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by the Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones
As We Build the Beloved Community...
We Learn, We Grow, We Grow, We Learn…
In this edition of our newsletter, I am ceding some of my space to an article by our congregational president, Bob Miess, who offers an inside look at the process of creating our budget for the coming year. Please do read “How We Arrived at Our BudgetOr, Policy-Based Governance in Action!” It is a great tale of how our new governance and operational structures work, and it gives us each a sense of how we can help this congregation to fulfill its mission. But most of all, underneath the nitty-gritty details, it captures our willingness, as a community, to learn and grow.
It seems to me that this way of livingwith a willingness and a commitment to learn and growcomes close to capturing the essence of who we are as Unitarian Universalists.
In fact, for the homepage of the new First Unitarian website that a team of us is developing (it’s due to be unveiled in August), I’ve tried to express in just a few words the essence of this Beloved Community. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
“We are an open and loving multicultural communityreligious seekers of all ages who encourage the questions (about life, faith, and more) and who continue to grow into the answers. We draw inspiration and insight from many sources; most of all, we are dedicated to becoming conduits for compassion, healing, social justice, and joy. All are welcome here!”
What do you think? Does this match your self-image as a Unitarian Universalist and a member or friend of the First Unitarian Church of San José? I hope you’ll let me know, as we continue to learn, and grow, and grow, and learn together!
A Medida que Construimos Nuestra Comunidad de Amor...
Aprendemos, Crecemos, Crecemos, Aprendemos…
por la Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones
En esta edición del boletín, estoy cediendo algo de mi espacio para un artículo por nuestro presidente de la congregación, Bob Miess, quien nos ofrece una retrospectiva del proceso de la preparación de nuestro presupuesto para el año entrante; por favor lean “Cómo Preparamos Nuestro Presupuesto O¡El Gobierno Normativo en Acción!” Es una gran narración de cómo funcionan nuestras nuevas estructuras de gobierno y operación, y nos da a cada uno ideas de cómo ayudar a esta congregación a cumplir con su misión. Pero más que nada, debajo de todo los detalles minuciosos, capta nuestra voluntad,
comunidad, de aprender y crecer.
Me parece que esta forma de vidacon una voluntad y un compromiso de aprender y creceróse acerca a la comprensión de la esencia de quienes somos
Unitarios Universalistas. De hecho, para la página principal de nuestro nuevo sitio web de la Primera Iglesia Unitaria, que un equipo de nosotros está desarrollando (y que será develado en Agosto), hemos tratado de expresar en pocas palabras la esencia de esta Comunidad de Amor. Esto es lo que hemos escrito hasta ahora:
“Somos una comunidad multicultural abierta y amorosa de buscadores religiosos de todas las edades que estimulamos el planteamiento de preguntas (sobre la vida, la fe y mucho más) y que continuamos creciendo hacia la comprensión de las respuestas. Obtenemos inspiración y percepciones de muchas fuentes pero sobre todo, estamos dedicados a convertirnos en agentes para la compasión, la sanidad, la justicia social y el gozo. ¡Todos son bienvenidos aquí!”
¿Qué les parece? ¿Le hace justicia a su imagen
unitarios universalistas y
miembros de la Primera Iglesia Unitaria de
? Espero que me lo hagan saber, mientras continuamos aprendiendo, y creciendo, creciendo y aprendiendo juntos!
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|How We Arrived at Our Budget--Or, Policy-Based Governance in Action!
By Bob Miess, Congregational President
On Sunday, May 27, about 45 members of our congregation voted to approve our budget for June 2007 through May 2008. Thank you to those dedicated souls and congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to bring this budget to completion!
This was the first time we developed and approved a budget under our new Policy-Based Governance (PBG) model. Since this was an especially tight budget year, we feel encouraged that the new process worked so well. The process involved a lot of good communication and a fair amount of "back and forth"; it's a good example of how PBG works. Here's how we created the budget in the past, what we did this year, how it impacts you, and how you can get involved in years to come.
In the not-too-distant past, the Finance Committee proposed budget numbers to the Board of Directors, which then set the budget based on canvass results and the Board's own judgements about the congregation's priorities and program needs. The budget was then submitted to the congregation for a vote. This process worked well when the Board was closely engaged with day-to-day activities, as it could be when we were a "pastoral-sized" congregation.
