News

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February 24, 2021

Dear Members and Friends,

      In today’s forum, we continue our focus on Black History Month with a conversation with John “Bunchy” Crear. Bunchy is a former member of the Black Panther Party. He was active with the Black Panthers in both Texas and California, and we talk about their history in Houston, the assassination of Carl Hampton, and the ongoing importance of their legacy.

      We had intended our forums this month to offer a three-part series on Freedmen’s Town. Unfortunately, the winter storm disrupted our plans. We’ll be spreading the series out over the next few months, as people get back on their feet and recover from the disaster.

      I hope that you have recovered. If you are in need of aid, please do not hesitate to reach out. The Ministers’ Discretionary Fund exists precisely to help in these kinds of emergencies and the congregation is ready to provide aid to its members and friends. The congregation can also provide limited rebuilding help for those in need through the work of our Community Projects Team. If you need assistance of this kind please contact Alma.

      Water continues to be a major issue for many people throughout the region. The Museum District campus is available for those of you who need potable water. The office is currently open on a limited basis because of COVID. Please call 713.526.5200 and we can coordinate with you a time, during regular business hours, to fill up jugs with water. In addition, we are expecting the arrival of 14,000 liters of water sometime tomorrow. The water has been donated by the Unitarian Universalist Association. It is available to our members and friends in need. We will be distributing the majority of it to Cuney Homes, Project Row Houses, the S.H.A.P.E. Community Center, the Freedmen’s Town Association, and the Emergency Aid Coalition. Mary Koch, chair of our Justice Coordinating Council, has done an extraordinary job of handling the distribution!

      In addition to whatever aid the congregation has available, you can apply to both emergency aid from the Catholic Charities and FEMA. See headings below for that information.

      As I discussed in my sermon on Sunday, the natural disaster we experienced last week was caused by deliberate policy choices made by the state’s elected leaders. The Texas House of Representatives is holding a comment session between now and tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. regarding the recent disaster. If you have a chance we recommend you submit a comment. The substantive portion of the comment I submitted runs as follows:

      The recent power outages were a result of Texas’s commitment to deregulation, a lack of public investment, and maintaining a power grid that is independent from the rest of the country. The state legislature must quickly remedy this situation by: 1) investing adequate funds to winterize all power generation equipment; 2) integrating the Texas power grid into the national grid system; 3) implementing longstanding recommendations from federal agencies for the regulation and oversight of electricity generation and distribution. The power outages were entirely avoidable. They cost the lives of dozens and have caused billions of dollars of economic damage throughout the state. I expect elected officials to serve the interests of the public by ending the state’s absurd commitment to deregulation and independence from federal oversight.

      In addition, the state legislature must act quickly to make sure that households who have been charged excessive amounts by their utility companies do not face financial hardship. Direct aid should be made available to all who need it. Legislation should be passed to ensure that these kinds of outrageous charges are never permitted again.

      I am sure that many of you have different takes on what to say during the comment period. Over the next several weeks we will be working with The Metropolitan Organization to demand legislative changes to prevent a repeat of last week’s disasters. Tomorrow from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. there will be a statewide meeting to discuss next steps organized by the Texas Industrial Areas Foundation (TMO’s parent organization). You can participate here:

Texas IAF Leaders Meeting: Tomorrow, Thursday Feb. 25th from 12:00-1:30pm

Join Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/7261221353?pwd=ZEg3VXZmOEt6cXFhNFBxL1Y2b3JHQT09

Meeting ID: 726 122 1353, Passcode: TMO

One tap mobile: +13462487799,,7261221353# US (Houston)

Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/acGGkERo1y

      I hope that some of you will be able to join the meeting. And, please let us know how you are doing or if there is anything the congregation can do to aid you during this difficult time.

love,

Colin
The Rev. Dr. Colin Bossen, PhD
Senior Minister
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston
colin@firstuu.org

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      The FEMA disaster assistance applications are now open. If you have damage to your home or need temporary housing assistance you can apply at https://www.disasterassistance.gov/. For more details, see this flyer.

