football game to learn more about the history of people and communities of color in Southeast Ohio, or if you are interested in becoming involved with the Better Together campaign, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Transportation and a light snack will be provided for the tour, but volunteers are being accepted on a first-come-first-serve basis, so RSVP soon!