Table of Contents

Administrative Office Hours

Wednesday: 11:00 am - 7:00 pm
Thursday: 11:00 am - 7:00 pm
Friday: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Email the Office
or phone 215-247-2561.

If you need to reach Desi
you can call or text her on her
cell at 267-595-3250 - 24/7.

Minister's Office Hours

Tuesday, Wednesday and
Thursday by Appointment

Email the Minister
or phone 806-786-9733.

Social Justice News and Events

Justice Council Corner:
Spotlight on Gun Violence

~ A new weekly feature on community issues we care about ~

After hosting the Heeding Gods Call T-shirt display memorializing recent victims of gun violence on our front lawn, we wanted to share information on this issue which is upper most in the minds and hearts of Philadelphians especially those personally harmed and the communities most impacted by this painful and challenging cancer in U.S society.

Two recent stories were carried on NPR and WHYY stories that focus on the impact of gun violence and efforts to prevent and end it in Philadelphia and in Pennsylvania.

  1. The first includes moving stories shared by the founders of two gun violence intervention and healing groups who’s loved ones were murdered in gun violence incidents and who have spoken at UUs of Mt Airy and were recipients of our Change for Change offering: Mothers in Charge and EMIR (Every Murder is Real).
  2. The other story shines light on a fact that many people, particularly elected officials and mainstream media, too often ignore or just don’t know: that “suicide is leading cause of gun-related deaths” and that the elected officials who represent these rural towns and communities and have held up passage of common sense gun control laws in the PA General Assembly refused to comment on this story when offered the opportunity to respond.

Sunday, April 28 —

Mt Airy - Past, Present and Future - A Welcoming
and Inclusive Community. For All?
Films & Panel Discussion: Sunday April 28, 1 - 3 pm, in the Sanctuary

On Sunday, April 28, at 1pm in the Sanctuary, we will hold a film showing and conversation on the history and current challenges of creating a welcoming and inclusive community where all can thrive in East Mt. Airy. The event will include a showing of Neighbor Ladies, a film about the community's fight against racial "block busting" in East Mt Airy in the 1960s, and a video produced by the Mt Airy Neighborhood Diversity Initiative (MANDI) on current challenges facing Mt Airy as a whole. These will be followed by a conversation between Pat D, long-time member of UUs of Mt Airy and active community member in the formation of East Mt Airy Neighbors (EMAN) who appears in Neighbor Ladies, and Linda Bell, long-time resident of East Mt Airy and President of the Board of EMAN, discussing how East Mt Airy has evolved from the 1960s to the present and what lies ahead. This will also be available on the Worship Zoom. Tell your friends and neighbors, and let Bruce, Craig, or Anam know if you'd like to help with publicity!

Thursday, May 2 —

On-Going 4-part Workshop on Palestine-Israel Conflict
Unitarian Society of Germantown (USG), Middle East Committee

USG recently started a project called, ISRAEL / PALESTINE: LET’S TALK with the purpose, "Do you need a safe place to learn the issues, share your emotions and explore actions that promote peace between Palestine and Israel?”

Workshops on Suffering in Palestine: The committee is sponsoring the following workshops which UUs of Mt Airy members are welcome to participate in:

Please join us for a four-session workshop at the Unitarian Society of Germantown to share concerns about the ongoing suffering in Palestine, learn historical context, and explore ways of responding.

Led by Rabbi David Teutsch. Continuing on Thursday evening, 7-9 PM, May 2. To register, email

Saturday, May 4 —

What Role does Racism Play in the Culture of Violence in this County?
Saturday, May 4, 9:30am - 2pm (registration at 9am)

Oxford Presbyterian Church, 8501 Stenton Ave, Phila. 19150

Lunch Provided, Free!

  • Join the Philadelphia Chapter of Coming to the Table (comingtothetable.org) for an honest and open discussion. Keynote Speaker Rev. Gregory Holston, Co-Facilitator of 57+ Blocks Coalition.
  • For more information, contact Rev. Cheryl Pyrch, Summit Presbyterian Church.

