Grateful to bring you our next installment in our bi-weekly messages with a prayer, an ancestor and a song speaking to our spirits. We hope these resources may offer what we need in order to be courageously, steadily, humbly, on the side of love. One ancestor to lean on, one prayer for our messy lives, and one song to strengthen and soothe.
“Spirit of Truth and Love within our living hearts, we pledge our faithfulness to all who toil that we may eat our bread. We rejoice in human power to shape the stuff of earth into things of usefulness and beauty. May our hands and minds add their portion to the common treasure of a world more fair. We would find our place among the workers of humanity, proud of honest labor done, and rest deserved, and wages earned.” - To All Who Toil, Rev. Stephen Fritchman
Rev. Stephen Fritchman (1902-1981) was a Unitarian minister, author and youth worker. Initially trained as a Methodist minister, Fritchman became a Unitarian minister in 1930 and went on to work for the American Unitarian Association, including as youth director, as well as editor of the AUA journal, the Christian Register, what we now know to be UUWorld. Fritchman found both support and resistance within his role, was forced to testify before The House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) and would eventually be forced to resign due to his support of Soviet policies and public affiliation with communist organizations including the Popular Front. Fritchman went on to become a minister in Los Angeles - where the justice work of his congregation would be monitored by the FBI for periods - and remain involved in immigrant and racial justice work, resistance to state-sponsored surveillance and a number of political parties. Read more about Rev. Fritchman here.
May we be bold and unwavering in our commitments to our principles and values - even when it brings us into conflict we hold most dear. May we honor the wisdom of Rev. Fritchman’s legacy by speaking unequivocally to power.
Prayer for When You Get Confused About How To Be A Human - Rev. Elizabeth Nguyen
This time of year I get confused sometimes. Because I know we need to celebrate and huddle with community by fireplaces and over cocktails and under stars. We need ugly sweaters and the sweets that so and so always makes and a reason to get off the internet and in front of each others faces. And also ICE doesn't take a holiday break, the jails are full every time of year and all the reasons for celebrating have some history of greed and taking.
Help me to not be a person who regrets not visiting a grandparent or taking the time to call my sibling or writing my neighbor a card. Help me to not be a person who stops singing or gives up on art or gingerbread or latkes or candles or whose loved ones miss me more than they see me.
Let's remember to be humans. Humans with loved ones in prison, humans who need rent money and don't get to go home for the holidays. Humans who go to parties and work other people's parties and forget our phones at home on purpose and bring each other cookies and tea.
I visited someone in detention last week. On the anniversary of the night on the bridge at Standing Rock with the water cannons and the tear gas and rubber bullets. And then went to work with apples, cranberries and pineapple for the jello salad. In each case, showing up as who I want to be required something from me.
Let's remember to be humans.
This week, we're loving Lion Babe's Hit The Ceiling as a reminder to the limitless potential and opportunities before us. The song was part of Issa Rae's Insecure Season 2 on HBO. Be sure to check it out.
Thinking of you,
Rev. Elizabeth Nguyen, Senior Strategist, Standing on the Side of Love
Nora Rasman, Campaign Manager, Standing on the Side of Love