UU La Crosse
A Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

March, 2019
Monthly Newsletter

How can we know the truth?

“The truth will set you free. But not until it is
finished with you.”   David Foster Wallace

I spent 5 years in graduate school before entering seminary. I studied history, largely because I was good at it and didn’t know what else to do with my life. The truth I lived at that time was that this was something I could do, and since nothing else had presented itself, this was what I would do. That truth was good enough for quite some time.

My area of specialization was historiography. Historiography is the history of history. The main question we ask is what is motivating the histories that we create? What unquestioned assumptions are guiding the way we tell the stories of the past? What questions are driving what we are searching for and how we interpret our primary sources? The basis premise of historiography is that we must understand the pressing issues of the present moment that are energizing how we are searching for and generating the stories we tell about the past. The present informs the past, more than the other way around. 

I delighted in revisionist history, where the standard stories were teased apart by doubts nurtured from the margins – when working class historians tore apart the histories written by elites, when women historians asked questions against the grain to raise doubt about the canons written by men, and when people of color demanded that their stories not simply be added to dominant narratives, but rather fully inform and possibly subvert them. All of this rocked my world. Even when I decided that academia was not my true path, it continued to inform my work as a Unitarian Universalist minister committed to the free and responsible search for truth and meaning.

It really makes you wonder how you know what is true and what is not. There are basic truths, like “I didn’t get that job.” But a question like,  “Why didn’t I get that job?” involves a different path to truth.  Generations of people of color often wonder why they didn’t get the job. Were they passed over based on merit, or did implicit racism lead the decision makers towards a different applicant? Women who have broken those glass ceilings, and are still trying to break them know that they have to fight against certain truths that still try to define who they are and what they can be. 

As children we are often protected from difficult family stories and when we are older and learn the stories, it can change how we see ourselves and our families.  Was our earlier understanding of our family a lie because we know something different now, or was it still true because we lived it and because it shaped who we became?

Immigrants are struggling against assertions of truth that have the power to offer hope or strangle it. Our current president portrays most immigrants as rapists, murderers, drug dealers, and thieves. His opponents portray immigrants as victims fleeing war, violence, corruption and poverty, as ordinary people seeking safety and a better life, and sometimes as heroes seeking freedom and democracy. Whose truth wins is having huge consequences for millions of people who call the United States home or want to call it home.

This month we are talking about truth - how we seek the truth, how we tell the truth, how we determine the truth, how truth frees and how truth draws us into beloved communities of hope where we strive towards freedom and justice.  

See you in March.

Yours in faith
Rev. Krista.  
March Visit

Rev. Taves will begin her time with us on Sunday, March 10 and remain with us until the afternoon of Sunday March 17 th. You are invited to be in touch with her if you would like to see her when she is in town. She would love to hear from you. revkristataves@gmail.com.






Pathways adds advanced class

Pathways to Unitarian Universalism 2

Rev. Krista Taves. 
Thursday April 18. 6 pm – 8 pm. 

Due to the popularity of Pathways 1, which is an introduction to Unitarian Universalist history and theology, Rev. Taves is offering a Part 2 which will focus on contemporary Unitarian Universalist theology. Childcare will be provided but please let us know if you will be bringing your children so that we can prepare activities that are age appropriate. There will be some advance reading so please RSVP at revkristataves@gmail.com and she can send you the reading materials. If you have not attended Pathways 1, you are welcome to register for this class. 

Pathways to Universalist Unitarianism 1

Rev. Krista Taves
May 18. 1 p.m – 4 p.m.

