Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of McMinnville Oregon (UUFM)
Rabbi Debra Kolodny —Activism is Holy; Lessons from the Torah

Rabbi Debra Kolodny —Activism is Holy; Lessons from the Torah

November 17, 2019

Ever wondered if there was a recipe somewhere for being the most effective social justice activist possible? Amazingly enough, the 3000 year old Hebrew Scriptures offers a profound and yet totally implementable path to becoming a master world healer. Together we will journey through the story of Yaacov/Jacob, seeing his life and choices as a blueprint for our own spiritual development as justice seekers.

Speaker Bio

Rabbi Debra Kolodny has been bringing her spiritual activist passion to worker rights, racial and economic justice, women’s, environmental, peace and LGBTQ causes since 1980. She has taught and spoken in hundreds of venues, organized retreats for as many as 750 and produced ground-breaking conferences. She is the founding rabbi of Portland’s UnShul, a Jewish community that shows up for racial, economic and immigrant justice, a leader in PUAH, Portland United Against Hate and the convener of the Portland Spirit Led Justice Alliance. She is multiply published and has interviewed on radio and television.

Dr. Miles Davis — Unity

Dr. Miles Davis — Unity

November 3, 2019

Unity is most commonly defined as the state of being united or joined as a whole. However, this simple definition is challenged by the inherent diversity of human beings. Even the seven (7) principles of UU can be challenged by deeply held beliefs that run counter to amalgamated beliefs and interactions. I look forward to exploring these challenges and offering a perspective I hope you find unifying.

Speaker Bio

Dr. Miles K. Davis is the 20th president of Linfield College. Davis has a Ph.D. in human and organizational sciences from The George Washington University, an M.A. in human resource development from Bowie State University and a B.A. in communications from Duquesne University. He was the inaugural chair of the management science department at the Harry F. Byrd Jr. School of Business at Shenandoah University and became the founding director of its Institute for Entrepreneurship. Dr. Davis went on to become the dean of the Harry F. Byrd, Jr. School of business. organizations manage cultural and structural changes, strategic planning, leadership development and strategic growth initiatives.

Trystan Reese - Supporting Transgender Families

Trystan Reese - Supporting Transgender Families

October 11, 2019

Perhaps best known as “the pregnant man” of 2017, Trystan Reese will be sharing his unique parenting journey to the UU community on October 6th. You’ll hear about how he and his partner became the “accidental gay parents” by adopting their niece and nephew, then how they went on to have their own biological child a few years later. He’ll share the story of deciding to have a baby as a transgender man, and how that decision ripples across the globe, creating change in more ways than he could have ever imagined.

Speaker Bio

Trystan Reese sprang into the public consciousness in 2017 when he and his partner, Biff, told their non-traditional pregnancy story in the mainstream media. He and Biff are also the adoptive parents of Biff’s biological niece and nephew. They are proud to have expanded the public conversation about trans reproductive justice, queer families, and what it means to be a father. He regularly tells the unique story of his family’s creation to audiences across the country. He is also the Director of Family Formation at Family Equality Council, a national nonprofit dedicated to supporting LGBTQ+ families and those who wish to form them.

Navneet Kaur — Why did so many Sikhs help at Sheridan?

Navneet Kaur — Why did so many Sikhs help at Sheridan?

August 18, 2019

Come and hear how the tenets of Sikhism relate to why so many Sikhs helped with the release of asylum seekers at the Sheridan Federal Correction Center last summer. Navneet Kaur, one of the interpreters who helped with the men from India and Nepal, was given access to the prison on a daily basis. She will talk about her experience and how her faith is embedded in all she does.

Speaker Bio

Navneet an adjunct instructor at Chemeketa Community College in Salem. She started her teaching career in Lodi California as a high school teacher in 2002 and has taught both middle and high school before becoming a college instructor. She is also a member of Dasmesh Darbar Sikh temple in Salem since 2006. She was actively involved in organizing and hosting all the events organized by the Sikh Community , including the Sikh Day Parade from 2006-2013 and was the Community Outreach Director for the temple. In 2018, she got involved with Innovation Law Lab and was an integral part of their pro bono team that helped free over a hundred immigrant detainees from Federal Correctional Institute in Sheridan, Oregon.

Rabbi Debra Kolodny —Jewish Perspectives and Practices for Personal Ethical Development

Rabbi Debra Kolodny —Jewish Perspectives and Practices for Personal Ethical Development

August 5, 2019

Being the most kind, honorable, compassionate and ethical person we can be within our families, communities, business interactions, work and more is paramount to the observant Jew. Today we will explore the ancient and modern practice of Musar/ethical development, diving into inspiring teachings from Rabbi Kalman Kalonymous Shapira of the Warsaw Ghetto. We will also learn a timeless, universal and effective practice to support our own personal development and leave renewed, refreshed and reinvigorated.

Speaker Bio

Rabbi Debra Kolodny has been bringing her spiritual activist passion to worker rights, racial and economic justice, women’s, environmental, peace and LGBTQ causes since 1980. She has taught and spoken in hundreds of venues, organized retreats for as many as 750 and produced ground-breaking conferences. She is the founding rabbi of Portland’s UnShul, a Jewish community that shows up for racial, economic and immigrant justice, a leader in PUAH, Portland United Against Hate and the convener of the Portland Spirit Led Justice Alliance. She is multiply published and has interviewed on radio and television.

