January 24 , 2020
“As a people of faith, we seek to better ourselves, our community, and our world through integrity, justice, and hope.”
In a world filled with so much bad news it can be renewing to hear stories of the good. This is one such story I heard this week on NPR’s Fresh Air when Terry Gross interviewed author and Equal Justice Initiative founder Bryan Stevenson. It speaks to courage of telling the truth (courage is our theme next month), and to the unexpected healing that can come from such truth. (The unexpected being our theme this month).
The Slavery Museum in Montgomery has a place to honor the lives of those who were lynched. They do this through jars filled with soil from the specific lynching sites. A black woman agreed to go to a lynching site with a jar to collect soil. The site was in a rural location and she went alone. A pickup truck drove by. It stopped. The white male driver watched the woman digging for a minute and then got out of his car. He walked over to her, “what are you doing?” he asked. The woman had meant to lie (as the organizers had encouraged people to do in the training) and say that she was collecting soil for her garden. But, as she says, “something got a hold of me” and she said, “I’m digging soil because this is where a black man was lynched in 1931, and I’m going to honor his life.”
The man asked, “Does that paper talk about the lynching?” (Every volunteer had been given a memo explaining the lynching). Yes. Can I read it? She gave the man the paper and kept digging. Then the man asked, “Would it be ok if I helped you?”
Then the white man fell on his knees and started throwing his hands into the dark, black dirt. His hands were becoming black the dirt was so sticky and dark. She offered the plow she had been given but he refused. The sight brought her to tears. The man said, “oh, I am so sorry I’m offending you.” And the woman answered, “No, no no, you’re blessing me.”
After they had almost the jar filled it was the man’s turn to cry. The woman put her hand on the man’s shoulder and asked if he was alright. “No,” he said. “I’m worried that it might have been my grandparents that were involved in lynching this man.” They both sat there and cried. The woman invited him to take the jar back to the museum with her, and together they placed it on the wall.
This is an amazing story, and thank goodness it turned out the way it did. Stevenson tells it not to imply some sort of expectation that black folks automatically trust white folks or even desire to join white folks on their journey of reckoning and repentance. But still this story of unexpected healing can offer hope. As Stevenson says, “Now, beautiful things like that don’t always happen when you tell the truth about history. But until we tell the truth, we deny ourself the beauty of redemption, the beauty of restoration.”
With Hope and Courage,
Letter from the Co-presidents
Dear Fellow High-Streeters,
Having Connie Goodbread, Co-Leader for Southern Region of the UUA (Unitarian Universalist Association), spend the day with the Board at our retreat on Saturday, January 4th, was a great reminder of all the resources and assistance that are available for us from both the Southern Region (https://www.uua.org/southern) and the UUA (https://www.uua.org). If you have not ever spent any time “browsing” around those websites, we encourage you to do so. You will find some great stuff!
We are especially grateful that the UUA provides significant assistance with exactly the kind of ministerial transition that High Street is now experiencing. Christine Purcell is the “Transitions Program Coordinator” with the UUA, and the Board had a Zoom conference call with her at our meeting on Thursday, January 16th. It was clear to the Board that, based on our conversation with Christine, the next step for High Street is to seek an Interim Minister and we voted unanimously to begin that process.
While I know some people had been discussing the possibility of moving straight to a search for a new Settled Minister, Christine confirmed for us that, from the perspective of the UUA, that is not really a possibility. In her words, “that’s just not a thing.” As structured by the UUA, the settled minister search process takes almost two years and the role of the interim minister is to guide the congregation through discerning “Who We Are” and “Where We Want to Go.” Interim ministers are explicitly trained to do this, and this discernment is key to finding a successful match for what everyone hopes will be a long-term relationship between the minister and congregation. Their experience has taught them that the interim period is key to successful transitions. And goodness knows, those of us who have gone through it before know that the search for a new minister is not something a congregation wants to do more often if it can be avoided!
Here is the timeline that Christine outlined for us, and what High Street can expect in the coming months:
The Board elects a three-person Interim Search Task Force that will be the contact point between Christine and High Street. The Board has elected Lori Johnson, Kevin Wilson and Keli Underwood to be that Task Force.
The Task Force will complete a congregational profile for High Street that will be shared around the third week of April with all the interim ministry candidates. While our goal will be to get the profile completed in February, all profiles will be made available to candidates at the same time to ensure a fair chance for all churches.
At the end of April, Christine meets with all the interim ministry candidates and she described it as kind of like a “sports draft.” They see the congregational profiles and discuss interests and good fits.
May is the busiest stage and kind of reminded me of “speed dating.” The Task Force contacts interested candidates, reads their informational packets, watches sermon videos, and conducts video interviews. Unlike a settled minister search, there are no “neutral pulpit” visits and no meeting of the candidates with the entire congregation. The congregation calls a settled minister; all other minister hires are made through a decision of the Board.
The goal of the Task Force is to find a suitable candidate who is interested in an Interim Minister position at High Street. Christine told us the two main factors that contribute to the attractiveness of a position to a candidate are 1) geography and 2) the compensation package. Geography we cannot do much about, but we are hopeful that with a generous and successful pledge drive we can put together a competitive compensation package that will draw an attractive interim candidate!
If there is a “good match,” the Task Force will make a recommendation to hire to the Board and the target start date for the Interim Minister will be in August 2020. As they have done in the past, the Worship Committee will ensure that we have interesting and insightful people filling the pulpit during the summer!
