Pastoral Message, June 2012

pic of me with love signHi Family,

Happy June!  For those of you graduating, reporting for active duty in one of the armed services, starting a new job or moving to a new home, congratulations.  And for those you who had to drop out of school, are unemployed, underemployed or have given up trying to be employed, I pray that you have a supportive community who will love you through this economically challenging time.

When I do not attend Sunday morning services, I usually spend an hour or so reading my favorite UU theologian, James Luther Adams(JLA).  This past Sunday I read an essay titled “The Chief End of Human Existence.”  The section of the essay that I really resonated with focused on isolation and its effects on people in community.  Not isolation in the sense of being physically alone.  JLA refers to isolation with “other people with whom one enjoys nothing significant in common.”  That is the type of isolation that causes some people to feel totally alone in the world even when they are surrounded by others.  A loneliness that is difficult for one to understand and challenging to explain to others, especially family members.

During the next few weeks, I want you to think about what is significant to you. What holds meaning for you in your life?  For example, religion, spirituality, friends, family, faith community, a special place in your neighborhood?

As always I would love to hear from you.  You can message me on Facebook at Monica Cummings, email me at or leave a comment for me on the YaYA of Color blog, UU Living Mosaic at


Rev. Monica

Job Openings

The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) of Congregations is a great place to work—where your job is in alignment with your values. We are a historic, progressive religious denomination with headquarters located on Boston’s Beacon Hill, offices in Washington, DC, and at the United Nations in New York City, and we have staff based in many parts of the United States.

Click on UUA and Central Midwest District for more information on job listings and career opportunities

Justice General Assembly 2012

General Assembly 2012 will be a gathering with multiple ways of engaging in justice work for people of all ages. Joining with the people of Arizona, we will worship, witness, learn and work together. We will leave General Assembly grounded in our faith, energized for justice and with resources to bring this work home to our congregations. More information.

Pre-GA online Meet and Greet for UU Youth and Young Adults of Color

This online meeting will be an opportunity for UU Youth and Young Adults of Color who are going to GA to connect with each other. Meeting participants will also learn more about GA witness events from a member of the Youth and Young Adult Ministries Office.  You can register for the online meeting using the following link

The National Youth Justice Summit

The National Youth Justice Summit, an exciting program for UU youth happening from July 7th-14th in Boston, seeks applicants!  Dynamic workshops, field trips to exciting local organizations, daily spiritual practices and worship will fill the days. Given the spark of the Occupy movement, we will be examining social justice through the lens of economic justice.  The program will help participants think about where their unique passions and skills intersect with the greatest needs in society. And scholarships are available!  See the website for more info and to apply:

Pastoral Message, May 2012

pic of me with love signHello Family,

Growing up, I was afraid of vampires.  As the youngest sibling of four, I usually had to watch TV shows my older siblings wanted to watch.  Most of the shows I enjoyed, however, there was one that caused nightmares: Dark Shadows.  I can still remember the creepy lead character, Barnabas Collins, and how he manipulated people so he could drink their blood to stay alive.  I can also still remember my older brothers waiting for me to get in bed after the show, creeping into my bedroom and scaring me before being scolded by my parents.

With age and watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I was able to overcome my fear of vampires.  I wish there was a TV show or movie that could help me recover from my dread of going to the dentist.  When I go to the dentist, I have similar feelings like those I experience while watching Barnabas Collins bite the neck of his latest victim.  I want to cover my eyes to avoid witnessing what is happening.

We all have things that we fear.  We all have things that we resist.  It is how we deal with our fears and the things that we resist that impact our ability to be healthy emotional and spiritual beings.  What are some of the things you fear?  What are some of the things you resist?  How do you deal with your fears?

How do I deal with my fears and the things I resist?  I try to embrace them.  For example, I communicate to my dentist and his staff how difficult it is for me to show up for my appointment every six months.  In fact, I have a dental appointment in an hour and I will show-up.  Sure, I will be full of anxiety and tension.  However, I know that after my appointment, my self-confidence will be high and I will have one more experience to build on of facing that which causes me dread.  Because each time I face my fears or things I resist, I gain more self-confidence and the faith of experience to know that what does not kill me will make me stronger and emotionally and spiritually healthier.  And that is my wish for all of you.

As always I would love to hear from you.  You can message me on Facebook at Monica Cummings, email me at or leave a comment for me on the YaYA of Color blog, UU Living Mosaic at


Rev. Monica

Youth and Young Adult News

UU Youth and Young Adults of Color,                                                                           Multicultural Leadership School

Friday, July 27, 2012—Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Multicultural Leadership School (MLS) is a training designed specifically for Unitarian Universalist (UU) Youth and Young Adults (age 15-30) of Color sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). The goal of the training is to equip participants to be leaders in their UU congregation, district or continental committee. The three and a half day school will feature experienced facilitators who will be intentional in providing participants with experiences that will foster relationship building, leadership skills, racial/ethnic identity development, inter-cultural collaboration and deepening of faith identity. At the conclusion of the training, participants will have a new community of peers, stronger and more confident leadership abilities and a stable foundation for sustainable leadership in Unitarian Universalist congregations and other Unitarian Universalist communities and organizations.  Applications are available at


Call for Authors: Youth Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Program

The Youth and Young Adult Ministries and Resource Development offices of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) seek authors for a new training program for youth: Building Beloved Community.

For more information go to


Youth Observer to the UUA Board of Trustees

For more information go to


New listserv

If you are a UU 15-35 consider joining the closed list for Youth and Young Adults of Color (of African, Asian/Pacific Islander, Arab/Middle Eastern, Native American/First Nations/Indigenous, Latino/a, Chicano/a descent, multiracial/ethnic, and adopted People of Color), to use for sharing, communication, and support.

Pastoral Message, April 2012

Hello Family,

My head is spinning from all that has happened since my February newsletter column.  I attended retreats for UU Military Chaplains, UU Religious Professionals of Color and the Youth Ministry Advisory Committee.  All three of the above mentioned groups advocate for and support UUs who are marginalized either within Unitarian Universalism and/or in the U.S.

One of the many reasons I am a UU and love Unitarian Universalism is the support and voice that is given to people who are oppressed and marginalized by U.S. culture.  By now most of you have heard about Trayvon Martin, who was killed as he walked to the home where he was staying after shopping at a nearby store.  The person who shot Trayvon said he looked suspicious.  In other words, Trayvon looked like he did not belong.

One of the common stories shared by people who are marginalized or oppressed is that they are made to feel like they do not belong.  This message is sometimes communicated with a question such as “Are you lost” or action such as following the person perceived as not belonging.  The message “You are different” can be communicated by simply ignoring someone or denying that you notice differences in appearance, gender expression, ability, perceived sexual orientation, age or race/ethnicity.

Our sixth Unitarian Universalist Principle calls us to affirm and promote “The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.”  I encourage each of you to answer the following questions.  How can our sixth UU Principle be practiced in youth and young adult communities?  Is the culture of your youth and young adult community one that judges people on appearance, gender expression, age, race/ethnicity or perceived sexual orientation or ability?  Is the culture of your youth or young adult community a place where people are free to bring all of their identities without fear of feeling different?  If your answer is “I do not know” or “No” to any of the above questions, I encourage you to explore ways to change the culture of your community so it is a reflection of our UU Principles.

As always, I would love to hear from you.  You can message me on Facebook at Monica Cummings, email me at or leave a comment for me on the YaYA of Color blog, UU Living Mosaic at

I Love You,

Rev. Monica