Rev. Dee Graham
Consulting Minister of Manatee Unitarian Universalists Fellowship and Affiliated Community Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota.
Rev. Graham received a B.A. from the University of Florida at Gainesville with a major in Journalism, an M.A. from University of South Florida- St. Petersberg in Mass Communication, and an M.Div. from Theological Union of Berkeley, California. She was ordained by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte, NC, and was fellowshipped by the Unitarian Universalist Association in 1993.
Rev. Graham’s political activism began in college working for the Equal Rights Amendment.
Rev. Graham is a life-long resident of Manatee County, tracing her roots back to the city of St. Augustine and Florida’s beginning.
Office hours Tuesday mornings 9 am to noon or by appointment
Facebook page Dee Graham – Univ of FL
DeeScriptions. February 2017
for earlier DeeScriptions, please check Newsletter Archives
“I first ran for Congress in 1999, and I got beat. I just got whooped. But the thing that got me through that moment, and any other time that I’ve felt stuck, is to remind myself that it’s about the work. Because if you’re worrying about yourself—if you’re thinking: ‘Am I succeeding? Am I in the right position? Am I being appreciated?’ —- then you’re going to end up feeling frustrated and stuck. But if you can keep it about the work, you’ll always have a path.” –Former US President Barak Obama
Our world is changing. Regardless of how we voted in the recent election, our United States now work differently. Whatever our situation, we find ourselves navigating new waters. Realities changed for those of us impacted by Medicare, health care or Social Security, class, race or gender, the environment, housing affordability or the stock market.
Even when we may wish it so, we are not alone in this world.
The secret to survival, if not success, in a changing world, comes from embracing an attitude “about the work” rather than about our personal losses or our worries. And it isn’t just Obama who says so.
“As our [life] experience deepens, we realize that the whole world is one vast encampment, and that every man and woman is a soldier. We have not voluntarily enlisted into this service, with an understanding of the hardness of the warfare, and an acceptance of its terms and conditions, but have been drafted into the conflict, and cannot escape taking part in it. We are not even allowed to choose our place in the ranks, but have been pushed into life . . . and cannot be discharged until mustered out by death. Nor is it permitted to furnish a substitute . . . We may prove deserters or traitors, and struggle to the rear during the conflict, or go over to the enemy and fight under the flag of wrong. But the fact remains that we are all drafted into the battle of life, and are expected to do our duty according to the best of our ability.” Universalist Mary Ashton Rice Livermore
Livermore, a Republican abolitionist who supported Abraham Lincoln for President and who worked with the U.S. Sanitary Commission for human decency through the Civil War, continued to fight for women’s suffrage until her death in 1905, before getting the right to vote. Yet she never gave up.
“Many of us may feel afraid of tomorrow, but we have been here before, like generations before us,” Livermore said. “That’s what this religion we know as Unitarian Universalism is about – keeping on with the work, focusing on the path regardless of current distractions.”
Eyes on the prize, not on the distractions, be they our own church politics or national tragedies, keeps us healthy in our quest to flow with that march toward ultimate justice in the universe. We may be temporarily in a place of inequity, but, ultimately, staying in motion keeps us progressing.
“Universalists are often asked to tell where they stand,” said Lewis Beals Fisher, a late 19th Century Universalist theologian. “The only true answer to give to this question is that we do not stand at all; we move.”
And moving, is indeed, what we must do now. In January, leaders of our congregation carried our new “Black Lives Matter” banner in Palmetto’s Martin Luther King parade. They were greeted with cheers from the crowd, these gray-haired ladies carrying such a loud sign. And the next week, our members marched in several different regional contingents of the Women’s’ March, whose mission was simply:
“We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children
for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families
– recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”
We have no one goal beyond moving on the side of love into a more inclusive, more embracing tomorrow.
As Universalist minister and theologian Angus MacLean taught, “Let’s keep the wind singing in both ears, and pray for the courage to interpret and act upon what it brings to us.”