Blog

Northlake Lighthouse – June 2020

Minister’s Musing:  Staying In ‘Right Relations’, attending to our Covenant

– Rev. Nancy Reid-McKee, Minister

 

These days there is something new everyday, and we are in a state of constant change and challenge.  There is great social upheaval as this pandemic pushes each of us into unanticipated situations and places.  None of us are comfortable.

Because of this, we can anticipate we will each act in ways that might surprise us, and perhaps disappoint us.  We may feel easily irritated, intolerant, uneasy and even angry.  Let us be forgiving of ourselves, and forgiving of each other.

 

But more importantly, I want to urge each of us to remember to take care.  Take extra measures to stay in good relationship with each other.  We have a commitment to be in honest, direct and respectful communication.  When we don’t balance all three of these guidelines our conversations can create distrust and distancing.

 

Honesty must be balanced with kindness.  Directness must be tempered with timing and location.  Respect must be to ourselves as well as to others.

 

Social distancing makes communication difficult.  Email is rarely the best way to communicate as it doesn’t promote dialogue and connection.  Texting and tweeting are the same, though shorter.  While we are tired of video/online connections, and we know the transmission delays cause communication awkwardness, they do allow for some eye-to-eye conversations.  Phone calls are always an option, as well.

 

When disagreement or conflict happens, (and it will happen!) the whole community is affected.  As small as we are, we know and feel the impacts of how we are in relationship with each other.  I would urge each of us to make a commitment to remain in right relation with others.  This means taking the next step in conversation, perhaps moving into vulnerable places, and always remembering we don’t know what the other person is experiencing or balancing in their lives.

 

Our Covenant of being in community is the reminder that each of us is committed to being in right relationship.  Let us reflect on what this means.  Let us be open, vulnerable, and forgiving of ourselves and of each other.

 


 

Re-opening Northlake

– Rev. Nancy Reid-McKee, Minister

 

Northlake has been gathering virtually, using online platforms since March 8th. We have been successful in holding religious education, committee meetings, small groups and entertainment online.  And we have been exceptional with consistent, high-quality and well-attended Sunday worship that keeps the community feeling connected and held in loving companionship.  We have held our April congregational meeting with elections and a robust stewardship campaign.  We are not just surviving this pandemic, we are thriving as a church community.

 

This does not negate the hardship many of us endure.  The loss of sharing space, touching, hugging and being physically present is the most vocalized loss.  We are used to physically assembling in religious community because we recognize a spiritual need to be present with others.  We all wonder: “When can this happen again?”

 

This is the first of many questions.  Here are others to think about:

  • When does the impact of isolation (depression, loneliness, apathy, etc.) out-weigh the health risks of sharing space?
  • Given that a large percentage of our church population (or their household members) are in a high-risk group, is returning before a vaccine advisable?
  • If we create an in-person gathering while expecting high-risk folk to stay online, how does that impact our community?  Do we create unequal access and cause some to feel left out?
  • Do we put pressure on the minister, staff and volunteers to return to public spaces before it is advisable or safe?  Does it pressure people to ignore or deny medical concerns?
  • If we remain online, how do we stay connected with those who do not use Zoom or the internet?

 

As Unitarian Universalists, we come into this faith not because of what we believe, but because of how we act, what we do and how we are in the world.  So, when we open our church doors again we will be guided by our values that include:

  • Care and concern for the most vulnerable, inside and outside our congregation.
  • Accessibility and inclusion for all our members and friends to participate regardless of health status, health vulnerability and ability.
  • Recognition that we are truly part of an interdependent web and, as such, our risk-taking and our protective actions affect far more than just ourselves.
  • Our deep hope that we will not return to normal when this pandemic is over.  We will seek something better for all the planet and those dwelling on it.

 

The Northlake COVID-19 Response Team (Jordan P., Chris K. and Rev. Nancy Reid-McKee) has reviewed recommendations from the Unitarian Universalist Association, along with plans for reopening from other states and churches.  In addition, the Safe & Secure Northlake Team is working to establish a COVID-19 Return to Church plan that includes a possible phased-in return to operations at our main building. The current plan is that we will not be meeting as a whole congregation in the sanctuary until May, 2021.

 

Even though we will have guidelines about phasing into reuse of the building before fully opening next May, we will continue to reassess this as conditions change, and we may choose to be more cautious and skip some of the phases.  We will make our decisions based on our UU values,  statewide and local recommendations, and honoring scientific information over economic or political pressures.

 


Summer Programming for Children’s Religious Education

– Margaret Rogers, DLRE

 

This summer we have a few new and virtual opportunities for families to engage in religious education!

 

I am excited to announce that Northlake will be collaborating with other congregations in the area to offer virtual summer “chalice camps” for elementary age children, with opportunities for older youth to serve as counselors and teachers. Registration is required and donations to support the program are appreciated but not mandatory. We ask that families make a commitment to engage as much as possible for the week’s zoom meetings and activities to create a sense of community. 

