Read the full issue of this week’s newsletter here.
In this week’s Liberal, Rev. Jen Crow writes:
I’m proud to be a part of this church on a daily basis, and this past week, that pride came through again. On Tuesday night, we hosted a forum on the topic of homelessness for the mayoral candidates of Minneapolis. Eight candidates joined us, hearing and responding to questions read and crafted by people who know about homelessness from their own first hand experience. The idea came from our own Barb Melom, someone you may know from her leadership in Hats for the Homeless or from her tireless efforts to make life better for people living on the streets. Barb saw a need to focus the candidates’ attention, and gathering up friends and volunteers from the congregation and partners from the community, she did something and she did something big.
The church was packed on Tuesday night with faces both familiar and new. It was an honor to host this event, and to offer the candidates and everyone who came a taste of who we are and what we are about at First Universalist. Sometimes it can be hard to describe what we believe in as Unitarian Universalists, so I thought I’d share my “elevator speech” from Tuesday night here. We really can say a lot about who we are in under two minutes!
Good evening, and welcome. My name is Jennifer Crow and I am the Executive Minister here at First Universalist. Here at First Universalist Church we welcome, affirm and protect the light in each human heart, we listen deeply to where love is calling us next, and we act with courage, humility and compassion in service to justice. We do all of this as a faith communi ty deeply committe d to racial justice.
As a community of faith, we cannot and we do not endorse any particular candidate for any particular political office.
As a community of faith, we can and we do endorse particular values and ideals that guide our civic engagement.
Love is at the center of our faith, a love so big that it holds no one outside of the circle.
Here in Minneapolis today, there are many people who are being held outside of the circle of love. We are appalled by the racial disparities in our city in education and employment, in housing, incarceration, opportunity, and in the experiences of police harassment and brutality. We can do better and we expect better.
If justice is what love looks like in public, as the author and activist, Cornell West says, then we are a long way from being the city of love that we long to be.
We look forward to hearing from you tonight, candidates, about how you will acknowledge and right the wrongs of the past and present.
We welcome you the candidates, and we welcome you, the people, trusting that together we can create the city of love and justice we long for.
Welcome to this community of faith, and welcome to this conversation.
I am, as always, grateful to be in this church and this ministry with each of you.