  This session will give you a basic foundation in Unitarian Universalist history and theology. You will also learn more about our Fellowship, including our programming, social activities, social justice commitments, and how to become a member. This is an interactive class and there will be many opportunities to to share and learn from each other. Many of our newer members and friends find that this is where they begin to feel more connected and where friendships can begin that last far beyond the class. 
This class is perfect for you if:
1) You are looking for a spiritual home and are exploring what works best for you and/or your family.
2) You are considering becoming a member and want to know what it means and how it happens.
3) You are a new member and are looking for ways to feel more connected.
4) You are a long term member and want to deepen your understanding of Unitarian Universalism.
Childcare is available. We also provide refreshments. Please let us know by May 14th if you are planning to attend so we can make sure we have enough food and child care workers! RSVP at  coordinator@uulacrosse.org
Special Collection for March
Essential Health Clinic (formerly known as the Options Clinic) has been chosen for the UU March Special Collection.  EHC serves all people regardless of age, sex, income, marital status, race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation and gender identity. This Clinic provides women's cancer screening/referrals, birth control, screening/treatment for STDs, and guidance about family planning. It touches thousands of people through its clinic, outreach educational programs and web site. Client charges for services and contraceptive supplies are generally based on income and family size. And no one is refused services because of an inability to pay.
       Essential Health is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. To help by providing needed financial support to this vital effort, you may place cash in the unmarked envelopes in the collection basket, or write a check to Essential Health Clinic.
Caregiver offers support
The caregiver can offer support to those in need by sending a card, making an announcement during Joys and Concerns, and/or publicizing your status and needs via the weekly emails. Let us know the level of care you desire. Contact caregiver@uulacrosse.org
UU Guilt-Free Craft Group

Join our Facebook group for updates and information:  UU Guilt-Free Craft Group
OWL - seeking interest
and volunteers

A few fellowship members have created an Our Whole Lives (OWL) taskforce to bring OWL curricula to our fellowship. We hope to start with classes for grades K-1 and 4-6, and eventually offer classes for grades 7-9 and 10-12 as our current students age and/or that population increases. These classes are held separately from Sunday RE classes. Our timeline is late winter/early spring of 2020. You do not need to be a member to participate.

What is OWL Our Whole Lives helps participants make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health and behavior. With a holistic approach, Our Whole Lives provides accurate, developmentally appropriate information about a range of topics, including relationships, gender identity, sexual orientation, sexual health, and cultural influences on sexuality. Our Whole Lives covers topics and skills that both parents and students want to have available but schools are less likely to cover. 

Facilitator training
We are reaching out to the entire fellowship for help. We need facilitators. Please consider helping even if you do NOT have a child in RE. This is your chance to get involved with the youth of our fellowship, and we need some facilitators that are not parents of attendees. 

Parents
We also want to hear back from parents with children in grades K-6. Are you interested in bringing OWL curricula to the fellowship? Would you have your child participate? 
For questions and more information, or to get involved, please contact Tiffany Brubaker at  tiffany.brubaker@gmail.com .
Young adult group
tackles topic of truth
March 11, 5:30pm - JavaVino

Join us for Real Talk, Real Time, where we talk about the real things in life. There's time to order food and drinks at 5:30 with discussion to start around 5:45-6pm. Young adults are welcome to attend and engage in self-exploration through guided discussion. The theme for March is “Truth”
RSVP to Giorgia at  youngadult@uulacrosse.org  or message the  UU Fellowship of La Crosse Facebook page for more info.
Book group to read
Pillars of the Earth

The  Pillars of the Earth  i s a  historical novel  by Welsh author  Ken Follett  published in  1989  about the building of a cathedral in the fictional town of Kingsbridge, England. It is set in the middle of the 12th century, primarily during  the Anarchy , between the time of the sinking of the  White Ship  and the murder of  Thomas Becket . The book traces the development of  Gothic architecture  out of the preceding  Romanesque architecture , and the fortunes of the Kingsbridge  priory  and village against the backdrop of historical events of the time.
In February the group read Bel Canto by Ann Patchett and gave it a rating of 4.75 out of 5.
The book group is open to anyone. Come for one session or every month. For more information or to get a copy of the book, contact Janis Jolly, jollyjanis22@gmail.com or call 612 709 6036.
Uncapped Conversations:
Living Your Truth
Tuesday March 12. 6:30 p.m. Java Vino

Join us for a guided conversation about how we find our true path and what happens for us when the path changes.  We meet in the private room at Java Vino at 6:30 p.m. and begin the conversation after we’ve ordered food and drinks. Please RSVP Rev. Krista at revkristataves@gmail.com as space is limited. 
Sunday Services

March 3
The Truth Surrounding the Struggle for Safe and Affordable Housing
Kahya Fox

Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Kahya Fox will talk about the need for affordable housing options in the City of La Crosse and how Habitat for Humanity La Crosse Area works to help meet these needs through a variety of programs. She will discuss the struggles and some of the solutions.

