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Ministry on Social Justice and the Earth by Zoe Dobbs

Updated: Apr 2, 2020

I was disappointed, to say the least, when I heard the news that Brazos Valley Earth Day was cancelled. Since the notification came two days in advance, I hoped the forecast would turn out to be wrong and the weather would improve. However, on the day of the event, I fully realized why the decision was made: after waking up to a multitude of “Severe Thunderstorm Warning” alerts, it took one look outside at the ominous darkness, painfully bent trees, and nearly horizontal rain to know that an outdoor event would be impossible. At church the next morning, I heard that a tornado had even touched down in Hearne - and when someone explained to this non-Texan just how close Hearne is to us, I felt suitably unnerved.

The irony of this is certainly not lost on me. We set out to celebrate the beauty of the Earth, and to commit to holding up our end of this relationship by protecting and conserving all that Earth has offered us. Instead, we were faced with a likely consequence of what could be described as that relationship turned abusive and exploitative by human activities. As UUs, we believe we are only one part of this interdependent web of existence, and us humans have been tugging at our corner of the web for far too long - we are starting to see more and more of it unravel. This is what I was hoping to demonstrate at our booth during Brazos Valley Earth Day: that our faith drives us to consider our place in the universe, not just the theological and spiritual universe but the universe of physical space as well. I had planned to promote this year’s UUA Common Read, Justice on Earth: People of Faith Working at the Intersections of Race, Class, and Environment (edited by Manish Mishra-Marzetti and Jennifer Nordstrom), because it illustrates the multiple ways in which this physical space in which we all live has been commodified and exploited to the detriment of not only Earth, but also the less fortunate groups that inhabit it. As people of faith, we realize that environmental and social issues are inextricably connected, and we must navigate this web of existence in order to effect change.

In a strange coincidence, the coffee shop in which I’m currently writing this article just started playing Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies.” I can’t help but smile at the uplifting lyrics, even though I’m not sure I’m optimistic enough to expect “blue skies from now on.” Still, I believe there is hope on the horizon, especially for us at UUCBV: as we begin to build our new church, we have the opportunity to design a sustainable, eco-friendly, and green sanctuary. In addition, we have the opportunity, and the responsibility, to use our new space and resources to continue and expand our engagement in environmental justice activities. One strand at a time, we can strengthen this web and reaffirm our commitment to Planet Earth.

MSJE News and Events

Split the Plate for May

Previously, on the first Sunday of each month, half of our cash collection from the morning offering went to a nonprofit. However, the Board has approved a proposal to expand Split the Plate to every Sunday! Each week this month, half of your cash donations will go to Hope’s Locker at Bryan ISD, which helps students who are experiencing homelessness and their families by providing new and gently used clothing, school supplies, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and non-perishable food. This will be the last month in which our proceeds go to Hope’s Locker - starting in June, we will be choosing a new recipient from the community.

May meeting of the Ministry for Social Justice and the Earth

Our May MSJE meeting will be on the 12th in the Hillel Board Room behind the Sanctuary at 12pm. All are welcome to grab some food and join us in planning social justice opportunities for UUCBV.

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