About the Author
T. Resnikoff
Ted Resnikoff is the Digital Communications Editor at the Unitarian Universalist Association.

UU of the Month, April 2010

Christopher D.  Sims

Christopher D. Sims is a man of African descent who has been writing poetry for most of his life, and performing it for half of his life. His poems are intricate, detailed, knowledge-filled, and entertaining. Christopher grew up in Rockford, IL, where as a child he was allowed to be free to express himself and discover his gifts and talents.
His adult life has been one of many performances, open mike hosting, and travels all across the states, and Canada.
Christopher is still writing poetry, and has taken a performance hiatus to return to the University of Memphis to complete his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.

In her delicate brown eyes
I saw a rise of rage and fury –
justified anger LOUD and uncompromising.
I had entered hell then.
No more her.
No more hugs.
No more hope.
No more love.
I deserved it.
In a wordless ten minutes of tension
she proudly mentioned her celibacy.
But, my adultery spoke silently.
It’s scared, tiny voice
had no place in between us.
It was hard.
She, I left scarred.
To the door she charged
leaving me single, and at large.
Why do men cheat?
Then not want to stand
the kitchen’s heat?
I lied. Then lost. Became lonely.
Was unwanted. Walked in wonder.
Talked to invisible spirits. Cried inside.
50% of me died. My stomach balled up
at the site of her loving again. For a
moment in time I lost my soul, my sanity,
and my best friend.
It was like:
drowning in a well;
the most unbearable smell;
stepping on a rusted nail.
Being without her
was pure hell.
© Christopher Donshale Sims 2010

If I were ML King and A UU for a Day
In Rockford, IL
With our first principle in mind
I wonder about man kind
lost in a world of drugs, alcohol,
and a poor education system in the Forest City.
To him I want to listen,
and then envision a city
Where we all live
and are treated equally.
I want to live justfully in Rockford, IL
with a compassion that shows,
and with a spirt that glows.
I want love to flow
out of my energy,
so that adults respect and love me
and that children embrace and hug me.
We must accept one another.
We must live as sister and brother.
And, as I cruise through west side Rockford streets
then travel to reach the east side of this city,
I won’t feel pity
knowing that I participate in a
lonely disconnection.
We are all free to be who we are.
Our many churches practice what they will.
I must recognize this.
I must realize that truth and love are found
throughout all religions. Even if I am a UU
and my neighbors are Muslims or Christians.
As long as I have conscience in my church,
and am granted the democratic process.
My church congregation is a resource to this city,
positive energy we create, and progress is
As a Unitarian Universalist in Rockford, IL
how am I contributing to the world community?
Am I walking in Martin’s light and shoes,
spreading peace and humility?
I can be Martin Luther King jr. in my own right
and help fight for liberty and justice.
In these days in time of joblessness,
homelessness, and a lack of hope,
the Martin in me can cope
As long as I understand that as woman and man,
we are a web connected.
That we are a community facing obstacles
together, not alone.
Whether the east or west side of the river is
our home.
© Christopher Donshale Sims

All rights reserved2010.

Pastoral Message, April 2010

pic of me with love signHi Family,
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time to war, and a time for peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3 1-8)
We are couple of days into spring yet the Denver area is digging out of a foot of snow while people in other parts of the country are digging in their gardens.  Spring is indeed a time of contrasts.
Spring is also a transformative time of year.  It is a time to honor those who were past-over.  A time of resurrection when the colors of nature come alive.  It is a time to celebrate life in all its manifestations.
During this season of transformation, I encourage you to take time to reflect on your inner season of being.  I invite you to be mindful of what in you needs to bloom and come alive and to allow that energy to manifest itself in your life.  Indeed, for everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.
As always I would love to hear from you.  You can message me on Facebook at Monica Cummings, email me at mcummings@uua.org or leave a comment for me on the YaYA of Color blog, UU Living Mosaic at http://uuyayaoc.blogs.uua.org/.
Living My Faith,
Rev. Monica

Community Prayers

Spirit of Life, of decay and sustenance, of leaf mould and loam, of death and rebirth,
I find strength in your touch upon my soul, your gift of beauty, breaking bud and rising sap.
I am restored by the peace, the stillness, the possibility that comes with rebirth, the moment of potential that promises Life.
May I live to give birth to the promise, to raise it up, to grow it strong and grow it wise–and may I be able to offer it to us all.
– The Rev. Adam Robersmith
March 2010
If you use or find this prayer helpful please leave a comment.