March 10
Healing Through Truthtelling. 
Rev. Krista Taves and Denise Christy Moss.

 It is said that history is all too often told by the winners because they have the power to shape the story.  But, when you tell the stories of those pushed to the margins, new possibilities are revealed for the present. We welcome Denise Christy Moss who is part of the Enduring Families Project and will offer a reenactment of the story of George Coleman Poage as told by his sister Nellie. 

March 17 
How to Answer Yes to Truth
Rev. Krista Taves.

We are in a crisis of truth, tempted pick and choose our facts as they suit short term goals that feel infinite in their magnitude. How do we choose truth when truth is inconvenient? 
March 21
Dean Staffanson
Homeless shelters' needs continue

Look for the basket on the large table in the coffee area. Our fellowship regularly collects items for local homeless centers and shelters, including New Horizons women and children’s shelter and the Franciscan Hospitality House. Many thanks to Kathy and Mike Schnitzius, who sort the items and take them where they’re most needed.
 
Current needs for New Horizons and the hospitality house: Women’s and men’s underwear  (new, please!); men’s and women’s socks, especially crew socks; undershirts; long-sleeved T-shirts; hoodies; scrubs; towels deodorant, razors, toothbrushes; and full-size containers of shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion.
News from RE

Children are on a constant quest for truth. The world is a new place with so much to learn. Some things can be very hard to learn. This month we will focus on the importance of truth, especially when it is hard. With understanding and patience, we guide children to develop morally and we set expectations by example of behavior. In RE class this month we will strategize ways to share truth when it is hard and learn truths that are hard to understand.  
I am very happy many of our RE students were able to meet their pen pal they began working with in January. There are many new children excited to start participating this month! Thank you so much to everyone making this program a success. If you would like more information on joining the program as an “experienced” pal please contact me.  Regular RE attendance will help this new program’s success so make sure to be there.
Also, just a reminder that there is always an activity set up in our middle school class room and we welcome all new and returning visitors grades 6-8.
Delena Leon,
Interim RE Director
Silent Auction

Shhhh it is going to be that time again. Every now and then the UU Fellowship holds a Silent Auction.
We are starting to organize the most joyful one ever.  Basically, a silent auction consists of lovely items set out to view. Each one has a bid sheet that people write bids on. At a specified date and time the auction ends and highest bidder obtains that item. To prepare for this great event, you need to hold onto really wonderful things that can be put in the auction.  While you are Kondoizing or Swedish death cleaning keep some of the wonderful stuff for the auction. Or consider providing a service that could be bid on. Something like prune bushes, pet sit, landscape a space, bike maintenance, bake a cake, vacation home rental, boat trip on the Mississippi, etc.   Proceeds from the auction go to the Fellowship.  The Auction will be held early in May and more information will be coming soon.
"Cakes for the Queen of Heaven"
will be cookin' in April and May

The classic UU women’s study course, “ Cakes for the Queen of Heaven ,” will be offered this April and May at UUF.
Ingrid Iverson and Ellen Dodge Severson will lead the course from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursdays, April 3 and 18, and May 2, 16 and 30. To join, sign up on the sheet in the Fellowship coffee area or RSVP to Ingrid at  iiverson@ulax.edu  or Ellen at  EllenQofSheba@gmail.com .
The Cakes course explores women’s religious history and some of the issues that arise in being female in a patriarchal society. The course introduces women to ancient goddesses from around the world as well as historical information from various cultures.
The five-session curriculum includes an introductory section featuring author Shirley Ranck's "Statement of Feminist Thealogy," Elinor Artman's "Brief Herstory of Cakes," and Nancy Vedder-Shults’ “Baking Cakes for the Queen of Heaven.”
The themes of the Session Plans are “The Sacred Female,” “In the Name of the Mother and the Daughter,” “Womanpower,” “The First Turning -- From Goddess to God,” and “Reclaiming Women's Heritage of Peace."
 