In recent years, the Board continued to receive a draft budget from the Finance Committee, and the Board then solicited input from committees to make its budget deliberations more realistic. Still, as our congregation has grown and our programs have multiplied, the Board's deep understanding of committees' needs has naturally become more limited, while the Board's ability to cast a higher-level vision for the congregation has grown.
The Program and Operations Council (POC) is designed to be aware of the day-to-day considerations of committees and staff. Each member of the POC is responsible for a certain area of our church's ministry and operations.
So this year the Finance Committee provided its initial draft to the POC. The POC asked for input from committees and task forces, and then performed its first review of the draft budget. The POC produced a balanced budget based on preliminary assumptions and passed it on to the Board. The Board identified some higher-level issues, resource considerations, and priorities. Those considerations, along with some corrections from the Finance Committee, put the budget out of balance. So the Board asked the POC to review the budget again with this new information and to suggest reductions that would have minimal operational impacts. The POC did this admirably, and returned a nearly balanced budget to the Board. The board made some final adjustments, and recommended the budget to the congregation.
This year's process sounds more complex than the process used in previous years. Yet those involved believe that this year's process was especially effective because the right people were involved at the right level. The Finance Committee developed an initial set of numbers using the prior year's actual figures and current changes in conditions. The Board was able to set priorities and consider the top-level resources. Because the POC is closer to the real picture of how our congregation operates, when the time came to consider cuts in the draft budget, the POC could make deeper cuts in ways that would have minimal impact on our ability to live out our congregation's mission. The POC also developed some operational strategies to further minimize the impacts of those cuts.
What Impact Does the Budget Have on Your Part in the Congregation's
If you would like to know the budget's impact on your committee or group, or if this description brings up more questions about Policy-Based Governance and the way we work now, please contact your representative on the POC. If you aren't sure who that is, please contact the Program Officer, Julia Rodriguez, and she will be happy to point you in the right direction.
If you are working with any of our congregational committees, you can help improve the budget process by getting involved each year. Contact your representative on the Program and Operations Council early (in January or February 2008), for next year's budget and let him or her know your committee's dreams and what you need in order to accomplish them. Again, if you are not sure who your representative may be, you can contact the Program Officer, Julia Rodriguez.
The Program and Operations Council is here to help each of us accomplish our part of the mission of our congregation. They are always available to hear your thoughts, and budget season is a particularly good time to be in touch!
O ¡El Gobierno Normativo en Acción!
por Bob Miess, Presidente de la Congregación
El domingo 27 de Mayo, alrededor de 45 miembros de nuestra congregación votaron a favor de aprobar nuestro presupuesto para Junio 2007 a Mayo de 2008. Gracias a todas esas dedicadas almasy felicidades a todos lo que trabajaron tan duro para poder terminar este presupuesto.
Esta es la primera vez que desarrollamos y aprobamos un presupuesto bajo el nuevo modelo de Gobierno Normativo (GN). Puesto que éste fue un año con un presupuesto particularmente apretado, nos sentimos alentados de saber que el nuevo proceso funcionó tan bien. El proceso involucró mucha buena comunicación y una buena cantidad de “ir y venir”; es un buen ejemplo de cómo funciona un GN. Esta es la narración de cómo creamos el presupuesto en el pasado, lo que hicimos este año, cómo le impacta a usted y cómo puede usted participar en los años venideros.
En un pasado no muy lejano, el comité de finanzas proponía los números del presupuesto al Consejo de Directores, quienes luego establecían el presupuesto basados en los resultados de la campaña de promesas financieras y en su propio criterio sobre las prioridades y necesidades de programas de la congregación. Luego se presentaba el presupuesto ante la congregación para someterse al voto. Este proceso funcionaba bien cuando el Consejo Directivo estaba involucrado de cerca con las actividades cotidianassegún era posible cuando éramos una congregación “tamaño pastoral”.
En años recientes, el Consejo de Directores continuaba recibiendo un presupuesto preliminar del Comité de Finanzas, y el Consejo luego solicitaba opiniones de los diversos comités para que sus deliberaciones sobre el presupuesto fuesen más realistas. Pero, conforme nuestra congregación ha crecido y el número de programas se ha multiplicado, el conocimiento a fondo que el Consejo tiene sobre las necesidades de los comités se ha visto naturalmente más limitado, al mismo tiempo que la habilidad del Consejo para moldear una visión a más alto nivel para la congregación ha crecido.
