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Compass, April 10, 2024

Updated: Apr 12



April is National Volunteer Month, and we wanted to take a moment to thank all of our volunteers for their unwavering dedication to the church's ministries. From helping the unhoused with food and clothing to keeping our doors open for AHA!, running the Thrift Shop, cleaning up after events, and engaging in social justice initiatives in the city of New Bedford and beyond.


We couldn't do this without all of you and we are truly humbled by how much you GIVE through your time and your talents. We LOVE and appreciate you!!




 

Our Mission is to encourage diversity and mutual acceptance and work for positive change in ourselves and our community.


"We envision a congregation in which we practice the principles of our faith. We seek to enjoy peaceful reflection and inspiration in intellectually and spiritually satisfying church services. We aim to embrace the people and efforts of our church community by supporting our children and their programs, our committees and their goals, our staff and their efforts on our behalf, and each other."

 


You carry Mother Earth within you. She is not outside of you. Mother Earth is not just your environment. In that insight of inter-being, it is possible to have real communication with the Earth, which is the highest form of prayer.

Thich Nhat Hanh


 

April Services - Welcome to the Gift of Interdependence


Registration is not required. Tap "Register Now" to see service details. This Sunday, April 14, is the Annual Poetry Service.






 

See everything happening at UUNB on the website calendar!




 

Upcoming Events








 

Did you miss Sunday service? Watch it here!





 



April 11: AHA Sustainable Southcoast Earth Eve Parade {5:15 pm at Church or Meet on Market St./NB Public Main Library} Please let us know if you plan to march and celebrate Earth Day every day! Email Yasmin @flefleh@gmail.com.


April 14: Poetry Service

The Web of Community - How we nurture it, and it nurtures us.


 April 21: Caring for the Web of Creation

You're Saved by Something Green By Charlene Brotman

Dress Rehearsal “Justice League” Pancake Sunday 10:00 am 


April 28 Way Cool Sunday School Hosts the “Justice League” 11 am

Teacher Appreciation


Interdependence: We honor the interdependent web of all existence. With reverence for the great web of life and with humility, we acknowledge our place in it. We covenant to protect Earth and all beings from exploitation. We will create and nurture sustainable relationships of care and respect, mutuality and justice. We will work to repair harm and damaged relationships. 

 


You're invited to the 40th Annual Jazz Service on June 30th. We are in the planning process right now but here is a tentative schedule of events.


Schedule of Events

  • Shop from a variety of vendors and artisans in the garden all day from 10 AM to 3 PM.

  • Jazz Service starts at 11 AM and will run 1-2 hours depending on the musicians.

  • Raffle

  • Refreshments (Possibly food trucks)


We are looking for vendors to set up in the yard during the 40th Annual Jazz service on June 30, 2024. The fee to set up is $35 and is open to anyone selling handmade items. Spaces are filling up! If you are interested in participating, please don't wait to reserve your spot. Please share this with artisans you may know and support.



 

Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities in Our Church - Please contact Jess to sign up at admin@uunewbedford.org


We are looking for volunteers to form a committee, help with preparations, set up/clean up the day before and on the day of the jazz service, and work at the raffle table.


Sign-up sheets are in the Parish House for Hospitality and Ushers on Sundays. If you can take a week, please add your name to the list. Many hands make light work.


The International Perfume Bottle Association will tour the sanctuary and Tiffany mosaic on April 24 at 9:30 AM. It would be great to have a few knowledgeable volunteers to talk with our guests about the history of our church and the mosaic.


 

Pledge Reminder


Pledge letters went out a few weeks ago, and we hope you will consider pledging your support by May 1 to help us plan our budget for FY 25. We have made it easier than ever to set up a recurring gift through our donation platform, GiveButter. They accept all forms of payment, even ACH payments, with approval from your bank.



 

We congratulate Grace Episcopal Church for the April 3rd installation of their new settled minister, Rev. Jeremy Froyen and we welcome him and his partner to New Bedford. They are welcome additions to our community and to his congregation. Best of luck!


 

Photo of Oden, Torsten, and Randy from Easter service.


 

News in the UU World and Beyond



National Library Week (April 7-13, 2024) is a time to celebrate our nation's libraries, library workers' contributions and promote library use and support. The theme for National Library Week 2024 is "Ready, Set, Library," illustrating the idea that in our always-online world, libraries give us a green light to something truly special: a place to connect with others, learn new skills, and focus on what matters most. At the library’s author talks, workshops, and book clubs, Americans can connect with fellow enthusiasts and local experts while building relationships that will last a lifetime. No matter where you find yourself on the roadmap through life’s journey—preparing for a new career, launching a business, or raising a family—the library provides an inclusive and supportive community where everyone belongs.


The American Library Association condemns censorship and works to defend each person's right to read under the First Amendment and to ensure free access to information. Every year, ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) compiles a list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books in order to inform the public about censorship in libraries and schools. The lists are based on information from reports filed by library professionals and community members, as well as news stories published throughout the United States.


