Prayer for Transgender Day of Visibility

170331 TGoV prayer

photo by Ranwa Hammamy

Blessed are the trailblazers,
who brought us this far,
and are still trailblazing…
still celebrating.

Blessed are the drag queens and kings,
who remind us to not take life too seriously.

Blessed are the gender benders, non-binary, gender fluid, and third-gender folk, those who challenge us to reframe our gender paradigm.

Blessed are the young ones,
who present fearlessly from the start.

Blessed are their parents,
who make space for freedom,
and love their children fiercely.

Blessed are the siblings and relatives,
who educate, support, and love us as we are.

Blessed are the gender queer youth,
who are struggling and persist.

Blessed are the 90-year olds just coming out,
and those who have been out decades.

Blessed are those whose lives were cut too short,
may their stories live on through us.

Blessed are the survivors,
may they keep on living.

Blessed are the allies,
learning to be accomplices.

Blessed are those gathered here today,
witnessing,
learning,
celebrating.

May we all commit to continue showing up,
fighting for justice,
celebrating all the genders in life.

Amin.

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Published in: on 31 March 2017 at 23.52  Leave a Comment  

2017 #UULent

2017-uulent

#UULent has been created as a way for Unitarian Universalists to engage in a shared spiritual practice alongside siblings in faith who are observing Lent. In some Christian traditions, in preparation for the celebration of Easter, the faithful make a personal sacrifice as a way of bringing them closer to G*d, and reminding them of the sacrifices that Jesus and his followers made.

As Unitarian Universalists, we share theological roots with our Christian siblings. However, rather than a practice of self-denial, this is an opportunity to spend the Season of Lent engaged in a spiritual discipline of deep intention and appreciation of our world, our place in it, and an openness to Grace in our daily lives.

#UULent is designed to be used individually, as a family, or as a congregation. For each day in Lent a word has been selected. Each day participants are invited to reflect on the meaning of the day’s word, then create a photograph that represents the word, idea, practice, or concept and post it here and/or elsewhere.

Beginning on Ash Wednesday and for each day until Easter, the word for the day and a related quote will be posted on the #UULent FaceBook page. Reflect and engage throughout the day, checking for the word and quote in the morning, then return later in the day to add your photo* and to see the images and words others have shared throughout the day (*YOUR photo – please respect copyright!). Or if you prefer, use another social media platform to share your photos.

Versions of the graphic: pdf and jpg.

May this intentional practice and discipline impact your daily life in ways that bring you closer to your spiritual core and offer you resiliency for life.

Published in: on 18 February 2017 at 1.40  Leave a Comment  

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2014

TGDOR

International Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR); a day set aside to annually memorialize those who were killed due to transphobic hatred or prejudice. Originally to honor the life of Rita Hester, a transgender African American woman who was murdered in Allston, MA in 1998, today communities around the globe gather annually on 20 November for public worship and vigils.

It’s an important act: to memorialize the dead, particularly those killed for being who they are. It’s an act that allows for the public processing of pain, a necessary requirement to social change, according to theologian and Bible scholar Walter Brueggemann. As of the writing of this piece, there are 226 names on this year’s list. 226 people killed because they were perceived and/or known to be “gender non-conforming.” That’s more than 18 deaths per month, the youngest: 8 years of age and the oldest: 55. Many more are physically and verbally attacked each month, sometimes on a regular basis. Not surprisingly, most of these cases remain unsolved. There are no statistics for the number of suicides resulting from harassment for being transgender, but we can guess that it is likely to be high.

We need to publicly process this pain. Not just for the transgender and genderqueer communities, but for all of us. We need to wail and grieve the loss of life. Our Allies need to be reminded of the urgency that drives us to work to change the world. Potential Allies need to be taught that lives are literally at stake. And those who are just noticing that there are transgender/genderqueer people in the world need to know that every time we leave our homes we are risking our lives. EVERY.SINGLE.TIME.

Those of us still living need to be reminded that we are not only the survivors, but that our lives matter. What makes today a complicated day is that while we have set aside a day for memorializing our dead we’ve not yet set aside a day for celebrating the living. The unintended message we are giving, particularly to our newest members of the community, is that your death, and more particularly your murder, has more meaning to our community than your life. When will we set aside a day (or multiple days) to celebrate the wonderfully diverse and beautiful ways in which we live our “gender non-conforming” lives? When will we gather in communities to praise the good deeds and healthy living of transgender and genderqueer folks among us?

I yearn for a time when instead of memorializing transgender and genderqueer individuals who have been killed for living their/our lives authentically, we will take time to celebrate the gifts these individuals offer our communities. Until then I will attend the vigils, not only to remember the lives lost, not only to offer to the transgender communities a supportive religious voice, but to remind myself and others that we are surviving and our lives do matter.

Published in: on 20 November 2014 at 3.49  Leave a Comment  

Lego Chalice Options

Years ago my dear friend and colleague, Kevin Drewery, shared with me his instructions to build a Lego Chalice. I was never able to build his exact chalice but did adapt his design to build my own. Since then I’ve taken my chalice with me from congregation to congregation, using it as the chalice for Children’s Chapels. It’s always been a big hit and everywhere I’ve taken it folks have asked me to lead a chalice build.