El Consejo de Programas y Operaciones (CPO) está diseñado para estar al tanto de las consideraciones cotidianas de los comités y el personal. Cada miembro del CPO es responsable de cierta área de los ministerios y las operaciones de nuestra iglesia.
Así que este año el Comité de Finanzas presentó su presupuesto preliminar inicial al CPO. El CPO pidió la opinión de los comités y las comisiones, y luego llevó a cabo su primera revisión del presupuesto preliminar. El CPO produjo un presupuesto balanceado, basado en los criterios preliminares y se lo presentó al Consejo Directivo. El Consejo Directivo identificó algunas necesidades de alto nivel, consideraciones de recursos y prioridades. Esas consideraciones, junto con algunas correcciones de parte del Comité Financiero, desequilibraron el presupuesto. Entonces el Consejo pidió al CPO que revisara una vez más el presupuesto con esta nueva información y que sugiriera reducciones que tuvieran un impacto mínimo en cuanto a operaciones. El CPO logró hacerlo de manera admirable y regresó un presupuesto casi balanceado al Consejo. El Consejo hizo algunos pequeños ajustes y recomendó el presupuesto a la congregación.
El proceso de este año suena más complejo que el proceso utilizado en años previos. Pero los que están involucrados creen que el proceso de este año fue especialmente efectivo porque las personas adecuadas estuvieron involucradas al nivel adecuado. El Comité de Finanzas desarrolló un juego inicial de números utilizando las cifras del año anterior y los cambios de las condiciones actuales. El Consejo pudo establecer prioridades y considerar los recursos a más alto nivel. Dado que el CPO está más cercano al panorama real de cómo opera nuestra congregación, cuando llegó el momento de considerar recortes al presupuesto preliminar, el CPO pudo hacer recortes más profundos que tuvieran el mínimo impacto en nuestra habilidad de llevar a cabo nuestra misión como congregación. El CP también desarrolló algunas estrategias operativas para minimizar aún más el impacto de esos recortes en el presupuesto.
¿Qué Impacto Tiene el Presupuesto en su Parte de la Misión de la Congregación?
Si usted quisiera saber cuál es el impacto del presupuesto en su comité o en su grupo, o si esta descripción genera más preguntas sobre el Gobierno Normativo y la forma que funcionamos ahora, por favor comuníquese con su representante en el CPO. Si usted no está seguro quién es esa persona, por favor comuníquese con la Oficial de Programas, Julia Rodríguez, y con mucho gusto ella le enviará en la dirección adecuada.
El Año Entrante
Si usted es miembro activo de cualquiera de nuestros comités de la congregación, usted puede ayudar a mejorar el proceso de elaboración del presupuesto participando cada año. Comuníquese temprano con su representante del Consejo de Programas y Operaciones, en enero o febrero de 2008, para el presupuesto del año entrante, y hágale saber cuáles son los sueños de su comité y qué es lo que necesitan para poder lograrlos. Una vez más, si usted no está seguro quien pudiera ser su representante, puede comunicarse con la Oficial de Programas, Julia Rodríguez.
El Consejo de Programas y Operaciones está aquí para ayudar a cada uno de nosotros a cumplir con nuestra parte de la misión de la congregación. Ellos siempre están disponibles para escuchar sus ideasy la temporada de elaboración de presupuesto es un momento particularmente bueno para comunicarse con ellos.
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Next Congregational Meeting
Sunday, June 17, 2007 at 12:45 pm about the New Sanctuary Movement Resolution
By Bob Miess, President, Board of Directors
The FUCSJ Board of Directors with the Program and Operations Council (POC) has proposed a draft resolution regarding immigration and support of the New Sanctuary Movement. This national faith movement highlights the plight of immigrant families in the
to create the conditions for comprehensive immigration reform. Please study the resolution provided here, offer modifications if needed to email@example.com, and be prepared to vote on this initial stand committing us to education and witness. The vote will take place immediately before General Assembly, so that so that our delegates can go to GA with an understanding of the congregation's initial position and concerns. Please plan to attend the Congregational Meeting Sunday, June 17 and direct your questions to the Social Justice Coordinator at 292-3858 x27.
