the OUUC spark

November 17, 2022

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Prayer for the Holidays - Rev. Mary Gear

We are approaching the holiday season. Some of us with trepidation and some of us with delight, some of us with fond memories, some of us with grief. It’s a complicated time, as complex as we are. I especially appreciated this prayer to name that complexity and offer preparation for the weeks ahead.

Blessings on your week and this holiday season,

Rev. Mary

Holiday Message from Rev. Mary Gear

Prayer for the Holidays with Families By Susanne Intriligator

In the days ahead, many of us will gather with family and friends, people with whom we may have long and complicated relationships. It helps to prepare. Let us enter into the spirit of prayer or meditation.

Dear Spirit, Great Mystery that has blessed us with Life, help us to feel grateful.

We give thanks in this moment for lungs that breathe in and out, for hearts that beat, for bodies that work.

We give thanks for this coming holiday/gathering, however and with whomever we will spend it.

We give thanks to be alive, to be able to mark the day in whatever way we choose.

We give thanks for family, for friends, for those who gather around us in body or in spirit, in flesh or in memory.

We give thanks for all those people who came before us, who—flawed and damaged as they were—loved us into being, shaped us into who we are now. We remember with gratitude.

We give thanks for mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers—they did their best.

We give thanks for wacky uncles and rebellious aunts, for rambunctious cousins and unexpected guests.

We give thanks for long car rides, dashes through airports, and endless rounds of Monopoly.

We give thanks for the awkward conversation, the strained pause, even the slammed door.

We give thanks for disagreements that forced us to grow and move and evolve.

We give thanks for all of it. All of it. For all these wild and hungry people—our family, our friends, our congregation—people just as flawed as we are, all dealing with more than we can see, all part of a larger whole, every last one doing their best.

We give thanks for the glory of being alive.

Having AntiRacist and Anti-Bias Conversations at the Family Holiday? - Rev. Sara Lewis

Thanksgiving means gathering with extended friends and family for many of us, which can be joyful and meaningful. But maybe not all your friends and family share your understanding and values. Maybe you have racist, sexist, ablelist, homophobic, or otherwise difficult-to-maintain-relationship-with-people in your life. If that is the case, the holiday may be an opportunity for some anti-bias dialogue, as is well illustrated in this Daily Show segment:
How to Talk to Racist Family Members During The Holidays | The Daily Show

The method of dialogue described in the video is the work of Dr. David Wiley Campt, of the Dialogue Company. He is the creator of the White Ally Toolkit, and the R.A.C.E. method:

  • Reflect
  • Ask
  • Connect
  • Expand

Basically, this method asks us to leverage the power of our relationships and our own identity and privilege to educate our own communities. And it asks something hard from us: to stay engaged, present, and compassionate, to not break the dialogue and relationship through anger or rejection. We can’t just leave or refuse to engage anymore, that’s not effective.

I’ve seen allyship work in action. As a woman, I’ve seen the power of a man using his position to bring dialogue about sexism forward. “Dude, why would you say/do something like that?” Those men have been my allies, helping engage men around sexism in ways that I wouldn’t have been able to.

As a cis-white woman, in a heterosexual relationship, temporarily able bodied and middle class, I have a responsibility to be a good ally and do the work of engaging with biases that I don’t usually face myself. It’s safer and less harmful for me to wrestle with transphobia than it would be for a trans person to have to do it. As a cis woman, I can continuously remind my relatives to use people’s proper pronouns and I can counter transphobic narratives, without having anywhere near the emotional burden I would have if I was trans. As a white person, I can talk to other white people about racism and antiracist actions, with very little risk to myself compared to what a person of color faces.

It doesn’t mean it’s easy, of course. But it’s important. So this Thanksgiving, I ask you to have these conversations. It’s good allyship for those who don’t have your privilege and relationships, and it’s good compassionate encouragement to growth for your friends and family who may hold these biased viewpoints. You can do this.

And a good place to start is by talking about the holiday itself and the need to Decolonize it:

9 Ways to Decolonize and Honor Native Peoples on Thanksgiving | Cultural Survival

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Songs in the Key of Warm - A Capital Campaign Cabaret

Join our talented OUUC members and staff for a rollicking fun celebration called Songs in the Key of Warm: A Capital Campaign Cabaret on Saturday, November 19 at 4pm in the Commons and on Zoom!

The Capital Campaign to Fund Our Future is well underway. We need just over $243,000 in commitments to meet our total goal of $541,500. This money will be used to replace the ancient failing furnaces in the Sanctuary and central offices with current heat pumps to keeps us all warm in an environmentally friendly way.

Meeting ID: 847 0703 3731
Passcode: 018612


To learn more about the OUUC Capital Campaign, click here.

Thursday Evening Spiritual Practice

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Thursday Evening Spiritual Practice is an opportunity to pause and catch up with ourselves mid week. Spiritual practice is the act of connecting to ourselves, to each other, and to something greater.

What to Expect:

The Spiritual Practice session begins at 7 p.m. in the OUUC Commons and on Zoom. Tonight's event is a practice of Gratitude led by Rev. Sara Lewis.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 874 3878 6949
Passcode: 297714

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Community Dinners at 5:30pm on Thursdays

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Come and nourish yourself, friends, and family at our Community Dinner which begins at 5:30pm.

It’s Breakfast For Dinner this week! Come enjoy fun breakfast foods and fun fellowship!

Dinners rely on volunteers to set up and clean up. If you can help with that please volunteer here: OUUC: Thursday Dinner Help ( Donations accepted.

Following this dinner, there will be:

  • 6:30pm Children's Anti-Racism Class (Spirit Play)
  • 6:30pm Our Whole Lives Class (Classroom 5)
  • 6:30pm Building the World We Dream About (Classroom 3)
  • 7pm Spiritual Practices (Sanctuary)

Resetting Our Sacred Table: The Path of Healing - An Event Hosted by Interfaith Works

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You are invited to this year’s interfaith celebration of community, “Resetting Our Sacred Table," hosted by our friends at Interfaith Works!

This event takes place Sunday, Nov 20 at 2pm, in-person at Temple Beth Hatfiloh and online via Zoom.

Learn more:


Looking for upcoming events? Go to the OUUC Calendar.