Goldmine Youth Leadership School

It’s that time of year again! Time to sign up for Goldmine. What’s Goldmine? It’s a week long life changing experience for teenage UU’s. It’s a chance to practice leadership skills, to explore one’s values, to ponder on one’s own calling. It’s a chance to learn to lead worship and to learn more about our past. And definitely a chance to form deep bonds.

 

Each year something evolves. This year’s evolution is experimenting with how to bring the curriculum into the 21st century. Not with technology–we’re already doing that. But by raising new questions.

 

Our world is changing rapidly. The form religious community takes is changing rapidly. And the whole of Unitarian Universalism is asking big questions about this. What we’re adding this year is arranging the curriculum to invite youth into these conversations–so they’re ready to be leaders in our changing religious community. Here are some of the questions we’re thinking about exploring together:

 

What does it mean to be UU? Are there any requirements? Do we have a core theology? Can you be UU by yourself? Do you have to be part of a formal congregation? Or can UU’s gather in other ways and be just as UU? Does your group have to call itself UU to be UU? And if we didn’t call ourselves UU, how would you know we are UU?

 

What is the purpose or calling of UUism today? Do we provide sanctuary for liberals from a conservative world? Are we a springboard to action in the public sphere? Is our purpose to change the world together? Or to nurture each other?

 

How do we change the world? Nearly all UU’s think this is part of our job, but the how is very very different and can lead to a lot of conflicts. Is our job public activism? Political involvement? Marching? Getting arrested? Feeding the homeless? Loving our neighbor? Nurturing each other so each one of us changes the world in our own way?

 

What does it mean to be a leader and what kind of leaders does UUism need? Is leadership just the person up front? And if it’s not, what are the ways we need leaders that aren’t so obvious?

 

If you’re an adult and those sound like good questions, maybe you should be talking about them too!

 

Register here!

 

Evin Carvill-Ziemer

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Cleveland UU’s Part of Interfaith Effort on DOJ Report

Why are all those yellow shirts marching in Cleveland? They’re not all UU’s, the story is even better than that. And might help you know what to work on in your city.

 

You’ve probably heard about Tamir Rice, the 12 year old armed with a toy gun killed by Cleveland police. You have probably also heard about how Michael Brelo was acquitted last week after shooting 15 rounds through a car roof at an unarmed couple. You may not have heard Tanisha Anderson, a mentally ill Black woman, killed in police custody the week before before Tamir Rice was. Or Brandon Jones killed a few months ago. But perhaps you’ve read reports of the Department of Justice report on Cleveland police’s pattern of unreasonable force.

 

In other words–like many US cities, Cleveland has a problem. Unlike many US cities, Cleveland is able to turn out religious people from across the city–white Protestants, Black churches, Synagogues, and UU’s. You may have seen the great picture in the New York Times of this scene:

 

Cleveland religious leaders marching

That’s Rev. Wayne Arnason over on the left in the red stole. In some pictures Rev. Kathleen Rolenz is also visible. The local Episcopal Bishop is there. The leaders of the Black church are there. The leaders of the Cleveland Jewish community are there. This line is only a small fraction of the clergy that were marching in Cleveland on May 26th.

 

Together, they are the Greater Cleveland Congregations, a group that can do things like turn out 1100 people in February to present clear demands for things to be included in the eventual DOJ consent decree. And turn out these people on a work day to be on the streets when the announcements were being made, reminding leaders that they will be held accountable.

 

View a video from the march.

 

Making lasting change is long, hard work. It is not work we Unitarian Universalists can do alone. Greater Cleveland Congregations is an Industrial Areas Foundation community organizing style organization that has put in the long hours starting in 2011 to know who the “we” is and what the “we” cares about. Greater Cleveland Congregations’ members don’t agree on everything–actually there are substantial disagreements. But they’ve identified key issues they do agree on through one on one meetings and small group forums in member congregations. They’ve come together for actions, combining behind the scenes pressure with public events that demonstrate the numbers of committed voters involved. Each congregation gives a not insubstantial amount of money to support a small staff. And the religious leaders on the Strategy Team, the Executive Team, the issue teams, and the core teams have worked hard to move their agenda forward. It’s hard work. And our three UU churches in Cleveland had been in the trenches with everyone else. And now, on key issues facing Cleveland, you’ll see Greater Cleveland Congregations’ influence, influence far beyond what UU’s can do alone.

 

And Greater Cleveland Congregations has a t-shirt–it’s yellow. You have to look closely at the pictures to see the difference between a Standing on the Side of Love t-shirt and a GCC t-shirt. There’s a message there somewhere.

 

So, what is your congregation doing to build a foundation so that if the Department of Justice is negotiating with your city police, the religious community has a strong and unified voice and can make a difference?

 

Evin Carvill-Ziemer

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