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 TopClara Barton &
Massachusetts Bay Districts
of Unitarian Universalist Congregations

NEWSLETTER: February 2014
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Upcoming Programs

The following programs can also all be found on the 
CBD-MBD Calendar.

Learning Congregation Workshops

March 1: Building a Vocal Community (FULL) with Dr. Ysaye Barnwell

March 22: Speaking of Class with Meck Groot 


May 17: Sermon Writing for Lay Preachers with Rev. Sue Phillips    


May 31 and June 7: New Board Member Orientations with Douglas Zelinski   


Lifespan Faith Formation and Religious Education
Our Whole Lives Facilitator Trainings

Grades 7 to 9 and 10 to 12
For Religious Professionals
April 2: Effective Staff Supervision in Religious Organizations with Rev. Susan Beaumont

Annual Events: Hold Dates!
Reinventing Wealth
by Meck Groot,
Justice Ministries Coordinator

If, as Tolstoy says, "wealth is what you can live without" then I want to learn about wealth from people who see it in the chamomile growing between train tracks, in the reusability of an old coat, in a bicycle as primary vehicle, in sitting around a fire telling stories and singing songs.


Poverty is not to be glorified or romanticized. Not having access to basic needs is not only death-dealing, it can be soul crushing. Consequently, I am grateful for and humbled by the many efforts of Unitarian Universalists to address poverty, efforts that make a huge difference for those who receive goods, services and dollars and whose daily lives are impacted by legislative campaigns that challenge economic disparities.




I want to invite an additional approach, one that goes beyond resource redistribution and policy reform to the heart of culture change. I want help changing the very stories, the worldviews, that keep these injustices in place.


A dominant worldview about impoverished people is reflected in much of our language. Consider for example, a tendency to describe some people by what they lack: hungry, homeless, no or low income, low-skilled, under educated, under privileged. These are society's "losers." Consider a tendency to think of "people in need" as not including everyone on the planet - after all, just because some of us have food, shelter and medicine doesn't mean we don't need them. We are all "needy."


How we understand wealth is rooted in culture. Mainstream capitalist culture teaches us that our security depends on self-reliance, independence, our skill as producers and our spending capacity as consumers.  



"Speaking of Class"
a Learning Congregation Workshop
with Meck Groot, Justice Ministries Coordinator

For congregational leaders to explore together how to engage conversations on class in UU settings in ways that build Beloved Community. [Details]

March 22, 2014 at the
UU Church of Worcester, 90 Holden St., Worcester
Additional Resources

The city of Detroit has lived at the brink of economic collapse for over 30 years. Many communities there have stopped expecting the government or corporations to address their issues and are creatively engaged in re-imagining work, food, and community. In this On Being episode, we hear from Grace Lee Boggs and others about their perspectives and efforts at cultivating well-being within their communities.


In this book, economist philosopher Charles Eisenstein traces the history of money and "explores avant-garde concepts of the New Economics, including negative-interest currencies, local currencies, resource-based economics, gift economies, and the restoration of the commons." He offers the book as a downloadable gift.



This video uses infographics to show us what 5000 sample U.S. people believe about wealth distribution in this country, what they think it should be, and what it actually is.


FeatureReinventing Wealth - continued from above

The capitalist story insists on growth while it creates the illusion of scarcity. It legitimizes turning Earth's gifts into commodities: water, land, food, dirt, seeds, blood, even DNA. A collective thought disorder of this magnitude cannot be protested away. We need another more powerful story.


Let us refuse to identify people by what they lack but see every person as containing a wealth of gifts. Let us begin with the premise that everyone is full: full of life, full of gifts, full of knowledge, skill, awareness, experience, wonder, intelligence, stories, full of love. Let us take the first UU principle so seriously that we support individuals - regardless of race, class, age, ability, gender - to identify, hone and deliver their genius.


In her film What Makes Me White, Aimee Sands interviews Susan Brigham who grew up in a house that employed "a cleaning lady" whom the family called by her first name. When Mrs. Blanchard died, Susan Brigham reports, "I thought I was going to the funeral of a cleaning woman because to me that's what she was. But instead I was going to the funeral of an incredible woman who was a force in her community, in her neighborhood, in her town. As people testified about her life, I was stunned by how much I didn't know about her and how much I didn't bother to get to know her." Mrs. Blanchard may not have had respect in her place of employment and undoubtedly that was a daily injury, but she did have community who saw her and recognized her genius. That made her a wealthy woman.


"You don't need much if you have community," says a wise friend of mine. When we think that our wealth lies in our income, our profession, our net worth or our education, we are telling ourselves a lie. Human well-being depends on membership in communities in which we are seen, known and valued for our individuality, communities into which we can deliver our giftedness and know that we make a difference.


In an interview with Krista Tippett, Grace Lee Boggs says, "...for a long time, we radicals thought that it was only the necessary that was important, that ... change had to come out of necessity ... [but] the idea of possibility is so much more complex, so much richer ... the possible demands the most of us, demands our creativity, demands our imagination."  


Let us not limit ourselves and each other to the necessary but give ourselves over to the possible.What if we went beyond basic human needs as the goal? What if we did everyone a favor - including ourselves - and creatively imagined the possible? This would expand our sense of who everyone is. Another world becomes possible when we believe in each other, the power of community and the abundance of Mother Earth to be all the wealth we need. Indeed, that is all the wealth we have ever had.


In faith, Meck