the OUUC spark

February 2, 2023

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On Liberation - Rev. Mary Gear

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“An important distinction must be made: liberation and freedom are not the same. Liberation is a process. Freedom is a temporary state of being. Liberation is dynamic. It never ends.”

-Rev. Dr. Emilie Townes (Womanist theologian and social ethicist)

Our spiritual theme for the month of February is “liberation,” as we continue our exploration of themes related to our touchstone statement for the year:

Building Beloved Community with a focus on anti-racism and the practice of coming together again, in-person, online, and in covenant.

As I’ve talked to others and reflected on the theme of liberation, most often images and stories of freedom come to mind and are shared. Both freedom and liberation have a sense of self-determination and the power to act, think or speak the way we want to. And yet, Rev. Dr. Townes suggests that liberation and freedom are different. Liberation is a process, freedom is temporary. I suggest another difference is that freedom is a feeling we have as an individual, whereas liberation recognizes our interdependence. Collective liberation recognizes that our struggles are connected and together we can create the world we dream about.

Here’s an example. Last week, OUUC’s Health & Safety Task Force met to discuss the next steps in OUUC’s Covid policies and practice: should we continue to require masks in the building? The members of this Task Force have worked for 2 ½ years to help craft policies to help us all be as safe as possible. The Task Force decided to make masks optional at OUUC; each of us would decide for ourselves what we are comfortable with.

Over the past 2 ½ years, members of the Task Force, which includes me, have wrestled with big questions, like how to balance individual preference and community care. How do we allow people to decide for themselves and how do we care for those among us who are most vulnerable?

These are questions of freedom and liberation. How do we help ensure the freedom to decide for ourselves about masks and how do we ensure that our community is liberated from severe illness? Freedom to wear a mask or not is a temporary state, and it changes. The call to care for each other so we may all feel liberation is an on-going process and one that requires us to recognize our interdependence.

So, please wear a mask or not as you wish; exercise your freedom. And, as you make your choice, please consider community care. By our choices and our care now and in the months to come, I hope we can all be released from the restrictions that Covid has required and feel liberation.

Blessings on your week,

Rev. Mary

As of January 25, 2023, The OUUC Health & Safety Task Force has decided to move to masks optional at OUUC.

This means that each person has the choice to wear a mask or not and masks are welcome. We remind you to please join us online if you have any symptoms.

Thanks for your care for our community.

OUUC Phased Reopening Guidelines November 2022

OUUC Group Building Use Checklist

ActNow COVID Risk Tracker

Olly, olly in-come-free! Return your hymnals to OUUC!

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When we shut down for Covid almost 3 years ago, we checked out hymnals to those who wanted them so we could all sing together on Zoom from home. Now, as many return to the OUUC sanctuary, we are running out of hymnals on Sunday mornings. What a great problem of abundance to have!

If you have at your home gray or teal hymnals that belong to OUUC and you are no longer using them there, please return them to OUUC.

You can drop them off during office hours on Tuesday or Thursday between 10 am-2 pm. You can bring them by on Thursday evenings and stay for the community dinner at 5:30 pm and spiritual practice at 7. Or you can bring them on Sunday morning for our 10 am service.

Plus, you can receive a book exchange for your hymnals! Once you've returned your hymnal(s), see Rev. Sara for a book from her UU book cart.

Thank you for sharing the hymnals and music with everyone.

Rev. Mary

Tiny Little News Show - January 30th

Tiny Little News Jan 30
This week's episode of the Tiny Little News Show includes: updates on mask guidance, Valentine's Day festivities, and announcing our Volunteer of the Month!


Looking for upcoming events? Go to the OUUC Calendar.