Unleashing courageous leadership and collective power

to realize a just and loving world.



Resistance & Resilience:

Sustaining Faithful Action for Justice & Solidarity in a Hurting World

A Social Justice Summit for Progressive Faith Activists


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Click here for full schedule and conference description.



WORKSHOP OFFERINGS

MUUSJA is thrilled to welcome an all-star group of Featured Presenters, all of whom serve as faithful, creative, strategic, cutting edge thinkers about the intersections of faith and justice in intersectional, interfaith movements across the country.  


WORKSHOP I : Saturday, May 20, 10:15 - 11:45am


Understanding White Supremacy Culture in Congregations

Zr. Alex Kapitan

If the current conversation about white supremacy in our faith communities makes you feel unsure, uncomfortable, or resistant, this workshop is for you! It’s a powerful myth that “white supremacy” is represented only by the most vicious and overt forms of racism, such as the KKK—in fact, white supremacy is subtly woven into the everyday norms and cultural values that undergird the things we take for granted about “the way things are.” In this workshop we will center care and compassion, explore the way dominant culture functions under the surface, and discuss how white supremacy sneaks into our congregations and how to build a better way. This workshop is open to all but is particularly designed for folks who want to wrestle with their own discomfort around the idea of white supremacy.


How to Amplify Protest Moments for Movement Wins

Rev. Ashley Harness

This training will help you make the most of protest moments - starting with helping you name and claim your self-interest, communities of accountability and movement role. Knowing those key elements, we'll move into some key strategies of amplification across the biggest pulpit of today's movements - social media.  


Top Ten Stories from Allies at Standing Rock

Rev. Karen Van Fossan

Outside of Standing Rock nation, the UU Fellowship in Bismarck was the only congregation in North Dakota to declare solidarity with the water protector movement. What has made solidarity possible? What has solidarity taught us? Where does solidarity call us now? In the spiritual practice of social justice work, we are often called to show up for one another in struggles we do not lead. This workshop will consider the spaces to which allies are called, as well as the spaces that are not for us to fill.


Finding Inspiration: Art & Spirit

Rev. Sean Parker Dennison

Together, we will explore art, and how it inspires and sustains us in the work of justice.  This will be an experiential workshop, including both conversation and art creation in an informal, connective setting.  All are welcome, regardless of art ability!




WORKSHOP II : Saturday, May 20, 1:00 - 2:30pm


Creative Transformation: Changing What We Cannot Accept

Rev. Paul Langston-Daley, Rev. Kelli Clement, & Rev. DeWayne Davis

Let’s address the important role of civic society in creating change and learn how a faith based response can an effective tool for change makers. We will explore what we mean by legislative advocacy and offer concrete tools to craft and hone your message to speak truth to power.


The Revolution Will Not Be Fundraised: Imagining Community Resources for Solidarity and Collective Care

Arif Mamdani & Dr. Liz Loeb

Join a courageous conversation about money, its relationship to justice, how it functions as and gets in the way of our human relationships, and how we might embrace a broader universe of resources in our efforts to create the world our hearts yearn for. In this workshop, we’ll explore our individual relationship to money and giving, and broaden our collective understanding of how oppression and inequality shape the rules by which we play. Come to this workshop if you have a suspicion we could be doing “money” and giving differently, but aren’t quite sure what that might look like – we don’t know either. Let’s figure it out together.


Singing to Listen: Singing to Hear

Dr. Glen Thomas Rideout

Justice-seeking people of privilege must practice solidarity and compassion, not merely have them. The wisdom to greet the artistic expressions of marginalized communities with more curiosity than colonization, from a posture of reverence and risk, remains a vital tool of this practice. This workshop makes space for songs that emerge from the realities and persisting faith of American people of color. We sing these songs of struggle and beauty, untethered from the compulsion to edit or impose. We seek understanding from those whose living gave these songs to life.


Covenanting to be Transformed

Nora Rasman, Standing on the Side of Love

The threats to many of our communities continue to grow. As people of faith and conscience, we are called to grapple with how we can and will support collective non-compliance in these times. What does it mean to authentically and consistently center voices of people who are most at risk for state sanctioned and/or endorsed violence based on identity - and for those of us with privilege, how do we move through beliefs of risk and safety to fully show up in solidarity in these times?



WORKSHOP III : Saturday, May 20, 2: 45 - 4:15pm


Queer & Trans Liberation, Not LGBT Equality

Rev. Sean Dennison, Zr. Alex Kapitan, Rev. Paul Langston Daley

Every major U.S. civil rights movement of the last hundred years has strived for freedom and liberation, not "equality"--yet so much of the time, we limit our imagination to a world in which all are "equal" instead of a world in which all are free. What's the difference? Come find out! In this workshop we'll discuss what queer and trans liberation look like, the role of gender defiance and non-compliance in resisting oppression, and how people of all gender identities, expressions, and sexualities can resist normative culture and ground our social justice work in liberation instead of equality.