Imam Abdulah Polovina —In Search of God

Imam Abdulah Polovina —In Search of God

July 21, 2019

Time moves everything including ourselves, whether we like it or not. But change brings us hope, new energy, and opens new doors in our lives. Our spiritual journeys fly above our lives like birds. Some birds fly high, and some fly low. My spiritual journey is similar to that of a Falcon because he insists on fly high in the sky above many other varieties of birds; he enjoys freedom instead of being enslaved; he knows where to go and finds food without anybody’s help.

Speaker Bio

Imam Abdulah Polovina was born in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Before the war In Bosnia and Herzegovina he attended the Gazi Husrevbegova madrasa to be Imam, Khatib and Muallim. He completed and graduated the madrasa in 1992. After the war he was appointed by the Islamic Community to work as an Imam in one mosque in Sarajevo. Here he stayed for the next five years, when he moved to the United States, to the City of Seattle, the State of Washington, where he worked as an Imam for 12 years at the local Islamic Community and the congregation of Bosniaks. Imam Abdulah got a BA in Islamic Studies at the Cloverdale College in Indiana, and BA in Comparative Religions at the University George Washington in Seattle, WA. He earned a masters degree at Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry in transformational leadership. Imam Abdulah got a BA in Islamic Studies at the Cloverdale College in Indiana, and BA in Comparative Religions at the University George Washington in Seattle, WA. He earned a masters degree at Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry in transformational leadership. Currently, Abdulah is the Imam of the Bosniak congregation and organization in Portland, Oregon.

Andrea Joy Kendall — What Wicca adds to the world’s faiths tapestry

Andrea Joy Kendall — What Wicca adds to the world’s faiths tapestry

July 7, 2019

Wicca is a life-affirming, earth- and nature-oriented religion which sees all of life as sacred and interconnected, honors the natural world as the embodiment of divinity, immanent as well as transcendent, and experiences the divine as feminine and often as masculine, as well.

Speaker Bio

Andrea Joy Kendall is a Wiccan clergy member and National Interfaith Representative for the Covenant of the Goddess (CoG). She has followed the Wiccan path for over 40 years while also studying many other faiths. At 33 she started a Wiccan group that she co-led for over 20 years. During this time, she worked at a Fortune 500 company where she was lucky enough to interact with people from all over the world. As she grew professionally she also grew spiritually by acting as clergy for her local community. When she moved to Oregon about eight years ago she become active in the local Neo-Pagan scene and participated regularly in Interfaith work. She also has attended several Parliaments of the World’s Religions adding to her knowledge. She currently lives in Oregon with her wonderful husband where she uses what she learned in big business in her spiritual work.

Shanta Frisbee — Flower Communion

Shanta Frisbee — Flower Communion

June 16, 2019

The Flower Ceremony, sometimes referred to as Flower Communion or Flower Festival, is an annual ritual that celebrates beauty, human uniqueness, diversity, and community. It was originally created in 1923 by Unitarian minister Norbert Capek of Prague, Czechoslovakia. It brings together the uniqueness and acceptance of all to create the bouquet of community.

Speaker Bio

Shanta is an ordained inter-faith minister through the Spiritual Healers & Earth Stewards Institute in Seattle. Shanta completed a Bodhisattva class in 2008 focusing on rituals and ceremonies using an earth based spirituality. Facilitating classes and workshops that bring awareness and intentions based on the wheel of seasons and pagan roots. Her graduate thesis was a focus on transforming communities through health and wholeness, with an emphasis on spirituality.

Rev Amy Beltaine —The Bounce — Finding our resilience

Rev Amy Beltaine —The Bounce — Finding our resilience

June 2, 2019

Why do many people and organizations crumble in the face of difficulty, while others use adversity to bounce back even stronger? The experience of bounce can range from an uncanny feeling of levitation to a supreme tranquil relaxation. It is precisely when all seems lost that the opportunity exists to rewire your brain. It’s often during life’s most difficult times that we discover our most critical hidden strengths and that we forge our most important capabilities.

Speaker Bio

Reverend Amy Beltaine is a traveling spiritual director providing Sunday services, retreats, and spiritual mentoring as a UU ministry: Supporting helpers who worry about making a difference to recharge their spiritual verve. When Hawthorne and Amy are not pulling their little home behind them they are in Portland, Oregon with beagle (Zim) and cat (Annie). A graduate of Meadville Lombard School for the Ministry, Amy is on the steering committee of the UU Spiritual Directors’ network. Amy is an accredited Spiritual Director, certified Transitions Specialist, nearly life-long earth-honoring Process-Panentheist, and recent President of the Covenant of UU Pagans. Amy aspires to become a Love-Ninja

Kathy Beckwith — It’s time to abandon war. There are alternatives.

Kathy Beckwith — It’s time to abandon war. There are alternatives.

May 19, 2019

Is using war as a means of resolving conflict an outdated premise? Is it time for us to move on from the battlefield? And if so, are there alternatives that actually work? Kathy Beckwith, local mediator, peer mediation trainer, and one of our UUFM community, will share with us her TEDx Talk titled: “It’s time to abandon war. There are alternatives.” She will note how hogs, frogs, mules, precious kids – and history – impact the topic — and how we can each be a part of bringing change.

With National Security Advisor John Bolton hard at work fanning the flames of a futile war with Iran, Kathy's points are even more frightening than they might otherwise be.  Moral issue aside, such a unilateral act of aggression by the United States will cost the lives of countless American soldiers who will have died in vain as well as Iranian civilians who will have died in defense of their country, accomplish nothing, foster an increase in the incidents of terrorist attacks on American targets both overseas and domestic.