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“Little Congregation – Big Heart”

March 2017

Editors’ Note: This month, instead of April’s usual column, she has asked us to reprint a letter to the editor recently published in a local newspaper. This letter is from a member of our congregation, and NRUUF is not responsible for its contents.

On January 21, I participated in the Women’s March in WV (Charleston), along with at least 2,800 other people. Below are some of the reasons I went:

WHAT I SUPPORT:

Respecting ALL people – women, men, black, white, gay, straight, disabled, able-bodied, Latina, Muslim – even those people I disagree with. That’s why we’re a democracy. Since the election, there has been a sharp increase in the number of hate crimes reported – and the number of insults and attacks on women.

Supporting women’s health treatment thru federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Most of Planned Parenthood’s monies (including ALL federal dollars) are spent on women’s preventive health issues, family planning, sex education, and screenings and treatment for illnesses.

Public education – especially important that all schools be the best they can be. Here in Monroe County, for example, not many parents can afford to pay for private education. We do not need a separate taxpayer-funded system that will compete with our already cash-strapped public education system for limited dollars.

Allowing women to choose when it comes to abortion. Want one? Have one. Don’t want one? Don’t. I understand many people do not support abortion (which is why I agree that federal dollars should not be used for abortion services with extremely limited exceptions, such as life of the mother). Although it has never been my experience, there was a time when I would not have chosen to have one. Now, I believe that is a decision between the woman and her doctor. Can’t join me on this? Can you join me on increasing family planning, encouraging young girls to stay in school, addressing childhood hunger? Let’s try to make sure that a woman never needs to choose an abortion.

Increasing jobs in WV. I want those that will not ruin our environment more than it already is in many places. Those of us here in MoCo know that, if they do put in that pipeline, not only will there be almost no net job increase here, there is a real chance that it could ruin our water system in places – and what will that do to the agriculture that is the backbone of Monroe County.
The Affordable Care Act (known as “Obamacare”). For the first time, most of the people in the US are covered for health insurance. Pre-existing conditions are covered at no extra cost. Young people can stay on their parent’s insurance. For many (tho not all) of those who could not afford coverage, there is help. Don’t like that premiums are still high? Great – let’s improve it. Now, the ACA limited how much profit insurance companies could collect (still too much as far as I’m concerned) – repealing it will let them go back to the days of higher insurance premiums (and more bankruptcies for medical costs). Look at the profits that drug companies make and other problems. But either we all pay a little – or some folks pay way too much for healthcare. (Don’t think it affects you if you won’t have insurance? Then don’t ever get sick or injured! Think that, if you do, the hospital will just have to treat you anyway? If you have insurance - guess one reason some hospital and medical bills are so high! SOMEBODY’s got to pay for treatment for all those uninsured folks!)

Equal pay for equal work. Can’t believe we are still fighting for this.

WHAT I AM AGAINST:

Having religion as part of taxpayer-funded education. If you want to make sure your child learns your religious values, I strongly support that. I do not support that you use my tax dollars to pay for that. Our nation was founded on a church-state separation fundamental belief – because our ancestors knew the dangers of having a state religion. That’s why many of them fled from Europe in the first place.

Demeaning women, insulting them, telling them that their concerns are meaningless and they should “get over it,” “pull up their big-girl panties,” etc. Do I understand that Donald Trump is the legally-sworn-in President of the United States? Yes. Does that mean I don’t have the right to protest actions that I believe (based on his campaign) that he plans to take? No. You have NO IDEA how “up” my big-girl panties are.

Deciding solely on the basis of religion whether someone should enter the United States. I do support carefully vetting those who come in – I’m not a fool – but we already do that.

Building a wall between us and Mexico – regardless of who pays for it eventually. If you want to improve border security, I believe the answer is beefing up border security.

“Bringing back coal” no matter what the cost to our water and our air. My wise father says that technology has killed more jobs than the politicians ever did – and I believe he is correct. Is there still some more coal here? Yes – but it will never be like it was when I was a kid growing up in Tazewell County.