Doing Justice:  Moving from Issue Education to Strategic Impact

Rev. Steve Newcom & Arif Mamdani, the Kaleo Center for Faith, Justice, & Social Transformation

Most of us engaged in justice ministry came to this work with little or no training. We experienced injustice and decided to act. We plunged in, learning as we went and accumulated skills and tools along the way - issue education, asset mapping, issue cutting, one to ones, lobbying, message development, direct action, social media, curriculum development, public speaking, agitation, etc. Yet, despite this accumulation of sophisticated tools and skills, we frequently operate without a strategic framework to inform our actions and tactics. This interactive workshop will introduce a social transformation framework to integrate and strategically guide our work for social change.  Participants will apply their learnings to the issues and struggles they are confronting.


Who Defines Partnership?

Nora Rasman, Standing on the Side of Love

People of faith have a history of supporting and participating in movements for justice and liberation - with varying success at supporting. Join us for a conversation on faithful followership taking lessons from local campaigns on when faith communities have shown up, and lessons in how to show up better or differently.




FEATURED PRESENTERS

MUUSJA is thrilled to welcome an all-star group of Featured Presenters, all of whom serve as faithful, creative, strategic, cutting edge thinkers about the intersections of faith and justice in intersectional, interfaith movements across the country.  


Rev. Paul Langston-Daley

Senior Program Leader for Justice Building, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee


Rev. Paul Langston-Daley identifies, recruits, and engages congregations and other groups to deepen their justice and human rights work and involvement with the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee in a variety of ways. As UUSC’s senior program leader for justice building, Langston-Daley grows the capacity of UU congregations to pursue sustained, systemic social change work. Prior to working at UUSC, Langston-Daley served a number of UU congregations, large and small, in five states. He has been involved in community organizing for more than 15 years with the Industrial Area Foundation and PICO National Network. He also served on the steering committee to found Communities Organized for Relational Power and Action in Santa Cruz, Calif.

Ordained in 1997, Langston-Daley is a graduate of Andover Newton Theological School and the International Institute for Restorative Practices. He is passionate about social justice and human rights, and he has been involved in LGBT rights, reproductive rights, immigration issues, restorative justice projects, and Black Lives Matter.


Rev. Sean Parker Dennison

Minister-at-Large

Rev. Sean Parker Dennison is a graduate of Starr King School for the Ministry and was ordained in 2000.  He has served congregations in Stockton, CA; Salt Lake City, UT; San Luis Obispo, CA and McHenry, IL. He also considers his active social media presence a part of his ministry, including posting daily prayers on Twitter and Facebook since 2011.

Sean has served the Unitarian Universalist Association in a number of ways over the years: as a member of the Accountability Group for the Justice GA 2012; chair of the Journey Toward Wholeness Transformation Committee; member of the board of Starr King School for the Ministry; and as one of the founders of TrUUsT—an organization for transgender ministers and religious professionals in the UUA. He was honored to give the 2015 Berry Street Essay, "Mission Impossible: Why Failure is Not an Option."


Zr. Alex Kapitan

Co-Founder, Transforming Hearts Collective


Zr. Alex Kapitan is a trainer, speaker, consultant, editor, anti-oppression activist, and transgender and queer lifelong Unitarian Universalist. Alex worked for eight years at the UUA’s national office, supporting anti-racism, Welcoming Congregation, and social justice programming and organizing, and currently serves on the steering committee of TRUUsT, an organization of transgender UU religious professionals. After leaving the UUA Alex co-founded the Transforming Hearts Collective, which does workshops, trainings, and consultancies with faith communities around radical inclusion and other topics. 



Nora Rasman

Campaign Director, Standing on the Side of Love

Nora is the current Campaign Manager at Standing on the Side of LoveShe joined the campaign in February 2014. Originally from Milwaukee, WI, Nora was involved with UU youth leadership development work both in her district as well as nationally through Groundwork Anti-Racism Trainers Collective and YRUU (Young Religious UU) Steering Committee. Prior to joining the campaign, Nora worked domestic and international advocacy and policy while also doing anti-racist organizational development work with DC-based non-profit organizations. She gets joy living in the nexus between social justice + art, scheming about organizational development, cultural equity and organizing, doing graphic facilitation/recording, event and party planning. 


Dr. Glen Thomas Rideout

Director of Music & Worship Arts, the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor, MI


Dr. Glen Thomas Rideout is Director of Worship and Music for First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he has served for ten years. Dr. Rideout was appointed choral director for the 2016 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, music director for the GA worship service of Church of the Larger Fellowship, and liturgist for GA Sunday morning worship. Dr. Rideout was named Director of Worship and Music for the 2017 New England Regional Assembly, featured panelist and closing worship leader for the Unitarian Universalist - United Nations Office 2017 Spring Symposium on the eradication of armed conflict. His writings on liberal religion, worship, and music have published by the Church of the Larger Fellowship and the Unitarian Universalist Association.



