On Sunday the 20th we are going to practice the Unitarian Universalist’s first principle:  The inherent worth and dignity of every person.

(See http://www.uua.org/beliefs/what-we-believe/principles)

We are not going to hold a regular service, but instead we will do a white elephant gift exchange and a cookie swap.  For the White Elephant gift exchange, bring some item from your home that is not being used (or appreciated) but you think might be useful to some other person.  I’m still waiting for the day when someone brings an actual White Elephant.  For the cookie exchange, bring 18 cookies and take home 18 cookies.  The idea is that the set of 18 cookies that you take home do not include any the 18 that you brought.

We will also sing some holiday songs to keep everyone joyful.

Also: we will be passing the plate a second time to raise a donation to the Reynoldsburg Toys for Tots initiative for Christmas.

Finally, the week of Dec 10 to Dec 16 is National Human Rights Week as proclaimed by the President of the United States.  When you want to celebrate the inherent worth and dignity of every person, it doesn’t get any better than an proclamation from the President.

A Proclamation

Sixty-seven years ago, the leaders of 48 countries from around the world

declared with one voice that progress depends on defending human rights,

and that a nation is strongest when the contributions of its whole citizenry

are valued. Today, we celebrate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—

a milestone in our ongoing global march to uphold the inherent dignity

and worth of every person. To honor the legacy of this historic document

and to help ensure that its ideals endure for generations to come, we reaffirm

our commitment to upholding the freedoms it safeguards, which are the

birthright of all humanity.

When rights are suppressed, human potential is stifled. A nation draws

upon new talents and ideas when opposition parties are fairly represented

and those in power are accountable to their citizens at the ballot box.

A free and independent press and a vibrant civil society can inform the

public, expose corruption, and empower citizens to participate in self-governance.

And when institutions are built to protect rights and freedoms, rather

than serve the interests of those in power, those institutions can provide

the stable foundation for stability needed for future generations to thrive.

In too many places around the world we see rights and freedoms denied.

People are imprisoned for peaceful worship and girls are barred from attending

school. LGBT individuals are subject to abuse because of who they

are and who they love, and citizens are prevented from petitioning those

in power for change. The United States of America stands in solidarity

with those seeking to realize a brighter and freer future for themselves

and their families, whether in their home country or as immigrants in

a new land. We will continue to lift up the lives of all who yearn to

exercise their inherent human rights and to shine a light on those still

living in the darkest pockets of our world.

The strongmen of today will never extinguish the hope that persists around

the world. Dissenters may be jailed, but ideas can never be imprisoned.

Controlling access to information will not turn lies into truths, nor will

it deter the longing for justice that stirs in every human soul. And refusing

to recognize the basic dignity of every man, woman, and child—regardless

of gender, background, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or belief—will

only lend further momentum to the quest for equality that for generations

has stirred hearts and spurred action. On this day, and every day, let

us remember our roots as one human family, forever dedicated to upholding

the central tenets of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States

of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution

and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim December 10, 2015,

as Human Rights Day and the week beginning December 10, 2015, as Human

Rights Week. I call upon the people of the United States to mark these

observances with appropriate ceremonies and activities.