Feature Focus for July 29

Feature Focus for July 29: Tipping Points and “Your Going Forward (me too.) Story”

Greetings, Beloved Community.

Welcome to summer, to the month of July, and to our next Feature Focus Sunday topic. UU churches across the country have addressed the “me too.” movement in various ways. When the “me too.” movement reached a tipping point on Facebook, I watched many ministers across the country change their Sunday service topics midweek or even the night before to address the topic. If you are unfamiliar with the “me too.” movement, I offer the following from the “me too.” website: (https://metoomvmt.org/)

“In 2006, Tarana Burke founded the “me too.” movement to help survivors of sexual violence, particularly young women of color from low wealth communities, find pathways to healing. Using the idea of “empowerment through empathy,” the “me too.” movement was ultimately created to ensure survivors know they’re not alone in their journey.

The “me too.” movement has built a community of survivors from all walks of life. By bringing vital conversations about sexual violence into the mainstream, we’re helping to de-stigmatize survivors by highlighting the breadth and impact sexual violence has on thousands of women, and we’re helping those who need it to find entry points to healing. Ultimately, with survivors at the forefront of this movement, we’re aiding the fight to end sexual violence. We want to uplift radical community healing as a social justice issue and are committed to disrupting all systems that allow sexual violence to flourish.”

While I recognized the vital importance of this topic to individuals and to culture(s) at large, there was a simultaneous awareness of the sensitivity required to deal with such a topic, and the necessity of being given a heads up regarding discussions related to topics involving abuse. Thus, I write this article, to let you know that on July 29, our next Feature Focus Sunday, the service will highlight the importance of this movement, our responsibility to acknowledge it, and our commitment to honoring the worth and dignity of those who were victims and are survivors of this type of violence.

We have an opportunity to take advantage of a movement, to participate in it, and to make a difference in peoples’ lives. It is a tragedy and a travesty that one out of every three girls and women in our congregation would be able to say “yes, it happened to ‘me too.’” Thus, on July 29, in conjunction with my friend and colleague, Tamby Harris, we will offer a service acknowledging this social problem.

Connected to this Feature Focus Sunday, I share the following information about some day long retreats to be hosted at Myers Park Baptist Church. If any of our members would like to participate in one of the retreats, we have some scholarship money available if needed through our Minister’s Discretionary Fund. If any of you would like to sponsor someone else’s journey, contact me, and we’ll make that happen.

In the struggle and the power,
Rev. Mary Frances

Awakening the light: Claiming your #metoo Going-Forward Story
This Retreat is for women survivors of sexual abuse who have:

  • Felt encouraged by the collective voices of women claiming their sexual abuse/ harassment stories,
  • Wrestled with their story keeping them stuck and unable to live life fully and with vibrancy, and
  • Desired to awaken and claim their Going-Forward Story through journaling exercises, reflection and storyboarding in an intimate, safe space

Retreat details (4 opportunities starting in August)

  • All retreats are held on Saturdays from 9:00 – 5:00 and include lunch
  • August 25th, September 22nd, October 27th, and November 17th, 2018
  • Location: Myers Park Baptist Church, 1900 Queens Rd, Charlotte, 28207
  • Registration: Contact Tambry Harris at tambryharris@bellsouth.net or 704-281-9637
  • Space is limited to 10 participants and costs is $100 (includes lunch and all materials)

Facilitator Tambry Harris has a Masters degree in applied psychology, has been a certified leadership coach for 18+ years and a certified Spiritual Director for 4+ years. She teaches a course on retreats at the Charlotte Spirituality Center.