Unethical practices like conflicts of interest. I know that even many of my conservative FB friends support Trump releasing his tax returns and not profiting from the Presidency thru his business interests. But so far, that is NOT what is happening. He’s saying now he won’t release his tax returns. He still hasn’t placed his business interests in a blind trust. (This is also a concern for me re Jim Justice, who was elected as a Democrat – and yes, I called on that as well). Trump is not the first businessman to be elected for public office – but he is remarkable for refusing to follow what are traditional (for very good reasons) practices.
Making any comments on Barron Trump. ANY child of a President is off-limits as far as I’m concerned.

Have we women lost our rights now? We are not idiots – no, not in one day. But we listened to the Republicans for the past year. We heard what your platform included – reversing Roe v. Wade, eliminating the number of refugees allowed entry, repealing the Affordable Care Act, increasing the use of fracked gas and oil, among other things. Many of us plan to fight that - remember how many people did not vote for the Republican platform.

There is one more thing I support – peaceful protest. Lots and lots of peaceful protest. Letters, phone calls, marches, signs, visits – I support them all. I do not support violence or other illegal acts. I understand the frustration behind those actions – but it is the wrong way to send a message. People who propose violent acts and vandalize the property of others do not speak for me, or anyone else I know.

In short, as others have said – I went to the Women’s March not just for my agenda – but to support the causes many of my sisters and brothers are fighting for. What sign did I carry? “Standing on the Side of Love”

Cathy Abernathy
Second Creek, WV
(published in The Monroe Watchman, 2/9/17)

 

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Committee Reports

Social Justice

April Puzzuoli and Randy Grumpelt met with a group of UU youth from Boston, who were in the area working to improve a local domestic violence shelter.  They enjoyed answering questions about the area and the goals for the NRUUF.

Treasurer

At the most recent Board meeting, Cathy Abernathy reported that, at 67% of the fiscal year, the church has received 63% of budgeted income and spent 63% of budgeted expenses.

 

ANNUAL MEETING

The NRUUF annual meeting will be on Sunday, April 16. Please join us!

UUA President Candidates Presentation

This year, we are fortunate to have 3 candidates (all women!). If you have not yet had a chance to hear them, please join us at the Charleston UU on Sat., April 1, at 10 am for livestream presentations and discussion. Following the presentations, there will be a workshop on congregational safety.

COFFEE HOUSE IS BACK!!

The NRUUF First Friday Coffee House is BACK!! Join us Friday, April 7, 6-9 pm for Open Mic, Refreshments and Social Time at the NRUUF Fellowship. The Coffee House will be open the First Friday of each month and admission is FREE. See you there! Please call Seby with any questions, 304-222-2337.

 Telephone Tree

As usual, we will have our Telephone Tree activated for winter weather.  If you would like to be called if services are cancelled, please let Cathy Abernathy (drcabernathy @aol.com or 304-772-5856) know.

 

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Sunday Services

Regular services begin at 11 am.

CUUPS (UU Pagans) now part of regular service

3/12 “Beatitudes – Ethical Teachings of Jesus” - Marcia Bastian
Daylight Savings Time Begins

3/19 “Social Justice Music, Pt. 2 – Lars Swanson

3/26 CUUPS - “Vernal Equinox” – Intergenerational - Jo Frost

3/27 Book group – Accidental Saints

4/1 Charleston UU – UUA President Candidates presentations and afternoon workshops

4/2 Open Forum

4/9 Lars Swanson

4/16 “Principle 5: The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process” – Betsy Sales
Annual Meeting/Potluck Lunch

4/23 “One of 7 Deadly Sins” - Marcia Bastian

4/24 Book Group – H Is For Hawk

4/30 Planetary Boardwalk

5/21 “What is Sanctuary” – Seby Bell
Potluck Luncheon

Please consult the calendar on our webpage for updated services announcements.