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Khasi Hills Unitarians: Centering Our Partners
Sunday, July 25 @ 10:30 am - 11:30 am
Together with our Khasi Unitarians partners in NE India, we at East Shore strive to achieve a strong partnership based on mutual understanding — one that is grounded in love and thoughtful listening. Still at times it can be challenging to put aside our own American experiences to truly listen. The members of East Shore’s partnership ministry team will share our pathway toward better understanding.
how to attend
• To virtually attend, please Zoom in using room number 989 3107 9078, passcode: chalice.
• To phone into the service, call 669-900-6833, Meeting ID: 989 3107 9078.
For those joining, please mute as soon as you enter the room, so everyone can hear. Please note, the services will be recorded, but at this time, there are no plans to share the recording.
Khasi Hills Unitarians: Centering Our Partners
Over the past 14 years, as we built an enduring partnership with Khasi Unitarians of Northeast India, we have done our best to actualize our 7 UU principles, particularly the 6th (the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all ) and the 7th (respect for the interdependent web of all existence).
Now our newly adopted 8th Principle calls us to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle oppressions. So what does that have to do with our partner church work? Let me show you why partnering with Khasi Unitarians makes a significant contribution to our journey toward spiritual wholeness, as promoted by our 8th principle.
First, our current UUA President Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray shared these thoughts on the relevance of international partnerships to our anti- racism work at GA in 2017, when an action-oriented 8th principle was already being considered.
Rev Susan said, “The Partner Church movement oﬀers promise – and a track record – for us to understand our liberal faith out of the parochial borders of the U.S… I proclaim and serve the vision of a diverse, multi-cultural, anti-racist Unitarian Universalism… The Partner Church movement is a resource for development of our multicultural perspectives and anti-oppressive leadership in the United States. It is a way for US congregations to develop skills for ministering and resisting at this crucial moment and for a sustainable future…
[We] are called to build Beloved Communities, act with love and courage, and engage in collaboration beyond our walls. When we are focused beyond our parochial concerns, we can learn and re-learn the lessons of responsible engagement with partners beyond the United States. I would lead and encourage our US congregations and UUA faith leaders to relate in our partnerships with an open embrace, an open heart, and a willingness to learn.” -Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, UUA President
I wholeheartedly agree with the UUA President. I think we have learned, and even at times re- learned from our Khasi partners, wisdom about building beloved community They have certainly related to us with open hearts and a willingness to learn. But we still need to be wary, both here and abroad, of acting from unrecognized assumptions and implicit racial or other interpersonal biases. Our partnership with Khasi Unitarians has been a laboratory for practicing right relations and bringing those biases to light.
For Khasi Unitarians the main purpose of life is not gaining money or fame, but gaining personal merit through righteous actions. To attain heaven on earth for them is to revere the omnipresent spirit of life within each of us and all of nature, to form deep and loving connections with one another, and to practice what we call “Right Relations” at every opportunity. These are prime teachings of Khasi Unitarianism, as expressed by Hajom Kissor Singh over 130 years ago.
The similarity of their Unitarian principles with ours helps us to form close connections with the Khasis. But the diﬀerences between us and our partners contribute as much or more to our mutual understanding. Diﬀerences in language, worldview, wealth, education, urban vs. rural environments, climate, occupations, physical characteristics, communications infrastructure, internet access, lifestyles…the list goes on. Developing deep and lasting relationships with people so diﬀerent from us can’t help but prepare us for the challenges of building a diverse and multicultural Beloved Community within our own families, congregation, neighborhoods, and divided society.
In summary, our partnership is one of equality, not paternalism or domination. We enjoy relationships with people whose traditions and lives are quite diﬀerent from our own, but who share the core values of our Unitarian principles. We learn to respect the dignity of our diﬀerences by active nonjudgmental listening, and by awareness of how our lives amid the privileges and injustices of American society have impacted our thinking and behavior, just as their lives within the traditions and teachings of their matrilineal tribal society have impacted them. And we bring this greater understanding home to take actions in our lives and communities toward overcoming the polarization and oppressions that are blocking reconciliation and progress.
For me, our Khasi partnership is one good way to implement the 8th principle, to become more accountable, and to move forward together through the sheltering archway of our other 7 principles.
You’re invited to further experience the joys and rewards of activities we share with our partners in faith. Our hope is that you will want to seek closer connections with them, either virtually or through personal visits.
Our ministry team members would love to provide you with resources to answer any questions you may have. Please ask me at our virtual coﬀee hour after the service, or contact me later by phone or email for more information.