Poetry, SACRED, BUT NOT LEGAL, by Rev. Susan Manker-Seale

By Rev. Susan Manker-Seale, Spring, 2010


To the People of the State of Arizona (and Beyond):
My daughter is getting married
In a ceremony sacred, but not legal,
And instead of the minister, I’ll be the proud mother
Holding the hand of my husband of thirty years
As we welcome a new daughter, not in-law,
But in-love.
They will have to be brave,
Joining the ranks of the oppressed,
Where they’ve already been
In so many ways,
But their love is strong, and beautiful,
And perhaps, in time,
the people of our state will finally see that,
And grant them rights as parents and partners,
In spite of the spite that’s still spewed from the silver-tongued.
Oh!  You pastors who blaspheme by preaching bigotry!
Who take advantage of people’s desire for a privileged place!
Must there always be a scapegoat?
Can’t you see the history of oppression,
The slow uncovering of our eyes
and unstopping of our ears?
People, don’t sit like sheep in the pews, unquestioning!
It is shameful when the oppressed become the oppressors,
And you have all been there in one way or another,
One end or the other.
This morning I woke up, and realized one part,
At least, that I have played, and now,
After twenty-two years of performing weddings
Here in our beloved state,
I refuse to be the hand of one more injustice,
And will no longer sign marriage licenses,
In protest.
Arizona is turning one hundred,
And those years have left a trail of emancipation,
People turning over and rising up,
Demanding to be seen and respected
Through race, gender, culture, ability.
But still, the fight goes on for those whose love
Is not confined to social norms
and ancient, misguided religious precepts.
There is a lot more love in the Bible, in holy texts,
Than many have been led to believe.
Let’s all open our eyes and ears,
But especially, let us open our hearts,
For love truly is the most important thing!
And no matter that some will still preach to the contrary,
I know when I’m in the presence of a sacred love.
My two daughters’ marriage will be blessed!
And, believe me, as we take one more step out of bigotry,
One day, it will be legal!
– By Rev. Susan Manker-Seale
Minister, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Northwest Tucson
Spring, 2010
    •    If you like this poem or want to submit a poem for this section, please leave a comment.

UU of Month, March 2010

Jackie Whitworth

I was born and raised a UU in Rockford, IL. My mother is white and my father is black, and I was raised by my mother and my grandparents in the early years of my life. I’m the youngest of four, and my three sisters have also been actively involved in congregational and continental UU work.
In high school I was an active member of my congregation’s youth group, and was president of its Youth Advisory Board for one year, when I also had the opportunity to serve on the Religious Education Committee. For two years I served on the UUA’s Youth Ministry Working Group and participated in the Mosaic Project Summit, experiences which revitalized my desire to be an active UU. I also participated in several DRUUMM conferences, where I found a welcoming community of friends and mentors that challenged me to confront questions about my own identity, and helped form the basis of my commitment to history and anti-racism.
After graduating from high school in 2007, I attended college in Portland, OR for a year, and then moved to Chicago, IL where I currently study history at the University of Chicago. My decision to study history was influenced by my belief in the importance of stories, and in the importance of recognizing the past and its implications for our work in the present.
I recently completed an internship with the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, a Chicago-based group which I’ve been active for the past year. I credit my upbringing as a UU with giving me a belief in restorative rather than retributive justice, and this belief has driven my dedication to challenging injustices within the prison system and the criminal justice system.
I currently attend First Unitarian Congregation in Chicago, and find a spiritual home in the congregation’s Campus Ministry group.
Jackie Whitworth