DRAFT Resolution on
New Sanctuary Movement
WHEREAS the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association passed an Action of Immediate Witness to Support Immigrant Justice, that was initiated by the delegation from First Unitarian Church of San José, and in part reminded us to “recognize that no one is ‘the stranger’”; and
WHEREAS the Unitarian Universalist Association signed on to the New Sanctuary Movement in January 2007, the first denomination to do so in a national interfaith movement; and
WHEREAS all Unitarian Universalist Association congregations, through the Social Action Committee Chairs, were sent an invitation to join the New Sanctuary Movement by Susan Leslie, Director, Office for Congregation Advocacy and Witness;
THEREFORE be it resolved that, on June 17, 2007, the First Unitarian Church of
Congregational Meeting adopt the New Sanctuary Pledge with appears below:
Sanctuary Movement Pledge
The New Sanctuary Movement is a coalition of interfaith religious leaders and participating congregations, called by our faith to respond actively and publicly to the suffering of our immigrant brothers and sisters residing in the
We acknowledge that the large-scale immigration of workers and their families to the
is a complex historical, global and economic phenomenon that has many causes and does not lend itself to simplistic or purely reactive public policy solutions.
We stand together in our faith that everyone, regardless of national origin, has basic common rights, including but not limited to: 1) livelihood; 2) family unity; and 3) physical and emotional safety. We witness the violation of these rights under current immigration policy, particularly in the separation of children from their parents due to unjust deportations, and in the exploitation of immigrant workers. We are deeply grieved by the violence done to families through immigration raids. We cannot in good conscience ignore such suffering and injustice.
Therefore, We Covenant to:
- Take a public, moral stand for immigrants’ rights;
- Reveal to our members and the larger community, through education and advocacy, the actual suffering of immigrant workers and families under current and proposed legislation;
- Join other faith communities in campaigns to reduce hate, workplace discrimination, and unjust deportation of immigrants.”
We Further Covenant to:
Provide educational opportunities to our members and the larger community regarding issues related to immigration, workers rights, and economic impacts of immigration and proposed legislation.
sobre la Nueva Resolución de Movimiento Santuario, Domingo, 17 de Junio de 2007
por Bob Miess, Presidente de la Congregación
El Consejo Directivo junto con el Consejo de Programas y Operaciones (CPO) ha propuesto una resolución preliminar relacionada con inmigración y el apoyo al Nuevo Movimiento Santuario. Este movimiento religioso nacional destaca la difícil situación de las familias inmigrantes en los Estados Unidos para crear las condiciones para una reforma amplia de inmigración. Por favor estudie la resolución presentada aquí, ofrezca sus comentarios de modificaciones a firstname.lastname@example.org, y prepárese para votar sobre esta posición inicial que nos compromete a la educación y el testimonio social. El voto tomará lugar justo antes de la Asamblea General, para que nuestros delegados puedan ira a la AG con conocimiento de la posición inicial de la congregación y sus preocupaciones. Por favor asista a la Reunión Congregacional del 17 de Junio y dirija sus preguntas a la Coordinadora de Justicia Social, 292-3858 ext. 27.
Resolución Preliminar sobre
el Nuevo Movimiento Santuario
La Primera Iglesia Unitaria de San José
DADO QUE la Asamblea General de la Asociación Unitaria Universalista aprobó una Acción de Testimonio Inmediato en Apoyo a la Justicia para los Inmigrantes, la cual fue iniciada por la delegación de la Primera Iglesia Unitaria de San José, y que en parte nos recordaba que debemos “reconocer que nadie es ‘el extranjero’”;
DADO QUE LA Asociación Unitaria Universalista firmó y aceptó el Nuevo Movimiento Santuario en Enero de 2007, la primera denominación que lo hace dentro de un movimiento nacional interreligioso; y
DADO QUE todas las congregaciones Unitarias Universalistas, a través de los Directores de Comité de Acción Social recibieron una invitación para unirse al Nuevo Movimiento Santuario de parte de Susan Leslie, Directora de la Oficina para Apoyo Activo y Testimonio Social de las Congregaciones (Office for Congregation Advocacy and Witness);
POR LO TANTO se ha propuesto que el 17 de Junio de 2007, la Reunión Congregacional de la Primera Iglesia Unitaria de San José adopte la Nueva Promesa de Santuario que aparece a continuación.