Because many book challenges are not reported to the ALA or covered by the press, the Top Most Challenged Books lists and data compiled by ALA represent only a snapshot of book challenges. A challenge to a book may be resolved in favor of retaining the book in the collection, or it can result in a book being restricted or withdrawn from the library.


ALA documented 4,240 unique book titles targeted for censorship in 2023—a 65% surge over 2022 numbers—as well as 1,247 demands to censor library books, materials, and resources. Pressure groups focused on public libraries in addition to targeting school libraries. The number of titles targeted for censorship at public libraries increased by 92% over the previous year, accounting for about 46% of all book challenges in 2023.







 

Pink Haven Coalition Helps Transgender People Relocate and Access Gender-Affirming Care


Progressive faith groups are partnering with frontline organizers to offer gender-expansive people resources that can help with making a move, either permanent or temporary.

FIN LEARY SPRING/SUMMER 2024 3/28/2024

Editor’s note: Frontline trans organizers and the quoted passenger are not named in order to protect participants’ safety. 


Last year, 586 new laws negatively targeting trans and gender-expansive people were proposed across the United States, and eighty-five of them passed. That makes 2023 the fourth consecutive record-breaking year for anti-trans legislation in the country, according to Trans Legislation Tracker.


In some states it is already a crime to provide gender-affirming care to minors and young adults, and, as of this writing, organizers are bracing for an even more brutal 2024 legislative session, compounding what they describe as the nightmarish daily reality for trans people in the United States.


"We know that gender-affirming care for youth and adults is lifesaving," says Heather Vickery, the coordinator for Congregational Activism at the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, a Pink Haven Coalition member. "Everyone deserves to live their fullest life and not be erased from public view. The targeting of our trans and gender-expansive beloveds is one of the many signs we are seeing of rising fascism in this country. As UUs we have always been committed to resisting fascism and honoring the inherent worth and dignity of all people."


Because of these laws, trans people in the United States could meet the definition of Internally Displaced People, or IDPs, by the United Nations. Hundreds of thousands of trans people and their families have already fled their homes to safer states with more than a million considering doing so, according to a recent Data for Progress survey.

That’s why the work of the Pink Haven Coalition is critically important: Lives depend on it.

How Does the Pink Haven Coalition Help Trans People?

The Pink Haven Coalition is a joint project between frontline trans organizers, UUSC, the Unitarian Universalist Association, other progressive faith groups, and mutual aid networks across the country. In early 2023, the main organizers of this work approached UUSC and the UUA when they saw the increase in anti-trans laws being proposed and passed. Through the Pink Haven Coalition, the UUA and UUSC are a part of creating a network to organize housing and transportation for these "passengers," the name the coalition has given to the people it is helping.


Rev. Ashley Horan, the UUA’s vice president for Programs and Ministries and a member of the UUA’s Pink Haven Coalition team, says Pink Haven’s work involves organizing and building networks of communities across the country who are willing and able to be welcoming and affirming to trans people who might be permanently relocating or leaving their homes temporarily to access gender-affirming care or for another reason.


The coalition’s job is to respond to requests from organizers on behalf of each passenger. The coalition is also supporting people who, for many reasons, are not currently trying to relocate, Horan says.


Each ask is based on the particular set of circumstances that an individual is in—for example, a place for the passenger and their family to stay, help with transportation, or assisting with financial needs as they set up a life in a new community. UUs in the coalition are offering their homes as temporary housing for passengers, raising money for them, and more.


Rev. Jami A. Yandle, a non-binary UU minister and the UUA’s Transgender Support specialist, was hired to support the Pink Haven Coalition as it seeks to provide passengers with safe homestays on their journeys.


Yandle says that finding the resources a passenger needs to get to safer locations regularly involves reaching out to UU congregations in areas where they’re searching for a homestay. This often involves connecting with UUA field staff regionally to identify potential UU congregations who could ally with the Pink Haven Coalition in this work.


People offering to provide a homestay for passengers through the coalition are vetted, Horan says. It’s essential that they are able to be trans-competent and inclusive, which includes using correct names and pronouns and also understanding the need for confidentiality and safety.


Many Unitarian Universalists have offered homestays already, for which organizers and passengers are deeply appreciative. And the need for housing hosts is growing.


"We are actively seeking allies willing to host. If you are interested, please reach out," says Yandle. "Helping our trans community survive is not only a spiritual practice but is also a moral and spiritual obligation."


Horan lives in Minneapolis, where there is a trans sanctuary law in place, and she served as a homestay host for one family the coalition helped. Horan pointed them to additional queer community mutual aid in her neighborhood and crowdfunded online to raise additional funds for the family to help make the transition easier.


"The impact is about feeling like they are in fact being welcomed, the personal connection to somebody who cares about their wellbeing," says Horan, “that there is a community of folks with resources welcoming them with open arms."


An important piece of that, Horan explains, is that the Pink Haven Coalition is continuing to expand on building this network of people around the country who are safe, welcoming, and committed to this work.


