The Ides of March…
Reflections from the President
While Vermont was experiencing heavy snows and loss of utilities and phone and cell communication I was traveling throughout Alabama on a Civil Rights Pilgrimage with the Living Legacy Project. Many fellow UUs were on this trip and we visited a number of churches that were the sites of organizing and gathering as people demonstrated for civil rights in the 1950s and 1960s. We heard personal stories of faith while experiencing devastating violence. I am still sorting through what I have seen and heard but it is clear to me that a strong faith community provides solace, refuge, support, inspiration, and motivation while bolstering courage and solidarity for collective activism.
I hope everyone has recovered from days focused on clearing snow and figuring out heating options and communication. I am grateful that Jamie Gibson, as All Souls’ Vice President, sorted out concerns with power, snow clearance, and the downed tree in our parking lot. I appreciate the efforts of George Carvill to reschedule the benefit concert for the Community Asylum Seekers Project. Already the snow is melting with warmer temperatures and I am hopeful for a spring without more heavy snows. We have a number of upcoming events that I hope members and friends of All Souls will support with your presence. More details are likely to be in other articles.
On Saturday, April 8 at 11 am there will be a memorial service for our beloved Judy Ingison. Judy passed away last July and this is an opportunity for family and friends to gather to honor and celebrate her life.
The CASP concert “Love’s Gonna Carry Us” with Annie Patterson and Peter Blood has been rescheduled for Friday, April 14 at 7 pm. This will be a wonderful sing-a-long which will support our neighbors who have sought refuge and asylum in Vermont.
On Saturday, April 29 there will be two events.
- Spring Clean-Up at All Souls Church – 8:30 am – 2 pm: Carla Fogg is coordinating our annual spring clean-up day to spruce the inside of our building and grounds. Come with your favorite cleaning items and rakes for an hour or two (or more). There will be bountiful snacks and coffee and volunteers of all ages and abilities are most welcome. This event prepares us for the Welcome Spring! Fair which will be held the following Saturday, May 6.
- NAACP Swords to Plowshares at the Retreat Farm – 11 am: The NAACP is partnering with the police chief, Sheriff and local Episcopal leadership for a GUN SAFETY INITIATIVE. This event will center on an actual forge and the turning of weapons to gardening tools which will be given to local gardeners. Retired Bishop James Curry who has given his energy to this work after ministering to the community in Newtown, CT, is the featured speaker. Come before/after cleaning.
One of the surprising and dismaying pieces of information I learned on my trip was that in 1956 the state of Alabama sought to prevent the NAACP from conducting activities in the state, referring to the Association’s involvement with the Montgomery bus boycott and support for black students seeking admission to the state university. The state demanded NAACP membership lists. A case went up to the Supreme Court which in 1958 ruled that this demand violated the due process clause guaranteed by the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. I am so glad that we have an active NAACP chapter in southeastern Vermont. We must not forget, or erase, our history.
With blessings, Leslie