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November’s Spiritual Theme Attention
(Resources to engage with our monthly theme are offered at the end of this newsletter)
Forget about enlightenment. Sit down wherever you are
And listen to the wind singing in your veins.
Feel the love, the longing, the fear in your bones.
Open your heart to who you are, right now,
Not who you would like to be,
Not the saint you are striving to become,
But the being right here before you, inside you, around you.
All of you is holy.You are already more and less
Than whatever you can know.
Message from Your PresidentHello Members and Friends of BUUF, This month I bring happy tidings of a balanced budget. As you may recall, in August, to address an anticipated shortfall in pledge revenue, the Board approved operating expense reductions of just under $12,000, distributed across many different expense categories. This reduced our overall deficit to approximately $6,500, which was a few thousand dollars less than what the congregation approved at the Annual Meeting. While we were in the process of communicating these cuts to the affected staff, committees, and teams, however, we received a generous, one-time, $6,000 special gift from donors who wish to remain anonymous. The gift came with specific instructions that we use it to close the operating budget gap. Around the same time, we received news of Emmie Scholbohm’s retirement from the position of Director of Family Ministries. Taken together, the additional income and the reduced staff expense allowed us to reset the expense budgets that we trimmed in our August decision and to address other issues that were raised. After receiving input from Rev. Sara and the Finance Committee, we returned most expense items to the original numbers approved at the Annual Meeting. The exceptions, as outlined by Treasurer Tom von Alten, were as follows: • The Finance Committee AGD expense was made “whole” to the FY2019 level of $10,000. • Utilities expense for gas & electric were kept as amended in August, as we were advised that those numbers were the best estimates. • The reduced salary expense for the Director of Family Ministries and payroll expense were adjusted to reflect Emmie’s departure. • Our Workers Compensation Insurance premium was adjusted to reflect an increased assessment, retroactive to 2018. The bottom line effect of all these adjustments is to change the previously budgeted deficit of about $6,500 to a surplus of just over $1,000. Meaning: we now have not budgeted for, and do not anticipate, moving any funds from reserves to cover FY2020 operating expenses. For more detailed information, the current Operating Budget is available on our website. We are extremely grateful for the generosity of everyone who made this balanced budget possible. We also want to acknowledge that the events that enabled us to balance the budget this year–an extremely generous one-time gift, and the timing of a full-time staff member’s departure–are unlikely to repeat. Although it will not be easy, as we contemplate next year’s budget, we will need to take into account the downward trend in overall pledge revenue and set our budget at a level that is sustainable over the long term. As we do so, we welcome your questions and input to ensure we are doing our best to live into our important mission, vision, and ends. Thank You, Rachel Murphy, President
As always, be in touch with your BUUF board members about your ideas and concerns for BUUF: Visit our webpage or send one of the officers an email!President – Rachel Murphy Vice President – Scott SmithTreasurer – Tom von Alten Secretary – Elaine DalyPast President – Harriet ShakleeDirectors – Elizabeth Pirie, Cathy Sherman, Sandy Cruise, Sue StadlerStaff Transition –
Farewell Tess Veto
It is with both sadness and joy that we share with you that Tess Veto, our Social Justice/Membership Coordinator, will be leaving us at the end of December. As you’ll read in her letter below, she and her spouse have a wonderful opportunity to move to Portland. We celebrate with them even as she will be deeply missed. Tess has brought so much energy, passion and dedication to her work. Her graphic design skills have brought beauty and pop to our communications and she has served with such love and devotion. She has shared herself with us in big and small ways, nurturing all our social justice ministries and helping newcomers and long-time members deepen their connection and engagement. She has challenged us to look at things differently and find creative solutions. In her work, she has helped all of us grow. We are truly grateful.
Here is her farewell letter:
Hello Boise UU.
Beloved Community. A Sacred Space. The Deathless Dream.
It has been an impactful 2 years here. This is the longest my nomadic heart has worked in one place. Part of me wishes I could work here longer, but the road is calling and I must answer. My girlfriend and I have been dreaming since March of 2018 about what it would be like to live in the same town. My husband’s work is opening a satellite office in Portland, where she lives, and Jake has been asked to manage it. With heavy and ecstatic hearts, Jake and I are moving to Portland. I have decided to pursue my design work, and have begun the process to specialize in UX design- making websites and phone apps centered around the user experience. Portland is full of promise for our careers and love lives.
I’ve been reflecting the last couple of weeks about what Boise UU has meant to me. This place and its people have held me up through illness and self-discovery. I know myself better than I ever have, I notice more, and I have had the blessed space to grow.