Nuevo Movimiento Santuario
El Nuevo Movimiento Santuario es una coalición interreligiosa de líderes religiosos y sus congregaciones participantes, convocada por nuestra denominación para responder de manera activa y pública al sufrimiento de nuestros hermanos y hermanas inmigrantes que residen en los Estados Unidos.
Reconocemos que la gran escala de inmigración de trabajadores y sus familias a los Estados Unidos es un fenómeno histórico complejo, global y económico que tiene muchas causas y que no se presta a soluciones con normas públicas simplistas o meramente reactivas.
Permanecemos unidos en nuestra fe de que cada uno, sin importar su nacionalidad, tiene derechos comunes básicos, incluyendo pero no limitados a: 1) el sustento; 2) la unidad familiar; y 3) la seguridad física y emocional. Somos testigos de la violación de esos derechos según la norma actual de inmigración, particularmente en cuanto a la separación de los niños de sus padres, debido a deportaciones injustas, y en cuanto a la explotación de los trabajadores inmigrantes. Estamos profundamente conmovidos ante la violencia cometida en contra de las familias a través de las redadas de inmigración. Honradamente no podemos ignorar dicho sufrimiento e injusticia.
Por lo Tanto, Convenimos en:
- Declarar una posición pública y moral en favor de los derechos de los inmigrantes;
- Revelar a nuestros miembros y a la comunidad en general a través de educación y apoyo activo, el sufrimiento actual de los trabajadores inmigrantes y de sus familias bajo la legislación actual y la legislación propuesta;
- Unirnos a otras comunidades religiosas en campañas para reducir el odio, la discriminación en los lugares de empleo, y la injusta deportación de los inmigrantes”.
Además Convenimos en:
Proveer oportunidades educativas para nuestros miembros y la comunidad en general, en cuanto a los asuntos relacionados con la inmigración, los derechos de los trabajadores y el impacto económico de la inmigración y la legislación propuesta.
||What's Going On!
Board of Directors Meetings and Congregational Meeting in May 2007
by Bob Redfern, Board Secretary
Board Meeting May 17
Our first Board meeting in May, on Thursday May 17th, was strictly a discussion of the budget for fiscal year 2007-08. Christopher Frey, Financial Officer, led the discussion with considerable assistance from David Tucker, our Treasurer. More than 80% of our budget is predetermined in the form of salaries, benefits to staff, and building expenses.
Our canvass has been the classic Good News/Bad News story- the good news is that those who have pledged so far have exceeded last year’s pledges by over 12%. The bad news is that 80 pledging units have not pledged yet, mainly because of a shortage of canvassers. Please call Joyce Miller and volunteer to call three or four of these people and bring this part of our budget to a close.
Some utilities are going up garbage being the most prominent. Some are going downmost prominently Internet service. Yellow Pages expense will go down, but because the contract is not up until March, the savings this fiscal year will be small. The Program and Operations Council (POC) concluded that our website is attracting more new joiners than any other single outlay. We have budgeted for higher health-care costs and reduction in childcare expenses. Non-worship service childcare will need to be scheduled on an RSVP basis, since on a number of occasions “Childcare Provided” turned out to be a worker with no children to care for. The possibility of getting senior high school students to earn Community Service credits providing childcare was also brought up (Listen up, Senior Youth!).
Our Veatch Grant toward social justice activities is winding down, which is how it was structured from the start, but Carol Stephenson is actively pursuing other grant opportunities, and we have just received a $4,000 check from the UUA Program Fund. Congratulations, Carol!
David, Christopher, and Bob Howd (who also appeared on behalf of the Finance Committee) promised to tweak the numbers in time for the Congregational Meeting.
Congregational Meeting May 27
The Congregational Meeting took place on Sunday May 27th, right in the middle of the Memorial Day weekend. In order for a Congregational vote to be valid, at least 43 members must be present. We managed to get 45 members signed in, with a few coming back from home to round out the numbers. David and Christopher led the presentation and outlined the steps taken to bring the budget into balance. For the most part, the issues presented were the same as what was discussed and modified at the budget meeting and again at our regular board meeting on May 23rd. Bob Miess issued a plea for Canvass volunteers, because pledge income is the biggest variable of all. The budget was discussed, and after a motion and a second, it was adopted by all present.
