Each month we have a new spotlight on our Theme, Plate Partner, and featured Small Group.


What Does It Mean To Be A Community of Healing?

Well this one certainly seems easy to answer: it takes work. To be a community of healing requires dedication and a willingness to dig in – to fix what’s been broken, to listen away each others’ pain, to battle the bad guys and gals, to ask forgiveness when we are not the good guys and gals we so want to be. So yes, it is easy to remember that it takes work.

But what if we just as easily remembered that it takes perception and sight as well?

Or to be more exact, what if we remembered that healing always begins with perception and sight?

Would we more easily remember that time we were blessed with the experience of looking through each other’s eyes? It wasn’t a perfect view. We weren’t able to see or understand “the other” completely. But we were at least able to see them differently. And in doing so, the healing began.

Would we more easily remember the first time we felt seen? And how that made us want to give that gift to others?

Would we more easily call to mind those moments when we were able to see our “enemies” in their wholeness? Those moments when our frames of them as all bad and us as all good gave way to the truth that they are as complex, fragile and flawed as us.

Would we more easily tell the story of when we first realized that we were part of propping up the system? The system that subtly and not so subtly gives some a hand while keeping the hands of others so securely tied behind their back?

Would we more easily remember what happened when we confessed our lie or admitted our addiction? How when we stopped trying to hide it from the sight of others, it somehow loosened its hold on us?

There was a magic in all this looking, seeing and being seen. Remember that? In each case, we learned that healing is not entirely up to us. There was an otherness at work. We just got the ball rolling. We weren’t “the healers”; our wider view simply set the stage. Opened the door. Healing then slowly made its way in and joined us as a partner.

And seeing healing as a partner – rather than solely as a product of our will and work – we were able to be more gentle with ourselves. We realized that manageable steps and doing what we can were just fine; heroics didn’t always have to be the way. We were able to put down the weight of the world for a while, knowing and trusting that healing had a life of its own – that it has the ability to grow and take root even while we rest, maybe even because we took the time to rest.

In the end, maybe that is the most important thing to remember this month: besides always beginning with a wider view, healing also means making room for rest. Too often being a community of healing gets reduced to a matter of work, vigilance and never letting up. So we need these reminders that healing is a partner, not simply a product of our work.

Maybe even trying to partner with us right now…

From Soul Matters


The Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence is in Boise, Idaho at the Linen Building.  We are an inter-generational, multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural organization working to end gender violence – domestic and sexual violence.  We understand that gender violence is inextricably interconnected to multiple systemic oppression. Our focus is girls and women, and people who are gender oppressed who are impacted by or at risk of gender violence and systemic oppression.

Gender violence does not occur in isolation.  Gender violence is part of the continuum of gender oppression and is fueled by social injustice including patriarchy, sexism, racism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, able-ism, religious discrimination, and anti-immigrant sentiment. To end gender violence, we must address the larger systemic issues that generate and sustain it.

Our shared vision is one of beloved communities with social equity and collective liberation for all human beings; where we see our own and each other’s full humanity and everyone has the ability to thrive and the dominant social narrative is one of interdependence, resilience, and regeneration.

Our north star is the collective liberation to the last girl, and is the embodiment of our vision, values, and purpose.  Our movement must place historically marginalized girls and women and people who are gender oppressed – the last girl – at the center of our efforts. Focusing on the last girl, means ensuring that our actions, strategies, policies, and programs not only respect and reflect their experiences but also serve to advance their agency and leadership in their own lives and in the movement at large.

You can learn more about us on our website.


We Americans cherish our freedom, independence and civil rights. We care about other peoples who do not have these rights, and speak out for them. There are people whom our own government actually contributes to their oppression, one being the indigenous people of Palestine, who have been under one occupation after another for hundreds of years. When the British occupied Palestine, they promised the Palestinian people independence. Instead, the UN “gave” them just under half of their own land, with Jerusalem as a shared city. The Palestinian people desperately yearn to have their own independent free nation.

We UUs have historically taken an unpopular, but justice based stand. Years ago some UUs founded UUs for Justice in the Middle East (UUJME), primarily concerned with educating about the often misunderstood and misreported plight of the Palestinian people, telling their side of the story, of the oppression, the occupation, and the apartheid which the Palestinian people have been enduring. Today UUJME has chapters all over the U.S.

Several years ago BUUF member Debbie Espen, after having served on several committees, taught classes, and led chalice circles and affinity groups, with a core group of supporters established a BUUF chapter of UUJME. Over the years we have sponsored several events: educational films, panel presentations, as well as speakers, from Israel, Gaza, and even one who was on the aid ship to Gaza which was (illegally) attacked by Israel.

There are plans in the works for an educational film, a display, and free literature at BUUF in the coming year. For info about UUJME, go to uujme.org. For info about the local chapter email Debbie at debbieespen@yahoo.com with UUJME in the subject line.

Palestinian rights and lives matter!