Resisting White Supremacy Teach-In This Sunday: Creating Brave Space Together – The Weekly Liberal 10/26
Read the full issue of this week’s Liberal here.
In this week’s issue, Rev. Ruth MacKenzie shares:
Black, Christian activist, Micky ScottBey Jones, writes,
Together we will create brave space
Because there is no such thing as a “safe space.”
We exist in the real world
We all carry scars and we have all caused wounds.
This space will not be perfect.
It will not always be what we wish it to be
It will be our brave space together, and
We will work on it side by side.
This Sunday, we join with other Unitarian Universalist churches to participate in another UU White Supremacy Teach-In. This will be a brave space, not a perfect space, but one in which we go deep, hold one another in compassion, and begin again in love, side by side.
We are living in a time of paradox, and holy tension within the Unitarian Universalist Association. It is a time full of discomfort, creativity, potential, and risk. On the one hand, many folks who are white are finding themselves awakened, and deeply distressed by their unawareness of the life-shaping frameworks of white supremacy and racial injustice. The realities of racism are something white folks can lean into or choose to ignore. This is the privilege of whiteness. For People of Color and Indigenous folk, white supremacy is an embodied knowing, a world in which lived experience informs over and over the injustices of our nation in everyday instances of traffic stops, housing, income, education, work, and so much more.
In order to address the different realities and relationships with white supremacy, First Universalist is offering several options in which we invite our membership to participate and enter brave space.
IN REV. JUSTIN’S OFFICE: We hold the paradox that while the #UUWhiteSupremacyTeachIn is critical, it is also another form of re-centering whiteness, and therefore POCI may have different spiritual needs during this time and may want to worship with others who have not been socialized as white. People of Color and Indigenous folk are invited to a worship circle led by Rev. Karen Hutt during the second service at 11:15. The POCI worship circle will be held in Rev. Justin’s office (go to the church office and someone will direct you). This will be a brave space to speak the truth and hold one another in love and support.
IN THE SANCTUARY: Worship will be led by Rev. Ashley Horan , youth, members of the congregation, and members of the choir who will continue to break open the framework of white supremacy, the scars we carry, and the wounds we have caused. This service is primarily designed to speak to white people about white supremacy; People of Color and Indigenous Folks are of course welcome to attend both offerings.
After both services, 9:30 and 11:15, we invite everyone to eat together (donuts after the 9:30 service and sandwiches after the 11:15 service), while engaging in questions to deepen the experience of the worship service, and what has risen to the surface.
We hope to create brave space, and to name what is real. This will be a time in which we “turn down the volume of the outside world,” as Micky ScottBey Jones writes, and listen to one another with compassion. At the heart of our faithful root system is an other-affirming imperative, to meet and come to know one another as whole and holy, and embrace the other. We often fail. Yet perhaps in this brave space, we can lean in to our other-affirming calling, resist the false, dominant cultural narrative of segmentation and separation, and find a surplus of wisdom and ways forward that are surprising, challenging, and life-giving.
– Rev. Ruth MacKenzie