Pastoral Message, March 2010

Beyond Black and White
By The Rev. Dr. Jonipher Kwong
One of the earliest casualties of 2010 (January 3 to be exact) was a woman by the name of Mary Daly.  Daring to challenge the institution of patriarchy within the Catholic Church, she wrote a book called Beyond God the Father in 1973, which has since revolutionized and scandalized the religious world.  Even though many UUs today will see her work as ‘tame’ or even ‘irrelevant,’ since many of us have moved beyond seeing God as male and even beyond theism, period, Mary Daly was truly ahead of her time by having the audacity to dismantle this deeply-held, dualistic notion of male versus female.
Today, we are far from getting rid of the last vestiges of sexism.  We can’t even remove heterosexism from our vocabulary, as evidenced by Prop. 8 in California and other anti-equality legislation.  And even though we elected the first African American to the presidency, we certainly can’t say, “We’ve arrived” when it comes to addressing the problem of racism.  We are still holding on to the sin or error of dualism, which threatens to keep us apart and blind us to our interrelatedness.
I would like to propose two things to help us move beyond a black and white world.  The first is to recognize the fact that we come in many shades of color.  In fact, I dare say that we are a rainbow-colored group and not just shades of gray.  This was evident for me living in Hawai‘i (appropriately dubbed the ‘Rainbow State’), where race issues clearly are not just black and white.  Currently, various Asian ethnic groups have a slight ‘majority’ in the state, but it’s one of the few states where the white population is actually ‘growing’ because of migration from the mainland.  Indeed, the human race may manifest itself in many different colors, but our skin tones fail to capture our true essence as a species.
The second is to move beyond race distinctions altogether and this is where I have the brightest hope for young people.  I know this is a generic (as well as generational) statement, but when we choose to go on a date, do we date that person because of their skin color or because we like them and feel a certain ‘chemistry?’  In Hawai‘i, over 50% of marriages and family configurations are multi-racial and multi-ethnic.  Our president is a product of that diverse environment.  Those of us who ‘get it’ are perfect ambassadors to those who still come from a black-or-white framework.  We need to move beyond racial differentiations and see the possibilities that are out there.  Perhaps that’s one of the message the movie Avatar teaches us.  The divine is present even in blue creatures from outer space.  We need to get over ourselves if we truly are to survive as a species and see beyond black and white.
The bottom line is exemplified by our seventh principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.  Let us honor Mary Daly’s legacy by moving beyond black and white, and let us break free from the ties of dualism that bind us.
The Rev. Dr. Jonipher Kwong is an Interfaith Organizer for California Faith for Equality.  He also sits on the Board of the California Council of Churches and the Steering Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of California Marriage Equality Leadership Team.  Ordained with the Metropolitan Community Churches, he served as the Founding Minister of ‘Ohana MCC in Honolulu and Resurrection Beach MCC in Costa Mesa, California.  He is currently in the process of seeking plural standing with the Unitarian Universalist Association.
Prior to moving back to the mainland, Jonipher was the Executive Director of the Counseling & Spiritual Care Center of Hawai‘i.  Raised in an ecumenical background, Jonipher values his pluralistic upbringing – from Evangelical to United Methodist, Episcopalian to Calvary Chapel.  He was christened at a Gospel church and baptized as a Chinese Mennonite.  In Hawai‘i, Jonipher was a member of the Honolulu Mindfulness Community, a sangha influenced by Zen Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hahn.
Jonipher obtained his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Claremont School of Theology.  He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Film Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara.  Prior to getting “the call,” Jonipher worked in the film industry for three years, followed by two years as a Graphics Specialist at McKinsey & Company in Los Angeles.

UU of the Month, February 2010

Alison Aguilar Lopez Gutierrez McLeod Crotty

“I never knew I was called to be a Director of Religious Education (DRE) until it happened.  I fell in love with the members of our fellowship community.  I realized that empowering children and youth is my passion.  Providing them a safe space to explore their religious ideas is my mission.  Encouraging them to think outside social constructs is my responsibility.”
Alison Aguilar Lopez Gutierrez McLeod Crotty was born to a Mexican family, adopted and raised by her Unitarian Universalist parents in San Diego, California and Pullman, Washington where both were University professors.
As a student at Washington State, she was the first Latina to be elected to the City Council of Pullman, Washington.  In addition, while working toward her B.A. in English and Women Studies and her Masters of Education, Alison was a teacher at an Alternative High School, a tennis instructor at a local high school, and served as a Board member for a variety of organizations that dealt with civil rights, social justice, and issues faced by women of color.
Following college, Alison traveled across the country undertaking various academic and political pursuits. She has experienced Unitarianism in many venues, including All Souls in Washington D.C., Unitarian Universalist’s of the Palouse in Moscow, Idaho, and First UU Church in San Diego.
Alison worked for several years at the Washington, D.C.-based National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS), a non-profit college honor society for high-achieving freshmen and sophomores across the country. Back in San Diego, Alison chose to volunteer for the first openly gay woman elected to the City Council who was seeking election to the California State Assembly. While working on that successful campaign, she met her husband, Chris Crotty, a Democratic political consultant.  Alison joined her husband as a strategist with his political consulting company before finding her calling as the DRE at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito (UUFSD) in Solana Beach, California, just north of San Diego, where she has served for almost three years.
“My Unitarian Universalist upbringing gave me the confidence to find my voice to speak out against oppression and injustice.  Beyond that, I know that I have a loving community that encourages my exploration of faith and life and how the two intersect.  I carry within my heart and soul all of the support I am provided and the connections I am afforded.”