Rev. Karen Van Fossan

Minister, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship & Church of Bismarck/Mandan, ND


Karen Van Fossan serves as minister of UUFCBM, which has been a close partner with the Water Protectors at Standing Rock for the duration of the ongoing struggle there to resist the Dakota Access Pipeline and work for indigenous sovereignty.  Under Rev. Van Fossan's ministry, UUFCMB has become a collaborative partner with the new Inter-Nātional Initiative for Transformative Collaboration (INITC), and was a co-organizer of inter-faith prayer opportunities at Oceti Sakowin camp, as well as the larger Bismarck area. Karen is a foster mom, licensed counselor, humanities scholar, and activist. 



MINNESOTA FAITH AND JUSTICE LEADERS


Rev. Kelli Clement

Associate Minister, First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis


Rev. Kelli Clement is one of the Assistant Ministers at First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis, where coordinating the Society’s social justice ministry is her central task. She has worked as the Training and Curriculum Consultant for the Religious Coalition for the Reproductive Choice and as the Executive Director for the Minnesota affiliate of RCRC. A graduate of United Theological Seminary, she now serves on the United Board and is a current doctoral student there. Kelli lives in South Minneapolis with her husband and daughter, Mike & Sofia, and poodle Memphis.





Rev. DeWayne L. Davis

Pastor, All God's Children Metropolitan Community Church

Rev. Davis is a cleric ordained in the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) with expertise in social justice analysis, advocacy, and organizing. He serves on the MCC Global Justice Institute’s Public Policy Team, representing the denomination’s public policy advocacy initiatives at the state and federal level. Rev. Davis previously served as the Domestic Policy Analyst in The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations where he represented before the U.S. Congress and the Executive Office of the President the domestic social policies established by the Episcopal Church’s General Convention and Executive Council. 

Rev. Davis holds a B.A. in Economics and Philosophy from Howard University and an M.A. in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland at College Park. Rev. Davis received his Master of Divinity degree with honors from the Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree at Luther Seminary. He has more recently been appointed to serve on the Advisory Committee of the Kaleo Center at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities and on the Board of Directors of Clare Housing and OutFront MN. Rev. Davis currently lives in Minneapolis with his husband of twenty-five years, Kareem. 


Rev. Ashley Harness

Pastor, Lyndale United Church of Christ

Rev. Ashley Harness is ordained in the United Church of Christ as is also a communications strategist with almost a decade of experience in non-profit media work. When she is not enjoying leading worship, standing for justice or listening deeply in pastoral care at Lyndale United Church of Christ, she is consults with the Center for Progressive Renewal to help progressive churches across the country grow. She also consults through Auburn Theological Seminary’s digital organizing and media teams, providing confidential training and counsel to religious leaders seeking to use social and traditional media as a pulpit. You can follow her writing on the Huffington Post. Ashley received her Masters of Divinity at Union Theological Seminary and her Bachelor of Arts at Brown University.


Dr. Liz Loeb

Associate Director, The Kaleo Center for Faith, Justice, & Social Transformation

Liz Loeb is a community organizer, academic, and civil rights attorney with over twenty years of experience in working with intersectional movements towards justice.  Liz holds a B.A. from Brown University, a J.D. from New York University, and having completed her Ph.D. work in Law and Society at New York University, and comes to The Kaleo Center after time with the national American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, and TakeAction Minnesota. As a member of LGBTQ and Jewish communities here in the Twin Cities, Liz has both instigated and supported local multi faith efforts to resist  the violence of white supremacy in our practices and institutions and to move towards deeper and more accountable liberation.



Arif Mamdani

Associate Director, The Kaleo Center for Faith, Justice, & Social Transformation


Arif grew up in Oak Park, IL, earned his undergraduate degree from Drew University, and spent a few years living and working in New York City before returning to the Midwest. Prior to joining the Kaleo Center, Arif worked at the Progressive Technology Project, the Seasons Fund for Social Transformation, and TakeAction Minnesota. Arif is a member of First Universalist Church of Minneapolis, and serves on the boards of the Movement Strategy Center and the UU Church of the Larger Fellowship.


Rev. Steve Newcom

Founding Director, The Kaleo Center for Faith, Justice, & Social Transformation


Rev. Steve Newcom is the founding director of the Kaleo Center for Faith, Justice & Social Transformation at United Theological Seminary. Newcom was awarded an Archibald Bush Foundation Leadership Fellowship in 2007 to research the intersection of theological education and social justice ministry. The research identified a fundamental gap within Seminary education around the applied competencies of social transformation and effective public witness. The Center was launched in 2010 to address this gap with the mission of advancing social transformation as a practical theological discipline and core ministerial competency. Prior to founding the Center, Steve served the Headwaters Foundation for Justice as the Executive Director for 18 years and prior to that worked for the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches.



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