September 21, 2014, St. John's dedicated a new peace pole that says in 12 languages, "May Peace Prevail on Earth." 66 people, including a representative of of the regional Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center, attended the ceremony. Nathan Ruggles of the IJPC congratulated St. John's and said ours would be the first peace pole in what will become an online map of peace poles in Greater Cincinnati.
On October 10, 2014, St John's Hosted "Love is a Family - A Pep Rally for Marriage Equality" featuring the St. John’s Choir, along with MUSE and the Cincinnati Men’s Chorus. Channel 12 covered the rally, and you can read and watch the video here.
INTERFAITH HOSPITALITY NETWORK
St. John's, along with several other congregations, provides meals, activities, and encouragement to the four families who sleep in First Unitarian's RE classrooms for two weeks through Cincinnati's Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN). In fall 2012 families included 4 adults plus 10 children (2 toddlers, 4 little girls ages 3-5, and 4 children ages 7-10). Wanda Crawford coordinated the St. Johners who volunteering their time and talents so that our guests feel welcomed: Ann Schuur, Melissa Rowland, Frances May Brooks, Wanda Crawford, Amy and Richard Monson, Nina Tolley, Barbara and Richard Hadden, Nancy Henry.
In fall 2013 St. Johners supported homeless families lodged at First UU the weeks of August 4, October 13 and December 15.
For this, the fourth annual St. John’s participation in the People Working Cooperatively (PWC) Fall ‘Prepare Affair’ on Saturday, November 10th, we worked at two homes, one in the Paddock Hills area and the second in ‘upper’ Over-the-Rhine. St. John’s crew members were: Jim Decker (crew leader), Frances May Brooks, Devin Baker, Victor Villacis, Tristan Linck and Jennifer Linck.
ECONOCIDE LECTURE: On November 11, Alice Skirtz spoke on ECONOCIDE: ELIMINATION OF THE URBAN POOR.
DISASTER RELIEF PLATE COLLECTION 11/25
The 11/25/13 Plate collection for Sandy Disaster Relief added up to $1401.55. The money was turned over to CERG (the UU Central East Regional Group) to be distributed where most needed.
CONGREGATIONAL PEACEMAKING INITIATIVES AT ST. JOHN'S
Peace Task Force members remain active in leading RE classes on non-violent communication, weekly women in black anti-war vigils, and work with the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center to educate high school guidance counselors in alternatives to military service.
In response to the UUA's 2006 study question on peacemaking, a St. John's Peacemaking Task Force conducted a five month series of programs leading to 10 proposals including changes to our mission statement and bylaws. These proposals, the Congregational Resolution of April 27 2008 and Peacemaking Task Force Background Paper, were adopted by the required super majority at a Special Congregational meeting on April 27, 2008.
Prior Peacemaking materials from St. Johns Services include:
"Pacifist Doves v. Humanitarian Hawks: Should UUs Become Activist Pacifists?" Sermon 03/11/2007 by Howard Tolley and the associated Readings and Order of Service for 3/11/2007
"Give Peace a Chance" Veteran's Day Sermon 11/11/2007 by Rev. Frank Carpenter,
"A Culture of Peace" 1/6/2008 Sermon by Rev. Frank Carpenter
The task force has books, films, curriculum guides for all ages, and discussion topics to recommend for any St. Johns groups interested in joining a Congregational wide process. For additional information, see the UUA Curriculum and Resource Study Guides and the UUA CSAI Peacemaking Resources Group.
Comments can be sent to the Task Force Chair at
or to the following Task Force leaders of work groups responsible for separate sections of the pledge.
International Peacemaking (Howard Tolley)
Societal Peacemaking (Jim Decker)
Congregational Peacemaking (George Dershimer)
Interpersonal Peacemaking (Kathryn McDonough, Maria Yunker)
Inward Peacemaking (Nina Tolley)
Peacemaking for Planet Earth (Mira Rodwan)
RE-DESIGN OF ST. JOHN’S SIGN
The Congregational Peace Initiative Resolution of April 27 endorsed the concept of peace signage on the front lawn that was accomplished in a May 2009 dedication after re-painting of the existing eight-sided St. John's sign.
Panels on two sides feature the word “Peace” in English and a total of 12 other languages. However, since the primary identity sign will be upgraded, a new peace pole has been placed near the memorial garden on St. John's front lawn in September 2014.
PROPOSED SUBSTITUTE SECTIONS to the UUA CSW Draft Statement Of Conscience
The 2006 UUA General Assembly approved a four year Congregational Study/Action on whether our denomination should reject violence and war to seek just peace through nonviolent means. In November 2008 the UUA's Commission on Social Witness released a draft Peacemaking Statement of Conscience soliciting congregational comments on “Substance” and “Wording.”
As part of the democratic process, the St. John’s UU Church Peace Team sought the support of other Congregations for one or more Proposed Substitute Sections to the draft SOC. The four proposed substitutes developed by the St. John’s team stress the right of conscience when conflicting interpretations of UU principles cause irreconcilable value conflicts over whether to support or oppose the use of lethal force in pursuit of justice. Footnotes explain the rationale for each recommendation. The St. John's Peace Team appreciates the considerable input from Rev. Paul Rasor, director of the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom at Virginia Wesleyan College,Meadville provost Sharon Welch, and others to the working draft.
The proposed substitutions have been circulated via the Peacemaking Network online forum http://lists.uua.org/mailman/listinfo/peacemaking-network where all who subscribe can provide feedback and interact with other congregations involved in the SOC process.
At the 2009 General Assembly delegates tabled the Statement of Conscience, and the Commission on Social Witness adopted a revised version that St. John's voted to approve for a vote at the 2010 General Assembly. The statement was finally passed at the 2010 General Assembly.
ONGOING SOCIAL ACTION ACTIVITIES
at St. John's are one of the ways that we work on Societal Peacemaking. Click here to view a list of some of these activities at St. John's