Intern minister Brigitta Vieyra standing on rocks near the water

ED: Note. For the summer, our Ministerial intern Brigitta Vieyra will be taking over Reverend Christine’s Notes From Your Dance Partner column, and as per her request, the column name has temporarily changed to Field Notes From Your Ministerial Intern.

This month, I’ve attended various community safety webinars about how progressive faith communities are working to keep one another safe from various threat actors from the alt-right. A few weeks ago, many beloveds in our congregation attended UUJAZ’s Community Safety & Deescalation Training to skill-build.

UUCP has a solid track record of understanding safety is a shared responsibility and communal practice. The Safe Congregation Team at UUCP started building out various safety policies and offered skill-building training long before it was a common practice in UU spaces. When the building was closed during the initial waves of COVID-19, the Safe Congregation Team worked hard to implement various improvements to the building around security. During the pandemic, UUCP became intimately familiar with how we reduce harm and care for one another. UUCP learned how to make risk assessments in real time with changing information while staying anchored in our mission to be justice-centered.

Beloveds, we know how to keep one another safe under so many extraordinary circumstances.

Today, UUCP is continuing to meet its growing edges to practice community safety physically, digitally and psychosocially. Again, we continue to ask ourselves not only how we want to be, but who we want to be. We take seriously the charge of our faith to be a people of possibility, a people of spiritual and moral courage in this work. A people committed to putting our values into practice by reclaiming our power and building strong relationships of trust. Relationships where we move beyond the fear-based question of “are we safe” towards larger, expansive trust-based questions that ponder together “how can I keep myself and others safe” and “what are the skills and tools we actually need to not just survive, but thrive in these times?”

As we answer the call of how to keep one another safe in these times, may we continue to live our way into the answers in justice-centered ways. And may we do this sacred work remembering, paths of new liberating possibilities are not simply found, but made. Let us creatively make them, together.

-Brigitta Vieyra