I gave a sermon this last June about my not-quite-out story. I would hate to leave everyone hanging. On Labor Day Jake and I went up to my parents’ favorite camping place for the weekend. The week before I sent my parents’ a letter coming out to them as pansexual and polyamorus. It was nerve-racking, I had finally prepared myself to lose my blood family. But, I didn’t lose them. Instead I’ve been embraced with so much love from both of my parents. My mom has been googling and educating both herself and my dad, and they’ve asked a lot of respectful and compassionate questions. We talk more often now, and more freely.
The courage to be fully out is my own, but I don’t feel like I could have done it without the intense and overwhelming support of BUUF folks. Love is something that y’all do great at. I can only encourage you to further press into that love. To make it bigger, louder, softer, more tender. To allow this love to continue to transform your minds and hearts. To remember that Love takes precedence over rules, perfection, and “being right.”
As this is a space of justice, know that you will often be uncomfortable as you chase and lean into Love. Our society does not preach the flexibility of love, instead relying on euro-centric strict ideals. Breaking down those barriers in myself has been Love’s greatest work in me. It is my greatest hope that all of you will take on the work of Love’s transformation in the many areas of Justice: racial, gender, ablism to name a few. The discomfort, the sand in my shell, has created opportunity for greater self acceptance and for embracing new beneficial ways of being and doing.
This is my deathless dream for you all: Love one another so deeply you shed the injustices of your hearts. Blessed Be.
The office punk witch, Tess
Climate Action TeamClimate Focus of the Month –
Refrigerants from air conditioners, freezers, and refrigerators (CFCs and HCFCs) have the capacity to warm the atmosphere more than 1,000 times that of carbon dioxide (CO2). This makes refrigerant management the #1 priority in a recent compendium of methods to reverse global warming (1). Responsible management of these gases works. In the thirty years since the 1987 Montreal Protocol, the hole in the ozone layer over Australia is beginning to heal. The more stringent 2016 Kigali amendment , was adopted by more than 190 countries to eliminate CFCs and HCFCs over time. The U.S. has yet to ratify it. Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA has set standards (revised section 608) for disposal of refrigerants, with stiff fines for non-compliance (2). The EPA also created the more comprehensive (but voluntary) Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) program. Republic Services, (208) 345-1266, will dispose of refrigerators and freezers, using RAD protocols, for free in Boise City, and for a charge of $ 55.87 ($23 if transported to a transfer station) elsewhere in Ada county. New appliances will usually be delivered for free with a small haul-off charge for safe disposal of the old appliance (e.g., $20 at Lowes and Home Depot). What you can do:1. Ensure that your appliances are disposed of using RAD protocols2. Lobby local politicians to cover the cost of RAD disposal throughout Ada County3. Lobby our national representatives to ratify the Kigali amendment. (1) Drawdown (2017). Penguin Books. Or for most up to date https://www.drawdown.org/(2) Accruent (EPA online publication). EPA enforcement can be costly. Daniel Stouffer, May 12, 2009
To join our Climate Action Team, contact Sharon & Dennis Rockwood
November’s Plate PartnerCitizens’ Climate Lobby
Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) of Boise has been a partner with BUUF for
several climate related events. CCL is a national non-profit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy organization focused on national policies to address the climate crisis. CCL’s reputation is known for being a consistently
respectful, nonpartisan approach to climate education and is designed to create the political will for climate action across all geographic regions and political inclinations. By building upon shared values rather than partisan divides, and empowering its members and friends to work in keeping with the concerns of their local communities, CCL works towards the
adoption of fair, effective, and sustainable climate crisis solutions. CCL’s
preferred climate change solution is to put a price on carbon pollution and allocate the proceeds directly to Americans via a monthly dividend
check, to spend as they see fit. Right now House Bill # 763 the “Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act” is in congress and has support from both Republicans and Democrats. When passed the bill will drive down America’s carbon pollution while unleashing American technology, innovation and ingenuity. Studies are showing that HR763 would be:1. Effective 2. Good for People3. Good for the economy4. Bipartisan5. Revenue Neutral Next stepsLearn about the solution – see links aboveWrite congressSpread the word
The Path to Racial Allyship
Implicit Bias, The Good/Bad Binary and Beyond
Monday, December 2, 6:30—8:30 p.m.Raible Room, North Wing
As we comprehend our racial identity and how white supremacy is perpetuated, it helps to understand our own adaptions, particularly implicit bias and the good/bad binary. Guests welcome. Registration appreciated: nancy. Hosted by the Racial Justice Ministry.
