Program Introduction from Rev. Leslie Kee
In 2016, Unitarian Universalists voted to pay special attention to learning our history and rethinking Thanksgiving, and especially in the year 2020, as Native Americans, and we as allies, observe the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims landing in Plymouth, an event the Native Americans consider a time of mourning.
In honor of this time, UUs from all around the country have been involved in an important program called Harvest the Power: which is a confluence of Unitarian Universalist Justice ministries that began Oct. 21 and has just finished up this past week. One of the reasons for this shared experience, is to deepen our relationships, draw on the sources of wholeness and strength in which we are rooted, and to move together in powerful ways for justice. As we enter this season of gratitude and care, it is important we come together as a faithful justice movement to strengthen our strategies, our commitments to justice and equity, and our impacts.
Given that usual travels and traditions for Thanksgiving and other upcoming holidays have been canceled and/or altered by the pandemic, now is the perfect time to gather and think together virtually, so we may begin celebrating, and honoring our shared life on this planet, differently – because no matter the degree of change, it will make a difference.
Today, we have chosen to share the introductory service convened by this amazing and very powerful Harvest the Power team. There is so much to learn and be inspired from because we here in Wyoming bear a large responsibility to do exactly what our denomination is asking of us: educate ourselves about the land we live on, how we and our ancestors came to be here, and especially the stories we have, and continue to tell ourselves, about who we are as Wyomingites. Do our stories include the Native American communities who already lived here – in ways that do not perpetuate the false narratives the colonizers have been telling for too long? Do they include the nonhuman communities which have born the brunt of human disruption – and will continue to do so? And most importantly, how can we as Unitarian Universalists who call Wyoming their home, intervene in the very real crisis Wyoming is facing – a crisis whose source is an ancient spiritual wound that needs not only healing, but an immediate economic, environmental, and cultural reckoning.
Please open your hearts and minds to the beautiful service our fellow UUs have prepared, and which is so appropriate for this very weekend. I pray that each of us hears the possibilities which are transcendent in this juncture in time. Now is the time we must begin creating and telling a new story, one to help guide us into a new future – a future that embodies and enlivens the UU values we know hold so much strength and wisdom for everyone – a unifying and universal reality that we are all related: Mitakye Oasin
Link to the UUA Harvest the Power Convergence & Teach-In : Opening Ceremony, originally broadcast November 19, 2020: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGmtLm-xzDU
Link to All Nations Rise, by Lyla June: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nr2VLI8jKww
Find out more about the UUA’s Harvest the Power 2020 at https://www.uua.org/racial-justice/harvest-power, and find links to other recorded content from the Convergence and Teach-In at https://www.uumfe.org/2020/11/10/program-schedule-harvest-the-power-justice-convergence-and-teach-in-nov-19-26/
“Harvest the Power, inspired by Jim Scott’s hymn “Gather the Spirit”, is a six week confluence of Unitarian Universalist Justice ministries (that began Oct. 21) to deepen our relationships, draw on the sources of wholeness and strength in which we are rooted, and move together in powerful ways for justice. The final phase of this programmatic season is this Harvest the Power Justice Convergence & Teach-In…
In 2016, Unitarian Universalists voted to pay special attention to learning our history and rethinking Thanksgiving in the year 2020, in observance of the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims landing in Plymouth (learn more). The Harvest the Power Justice Convergence & Teach-In provides a week of excellent programs and documentary screenings to ground, center, and inform this commitment, and it is also a convergence point of numerous Unitarian Universalist justice ministries.
As we enter this season of gratitude and care it is important that we come together as a faithful justice movement to strengthen our strategies, our commitments to justice and equity, and our impacts. Given that usual travels and traditions for Thanksgiving holidays are already ostensibly canceled and altered by a rampant pandemic, now is the perfect time to gather and think together virtually, and to begin celebrating differently.”