The Congregational meeting also featured a presentation by the Rev. Carol Been of the Interfaith Council on the New Sanctuary Movement (NSM). Carol Stephenson assisted with the presentation and handed out a draft resolution on the NSM. (See a copy in English and Spanish in this newsletter). This program is designed to publicize the plight of immigrants who are at imminent risk of deportation, and whose forced departure would separate them from documented and citizen family members. Some of the bureaucratic steps taken to “tighten” the existing immigration laws were discussed, and the shortcomings of the proposal in Congress were outlined. The provisions Rev. Carol mentioned that got my attention were that a person can no longer become “legal” by marrying a citizen. Also, the Immigration and Customization Enforcement Service, which Rev. Carol referred to as “ICE”, will maintain a blacklist of immigrants without documentation, who will be barred from re-entering the USA for ten years. A lively discussion ensued, which we will revisit for a vote on Sunday, June 17th, right after the service. The discussion will be that much more lively if more than 45 people attend.
Board Meeting May 23
Finally, we had our regular board meeting on May 23rd. As I mentioned above, the lion’s share of our time was devoted to tweaking the budget, with the help and guidance of Christopher and David.
We also discussed a fundraiser for the
that occurs July 21-27 at the
A clearly marked “Hospitality Box” for coffee hour was discussed and appeared on May 27th.
Bob Miess refreshed our memories about the types of policies that board establishes:
- Ends To accomplish a goal. The purpose and mission of the policy is stated in such a way as to lead us all to the attainment of the goal.
- Means A policy that defines how you go about reaching your goals, and an expression of what we may not do to pursue our goals.
- Board-Executive Linkage A policy that defines how the Board and the Program and Operations Council will communicate.
- Governance Process A policy that defines how the Board will do its job.
We discussed the New Sanctuary Movement. The Unitarian Universalist Association was the first religious faith to sign on as supporters, and an affirming letter from Pres. William Sinkford was reviewed. The Long Beach UU Congregation prepared a draft Covenant/Resolution in favor of New Sanctuary, and the POC and Carol Stephenson will prepare and educate us all for the formal consideration of the resolution on June 17th.
We selected six GA Delegates. Bob Miess strongly urged the board members to allow others to be delegates instead of him. In the end, we selected Christy Baker, Kelly Burnett, Joyce Miller, Marla Scharf, Bev Harrison, and Barbara Derbyshire.
David Tucker named volunteers to participate in our Planned Giving Committee, and the Board appointed them. They include Bob Howd, Christopher Frey, Bob Owen, and Gordon Smith. One other candidate had not got back to David at press time, but was approved by the Board.
Finally, Bob Miess proposed, at the suggestion of Alec MacLean, to modify the bylaws to permit the Parliamentarian at Congregational Meetings to vote on proposals. For some reason (probably in English Common Law) the parliamentarian is not supposed to vote, according to Robert’s Rules of Order. Not this Robert- I don’t want Alec or Rob Strong or any other Parliamentarians to not vote on resolutions. In the next Newsletter, Bob Miess will post a notice about this change.
Thanks for reading this far as you can see, the Board had a busy month. Please step up to the plate and ask to canvass three or four people we haven’t canvassed yet. Call Joyce Miller at 408-730-1052.
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Spotlight on Social Justice
By Carol Stephenson, Social Justice Coordinator, email@example.com (408) 292-3858 x27
It Doesn't Have to End
It had to end. I worked as an immigration lawyer right out of law school and I loved meeting people from around the world for a living. I heard incredible stories every day about how my clients journeyed from far reaches of the globe to make a new life in the
. But in 1997, new laws took effect that made immigrating to the
change from very difficult to nearly impossible. Tuesdays were the worst; Walk-In Consultation day. We charged $20 for a one-half hour consultation that nearly always ended in “The law does not provide any way to legalize your status.” Still, very close family members of those already legalized were continuing to go through this process, even with the higher fees, longer lines, and no recourse should the immigration service lose all your paperwork, a not uncommon occurrence. I couldn’t continue to practice law in this environment; it felt nearly hopeless, so I moved into another area of law entirely.
