Saturday, March 7, 2015

50 Years Ago Today: the Art and Discipline of Non-Violence

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the march on Selma, Alabama in support of voting rights for African Americans. The first person across the bridge was John Lewis. He was also the first beaten unconscious by police. This event, came to be known as Bloody Sunday and spurred many Unitarian Universalists to go to Selma and join in the struggle. See photos from then, here.

April 2, 1965, less than a month after he was attacked, John Lewis spoke at UUSS about his experiences in Selma. His visit to Schenectady was sponsored by our "Church Council" (AKA Board of Trustees) and the Schenectady branch of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC.)

At Unitarian Universalist Society Schenectady, members were well aware of what was happening and in support of Civil Rights. The Orders of Service from the months of March and April 1965 show a series of Sunday sermons and weekly talks about Civil Rights.

One of the organizations this church raised money for in 1965 was SNCC. And while I do not know if there is a direct link, we also funded, through the church, a position for a person who connected with young adults at the local colleges. It was college youth who made up SNCC.

You can hear John Lewis speak about Selma and the Art and Discipline of Non-Violence in what I found to be a very moving interview here.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Ruby Bridges and Martin Luther King Jr's Legacy

Tomorrow is our annual celebration of the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. During worship we will hear from children at our church about their dreams.

There will be children's books on the subject of MLK JR and the Civil rights movement located around the back of the Great Hall. And there will be ACTIVITY bags for children who would like them during the service.

One book I only recently found is about the incredible story of 6 -year-old Ruby Bridges and her experiences as the only Black child attending a school forced to desegregate in New Orleans in 1960. The Story of Ruby Bridges, by Robert Coles will also be in the back of the Great Hall.

Watch this video interview with the author that has actual clips of Ruby Bridges attending school. It's sobering and sad to see what white adults are saying and doing. Yet, her response is to pray for them, because, she says, "they know not what they do."

Her strength to stand tall in the face of violence and taunting at SIX YEARS OLD came from her family and HER CHURCH. It gives me pause to think, could we do the same? As a church? As a family?

Here is Ruby Bridges speaking about her experience.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Our Whole Lives for kindergarten and first grade.

This year we are adding two more  Our Whole Lives classes for children and youth;  K/1 and 11/12th grade courses. OWL has become a cornerstone in our religious programming. It offers a really terrific curriculum that is life- affirming and science-based in it's approach.

We have two teachers, Joel Best and Dan Bernard, who have recently attended training for the K/1 OWL program. The training focused not only on the information, but considered developmental appropriateness with children. Joel and Dan will be assisted by Tina Dell and Sharon MacNeill;, both of whom are teachers in the K/1 classroom.

The first OWL meeting is mandatory. It's a parent/child orientation that takes place Sunday, January 25 from 10 AM -12:20. Lunch will be provided.

Soon we will be letting you know dates for the Tuesday evening 11th and 12th grade OWL program. That program will be led by Randy Jennings and Mindy Whisenhunt.