 

The first camps are week-long camps, developed by Director of Lifespan Religious Education at Olympia UU. 

 

The first session is June 29 – July 3rd, and the second session is July 6 – 10th.

 

How will virtual camp work?

 

» Open House Supply Pick Up on Sunday before camp begins: campers come by NUUC to pick up their craft supplies for the week (taking precautions with physical distancing).

 

» Zoom Meetings: there will be three zoom calls each day: 9am, 11am, and 2:30pm. On Demand Videos of songs, stories, and lessons will be available to access whenever campers want.

 

» Crafts to do on your own: special supplies will be provided, and kids can make crafts during the day. There will be a show and tell at the 2:30 Zoom meeting.

 

» The first week of camp will be themed on the UU 7 Principles and “The Rainbow Path,” while the second week will be themed on Animals of the PNW. Both weeks are open to children of all ages.

 

Additional weeks of camp will be happening in July and August, with details and plans to be announced soon.

 

Please email Margaret for registration information.

 

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Our Pacific Western Region leaders are hard at work to complete plans for virtual camp experiences for middle and high school youth too! Stay tuned for more information soon, but mark your calendars for July 5-12th.

 

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Our Children’s Religious Education classes will continue to meet on Sundays over the summer. Our theme will be “Wisdom Stories for Unitarian Universalists” and we will be sharing a story from our foundational stories each week. In addition, we will have a special guest plushie traveling to families who would like to participate. Our special guest will visit one family each week to share chalice lightings, readings, and activities, and families can write or draw about their week’s adventures to share on Sunday morning with the class. Please contact Margaret if you would like to participate and for more information. All are welcome!

 


 

Multi-generational Services: Forced into the future!

– Rev. Nancy Reid-McKee, Minister

 

On March 8th Northlake made a sudden shift to online church services. Many have noticed that services are often shorter. This is correct and deliberate, because we have found that the online platform creates strains, and we want to honor all our bodies and minds, young and old. We are working to create an experience that includes as many as we can. Overnight, we have become aware of the need to become a fully multi-generational service.

 

What that means is: children and adults are all in the service together. We don’t have a way to separate us by generations, with some in Religious Education classes and others in the Sanctuary. We are together, all in the living room and Zoom space with the whole congregation. Which is wonderful, and gives us a time to explore how this can be supportive and engaging.

 

At the same time many of us, young and old, find we have a different attention span when receiving input in a virtual format, and so long sermons, meditations or … long anything, may not serve us well. We are conscientiously trying to make our service shorter, and trying to incorporate ways to keep everyone interested and engaged.

 

As this continues, we hope to have more story lines and creative ways to make our messages meaningful. We are hoping to create service packets that we can send out that will add a physical dimension to the worship experience, for folk to do at home. And we invite everyone to pick up some hand-work if it helps you focus or be present.

 

In other words, we are changing in our ever-changing world. Thank you for sticking with us, offering ways to connect, and volunteering to help with some of the new challenges we face!

 


Zoom Updates

– Margaret Rogers, DLRE

 

Most everyone has probably seen the zoom update for version 5.0 and higher (5.0.4 most likely), an update that zoom required to continue connecting. This required update will offer better security.

 

In addition to Zoom’s new version, Northlake has also been updating links and adding password requirements. Links will only be shared directly with those on our internal mailing lists to add a layer of protection against targeted disruptions.

 

If you are missing any links to meetings, gatherings, or worship, please check your Weekly Announcements, which is sent each Friday, or contact your group’s organizer/Chair for additional information.

 

In addition, we have been posting reminders to open meetings and gatherings using Northlake’s Talk List. If you would like to be added to this email list, please email our Administrator, Becky.

 

And as before, if you are experiencing difficulty connecting, please email me (Margaret) for tech help.

 

We look forward to seeing you virtually!

 


General Assembly 2020 | Wednesday, June 24 – Sunday, June 28

– Margaret Rogers, DLRE

 

Each year the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations has a General Assembly in late June. General Assembly, or GA, is a time for Unitarian Universalists from all over to gather for worship, workshops, learning, and business. Northlake will be sending 4 delegates to General Assembly to participate in the business portion of General Assembly and represent our congregation with their votes. Though we send 4 delegates, we encourage many more to participate in the General Assembly experience. This year, because the full General Assembly will be virtual, there will be lots of choices for engaging online. Registration is $150 per person.

 

An introduction to General Assembly 2020 can be found at the Unitarian Universalist Association’s webpage:  https://www.uua.org/ga

 

Detail about programming offered can be found here: https://www.uua.org/ga/off-site/registrants, with the full calendar here: https://www.uua.org/sites/live-new.uua.org/files/2020_grid_west.pdf

 

There are also many great events that are free and open to the public during General Assembly (no registration required)

 

There is the Opening Ceremony, the Ware Lecture (saturday at 3 pm PT) with 2020 Lecturer Naomi Klein, and a Featured Speaker series sponsored by Beacon Press (Thursday – Saturday, morning and evening slots)

 

There are also three Worship services open (virtually) to the public!