      Solicite ayuda a FEMA para reparar su hogar o para asistencia de vivienda temporal. Aplique por internet en www.disasterassistance.gov/  Mirar el volante para mas información. 

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      Catholic Charities has opened applications for their Winter Storm Assistance Fund. Applications are due this Friday the 26th. Applications must be completed online. Apply here.

      Caridades Católicas está aceptando solicitudes para su Fondo de Asistencia para Tormentas Invernales. Fecha límite para aplicar es este viernes 26 de febrero. Mirar el volante. Aplicar aqui.

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Here are reminders about some of the great programs happening this week between now and the Sunday service:

      At the Wednesday Discussion, from 5:00 to 6:00 pm this evening, the topic will be “What are some of the main differences between the 1776 Report information and the 1619 Project information?", facilitated by Dianne R.

      ADG (Adult Discussion Group) happens every Sunday at 9:30. It provides an especially comforting way to maintain human contact and participate in respectful, intelligent discussions with our invited speakers, presenters, guests, and members of our congregation. This Sunday, Homi presents "Zoroastrianism: gi’me that ole time religion".

      The Sunday Discussion Circle meets every Sunday, from 12:00 noon to 1:00 PM. Join them for fun, facilitated, educational discussions on a variety of topics. Sunday, KC asks "What are your thoughts about Conspiracy Theories?"

      Our new BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, & People Of Color) Group will be starting on March 21st, 2021 at 4:00 PM. We invite our BIPOC members and friends of First UU to please join us as we gather in the light of truth and warmth of love to sustain one another and share our experiences. We want to have a world that respects EVERYONE.  Please RSVP to info@firstuu.org for this group.

Many of the topics for upcoming discussion and book groups are on our website. Visit this link for more details and information on signing up.

BIPOC

We are inviting those members and friends of First UU who identify as Black, Indigenous or People of Color to the BIPOC Gatherings. Please join us as we gather in the light of truth and warmth of love to sustain one another and share our experiences. We aspire to a world that respects everyone.

The first meeting was originally scheduled for today, but because of the weather, it has been postponed. Our first monthly gathering will be Sunday, March 21 at 4:00 pm via Zoom. We would appreciate your input to help guide our discussions and get our group up and running.  Please RSVP to BIPOC@firstuu.org to get the Zoom link.

— Kianna T. and Georgette D.

Justice & Community Action - First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston

House Meetings
“What keeps you awake at night?” “What pressures are you and your family experiencing?” The Justice Coordinating Council (JCC) wants our advocacy efforts to represent your and our congregation’s concerns and values.  We invite you to let us know what they are and join in addressing some of these issues.  
          We invite everyone to attend a virtual House Meeting next Sunday, February 28, at 2:00 pm. We are asking you to register in advance if possible, but even if you don’t, join us at this link.
 
Statewide Meeting
TMO and the other Texas IAF (Industrial Area Foundation) organizations will be holding a virtual Statewide Assembly on Thursday, March 4 at 6 pm. Please plan to attend; RSVP HERE.

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The Healthy Communications Team (HCT) continues to be available to hear your comments and concerns. If you have observations about our church, programs, or services that you would like the HCT to be aware of, please email hct@firstuu.org.

Become a Member - First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston

Although we’re not meeting in person, now is a great time to consider joining our church. Some folks have just discovered our online presence, and many friends of the church are realizing how much our congregation means to them during this time. For more information, contact Alma at membership@firstuuorg.

If you’re already a member, continue to support the church by subscribing to our YouTube Channel and liking and following our Facebook pages.

New to Unitarian Universalism?
Learn more about Unitarian Universalism from the Unitarian Universalist Association. Click HERE to watch a video!

Upcoming Membership 101 session:
Our regularly-scheduled session is held on the
2nd Thursday of each month:

March 11th at 6:00 pm.