A weekly guide to stories about Unitarian Universalists from other media sources.
The Unitarian Universalist Church of Amherst in Williamsville, New York, recently unveiled a Black Lives Matter banner outside their congregation after a year of study and discussion. The sign appears on a street which reportedly sees approximately 20,000 drivers each day. Margot Shoemaker, a leader of the congregation’s Social Justice Committee, said the hope is for the sign to serve as “a catalyst to conversations about race in Amherst,” sparking reflection about the discrimination experienced by people of color. (The Buffalo News - 10.23.16)
The Rev. Ana Levy-Lyons, senior minister at First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn, New York, writes about the repeated vandalism of her congregation’s Black Lives Matter banner. After the sign was stolen and replaced several times, recently a “Blue Lives Matter” sign was placed next to it. Levy-Lyons noted that “We would all agree with the sign, that the lives of police matter,” but that the placement of the sign actually suggests that “police as a class are targets of discrimination, humiliation, and violence on a par with people of color,” which is “to muddy the waters.” The church has removed the Blue Lives Matter sign. (The Guardian - 10.26.16)
The Rev. Kent Matthies, minister at the Unitarian Society of Germantown in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was recently highlighted for empowering people in the community. “Working in the congregation is magical,” Matthies said. “From helping people find jobs, fighting climate change or visiting people in the hospital and singing hymns together, it all provides our congregational life’s rich connections and satisfaction.” His work has included assisting the mayor’s office in reducing violence in the city and spreading a message of inclusion with a sign at the congregation that shows support for “our Muslim neighbors.” Matthies is also a representative of Unitarian Universalism on the Religious Leaders Council of Greater Philadelphia. (Chestnut Hill Local - 10.21.16)
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Lauren Walleser is the communications assistant in the UUA Office of Information and Public Witness.
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