Tuesday, May 7 —

End Gun Violence: PA Advocacy Day

Wednesday, May 8 —

Rally: A Budget Worth Fighting For

Sunday, May 12 —

Justice Council Meeting

  • All are welcome to join us in discussion regarding UU the Vote PA 2024 election work, Next Steps in the Power Interfaith NW Cluster congregation and community listening campaign, and developments in the organization of a UUs for Justice in the Middle East regional network.
  • WE WELCOME any interests you have in discussing a social justice and peace topic, event or project at the Justice Council
Contact: Co-Chairs Laurie D, 215-514-7955, or Craig S, 412-760-6478

Saturday, May 18 —

We will Host a Reparative Justice Summit

Saturday, May 18, 10am-4pm

Because of our continuing relationship with Rashaun Williams, spearheading the Philadelphia Reparations Task Force for the City Council, we were put in touch with an activist looking for space to host a summit connected to Reparations. Here is some information about the Summit:

A Time for Repair - Reparative Justice Summit: Cost of Intergenerational Incarceration to Black Women (this is the first of three in our reparative justice series this year... the second one in the fall: A Time for Reconstruction (speaking to institutions/policy/gov private partnerships) third one in the spring of next year: A Time for Renewal (speaking to rebuilding of human person through creativity, innovation, and healing)

The group that is organizing the Summit is the Aging People in Prison Human Rights Campaign/Philadelphia Aging People in Prison Human Rights Campaign (APPHRC).

The Board decided to waive building use fees for this Summit, seeing it as one small component of our Reparations work and totally in tune with our Mission of Building Beloved Community by embracing all souls and nurturing wholeness. APPHRC has asked Bruce P-J (215-848-0158) to speak as part of a panel about local faith institution Reparations work. Everyone in our congregation is invited to participate, and we will probably need some help in getting things set up and closed back down for the Summit - let Bruce know if you would like to be involved.

APPHRC plans to show a film on Reparations called "Pay Up and Get Out the Way" about Reparations work in Baltimore with the filmmakers speaking afterwards, so we have incorporated this in our film/speaker series for this year This will be on Friday night, May 17, in the Sanctuary. Stay tuned for more details!

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Guidelines for Monthly Change for Change

The Justice Council has established the following Guidelines for the recommendation and selection of an organization that will receive our monthly Change for Change Offering:

“We will select organizations led by and primarily serving Black, Indigenous and Other People of Color in our surrounding community* as well as periodic, special projects from UUA associated organizations such as Side With Love, UU Service Committee, UU the Vote, and UU Ministry for the Earth that reflect our congregational values and interests in promoting justice.”

* Note: Community is defined as Germantown and Mt Airy and other NW Philly neighborhoods. This guideline does not exclude nominations for organizations based in or serving communities in which UUs of Mt. Airy members live and are active.
Contact: Rita F (215) 407-0576 to nominate an organization or for more information.

Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the
Middle East (UUJME) Call to Action

UUJME is the Unitarian Universalist Association-affiliated organization providing education and advocacy leadership in support of UUA positions related to learning about the history and issues behind and efforts to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict. UUJME continues to call on UUs to:

Call your Congressional Representatives and Senators and President Biden Today!
Urge them to support a Ceasefire Now to all hostilities, a halt to all U.S. military aid to the Israeli government and military, the unconditional provision of humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza by international organizations and aid coordinators in Gaza and the release of Israeli hostages in Gaza and Palestinians illegally detained in the occupied territories of Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank since Oct 7th. Call the Congressional Switchboard: (202) 224-3121 White House - Comments: 202-456-1111

WHYY Coverage of Last Week’s
"March for Ceasefire Resolution!" in Germantown

UUsofMA Craig S, Bruce and Linda P-J and Paul M participated in this Ceasefire March.

Prayers for Peace Petitions Delivered to
Philadelphia Congresspeople and U.S Senators

On Tuesday, April 9, the local Palestinian Christian-Muslim-Jewish alliance, Prayers for Peace, delivered the petitions gathered from over 100 local clergy and faith group representatives to Philadelphia’s two Congressional Representatives and our U.S. Senators. Rev. McKinley was a signator to the petition. A copy of the petition and final signators is linked here.