This year, with the help of a congregant, Kevin Stadler-Stephenson, I did just that.This Kevin took the time to not only build samples, but also to create easy to follow step-by-step instructions on how to build each chalice. He even went a step further and priced out each chalice so builders would know what they are getting themselves into.

I love that this project has been graced by the good works of two Kevins. Below are links to the various sizes and styles of chalices. Enjoy and feel free to share the joy!

small chalice

 

 

 

Small Chalice

medium chalice

 

 

 

Medium Chalice

new medium chalice

 

 

 

 

New Medium Chalice

large chalice

 

 

 

 

Large Chalice

updated large chalice - re sides

 

 

 

 

Updated Large Chalice

large UUCA chalice

 

 

 

 

Large UUCA Chalice

updated UUCA chalice

 

 

 

 

Updated Large UUCA Chalice

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on 10 June 2014 at 15.56  Comments (1)  

YRUU classroom poster

Similarly to the poster I made for the younger classes, I’ve made a schedule-of-the-day for our Young Religious Unitarian Universalist group. This helps the facilitators keep a consistent flow from week to week, while also giving flexibility for content changes.

YRUU schedule poster 1

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Published in: on 20 January 2014 at 20.48  Leave a Comment  

11th Annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance

Published in: on 20 November 2009 at 10.38  Leave a Comment  
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Opening Worship Reflection

23 October 2009
Liberal Religious Educators Association; Providence, RI
Mr. Barb Greve

As some of you know, my mother is a (once again) retired Director of Religious Education. As a child growing up in the congregation in which she served I got to see what was happening behind the curtain, and I swore that no matter what, I would NEVER become a Religious Educator! There seemed to be no end to the amount of work: teacher recruitment, committee meetings, lesson plan copying, supply closet cleaning, meetings with parents, meetings with the board, budget worries, locking and unlocking the doors, making coffee, cleaning up coffee, finding last minute substitutes, putting away tables and chairs, creating worship that works for all ages, buying Kleenex, sleeping on church floors for youth overnights, and never leaving the building when she said we were heading home. I couldn’t for the life of me understand why my mother enjoyed her job as much as she did. But she did and still does love her work and our faith and that love of both has rubbed off on me.

I have been a Unitarian Universalist for almost 40 years. I am a member of the first generation of Unitarian Universalists – those who were raised in the post-consolidation; after the Universalist Church of America and the American Unitarian Association combined their congregations and resources to create the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations. Unlike what happened in the sanctuary, what was taught in the religious education programs in the post-consolidation was a new religion, not a merged form of the two faiths from which we come.

I have been practicing Unitarian Universalism my whole life and can say only one thing for certain: Our faith is not an easy one to practice! It demands of us that we be in constant awareness and dialogue with the world. Unitarian Universalism requires religious engagement, not just when it is convenient or easy, but in every moment. We have a rich history and complicated thea/ology but too often our members and even we religious educators, shy away from learning either. One of the greatest strengths Unitarian Universalist thea/olgy offers is an image of life that is in motion and pluralistic.

Now, there have been times in life when I wished for a colossal puppeteer in the sky with whom I could scream and beg and who would make the changes I desired. But our faith challenges us to not place all the blame and expectation on a puppeteer but rather on ourselves and those around us. Through our focus on community and covenant, we learn that the holy takes place in our connections to and with one another. Because divinity exists in these connections it is important that we are careful with how we treat one another, which is why I am committed to combating oppression and celebrating multiculturalism.

The faith of my childhood taught me to put my trust in that mysterious force we sometimes call God or Goddess or Allah or Vishnu or Nature… and always call Sacred and Divine. This faith taught me to trust my life experiences (question them always, but still trust that the experiences were real).

One of the most transformational experiences of my life can be credited on none other than Pat Ellenwood. In my late teen years as I was successfully rebuilding the youth group of my home congregation, Pat invited me to lead a workshop on successful advising of youth groups for the district’s annual religious educators conference. With this simple invitation, Pat opened a door for me, a door that I would, from time to time peak through. And as I met many religious educators and learned more about the profession of religious education, I continued to shy away from the profession, if only because the long list of “to-do’s” seemed unbearable. During my 10 years working at the Unitarian Universalist Association I resisted becoming a member of LREDA. Not because this organization isn’t anything other than fabulous, but because to become a member would mean admitting that I was following in my mother’s path – a path that would take more time in my life than I thought I was willing to give up.

So it seemed a strange suggestion when Deb Levering suggested that I apply for the interim director of religious education position in Hamden, CT. But having just graduated from Starr King School for the Ministry, I was anxious to find a paying job, religious educator or otherwise. What I learned soon after I started in Hamden is that I love “the work.” I love the opportunity to help members of the congregation connect their daily living with their spiritual lives. I love working with committees as they struggle to decide what is important and how to make decisions based on faith and values. I don’t even mind the shopping for supplies and the long hours!

Your work is important. Our work is important. We have the opportunity to open doors for those who don’t realize the doors are even there. We are poised at the threshold of the mundane and the mystical. We will remind the world that, in the words of the great Unitarian Minister and leader of Unitarian Universalism, A. Powell Davies, “Religion is not something separate and apart from ordinary life. It is life–life of every kind viewed from the standpoint of meaning and purpose: life lived in the fuller awareness of its human quality and spiritual significance.”

Your work is important. Our work is important. May it always be so.
Amin.

Published in: on 23 October 2009 at 20.24  Comments (3)  
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