Feel free to contact the Task Force Members or the Co-Presidents if you have questions or concerns.
Lori Johnson and Laura Moody
The FaithRocket theme for January is “THE UNEXPECTED.”
To access FaithRocket resources for the current week, go
January 26, 2020
Our Quaker Neighbors – Members of the Macon Quakers
Just who are your Quaker neighbors, and what do they believe? Are they at all similar to UU’s? Enjoy a brief introduction to the history, beliefs, and practices of the unprogrammed branch of The Religious Society of Friends from attendees of the Macon Quakers (who meet twice a month in our building).
Religious Education for Children – January 19
Teacher: Vanessa Sullivan
Curriculum: Faith Rocket
Lesson: Christianity person of faith: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Lower Elementary (1st – 3th)
Teacher: Christina Charette
Curriculum: Faith Rocket
Lesson: Christianity person of faith:: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Upper Elementary (4th – 6th)
Teacher: Leon Jackson
Curriculum: Faith Rocket
Lesson: Christianity person of faith: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Paula Del Rio – DRE – email@example.com
1. A Casual Social Hour with Greeters will be held Friday, January 24, at 6:00pm at Jenny Zimmerman’s house. The address is 191 Rogers Avenue, near the corner of Clayton and Rogers, one block in from Vineville Avenue. Two story slate blue house; parking on the opposite side of the street only. Drop-in, bring guest(s) and children, snacks and drinks provided.
2. Feb. 2nd. Coming of age Participant Orientation. 12:30-1:30. Lunch provided.
3. Name badge board refresh starts February 2. Members and regularly attending friends of High Street Unitarian Universalist Church use permanent name badges and visitors use reusable badges. Many badge holders keep their badges at Church and hang them on ribbons at the back door of the Church. In February we are conducting a “Lost Badges, Lost Souls” Rescue Campaign to reunite holders with “lost badges” and to reunite badges with their people by reaching out to these “lost souls.” Name badges will be attached to a parallel set of badge ribbons at the back of the Church and as people attend services in February, they can rescue their badges. Membership Committee will reconnect with the “lost souls” whose badges remain. Anyone needing name tags will also be able to request them at that time.
4. Board installation and thank you has been moved to February 2nd.
5. Feb. 9th. Ministry Council meets 12:30-1:30. A meeting of chairs or representatives of all ministry (programmatic) teams and committees.
6. This note is for our wonderful committee chairs, and everyone who serves on the awesome committees here within High Street UU Church: Budget time is fastly approaching again so here is your first reminder that the Finance Committee will need to get your committee’s budget needs (how much & for what purpose) for the upcoming year- June 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021. Let’s do our best to get these budget requests in by the week of March 8-13th so we on the Finance Committee can get them ironed out at our meeting that Sunday, March 15, 2020. Thank you all for your diligence and attention to this matter. All submissions earlier than this deadline are greatly appreciated!
-Jim Scott, Treasurer, 2020-2021
7. Social Activities thinks an extra day should mean more play! Join us at church on February 29th for Game Day and/or Night. All are welcome from 3 to 6 pm when Game Day will be more family oriented. Then only those age 18 and up should return for Game Night from 8 to 11 pm. For both there will be a variety of dice, card and board games available. Soft drinks, juice and chips will be provided. Please bring a snack to share and different drink if desired.
8. Congregational Dinner. Saver the Date!! Saturday, March 28TH at 6PM.
9. Building Your Own Theology Class taught by Verne Hoyt and Laura Moody. Began Jan. 5th at 9:30AM. Beginning Sunday morning, January 5, the Adult Religious Education Committee began offering a ten week series on Building Your Own Theologyco-lead by Laura Moody and Verne Hoyt. Based on the assumption that everyone is their own theologian, this classic UU adult education program invites participants to develop their own personal credos, the fundamental religious beliefs, values, and convictions that inform and direct their lives. The material poses five developmental tasks in which participants come to terms with human nature, ultimate reality, history, ethics, and religious meaning beginning with an introduction to our seven UU principles. You do not have to purchase a book or attend all ten sessions to benefit from the classes. Please let Laura or Verne know you are interested by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
10. Daybreak !
- Daybreak is in need of the following items: creamer, laundry detergent – liquid HE, spray deodorant, baking soda, canned fruit, insect repellent.
- Daybreak has a significant need for specialized volunteers: nurses, mentors and a receptionist. If you or someone you know might be interested, please have them contact Gaye Martel (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- TI you know someone who is interested in buying a Subaru: if they do so between Nov. 15 and Jan. 2 here in Macon, they can select Daybreak as the recipient of a $250 donation from Subaru of Macon.
11. Are you in a financial pinch? Medical bills make rent hard to pay? Could use marital therapy but you just can’t afford it? Consider talking with Rev. Cassandra about the Minister’s Discretionary Fund! This fund is set aside for members and friends of the High Street Community who find them.
12. Consider giving the the UUA’s Disaster Relief Fund! With rising global temperatures weather is becoming more violent and it is the people with the fewest resources who are left to recover from disasters on their own. Many don’t recover. The Unitarian Universalist Association has a disaster relief fund that congregations can apply to. The congregation in Puerto Rico used funds to quickly repair the library (where they meet) so it could become a community resource to those in need. Donate here: https://giving.uua.org/disaster-relief?utm_medium=uua.org&utm_source=textask&utm_campaign=disasterrelief
13. Help Others! Please check out the Social Justice webpage for what you can do for others. Specific needs that change often will be placed in this Announcements section