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UUA LGBTQIA+ Time of Mourning 
All Are Welcomed

Tues, Nov 22; 3 pm Central Time

On Saturday, on the eve of Transgender Day of Remembrance, there was a mass murder at Club Q in Colorado Springs. We are reminded yet again of the violence aimed at our queer and trans beloveds and the legislation designed to criminalize our very existence. 
Please join the UUA's LGBTQIA+ Time of Mourning on Tuesday, November 22 at 3 pm CT as we gather together as a Unitarian Universalist community to grieve this latest sorrow upon sorrows and comfort one another during this difficult time. Any and all identities are welcome to attend. 

From Our Interim Minister

Another mass shooting. Another one targeted at a group of marginalized people. This one a group I am part of. I have loved gay dance clubs. They hold that freedom of feeling fully at home and fully affirmed. I have felt that vibe of community and knowing I am not the only one. It is a powerful affirmation. The magic of moving my body and no one judging me is a freedom like no other. Those moments feel holy. Then as I imagine bullets flying through the air, well I cannot. I get a grip of stunned trauma just thinking and imagining it. 

That shooting is an act of evil. It is an act of terror aimed to kill what they (the shooter(s)) do not know. The goal to kill not just people but to plant perpetual fear in that garden of affirming freedom, instilling terror in a fertile rainbow garden of already vulnerable people. 

I can't stop thinking about how evil occurs when people leave communities that would call out hateful behaviors to move into having no contact with the people they hate. Or they move into groups that encourage hate. Hate begins with no-contact with those who are the object of hate. You cannot know me, be in conversation with me, wonder and be curious about me and my alphabet siblings and actively hate us all at the same time. The human condition wants connection. Manufacturing hate means pushing away what challenges your paradigm. This behavior is a choice. These seeds of hate move away from just hating but growing evil. Evil develops by moving away from the discomfort, into an activation of the discomfort until it is nurtured into a corrosive bacteria. It rarely happens in one instant. Instead it is long pre-meditated and planned, and often has many steps before developing into an act such as this. Often we find, folks like this have isolated from anyone different than them and found groups that encourage hateful behaviors, words and thoughts. That is fertile ground for evil. Not all isolation causes evil. Instead, evil is a seed that wants to grow and moving away from community allows that disease to push away love and grow. Active hate is dangerous. In communities- often online only communities-the evil can be nurtured because the person or group that is being othered, hated and violated, is not present. I think too how people who do move into these communities where hatred is nourished, often come from lonely places or rejection. For me, this affirms why our community at Countryside and in our UU churches is so important. We need deep conversations where we hear one another, check on one another and love one another. 

I so often wonder what the world would be if one person you dislike was given the chance to be known. If you want to know in this moment what you can do, ask yourself if you can be genuinely curious about someone or something you were trained, cultured, or pushed to dislike. If you know someone queer and that is not your community, consider asking them - what is it like to be you? What has happened to you because of your identity? Be genuine and listen. This goes for any community, race/culture or people you may not understand or have not spoken to before. Don't tell them what they think. Just listen and thank them. Offer to buy them lunch or coffee and ask them what their experience is like. Don't talk about you. Thank them for their time. 

If you can't do that, can you volunteer somewhere that would put you in a community needing service and be available to just listen? Could you go to an event for a community you believe is unlike you? Could you go to a church service for a faith you are not understanding? Could you read a book about a community that you believe is different than yours? 

I hope you consider this a genuine invitation. I am here to answer questions, too. I also am going to think about what and who I may not understand as well as I should and think about where I can put myself to know that community more deeply. We are always able to learn more and know more. Deep connection is a path to peace.

For those who hold the most societal comfort, this invitation invites you to take the largest step to deeper knowing. For those who hold marginalized identities, this invitation comes with full understanding that you can only do these things in ways you feel safe. Honor all the complexities of this invitation.

With big love, RevD
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Countryside Church UU · 1025 N Smith · Palatine, Il 60067 · USA

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