 

I will be hosting a zoom gathering to discuss the issues that will be presented to the General Assembly for a vote. The full agenda has not yet been published, but we hope to schedule this for the second week in June. If you are interested, please email Margaret for more information.


 

How We Connect: Staying active with Northlake!

– Rev. Nancy Reid-McKee, Minister

 

Since Social Distancing has become the new pattern, it is important to stay in touch with each other and our Northlake community.  We have been working to create a variety of ways we can stay engaged knowing our goals include spiritual growth, social justice involvement, fellowship and intellectual/educational stimulation.  

 

If you are feeling a need for more spiritual/reflective growth, please consider: Eastside Insight Meditation on 1st and 3rd Thursday evenings , Vespers  (starting soon!)  along with our Sunday morning services.  We have a few Chalice Circles, which entail a small group of people who commit to joining together each week for time to talk about how they are and follow a discussion prompt.  We can create more of these groups if you let us know you might enjoy this type of connection.  Many of you find music to be how you connect to the spirit of life, so will be happy to know the choir is beginning again with practices after the Sunday service.  

 

You can connect with people by coming to Happy Hour on Fridays, one of the daily Midday Check-in or Wednesday/Friday Chalice gatherings, Movie Discussion, Women’s Group, Men’s Group, Women’s Book Discussion, or Seamster groups.  For younger folk we have Wednesday Story Time, Youth Group (6th grade and up), Sunday Religious Education (for youth under 6th grade) along with Open Mic and Game Nights for all ages.

 

The Social Justice Team, the Climate Action Team and UU The Vote teams are continuing to meet, and to figure out ways to participate in actions while staying safe.  We are offering ways to learn how to be involved, such as learning what your carbon footprint is or writing letters to encourage individuals to vote.

 

Coming up in the Fall we are planning on classes that will teach UU History, address preparing for Death & Dying, teach Storytelling, begin to collect congregational stories, and more.  So stay tuned!

 

 If you want details on the time and connection, please read the weekly emails, call the office (425) 822-0171, or search our website!  http://northlakeuu.org/

 


Invitation from the Greater Kirkland Ecumenical Parrish

Christian Nationalism and the Politics of Contempt | June 11, 2020 6:00pm 

 

Ever wondered why so many white evangelicals voted for and continue to support the person and policies of President Trump? Ever wonder why so many TV pastors think Trump is anointed by God just as God anointed the Persian king Cyrus?

 

Have you noticed right-wing authoritarian governments all over the world bonding with a form of Christianity that also stresses authoritarianism while minimizing democracy?  Putin with the Russian Orthodox Church, Bolsonaro with Brazilian evangelicals, Anez in Boliva, the Law & Order Party in Poland, Orban with Hungary’s Catholic church?  Why so cozy?

 

On June 11  at 6:00pm tune into an in-depth Zoom conversation with author Katherine Stewart centered around her book, The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism.   The conversation will explore Christian Nationalism, and its connection to free-market ideology.   Katherine has done extensive research and interviews exposing the infrastructure that fuels the politics of contempt that now dominates political discourse. She names names, follows the money, reveals the networks, traces the partnerships between right-wing oligarchs and Christian pastors, and makes the global connection between Christianity and authoritarianism.  This will be a fascinating interview with information folks will want to know.   You might even want to spread the word to your own networks.   The format will be a webinar, but written Q & A will be available with Katherine taking questions after the conversation is finished.

 

Christian Nationalism and the Politics of Contempt

When: Jun 11, 2020 6:00pm PDT

Please click the link below to join the webinar:

https://greaternw.zoom.us/j/93116844080

 

By phone: 1 253 215 8782

Webinar ID: 931 1684 4080

 


Environmental Justice Act

– France G., Climate Action team

 

Cory Booker has introduced the Environmental Justice Act because as he says we have learned that “essential workers are not expendable.” It would require that the agencies granting permits examine the consequences before granting a permit. Does the community already have too much pollution from factories that already exist there?

 

Dr. T.H. Chan lists studies that show that even low levels of particulate matter increase the mortality rate 7%. She says that covid-19 and pollution are much more dangerous together. For example, in Louisiana people of color account for 70% of the deaths despite the fact that they are 30% of the population because they tend to live in areas of higher pollution and often work in public jobs where social distancing is impossible. In general, if one lives in a polluted area the deaths from the virus are 8% more.

 

Cory Booker says we are currently struggling with “a poverty of empathy.”  Let’s start with supporting the Environmental Justice Act and start every day finding new ways to act on our empathy quotient.

 

Since more of us now can join the General Assembly without traveling, check out workshops like: Reparations and repair and the Pentagon as major polluters.

 

On a lighter note, there is now a children’s version of “An Indigenous People’s History of the U.S.”

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