A change in the law is again being proposed, and I am no longer current on immigration law, but after hearing all those hundreds of stories I am a strong immigrant rights advocate. I learned that immigration is not so much about individuals weighing their options, but much more about history of countries and families, world economics and international politics.
On June 17 at 12:45 pm, the congregation will vote on the draft resolution that appears in this newsletter to become an ally in the New Sanctuary Movement. This faith movement offers an important voice that is too often ignored in immigration discussions. (More information can be found at newsanctuarymovement.org.) Immigration law is changing all the time, and not so that it will be more streamlined, less expensive to the government, or to fulfill our commitment as a just society. The New Sanctuary Movement, however, brings a notion of fairness to the debate, asks us to consider the forces of immigration and questions the inconsistencies in the law. These ideas bring me the hope that I didn’t find before, the hope of a national conversation about immigration that includes the realities and complexities of immigration. It doesn’t have to end after all.
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By Bob Miess
When is one Internet search engine better than another? When the First Unitarian Church of San José earns a penny every time you search the Internet!
GoodSearch.com is a search engine that donates half its revenue, about a penny per search, to the charities its users designate. You use it just as you would any search engine, and it’s powered by Yahoo, so you get great results.
Join other members and friends of the church and help us to meet our budget. Just go to www.goodsearch.com and be sure to enter the First Unitarian Church of San José as the charity you want to support. (Note that there are several “First Unitarian” churches listed, so be sure to select
.) Just 100 of us searching four times a day will raise about $1,400 in a year without anyone spending a dime! It’s easy and profitable! Click on the “Amount Raised” button, and you will see how much has been raised by First Unitarian searches so far. (As of this writing it was running about $9 per month.) And be sure to spread the word!
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By Rosemary Baez
May has come and gone leaving some wonderful memories for TSCC families along the way. On May 11th our Robotics Program students, their parents, and their mentors were honored in a small but very uplifting ceremony bringing this program to a close. In many ways, the Robotics Program added a new age group to TSCC (middle school youth) including some former ASAP students.
I’m happy to report that the kitchen is being put to good use with the launch of our much-awaited Una Vida Fuerte y Sana nutrition education (cooking) classes! We have a regular group of women, and some men, attending. An unexpected result has been that our conversations typically last longer than the cooking itself, which is a good sign that people are interested in learning how to cook healthier. Plus, little by little, the wish list items posted on the kitchen cabinet keeps getting shorter.
On Thursday, June 7, TSCC will be closing our After School Academic Program (ASAP) for 2006-07! There is a mini-carnival planned with various activities for both children and parents, including a Family Squares art project that will ultimately grow into a quilt representing the families of TSCC, a cooking demonstration, a fresh juice/smoothie bar, a seed planting station, and of course, some healthy finger foods for all. We could use more volunteers from 4:00 to 7:00 pm in 1-hour increments to help with setup, decorations, welcome booth, managing a station, and more. A few UUs from the Social Justice Council have already offered (thank you Carol Stephenson!). Of course, the highlight of this day will be to honor all ASAP students in a special ceremony that recognized their achievements and gives those heading off to middle school some encouragement and support. So even if you cannot volunteer, you are more than welcome to join us on this special day.
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Kelly Burnett Inspired by Dena Dickinson
by Ellie White
Dena Dickinson has organized our church’s Memorial Day picnic for at least ten years, and when I saw her at the grill flipping the burgers and hotdogs this year, I saw her as the mother figure of our church family for that one holiday when we gather at her outdoor "stove" and I felt gratitude that she was again our nurturer for that day.
Kelly Burnett must have had feelings about Dena that paralleled mine that day, because the next day, I received these words of praise for Dena from Kelly:
"When Ellie White asked me to write a paragraph about someone in our congregation who inspires me as a volunteer, I thought long and hard about this and can name many people but none more than Dena Dickinson. If you look closely you can almost always see Dena serving quietly in some way. She does an enormous amount of work for our church community and yet tries always to remain in the background.”
