In 2014, because of our shared ministry, the UU Peace Ministry Network recognized the UUCRT as the tenth Peace Advocacy Congregation in the UUA. The UUCRT has changed since then. I wanted to explore the extent to which the identity “Peace Advocacy Congregation” still resonates, so during the Sunday Service on September 23 I introduced the theme “Peace in Our Time” and we created the message together. I invited the congregation to respond in writing to six questions. Then I read the responses I had received from the pulpit and recorded the message. I uploaded the recording and it is available on uucrt.org. I have typed up the responses and you will find them below. I am moved by the moral sensitivity and moral seriousness of this congregation and I am grateful we still share this vital ministry of peace advocacy.
See you on Sunday,
(Rev. Antal’s recorded sermons are now available on the UUCRT homepage.)
- What does peace advocacy mean? (21 responses)
I strive to live out the gospel of Jesus Christ everyday by asking God to guide me and be compassionate to others. SOUL SEARCHING. For me peace advocacy means thinking about peace because what we think about is what we attract to ourselves and the world. Peace, seeking better ways to solve conflicts. Peace advocacy means speaking up against statements of violence, unfair characterizations of people or groups of people. Listening, speaking peacefully, walking away but returning. Creating my own peace of mind and spreading it outwards. Involvement in our communities here and abroad. For me peace advocacy means: “actively promoting peace.” For me peace advocacy means standing up for (against) injustice. Peace advocacy means standing up against war – peaceful means to solve conflicts. Respect and tolerance for others. Connecting people of all types. Peace advocacy means taking action in some way to promote peace. Helping families resolve conflicts. Talking individually with people who don’t agree with me. Tolerance. A deep challenge to self; an overcoming. Speaking out-not remaining in silence. Living a life that embodies non-violence and encouraging others to do likewise. For me, peace advocacy means supporting UU and its principles.
- Who is one peace advocate you admire? (22 responses)
One peace advocate I admire is “Martin Luther King,” and living: “Rev. Chris Antal.” Martin Luther King. Martin Luther King, Jr. MLK. Martin Luther King, Jr. MLK. Gandhi. Gandhi. Gandhi. Rev. Barber. One peace advocate I admire is Rev. Barber (Moral Mondays). One peace advocate I admire is Jimmy Carter. Barack Obama. Malcolm X. Pete Seeger. Patrick Kennedy. Michael Moore the filmmaker. Nelson Mandela. The Dalai Lama. Thich Nat Hahn. St. Francis of Assisi. ALL OF THEM ALIVE OR DEAD.
- When were you a peace advocate? (21 responses)
When I helped my spouse with organizing and establishing the first official Amnesty International organization in Orange County; we met in our old building. I was a peace advocate when I marched with Women in Black. Marched in NY for nuclear disarmament. I was a peace advocate when I marched for peace remembering Hiroshima and what harm we caused. Overcame my own violence. Diffused an argument in a public place. WHOLE LIFE. I was a peace advocate when I stopped an 8th grade class from tossing around the room an unpopular girl’s purse and put my body over a girl in 7th grade who was crouching on the ground while being teased mercilessly. I was a peace advocate when I failed to engage or talk about negative ideas. A member of Orange County Peace and Justice. I carried supplies to a country embargoed by the U.S. government. When I was drafted into the army and realized the futility of war and worked from within to help others. Stood on the street with Women in Black. Was canvassing for a political party and attempted to see both sides. When I marched to protest nuclear weapons. Participated in demonstrations in the city. Mediated between my sons. Attended the Women’s March. Went to the Women’s March. I was a peace advocate when I “refused to fight in Vietnam.” I was a peace advocate when I came home from Viet Nam.
- When were we, as a congregation or denomination, peace advocates?
UUs demonstrated for peace and against fascism wearing “Standing on the Side of Love” shirts in NC. Marched for peace at rally for peace at different locations. We were peace advocates when we did not interrupt others who were speaking their opinion. Marched in NYC to protest nuclear proliferation. Had a non-violent communication service after the May congregational meeting. We were peace advocates when we had a healing circle when we were upset with each other over a publishing in the UU newsletter. Got through rough times and controversy within the congregation. Marched in support of UN resolution to ban nuclear weapons. We were peace advocates when we supported refugees. We were peace advocates when we had programs on drones, nuclear war, went on a bus to NYC. Invited the community to discuss the vandalism of the sign/flags. Offered to help the refugees. Marched for peace in NYC. Marched in Albany. Joined the social action committee. Voted to be a Peace Advocacy Congregation. We were peace advocates when we? (questioned) THE WRONG IN THE WORLD. Voting to send Chris to DC.
- How will you be a peace advocate? (16 responses)
I will be a peace advocate by doing more than I have done in the past. Courage-if I have it. Genuinely appreciating others. Learning more about the connections/actions here. Keeping open communication and listening to others. Looking for opportunities to stand up against drones and greed in the government. Writing opinion pieces for newspapers and other periodicals. Advocating for legislative and diplomatic solutions to domestic and international conflicts. Supporting peaceful actions and acting in peaceful ways. I will be a peace advocate by helping support Palestinian causes now that Trump has withdrawn humanitarian support. Listening; voting. HAVE BEEN WHOLE LIFE. I will be a peace advocate by thinking about and living as peacefully as I can and attempting to be at peace. I will be a peace advocate by: “Voting on Nov. 6!” Standing up for people being discriminated against and reaching out to people who do not share my views. I will be a peace advocate by sending contributions to UU and other organizations that help refugees find relief.
- How should we, as a congregation or denomination, be peace advocates? (19 responses)
Reaching out to the community, especially other faiths, nationalities, beliefs. We should be peace advocates by talking about various world issues and deciding if and how to act collectively or individually. Supporting peaceful actions and acting in peaceful ways. We should be peace advocates by “promoting peace in our personal, social, and political lives.” We should be peace advocates by our actions and behaviors. Supporting each other. Honoring, including, and accepting those who come thru our doors. By boycott, letter writing and greater participation with peace groups. Looking for local opportunities to shelter and aid the oppressed from unfair treatment. Working to end development of weapons of mass destruction. Supporting peaceful efforts locally and in government. Speaking up in difficult circumstances with those who don’t agree and not giving up. Continuing to work for peace now and in the future. Seeking to resolve conflicts within ourselves and others for peaceful solutions. Our individual and collective actions. Supporting financially and otherwise those in positive struggle at home and outside our community. Networking with other faith groups. Willing to risk our comfort zone of confronting others. Don’t know yet but taking up the challenge seriously.