New articles focus on sustainability, youth service, and more

From October’s InterConnections feature story, now online at UUA.org:

InterConnections is not the only source of useful information for lay leaders. Check out uuworld.org for stories about innovative congregational projects and new resources from the UUA. Here are some articles on sustainability, youth service, social justice, and outreach published between May and September 2012.

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Fellowship hosts interfaith night

A journey of multicultural understanding can begin with a single invitation. The 31-member UU Fellowship of Hidalgo County, San Juan, Texas, through its Community Outreach Committee and an interfaith group, People for Peace and Justice, invited members of the local Muslim community for an evening of conversation at the fellowship.

More than 40 people from various faith traditions gathered on Sept. 25 to share food and watch the film Amreeka about a Palestinian family that immigrates to the U.S.  There was discussion after the film. Participants also created a “friendship banner” by writing words of hope and friendship across it. The imam of the local mosque spoke for about 10 minutes through a translator.

“The purpose of the gathering was to promote solidarity from people of different faiths, with a specific focus on our Muslim brothers and sisters,” said Caren Smith, former president of the fellowship. She added, “We’re proud of our members and friends who spend their time and energy keeping the light and wisdom of Unitarian Universalism shining in our community.”

San Juan is on the border with Mexico, near McAllen, Texas. The fellowship was organized in 1959.

Moving into the community with ministry

The blog Ministrare, written by UU minister the Rev. Sean Dennison, has a message about making our congregations and our ministries more visible by moving out into the communities we live in.

Quoting from the Episcopalian website MinistryBestPractices.com, and adding his own thoughts, he notes: “So much of good ministry is being visible in the community. And that doesn’t mean having well-lit signage. It means not just name recognition––not just being known––but being known for the right things.”

He continues: “Can people in our cities, towns, and neighborhoods tell what we believe by our actions? I’m proud that many Unitarian Universalists went to Arizona to protest SB 1070 because they believed it to be racist, unjust, and cruel.  But I want to know what the people next door to our churches know about us.”

The website he drew from makes reference to a church in Georgia that sold its buildings and is using the proceeds to work out in the community, using the slogan, “The Church has left the building.”