At Representative Dwight Evans’ office, the petition was delivered to his Congressional Aide and Director of Military and Veterans Affairs. Rabbi Mordecai Liebling emphasized that the Congressman’s call for a temporary ceasefire is not enough, and that the United States must follow the Leahy Law and suspend military aid to Israel.

Senator Bob Casey’s office, after previously confirming that we would be able to deliver the petition, did not allow us into their office this morning. The petition was instead given to the security desk, and we will continue to request a meeting to express the will of his constituents.

Senator John Fetterman’s office sent an intern to talk to us. Rabbi Rebecca Alpert spoke to our disappointment with Senator Fetterman, while

Palestinian constituent Isam Sarama handed over the petition.

Representative Brendan Boyle’s staff locked the doors of his storefront office and did not let us in, only communicating by intercom.

Prayers for Peace Alliance will instead be mailing the Congressman a copy of the petition. Representative Boyle cannot continue to ignore the voices of faith leaders in his district.”

The group will be assessing their next steps and will share with the community how the religious community can continue to advocate for a permanent ceasefire, unconditional provision of humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza and the release of all Israeli hostages held in Gaza and several thousand Palestinians detained, and in many cases tortured, humiliated, starved and otherwise mistreated, since the current war exploded October 7, 2023.

Call your Congressional Representatives and President Biden Today!
Urge them to support a Ceasefire Now!

Call Congressional Switchboard: (202) 224-3121
White House - Comments: 202-456-1111

Webinar link now available : UUA:
“Resources for UUs Engaging on Palestine/Israel”

UUJME Webinar - Engaging with UUA Resources on Palestine and Israel - April 7, 2024.
Contact: Craig S, Justice Council, 412-760-6478

Emergency Call for an Immediate Ceasefire and Unrestricted
Flow of Humanitarian Aid to the People of Gaza

The Monday, April 1, killing of seven World Central Kitchen (WCK) volunteers by Israeli forces is part of a pattern of the killing of over 200 humanitarian aid workers as well as over 100 media personnel in Gaza since the beginning of Israel’s current siege on Gaza. CBS News reported April 4th that “Chef José Andrés says his World Central Kitchen charity's team in the Gaza Strip appears to have been deliberately targeted by the Israeli military…”

Anera, the American Near East Refugee Assistance organization, announced on March 9, 2024 that “Mousa Shawwa, Anera’s logistics coordinator in Gaza, was killed by an Israeli strike despite the fact the coordinates of his shelter had been provided for the purpose of protecting him on several occasions, including just days before the attack. Shawwa was sheltering with his extended family in Deir Al Balah and had just returned from distributing humanitarian aid at 4:00 pm when the attack happened.” Information on ANERA’s work was distributed at last Sundays worship service thanks to Holly J, who is friends with ANERA’s Communications Director.

Listen to this interview with a board member of ANERA in the wake of the WCK killings on NPR’s Morning Edition this morning.

Call our Senators and Congressional Representatives today to urge them to support a CEASEFIRE NOW. It is clear that only a cessation of U.S. military aid and withdrawal of political support for Israel’s siege on Gaza can lead to a permanent ceasefire which can set the conditions for the free flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza, and the release of surviving Israeli hostages and 1000’s of Palestinians detained during the siege. a Call Congressional Switchboard: (202) 224-3121

“Hate can’t stop hate, War is Cancer!” (from the song, “Ceasefire”). Contact: Craig S, (412) 760-6478; Laurie D, (215) 514-7955

UUA Condemns Violence Against Gaza, Urges Immediate
and Total Ceasefire By UUA Administration

From February 14, 2024
This statement was developed by the Office of the President and other senior national staff of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), grounded in the values of Unitarian Universalism and in conversation with previous resolutions, statements, and actions passed by General Assembly, the UUA’s democratically-elected governing body.