Yandle helped a passenger with children obtain a homestay where the hosts provided toys and made food specifically for the kids.


"It was really adorable to witness that," Yandle says. "At the same time, it is important to remember how vulnerable trans families are in this moment. I’m humbled to be a part of this work. Everything we do to help our trans community builds our resiliency for this collective, long-haul ministry."


How First Parish UU Congregation Offers Support to the Pink Haven Coalition

When Vickery, an aspirant for UU ministry, approached her church, First Parish in Malden, Massachusetts, about helping with the coalition, she had questions on her mind: What do we owe our community? What does it mean to show up for trans people in a time when over 550 anti-trans pieces of legislation have been introduced across the country? What is our faith calling us to do in response to this new crisis for the trans community, which is in addition to the long-existing crises of underemployment, under-housing, and violence?


After Vickery reached out to First Parish and the board of the congregation approved it, the church got to work developing a financial system for Pink Haven, taking on the role of processing donations from across the country and building a team of trusted people who could do this work in a safe way, preserving the need for confidentiality.


First Parish has a relatively high proportion of trans and nonbinary people in its congregation, according to Rev. Otto Concannon, a transgender man who has been First Parish’s minister for the last seven years.


As a UU congregation, First Parish has the resources to get involved. Concannon says that the approximately 100-person congregation has been extremely supportive, and many have donated directly to this cause. Other donations have also come in from people around the country.


First Parish set up a second bank account to manage the funds, and last year there was a set amount of funding set aside specifically for trans Black, Indigenous, and people of color. The Pink Haven Coalition is prioritizing serving BIPOC trans individuals and families as they experience multiple layers of oppression.


Concannon is one of the people at First Parish disbursing the funds for the Pink Haven Coalition, as well as supporting the intake of new passengers by checking in to understand who they are and what their individual needs might be. Are they traveling alone, or with others? Will they have a lot of belongings with them? What are their pronouns? Do they have any allergies, or disabilities that need to be considered when setting up a suitable home stay? These and more are the kinds of questions that the coalition is asking to ensure that each passenger gets to where they need to go in a way that is confidential, welcoming, and respectful of their personal situation.


People involved in the Pink Haven Coalition emphasize how beneficial it is to do this kind of direct mutual aid work, which removes a level of bureaucracy that trans people, especially multiply marginalized trans people, are used to facing. When someone is applying for federal or state aid, or even for a grant from a nonprofit, there are often barriers such as the requirement of a legal home address or documentation to prove employment status. These barriers can make it hard for people to access the funding and care they need in the time frame they need it.


"In the climate that we’re in, this is an urgent need," says Concannon. "It’s about getting the funds to people as quickly as possible."


"Pink Haven helped my family of five move from one state that is increasingly becoming more anti-trans to a state where we have legal measures set in place to protect us as a trans/LGBTQ family," says a passenger the Pink Haven Coalition assisted in relocating in 2023. "Had we not received the support necessary to do this move, my family would still be fighting to move somewhere safer. My family is truly grateful for the support we received since day one of reaching out to Pink Haven."


"This," Vickery adds, "is lifesaving, faithful action."


How You Can Show Up for Trans Lives

For those who want to support the Pink Haven Coalition, here are some actions that you can take to help save trans lives.

  1. Build your trans and queer competency and understanding. Get involved in your local LGBTQIA+ organizations and groups and support the trans people in your own congregation. Look to the resources that already exist in your community to be involved in trans rights and to show up for the LGBTQIA+ community and other marginalized communities.

  2. Encourage your congregation to go through the Transforming Hearts Collective program together, if it has not already. Continue to advocate for trans-inclusive policies in your congregation and greater community.

  3. Send a monetary donation via pinkhaven.org. One hundred percent of funds go directly to the Pink Haven Coalition to fund this direct mutual aid work.

  4. Volunteer with the Pink Haven Coalition. Interested volunteers can contact pinkhaven@proton.me. Consider that you may have skills that could be useful in unexpected ways, such as administration or bookkeeping.

  5. Host a fundraising effort in your congregation or your local area and ask for donations to the Pink Haven Coalition. The fundraising effort could be paired with an event providing education and awareness around trans rights and the impact that anti-trans legislation is having on people’s lives.

  6. Welcome trans people who are relocating to, or passing through, your state with the support of the Pink Haven Coalition by offering a homestay or assisting with other needed resources.



 




Our Promises


  • Each person is important.

  • Be kind in all you do.

  • We help each other learn.

  • We search for what is true.

  • Each person has a say.

  • Work for a peaceful world.

  • The web of life’s the way.

  • Build the beloved community, free from racism and oppression.



First Unitarian Church in New Bedford

71 8th Street, New Bedford, MA 02740

(508) 994-9686

Administrator ext. 10

Minister ext. 13

Karen cell: (508) 441-9344


Board Members & Officers

Steve Carmel, President

Charles Morgan, Vice President

Deborah Carmel, Treasurer

Cora Peirce, Clerk


Trustees

Committee Chairs

Staff


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