Meet Jen Miller, your new
Co-Membership Development Coordinator

Hi there - I just wanted to take a moment to introduce myself to those of you in the Fellowship that I have not had a chance to speak with. My husband Wade, son Elliot and I are new to Wisconsin, having moved here from Illinois in October of 2018. In the past few years I have worked as an AmeriCorps Service Member, assisted with an Adult Education ESL program, volunteered as a literacy coach, worked as a caregiver and provided hospice care. Additionally, I have rescued a number of animals, spent a fair amount of time at libraries in multiple states, and explored nature by foot and on mountain bike. I am happy to have found this very welcoming congregation and look forward to getting to know members, friends and visitors alike.
From the Board
We LOVE Our Staff And Are Grateful For Their Service
Please Help Us Tell Them

The Board and I would like to share our deep gratitude for the staff of our Fellowship.  We celebrate one new hire and several staff anniversaries of anywhere from 6 months to 3 years. Please share in thanking our many child care workers, child care coordinator-Kristie Neve, acting religious education director-Delena Leon, choir director-  Rita Koch Thometz , pianist-Carol Rhodes, Membership Co-Coordinators-Jenn Miller and Donna Bauer, office administrator-Emmy Carlson, technology & office assistant-Giorgia Brennan, and minister-Rev. Krista Taves. We equally appreciate our contractors for book keeping: Drew Neve, building cleaning-Deb Treangen, and snow removal-Jeff Niebuhr .   The Board would appreciate you sharing with us AND with the staff what you value about their roles.  Do continue to show your support with your patience, offers to help, and kindness.   Please take the time this month to approach as many of them as you can, personally, and let them know how much you appreciate them!
Social Justice News-- March, 2019

February in La Crosse was marked by an incident that was ugly, and a response to that incident that was strong and positive.
Employees of a local cab company whose owner is Muslim discovered that the company garage had been defaced with an ugly phrase expressing hate toward those of Middle Eastern background. A rally at the site of the incident was called by the Muslim advocacy group LISSN (La Crosse Interfaith Shoulder-to-Shoulder Network). Speakers at the rally included Wale Elegbede, who spoke last year at our Fellowship; Mayor Tim Kabat; and Deputy Police Chief Rob Abraham, who denounced hate, and told those attending that he is of Syrian background. Local artists covered the awful graffiti with a beautifully-colored mural communicating a strong anti-hate message. And we should be proud that, out of the approximately 100 people who stood outdoors in near zero temperatures, 14 or 15 were from our Fellowship.
February also marked the first meeting of our Activist Support Group. This group will be focused on providing uplift and support for those doing the racial justice and environmental work needed in these difficult times. Feel free to join us in the conference room for our next meeting on Monday, March 25, from 7:00 to 8:30 PM, or contact me with questions.
As we look ahead the coming months, members of this fellowship, particularly our BCOR (Beloved Conversations Opposing Racism) group, will be very active in the leadership group promoting racial dialogue in the greater La Crosse area. The current focus is on launching a communitywide read of the book “Waking Up White” by Debbie Irving. For anyone who has not yet picked up this book, I encourage you to do so.
If you’re interested in joining our social justice team to work on a particular project is very welcome to email me at Ron ronsatuday@gmail.com.
Toward justice,
Ron
Ron Malzer,
Social Justice Team Chair
Contacts

Office Hours
Sunday mornings and Tuesdays from 2pm- 5pm.

Deadlines for Newsletters & Announcements:

Weekly E-news : Giorgia at  enews@uulacrosse.org by 12pm Mondays

Monthly Newsletter:   Janis at jollyjanis22@gmail.com    by 23rd of the month

Order of Service:   Emmy at coordinator@uulacrosse.org u   by 12pm Mondays

All other announcement s: Emmy at coordinator@uulacrosse.org. ccoordinatoru