Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Dear Members and Friends of First Universalist of Essex:
After weeks and months of unrest and hate speech all around us in the public square, we have experienced a heightened awareness of seething racial tension and increased violence across our country. The death on Saturday in Charlottesville of Heather Heyer, a 32 year old white woman who was standing against white supremacist violence – has awakened both fear and a deep outrage across a growing section of the population; public officials from every party and religious leaders from every faith have condemned the violence and called for action. It is sad that it is often in response to the death of a white person that outrage grows, and yet we Unitarian Universalists have been called as people of faith to join with organizers in the black communities in Boston to take a stand against hate and to position ourselves on the side of love. In response to a white supremacist rally planned for this Saturday in Boston, those of us who can will gather to oppose this toxic message of hate and to meet it nonviolently with an affirmative message of hope, peace, and love.
I will be attending some direct action training for clergy on Thursday, August 17 in Boston and will be at the anti-racist gathering on Saturday, August 19. We are asked to gather at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Boston at 10AM and then walk together (1.9 miles) to Boston Common. I would love to join with members of our First Universalist of Essex community. If you are interested in meeting up with me, please send me an email message with your cell phone number, and I will set up a group text so we can try to find each other on Saturday.
These episodes of violence have a cumulative effect, and I know that many of us are hurting deeply as we witness all this hatred and ugliness. I will be available this Sunday before worship beginning at 9:30 if anyone would like to sit together and perhaps share some prayers for healing.
Beginning in September I will have regular office hours at the church, but for now I am available by appointment and always reachable by phone or email. I look forward to being with you in worship this Sunday and perhaps to seeing some of you in Boston on Saturday.
The Reverend Justine Sullivan
First Universalist Church of Essex
C (508) 662-0279