Pastoral Message, February 2010

pic of me with love signHello Family,
As you know the country of Haiti was devastated by an earthquake and after shocks in January.  It seems that only a few short months ago the country was slammed by five hurricanes that caused wide spread destruction.  As I listen to news reports and hear comments by people trying to make sense of the natural disasters that continue to plague Haiti, I thought about the book of Job in the First Testament in the Christian Bible and the issues that are raised in the story; such as innocent or undeserved suffering and how people behave when calamity strikes.
It is becoming a familiar refrain from some leaders in the U.S. to blame the victims of calamity for their plight.  As Unitarian Universalist, what is our theology when it comes to calamity?  When is it ok to blame someone or a country when a natural disaster causes wide spread death and destruction?  I think one of our greatest challenges as UUs is our ability to articulate our theology in a way that communicates our beliefs.  Our first Unitarian Universalist principle calls us to promote and affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person.  Our UU theology challenges us to be inclusive, that is to embrace the people of Haiti along with the people who blame them for their plight in their hour of biblical suffering.
It is not too late to show your support for the people of Haiti.  Please contact your local UU congregation to learn how you can get involved in relief efforts.  You can also donate to the UUSC and UUA joint Haiti earthquake relief fund http://www.uusc.org/.  Let us live our UU faith by not judging or questioning why someone is suffering. Rather, let us be mindful and attentive to the fact they are suffering and do our human best to ease their pain.
As always I would love to hear from you.  You can message me on Facebook at Monica Cummings, email me at mcummings@uua.org or leave a comment for me on the YaYA of Color blog, UU Living Mosaic at http://uuyayaoc.blogs.uua.org/.
Living My Faith,
Rev. Monica

Community Prayer

A Prayer for ALL People

Let us hold in our prayers,
The women, men and children who have had their lives forever changed by earthquakes and have been injured or killed.
Let us hold in our prayers,
The family members and friends who live far away and who feel hopeless and helpless to support their family and friends.
Let us hold in our prayers,
Relief workers who have been injured.
Let us hold in our prayers,
The non-human beings that have been injured or killed.
Dear Unknown, Unknowable, Yet Known by Many Names,
We call out to you in this time of uncertainty, loss and pain.  May we have courage and compassion to support the people of Haiti and Chile.
May we have courage and compassion to work for economic  justice. May we have peace of mind and the inner wisdom to know that our work for economic justice is not in vain.
In the Spirit of all that came before us. In the Spirit of all that is present this moment. In the Spirit of all that will manifest in the future. We offer this prayer.
Amen and Blessed It Be.
Rev. Dr. Monica L. Cummings
Jan 2010
If you use or find this prayer helpful please leave a comment.

UU of the Month, January 2010

Ronald Charles (Chuck) Hunt, Jr.
Ronald Charles (Chuck) Hunt, Jr. is a graduate of Saint Frederick High School in Monroe, Louisiana and grew up in the Missionary Baptist (African American Baptist of the National Baptist Convention U.S.A.)  In 2007, through the Church of the Larger Fellowship, Chuck gained interest in joining Unitarian Universalism.  Chuck remarks, “I joined the faith because I can raise questions freely. I love the openness of the faith. I never was exposed to this type of faith in Northeast Louisiana.  However, after reading about various U.S. Presidents and their religions, I recognized their mainstream faiths, but Unitarian was one that I was not familiar with.”  Chuck goes on to say, “I went to the encyclopedia and read about UUism, but decided to go online and look up it up on Yahoo and found UUA.org.  I received more information and was amazed about the faith.”
For Chuck, Unitarian Universalist inclusiveness stood out because too many religions want their members to check themselves at the door.  Chuck “called a member of a UU church in Mississippi and learned more about Unitarian Universalist because he wanted to talk to people of the faith.  The guy at the church gave me more details and a smile was on my face while talking to him on the phone.  I was convinced that Unitarian Universalism is my faith of choice. We may have our downfalls, but there is always dialog, unlike other faiths. There is still room for improvement. My first General Assembly truly was an experience. I met people of many races, religious beliefs, and sexual orientations, etc.”
Chuck has attended McNeese State University of Lake Charles, Louisiana and Hinds Community College of Raymond, Mississippi.  Currently Chuck works at a local restaurant, but is in the process of seeking new opportunities.