Can All Have Hunger Moon Peace?

Snow Moon is far more romantic than Hunger Moon, don’t you think? And yet, snow in this case isn’t just a beautiful covering, it’s also that which traditionally prevented us from hunting, fishing, or gathering our food. Snowtires and good roads have made many snow realities a thing of the past.

Unfortunately, they’ve done nothing to eradicate hunger.

The dangerous snows of today’s Hunger Moon are poverty, income inequality, lack of work.

I can address the storms and drifts only with my voting and political will. But I have a little shovel that I can dig into the local hunger. And if I can, I must. Time to but my back into, time to use my strength.

Peace is, but it also waits for me to make it. It waits for you too. Why shouldn’t we be the snows of philanthropy and good will? Are we willing to make the difference?


Love Flows to Staten Island

Dear Friends, I know, twice in one day!

The local UU congregation in the Susquehanna Valley, where I’m minister, got involved in Superstorm Sandy relief not only because it is right to be generous in the face of need but also because many of us in this River Valley had only last year experienced the trauma and destruction of floods. We were so lucky that when we reached out, we found a congregation on Staten Island who was acting as a distribution center for the relief and recovery efforts. We’ve grown a great partnership and we’re very proud and grateful to have been able to have been of some help. We’ve now created a new way that with a little bit of generosity and a wee bit of effort gathering your friends and family to help that we can make a big difference in a both a joyful afternoon for some and a big gift that will benefit many. Here’s what’s on our UUCSV website and here are the instructions for chipping in to be a small but integral part of a sweet and refreshing gift of love.

Since Superstorm Sandy the UUCSV and our friends in the Susquehanna Valley have been sending cash cards to the people of Staten Island which are being disseminated through the UU Church of Staten Island. The Rev. Susan Karlson has been our contact point. What has been great is that we’ve been able to send not only every dollar that was given, but also leverage those dollars and send more than was collected by donating the fundraising profit we get from selling gift cards. It’s been a great boon and the money you’re donating is going right into the hands of people trying to rebuild their lives. We chose this action because people in this Valley know what it means to inundated by floodwaters. People’s generosity has been amazing. We are grateful and proud. Over $9,000 has gone from our hearts to theirs.

We’ve been planning a work day. (May 25, 2013) As Susan and Ann talked about the difficulties of finding work for non trained people at this point, we decided that what would be wonderful would be to take them a garden party. Musicians have donated their time, we’ll be soliciting food from stores and restaurants. But we also thought it would be wonderful to gather a large sum of money as a gift. We need to pay for the bus. But other than that, we could turn your gifts into cards for individuals, or they could find a project that needed a lump sum infusion. The idea of gathering $10 from 1,500 people all over our River Valley and Beyond was born. Do you have $10 to share with the People of Staten Island? Will you ask your friends if they do? You can help make a huge difference in the lives of fellow flood victims. We can give, because we’re generous and because we’ve been there. Love flows: from the rivers to the ocean, and from our hearts to yours. Please give that Love some momentum and donate to our Sandy Relief project today. Here’s what to do. (although stuffing a $10 in my pocket — or better yet a bunch of them works just as well!)

In gratitude for your generosity and thoughtfulness… Ann

Saying No to the Naysayers!

I don’t know whether or not you’ve watched the hateful anti-gay rhetoric that has recently come out of the mouths of at least 2 ministers from North Carolina. But it’s been shocking and violent. Neither the Rev. Charles Worley and the Rev. Sean Harris have been content to dismiss homosexuality as wrong, but have each found brutal solutions to “ending the scourge of homosexuality.” They are so misguided.

But responding to that hate with hate is not helpful, neither to the cause nor to our calm. So, I think you’ll all agree that this blogger’s response is fabulous. The Rev. Mark Sandlin suggests that we make donations to gay friendly causes in his name and to include his address so that they can mail him letters of thanksgiving for his generosity. It’s a fairly ingenious response. You can read his column here. You can pray for the ministers and their followers any time. May their hearts be turned from hatred and violence.

Philanthropy & Giving Circles

There is no question that times are hard for people and for charitable organizations. It is also a hard truth that services that might be provided by our government will not be funded due to lack of resources. We can argue across political lines who should pay for what. Or we can do as much as we can of what needs to be done. I look at our schools and social services and think, they need support now.

There are groups who have lists of effective charities, and it’s always good to support organizations with a track record of making a difference. I’ve written in another blog post about Fixes a weekly column in the New York Times. One of the things they keep tabs on is which organizations and what style of philanthropy is working.

I think one way that we can make a difference is through giving circles. If we gather our friends together and make decisions about where we’d like to have impact,

  1. It allows us to participate in a much larger way in the financial success of an organization.
  2. We can involve our kids in the notion and the reality of giving. Kids can make good choices about the kind of help that’s needed.
  3. It keeps us talking about what’s important to us as individuals, families and communities.

It’s a new year. Many of us feel we don’t have enough… but I would encourage us all to look at what enough is compared to the people in our community. It’s easy to get lulled into the need for more, when we might better be coaxed into generosity.