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June Newsletter


Spring Conference/Annual Meeting Notes

The MUUSAN Spring Conference/Annual Meeting was held on May 9, 2015.  Representatives from 13 congregations gathered in the sanctuary at the UU Community Church in Augusta for a short welcome from steering committee co-chairs Dale McCormick and Trudy Ferland.  The Rev. Margaret Beckman led the opening worship - Love that will not let me go.
 
In her keynote address, Bending the Arc Toward Justice, the Rev. Sue Gabrielson confronted the conflicting messages of “politics don't belong in church” vs. “spiritual upliftment and theology as justice making." (See excerpts below.)

Highlights of the past year were summarized and include MUUSAN’s participation in the People’s Climate March in NYC, the Portland Pride Parade and the Climate Expo in Augusta.  Eighteen people attended the April Lobby Day, including a number of young UUs.  MUUSAN members testified before legislative committees and lobbied their representatives concerning our key issues.  We collected signatures for ballot initiatives, wrote letters to the editor, and organized educational forums in congregations. MUUSAN members took part in NRCM’s (Natural Resources Council of Maine) Citizen Action Day in April.

Over the past year there has been a 30% increase in newsletter subscriptions  and a 200% increase in Facebook “likes." Several congregations are now sending budgeted donations to MUUSAN or have committed to a “share the plate” arrangement with MUUSAN. During the meeting the slate of steering committee members was elected and it was decided that our 3 focus areas will remain in place for the coming year.

Participants broke into small groups for discussions on how to extend MUUSAN’s outreach in the coming year.  Groups agreed that MUUSAN's effectiveness relies on being able to quickly mobilize UUs to act. We plan to continue to explore options to expand our email list with congregational liaisons, boards, and ministers. 

The next MUUSAN meeting was set for July 11 at 10:00 at the UU Community Church, Augusta.

Excerpts from Rev. Sue Gabrielson:

"In a world of clashing and conflicting definitions, it matters tremendously when we declare ourselves willing to be judged as partisans for a particular cause. No one possesses the whole truth or can predict where his actions will lead, but to do nothing is to add one more problem to the troublesome equation.
 
I have concluded …social justice does belong in church, and in worship … One of the reasons is because it is our legacy. And second it has been proven over and over again to have changed the world….
 
Some of you have been working hard for a long time; some of you have been Standing on the Side of Love… We proudly display the sign…I have seen you wearing the t-shirts, it’s amazing as a justice campaign. but, I love to remind people that it takes a lot more than “standing” - we should be …running, fighting, lobbying, testifying, writing OP Eds on the side of love etc…  Please, please, please, make sure you are doing more than standing.
 
…So as you think about struggles our state is facing today I want to charge you to feel and be empowered by your history, to look for amazing opportunities to discover the holy in relationship, to be a force of history, to Stand on the side of love and so much more, and to be amazed when you discover and experience the divine in those moments of prophetic encounters."

 
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Up-Coming Events

July 11 - The next MUUSAN meeting will be held on July 11 at 10:00 at the Augusta UU Community Church. All are welcome.

June 20 - MUUSAN is registered to participant in Pride Portland Parade again this year.  UU members and congregations are invited to join the celebration and march with MUUSAN.  Bring your banners and signs.  For more information or to RSVP, contact MUUSAN@augustauu.org .  

August 1 - Lynn Ellis is organizing a MUUSAN table at the Brunswick Peace Fair.  Contact MUUSAN@augustauu.org for more information.


Steering Committee Members 
Cush Anthony
Allen Ave. UU Church, Portland
Rev. Margaret Beckman     
First Universalist Church of Pittsfield
Trudy Ferland*                  
First Universalist Church of Pittsfield
Julia Fitz-Randolph   
Mid-Coast Fellowship Damariscotta
Rev. Carie Johnsen             
Augusta UU Community Church
Mary Ann Larson
First Parish of Portland
Carol Larson
Allen Ave. UU Church, Portland
Dale McCormick*              
Augusta UU Community Church
Kent Price      
UU Congregation of Castine
David Wilcock           
UU Church of Ellsworth
*co-chairs

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