There are crystallizing moments in the course of history when, in spite of the differences that exist among us, our common reverence for life demands that we speak with moral courage and clarity on the side of love. As people of faith and conviction, Unitarian Universalists share a belief that every human life is sacred, endowed with worth and dignity from the moment of birth, with no person more deserving of freedom and flourishing than any other. Our living tradition has long maintained that the only hells that exist are those that we

create for one another, here on earth. We are watching in real time as the people of Gaza exist in a human-made hell that grows more unimaginable every day. At this point, 28,000 Palestinian civilians have been killed and nearly 70,000 have been injured by Israeli attacks in Gaza since Hamas attacked Israeli citizens on October 7. The medical infrastructure in Gaza has been decimated, and the Israeli government continues to prevent humanitarian aid, including food and water, from reaching refugees. And this week, the Netanyahu administration has announced the forced evacuation and ground invasion of Rafah, where 1.3 million displaced Palestinians have set up a massive tent city as a last refuge. The UUA first joined the call for a ceasefire on October 17, rooted in our historic positions as an organization; nearly four months later, this situation could not be more urgent.

Updated Land Acknowledgement

Mary L continues to evolve our Land Acknowledgement intending for it to be a living document and subject to future revisions as we continue our work. Here is the most recent version:

Our building sits on the traditional, unceded Lenape Lands of Lenapehoking. As many of us are settlers, immigrants, or descendants of those forcefully brought to this continent, we, the members of UUs of Mt. Airy, must recognize and never forget this reality.

Our congregation’s livelihood and history are a part of the colonization of Lenape territory, which includes all of present day New Jersey, northern Delaware, eastern Pennsylvania, and southeastern New York.

The translation of Lenape is ‘Original People’. While, presently, the majority of the Lenape are located in Oklahoma, with both the federally recognized Delaware Nation and the Delaware Tribe of Indians, we are their neighbors. We will work to continue to honor and be in relation with our neighbors, both historical and current, and we will strive to be good stewards of this land.

We are committed to continuing to educate ourselves on issues of cultural competency, colonization and oppression.

We are committed to supporting a community food pantry to address local food insecurity. We are planning a community garden and natural sanctuary on this land to deepen our connection to the earth and with our neighbors

Justice Council Report

This report covers the Justice Council (JC) activities from September, 2023 through February, 2024, so it is packed with multiple projects and initiatives that Council members have been busy discussing and carrying out over this period.

A central theme for the JC over the past year has been reconnecting UUs of MA with our local community while continuing to explore and respond to the systemic and society-wide issues in which our congregation and surrounding community are embedded. In September, the Justice Council decided to focus its Change for Change (C4C) giving selections primarily on local community-based organization led by and primarily serving African Americans which mirrors the criteria developed for a possible Community Partnership that we explored over the Spring and Summer.

Since September, the congregation has given as much as $400 a month to the following organizations: Mt Airy Community Fridge and Pantry; Germantown-based EMIR (Every Murder is Real); UU Justice PA, contributing to its annual fundraising goal; the Museum of Indian Culture, Allentown, PA, in appreciation for their assistance in revising our Land

Acknowledgment to the Lenape in this region as well as serving as an ongoing resource for the Lenape and other Indigenous people in PA; Face to Face, serving low income families and individuals in Germantown; and East Mount Airy Neighbors (EMAN) which represents and serves our immediate neighborhood and was formed in the early 1970s partly at inspiration of our pastor at the time, Rev. Rudi Gelsey.

The Mt Airy Community Fridge and Pantry has continued to expand its reach in serving people in the community and around the city who are experiencing food insecurity. The pantry was conceived of and is co-managed by UUs of MA member, Courtney H, and her friend, Nicole W, a life-long East Mt Airy resident. Over the past year, the Pantry has expanded from providing 1,500 lbs. to over 7,000 lbs of food per week!! It has done this through partnering with almost a dozen dedicated food suppliers in the area and with the assistance of community and congregation members who have made pick-ups and deliveries of produce and other food products, helped organize and clean-up the Fridge and Pantry area and contributed dry goods that people     to continue reading...

Reflection: Power Interfaith Statewide Convention

Power Interfaith* held its first statewide convention this past Monday, February 19 at the Presidential Caterers in Norristown, PA under the banner “Roadmap for Justice 2024”. A five member “delegation” from UUs of Mt. Airy attended: Laurie D, Fern C, Anne A, Deb G and Craig S (also pictured, Antonio H, the new POWER NW Cluster Community Organizer) along with approximately 500 attendees from over a hundred congregations across the state representing many faiths, and a strong showing from other PA UU communities.

