Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Zach Coming to Java Jive

Jenni of the Lifespan Growth Committee sends the following:
    As many of you know on Saturday evening, November 3, Java Jive will be presenting singer/songwriter Zach at UUCA (see attachment). This time JJ is a fundraiser to benefit the Lifespan Growth Committee (LGC) and their mission to provide and communicate growth opportunities at the UUCA to members, visitors and the public. The Lifespan Growth Committee will be using the funds raised for publications, public relations and to provide rich opportunities free of charge.

    Entrance to JJ has always included homemade baked goods to go with the coffee and tea. We are asking for finger foods, such as cookies, nuts, brownies, cupcakes, candy, muffins or any item that you feel would be enjoyed in the coffeehouse setting.

    The Growth Opportunities or GO! Brochure is funded entirely by Java Jive in conjunction with a matching grant for funds raised. So if you like what you see in the GO! Brochure and find it useful and helpful to the church, this is a way to help with it's continuance.

    Volunteers may e-mail me directly at to let me know of their donation so that I may plan accordingly. Desserts may be dropped off in the kitchen at the church (labeled for Java Jive) on Friday or Saturday. If some can bake but can't get it to the church, I can arrange for someone to come by their house to pick it up on Friday.

    Thanks to everyone, we are really looking forward to a successful fun evening. I hope to see you there!
You can read up on Zach at his website or his MySpace page. He always puts on a good show and it is for a good cause. Go if you can. And if you can contribute baked goods, so much the better.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Gentle, Advertising People

Our Association, if you haven't heard yet, is advertising. The UUA has launched a print ad campaign, the first example of which you see at right. I personally have a couple misgivings, which I'll get to in a moment.

In addition to running a couple of print ads in Time Magazine, the Association is paying for what they call "advertorials." I can't tell exactly what all the advertorials include, but they definitely include sponsoring Time.com/ReligionPages, a collection of stories from the Magazine about matters of faith.

I tried in vain to find the religion section from the Time homepage, to no avail. To find the pages, it appears you have to know where to look. The page currently runs an online poll asking readers' beliefs. The choices are: that there is an all-powerful God, that a spirit pervades all experience or that science explains everything. Right n0w, with 233 responses "spirit pervades" has over half the votes. Clearly UUs are swamping the poll.

So I'm all for anything that raises the profile of Unitarian Universalism outside the church. I am concerned, however, that the campaign does little to address one tension within a church comprised of theists and non-theists. Sometimes it seems that the only UUs who don't think the church is too Christian are those who think it's not Christian enough. We lose members who are looking for a spiritual home and find the church insufficiently nourishing and we lose members looking a community of Humanists who find too much God talk.

This tension is the great challenge of the church, made more challenging because it is difficult for the church to be neutral about matters of faith. And pretty much impossible to be perceived as being neutral. Hence, my misgivings about the ad. Some, in and out of the church, surely perceive the ad as being anti-theist/pro-Humanist. As such, how welcome will UU Christians or other theistic UUs continue to feel in the church? How well with the ad attract people who believe in something divine, but are uncomfortable in mainline churches? Happily, the online part of the church doesn't show much of a backlash yet, but we need be sensitive how the ads are playing.

The tagline for the "advertorial" linked to on the UUA website is "Find us and ye shall seek." This better summarizes what we are about. The church's great strength is its ability to welcome diverse spiritual seekers. That's also it's greatest challenge. Our ad wizards should bear that in mind.

UPDATE/CORRECTION: I'm wrong about that last bit. The mock-up advertorial pdf on the UUA website shows that the tag is the old "Seek and you shall find." I saw "find and you shall seek" on a UU blog, but now can't find it again. Personally I like that version better -- witty and descriptive. It'd be great if that could wend its way to UUA and make it into the campaign at some point.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Gun Violence Program Reminder

Remember that our church is co-sponsoring a program about gun violence.
    Gun activist Toby Hoover will speak on gun violence as part of a speech and panel presentation titled Reducing Gun Violence to be presented at the Akron - Summit County Library Auditorium at 6:30 pm on October 10th, at 60 South High St., Akron. Admission is free.

    Toby Hoover, Executive Director of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, has worked over thirty years at a state and national level to reduce gun violence. She has received many awards for her activism, including the Sue Kingsley Memorial Volunteer Award presented to her by James Brady in 1999. Toby’s understanding of gun violence is particularly clear, having suffered the loss of an immediate family member to gun violence.

    Ms. Hoover’s talk will be followed by a panel discussion by Judge Linda Teodosio - Summit County Juvenile Court, Officer Schismenos - head of the Akron Police Gang Unit, Judy Joice - President of Greenleaf Family Center, and University of Akron School of Communication Professor N. J. Brown - an expert on media affect on violence.

    Guns are the second leading cause of injury death in Ohio; 1,036 firearm deaths were recorded in 2004––only 20 of those deaths were unintentional. Only 8% of the people killed by guns are killed in felony crimes.

    A question and answer period will follow the presentations.

    This program is presented by the Social Action Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Akron in partnership with the Akron Area Association of Churches, Akron Area Interfaith Council, American Friends Service Committee, Catholic Commission and the Coalition for a Safe Community.
Also, a programming note: Sen. Tom Sawyer, once on the bill, is unable to attend. Susie, the Social Action Committee and the co-sponsors have put great effort into putting this together. And it looks like a great program. If you can make it, to support the work of the church and learn more on this timely topic, please be there.