Read the full issue of this week’s newsletter here.
A note from our Holiday Giving Team and Rev. Justin Schroeder:
We invite everyone, young and old, to celebrate the holiday season as we deepen our church’s commitment to racial equity and community building. Your generous contribution to the Holiday Giving project will support Marnita’s Table, a nonprofit organization that partners with neighborhood groups, government agencies, schools, and faith communities to bridge gaps across differences.
On December 17 our worship services will feature the ritual gathering in of our gifts. If you can’t be with us on the 17th, you may contribute by online payment, by check (payable to “First Universalist Church” with “Holiday Giving” on the memo line), or by dropping a donation into the jar in the social hall after services.
Many of you heard Marnita Schroedl at services on November 26, when Rev. Justin Schroeder shared his sermon time with her (listen to the podcast). Describing her personal journey and the principles that drive the organization, Marnita gave examples of Intentional Social Interaction (IZI) that led directly to policy changes with practical outcomes. In response to Justin’s provocative questions, including “What is love’s vision for this world?” she talked about Marnita’s Table’s mission to make IZI the new pattern for society. She envisioned a society where people of color, the disenfranchised, the poor, the unheard, the fragile, the LGBTQ+, the traditionally unheard and excluded are all actively and intentionally included and valued at the policy-making and resource-sharing table. She explained how the tools and techniques that Marnita’s Table has developed and tested are already moving us toward that future.
Many listeners were exhilarated by Marnita’s vision. The Holiday Giving Team also heard feedback from a few church members that her remarks seemed to dismiss or shame other approaches to social change, particularly active forms of resistance and protest. We are grateful for this feedback and asked Marnita to clarify her comments. She responded, “We know that direct action is critical to the success of moving forward into a more just future,” and confirmed her support for active means of protest.
“To engage in direct action or not does not feel like something that is optional for me and my [mostly POC] staff,” Marnita told us. “It has been a matter of survival literally since our births. But we envision a future in which our voices and inherent humanity are valued and included without having to risk our lives.” Marnita’s Table is intently focused on decreasing disparities and increasing equality by practicing and promoting Intentional Social Interaction. As they carry on this important work, Marnita and her colleagues acknowledge that only when many dedicated people work in myriad ways to inspire widespread social change will we achieve a just society that welcomes everyone to the table.
Want to learn more? Representatives of Marnita’s Table will be available in the social hall after the December 10 worship services. In addition, you’ll find information about the Holiday Giving project on the church website. We’ve just posted brief recordings by three Holiday Giving team members, each offering a unique perspective (scroll down to find the audio links by each of their photos). If you have questions or want to help out, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Holiday Giving Team
Sue Searing, Lukas Udstuen, Jacoby Daniels, and Lena Vdakes
Rev. Justin Schroeder