“I know Dena to be a very spiritual, loving, and kind person who has not only a zest for life but seizes it at every opportunity. She loves her life's work and has traveled extensively as well as serving us; talk with her and get to know Dena and you will understand the depth of this wonderful woman and her commitment to the FUCSJ.”
||When I wrote a June ’06 column on Dena’s many volunteer activities, including her serving as our Church President, Dena said she’d like someone take over the reins of the Memorial Day Picnic. Dena has been coordinating this Church event for 14 years, and would like to give someone else the opportunity. It is probably the Church activity that takes the least planning and preparation, yet many enjoy the day of fun together.
As Picnic Coordinator, Dena says she does two main things. First, getting the announcement out about the picnic potluck through newsletter, email, and flyers. Second, the day of the picnic Dena, usually with a helper, brings the basic suppliesa plastic wheelbarrow for the drinks, charcoal, and a cooler for the burgers, extra plates, napkins etc. Dena lights the grill and after awhile others usually take a turn barbecuing. The attendees do their own cleanup and they also provide the food and fun. It is an event that becomes what people make itlow on stress, no committee meetings, and lots of fun for all ages.
Concerning this volunteer opportunity contact Dena by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 265-5919.
Which of our fellow congregants “floats your boat” (as Meg might express it)? Email Ellie White at email@example.com or phone 408-729-0420.
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Recycle -- for
The recycling project has expanded to all beverage containers!
Now we take aluminum, glass and plastic, but they have to be the containers that have “Cash Redemption Value” (CRV) printed on the label or actual container. You don’t have to bother crushing them anymore either!
We have found out that there is quite a bit of money to be redeemed from this effort. We took a carload to the
and made over $100! We would like to collect enough recycling to be able to do this every week! This money will be used to fund our service trips to
Please collect the beverage containers at home and bring them to church, bagged or boxed. We prefer to have them not crushed. You can put them on the right side of the door of the
(not the church office). This door is in the lower fenced area on the right side of the church. Please do not block the doorway. Someone picks them up every Sunday and takes them to the recycling center.
Please help the schools of
For more information, contact Carrie Doolittle at (408) 391-2887 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Church Website Update
The Website Committee has been working feverishly (OK, we had donuts at our last meeting, so perhaps "feverishly" is a bit of an overstatement) to completely redesign our labyrinthine www.sanjoseuu.org website in time for the Fall marketing campaign.
So far, we have agreed upon a new structure and, except for a few details, a new look and feel for the homepage. Rev. Nancy, Rev. Geoff, Carol Stephenson and Roberto Padilla have their writing assignments, and others are being contacted for their particular areas of expertise. Kelly Burnett acts as official committee chair and will be pestering everyone to stay on schedule. Iris Gonzalez has provided several good insights and has taken the job of committee secretary. Julia Rodriguez and Jaime Smith manage the current site as they will the new site, and have both played important roles in the structure and design discussions so far. Henry Ruddle has contributed a few ideas to the structure and design as well.
Our biggest stumbling block has been the lack of available pictures. The consensus of the committee (and the strongly held desire of Rev. Nancy) is that our new site should include a lot more photos, and they should primarily show actual members and friends doing the things that members and friends do. If you have taken pictures of any church-related event in the past five years and do not mind having them published on the website or in Our Church Circular, please e-mail them to email@example.com.
If you have hard copy prints that require scanning or have too many photos to send by e-mail, please contact Henry Ruddle at henry_L@ruddle.com to make other arrangements.
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By Henry Ruddle
Basking in the warm glow of What a Wonderful World, our illustrious choir director, Dan Zulevic, started the choir on three new songs at the May 30 practice two African works, and a traditional spiritual, Elijah Rock. Although the choir has performed Elijah Rock in past years, only three of the eight singers at practice could claim to have sung it before.
However, that didn’t stop us from making great progress. By the end of the evening, we had mastered the first half of the song, and Dan in Dan’s inimitable style announced, “By about the middle of the next practice we’re going to teach this song to your hips!” According to Dan, there are several choir alumni who have been waiting for us to start work on Elijah Rock to make a return at least for a cameo appearance. If so, that will be terrific since we figured out quickly that eight singers are not enough to do the work justice. Our final practices before the June 17 performance are on June 6 and 13.
We also polished off one of the African tunes Dimpho Tsarona, which means “We are bringing gifts” in the language of the South African Zulus. The performance will offer some interesting surprises, which even the choir is only vaguely aware of, so I’m certainly not going to spoil them here.