Power’s 2024 PA legislative priorities, A Roadmap for Justice, include full funding of the Basic Education Funding through the new funding formula mandated by the PA Commonwealth Court increased funding for Whole Home Repair program, enacting laws to support solar power grant programs for schools, addressing public transit funding crises, promoting police accountability and non-police crises response teams, raising state minimum wage to $15/hour and ending wage preemption law which prevents local governments from enacting their own minimum wage standards, as well as increased state funding for public transit services to prevent SEPTA from closing down the vital Chestnut Hill West RR line as well as cut-backs in the Chestnut Hill East RR line and the Route 23 bus routes which is a lifeline for NW working people.

The Power leadership team invited PA State representatives Matthew Bradford (PA House Majority Leader) and Peter Schweyer (Chair, House Education Committee) to field prepared questions from Power members focusing on these policy priorities. The #1 priority in 2024 for the PA House Democratic Caucus is full public education funding, and the reps stated their full support for Power’s education legislative priorities. The Representatives advise us to “get out of our echo chambers” talk to folks from areas of the state, particularly more rural areas, represented by Republicans to persuade them that it is in their interest to support fully funding public schools, more affordable and sustainable housing and other programs needed by their communities. They further challenged us to ”go TO the fight” and closed with “Politics is the business of the possible”.

The Power team is also organizing to counteract the divisive policies and rhetoric of White Christian Nationalism and supporting democracy by protecting voting rights and expanding voting accessibility.

POWER leaders advise us that voting is the beginning of the democratic process and we must continue the work by holding our electeds accountable for their stated platforms and promises! More info to come on how to get/stay involved!

*POWER is a multi-racial, multi-faith grassroots coalition founded in 2011 empowered by Pennsylvanians committed to organizing for racial and economic justice on a livable planet. See https://www.powerinterfaith.org

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8th Principle Team Update

The 8th Principle that we adopted in 2017 is: “Journeying toward spiritual wholeness by building a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions”. Our congregation was the first in the country to adopt it, but at this moment, over 250 have now adopted it (out of about 1000), and that number was only about 30 a couple of years ago!

Our 8th Principle Team is Bruce P-J, Portia H, Cathy M, Anam O-E, Fern C, Domita S, and Mary L, (with Rev. McKinley and Ministerial Intern Shaie Dively ex-officio).

Since last spring, we have been participating in the updated Beloved Conversations Virtual program out of the Meadville Lombard UU seminary on small-group ministry related to antiracism. There are three stages of this new version: Within (individual work), Among (congregational level), and Beyond (community level). Many in our congregation did the program that corresponds to Within when Kathy Ellis and Maria McCabe were here around 8 years ago. 16 members and friends participated in the national online program last spring (we signed up as a congregational, and have 3 pods that meet in person, one for people of color and the other two for whites). A similar number of us are participating

in the Among program as a congregation in 2023-25. We have had a number of meetings with our Among Coach, JeKaren Olaoya, have written a covenant for our work together, and are just starting with content related to trauma in individuals and congregations. These meetings will continue roughly twice a month during the church year, both this year and next. The Among program is an excellent structure for us to follow up on our Widening the Circle conversations from January to June of 2021, and will initially include an assessment of our evolution as an antiracist organization. This will guide us in our detailed re-examination of our bylaws, policies, procedures, and practices from this perspective. We will also continue our exploration of implementing Radical Hospitality and leadership development into the way we do hospitality.

Rev. McKinley, Intern Minister Shaie Dively, and our Worship Associates have been having roughly monthly worship services about the proposed Article II to the national Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) bylaws which will be voted on to replace the current Principles and Sources. The Article II revision was sparked by our congregation proposing the 8th Principle as a Responsive Resolution at the UUA General Assembly in 2017. The spirit and wording are largely inspired by the 8th Principle. In January we had a conversation about the proposed Article II after coffee hour.

Following, are several links important to our congregation's Social Justice program:

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