More than ever, the US and the UUA are facing racism in our culture. As
BUUF begins to examine and change this, inviting you to participate as
fully as possible opportunities to explore and deepen your own
understanding of how race works in our lives. This series of monthly
programs examines racial identity and racism so we may become racial allies and an inclusive, beloved community. Challenge yourself! Join us.
The Racial Justice Ministry Team is committed to raising awareness, understanding and engagement with racial identity and racism, including our individual and collective opportunities to achieve racial justice. We aspire to have 51% of our congregation take part in the racial justice program, showing our collective commitment to work toward racial justice for all.
The Racial Justice Ministry has also proposed adoption of the 8th
Principle by our Fellowship through our Social Justice Resolution
Absentee Voting Process, as a way to publicly demonstrate our
commitment to racial justice and collective liberation for all. The Black
Lives of UU Organizing Collective encourages all Unitarian Universalists
to advocate for the formal adoption of an 8th principle, articulating a
commitment to the dismantling of white supremacy, within the stated
principles of our faith. The proposed 8th principle states: “We, the
member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association,
covenant to affirm and promote: journeying toward spiritual wholeness
by working to build a diverse multi-cultural Beloved Community by our
actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in
ourselves and our institutions.”
“Racial justice for all” starts with each of us working as an individual and mutually supporting our colleagues. We are inspired by our potential to still grow and learn, and by people of color who are urging us on toward racial allyship. There is great energy across the US and in the UUA to dismantle racism, build inclusive community and free us all. Now is the time.
What Does it Mean to be a People of Attention?
Alice Walker famously wrote, “I think it pisses God off if you walk by the
color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.” Walker’s words are a great reminder that attention and gratitude go hand in hand. Indeed they are a perfect embodiment of the dominant message about attention:
that it’s here to wake us up to life’s many gifts. But it’s also important to
remember that attention has a few ulterior motives up its sleeve. So some fair warning is required this month. Because attention won’t just make you grateful, it will make you fall in love. And it won’t just allow you to notice life’s gifts, it also makes it impossible to ignore life’s pain. First, the love part. Mary Oliver writes, “Attention is the beginning of devotion.” It’s a
beautiful way of saying you cannot love something that you do not really see. Love simply isn’t possible without deep noticing. And noticing deeply seems to inevitably lead to love. Glances and self-interested attention
never get to the real person. They stay on the surface and treat the other as a mirror. What you fall in love with is how they make you feel and how they enhance your statue with others. Which means that all you’ve really done is fall in love with yourself. Loving them, truly them, requires noticing your needs and then putting them down. It asks you to look without expectation of who you want or hope they will be, and instead try to focus simply on who they are right now. It’s a type of looking that keeps on
looking until you discover something entirely new, entirely other,
entirely and uniquely them. And once you notice something that
uniquely new, you’re in trouble, because you will most definitely be
devoted. You will no longer think about what you’re getting. You will only want to give. And now the pain part, which is not all that different from
the love piece. This time it’s a UU minister, Rev. Sean Dennison, that
captures it best. Sean writes “The ability to see beauty is the beginning of our moral sensibility. What we believe is beautiful we will not wantonly
destroy.” In other words, once we notice the beauty at the heart of others and the world, it pains us to see it destroyed. So seeing the beauty of something comes with a commitment. You don’t just think to yourself “Oh,
that’s pretty,” you think “My God, I must protect it.” Its survival becomes
your survival. Its pain becomes your pain. All this is to say that we should expect to feel grateful this month. But, also, don’t be surprised if you end up feeling devoted as well. Again, attention doesn’t simply help you
notice all you’ve been given; it also makes you fall in love and demands
that you give of yourself. So consider yourselves warned, friends: True
attention always comes at a cost, because real looking always results in
you not being able to look away. Often for the better. This month may that be true for you!
Questions on the Theme: Attention
Don’t treat these questions like “homework” or try to answer every single one. Instead, make time to reflect on the list and then pick the one question that speaks to you most. The goal is to figure out which question is “yours.” Which question captures the call of your inner voice? And what is it trying to get you to notice or remember? Sometimes it helps to read the list to a
friend or loved one and ask them which one they think is the question
you need to wrestle with.
1) Who was the first person in your life to offer you their attention,
without adding their advice?
2) Would you be pleased if your gravestone read: “She attended well to a
few worthy things”?
3) Have you ever given your attention so deeply to something that you
suddenly felt one with it?
4) Have you become too good at staying focused on the wrongs done to
5) When was the last time you let your attention linger on beauty? Did
you keep your gaze there long enough to feel changed? Or to hear it speak to you?
Poetry for the Soul
At a certain point you say to the woods, to the sea,to the mountains, the
world,Now I am ready. Now I will stop and be wholly attentive.You empty yourself and wait, listening. . .