Happy Summer!

It's Pride season! Members of our congregation love to participate in the Michigan Pride Parade and Festival. Please contact Connections Coordinator Corie Jason if you would like to help carry our church banners in the parade or work a booth during the Festival.

All summer long, our senior minister, the Rev. Kathryn A. Bert, is offering free officiant services and building use for same-sex weddings.

We're also starting to plan for our big Church Picnic as summer ends. Our annual Church Picnic is a way for us to celebrate each new church year together with a potluck and traditional picnic games. This year's picnic will be on Sunday, September 27. It's a wonderful time to eat, play, and just be together!

Participants bring a dish to share as well as their own table service. In an effort to be more environmentally friendly, in line with our UU principles, we ask that you bring your own reusable dishes and silverware. The church provides locally pasture-raised beef patties, hamburger buns, and condiments as well as fresh and local grilled veggies. If you are interested in helping with the next Picnic, please contact Connections Coordinator Corie Jason.

From Grove Street to the Pathway

Come with us on a journey of transformation!

national delegate Cherice Fleming (Woods) carries our banner

Our congregation is growing and changing. This year, as we begin the transformative process of renovating a new church home, we are telling and retelling the stories that move us. Join us at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lansing, a congregation on the move!

For the past decade, our beloved community has been dreaming of freedom from our space and accessibility barriers with a new worship location. We've finally found it at at 5509 South Pennsylvania Avenue in Lansing. This is an exciting time in the 167-year history of our church! Please join us on the journey from our familiar home on Grove Street in East Lansing to one that better serves our values of radical welcome and responsible stewardship. Together, we are experiencing a surge of inspiration and evolution, within ourselves and in the creation of a new worship and gathering space.

We look forward to making the move next year, in 2016. Our new property is an upcycled school building on about nine acres of field and forest near a stretch of the new South Lansing Pathway. Indoors and out, it will be a more welcoming sanctuary for human worshipers as well as a mindfully designed and maintained part of the local ecosystem. Thoughtful renovations are being planned with both accessibility and sustainability as top priorities, followed by durability and aesthetic beauty.

While our church focuses on the immense task of creating and settling into a new home, we are not scheduling any new programs. For now, we are continuing most of the rich and diverse programs already in place, which sometimes include new sub-programs (such as classes within our existing Lifespan Faith Development program or events organized by existing Social Action teams). We hope to be moving into our new space by spring. This year is a time to reflect, re-energize for the work ahead, and dream together about our future on the Pathway.

If you have a dream about an event, activity, or new program for our church to host in the future, you may contact dream.uucgl@gmail.com or send questions to the main office at office@uulansing.org. If you would like to make a reservation for an event or activity on church grounds in 2015, please see the Program Council's guidelines.

For ongoing reports of our Board of Trustees' work, see the Splinters from the Board, a summary of each monthly and special Board meeting.

Ending Mass Incarceration

We Stand on the Side of Love for Racial Justice! Many members of our congregation are deeply engaged in anti-racism movements. Various groups dedicated to education and action on issues of race and systemic oppression have developed and evolved over the years. Our latest Social Justice campaign against racism formed in response to Michelle Alexander's book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, a recent Common Read of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

The "Committee to End the New Jim Crow" meets at our church on fourth Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. (on break for the summer until Wednesday, August 26) and works to end mass incarceration through both education and action. All interested members and friends are invited to attend. 

The Committee began in 2012 and adopted a mission to educate ourselves and others, through hosting book and film discussions, speakers, and public events, about the ways that our criminal justice system perpetuates racial and economic hierarchies, especially stigmatizing poor people and minorities. We advocate changes in laws and policies that have led to mass incarceration including harsh sentencing laws, drug laws, racial profiling practices, zero tolerance policies in schools, and policies that deny the rights of former felons and limit their ability to successfully re-enter society.

The Committee sponsored a church service in August 2014 on the School to Prison Pipeline, and it joined and supported activities of two local organizations: Citizens for Prison Reform and the Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending. Members participated in a march to the Capital with Detroit youth asking for solutions, not suspensions, and sponsored a Third-Sunday Evening film on the problems with the Michigan Public Defender System.

This year, we sponsored two more Third-Sunday Evenings. The first was on Sunday, October 19, 2014, when we showed the award-winning film The House I Live In on the war on drugs and its origins and impact. The second was a showing of The Central Park Five on Sunday, January 18, 2015. We raised nearly $1500 for the Family Participation Program through a Second-Sunday Plate Collection. We also hosted gatherings by the Michigan Collaborative to End Mass Incarceration and the Family Participation Program, and we participated in the 4th annual Legislative Day sponsored by Citizens for Prison Reform. On June 3, several of us gathered to witness a Michigan Court of Appeals hearing about whether teens ages 13 - 17 should be protected from abuse and discrimination under the State's Civil Rights Act while imprisoned, detained in a jail, or on parole.

front row, left to right: Lynn Scott, Renee Swanson, and Lois DeMott were among the five Committee members who attended the hearing to learn from and lend emotional support to teens in the prison system.

We encouraged a solid group of participants for a new Peace Education Program, which is being piloted by church member Cherice Fleming and Candice Wilmore of the Prem Rawat Foundation. This fall, we will offer another new workshop dealing with racial justice called Beloved Conversations.

We invite everyone to join us reading two books this year: Punishing the Poor by Loic Wacquant and On the Run by Alice Goffman.

For more information, contact Lynn Scott, John Sanford, or Margaret Holmes-Rovner.  

Find contact information in the directory available at church.