There will be a new face at the helm of the Unitarian Universalist Coastside Community’s Sunday service. Tovis Page, who serves the Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo as an intern minister, will be leading the Coastside collective for the next seven months.
Page holds advanced degrees in gender studies and religion from Harvard. She undertook Buddhist chaplaincy training at the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies in Redwood City, and served as a hospice volunteer at Mission Hospice in San Mateo.
Page was part of a group that traveled to Tucson, Ariz., for a border witness trip organized by the Unitarian Universalist College of Social Justice. They spent five days traveling between Tucson and Nogales, Mexico, learning about the humanitarian crisis that has been unfolding for decades along the United States’ southern border.
“Where multiple forms of oppression intersect, you’re not just looking at gender or race, for example, you’re looking at how these and other aspects of identity intersect in real life. But at this time, many Unitarian Universalists are specifically engaging with racial justice in our own denomination and in our country at large,” said Page. “I’m focusing on immigration issues in our area.”
When she returned to the Bay Area, she and two colleagues created a worship service around what they had witnessed. The service weaves together personal reflections, readings and music, and invites participants to enter into the witness experience and reflect together on what witnessing difficult truths requires. Page will be sharing the service titled, “A Land of Liberty? Reflections from the Border” during her Coastside debut this Sunday.
For Page, what’s happening at the border ties in with the seven principles that the Unitarian Universalist Coastside Community affirms and promotes. The first principle addresses the inherent worth and dignity of every person. Two other principles deal with “the goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all” and “respect for the interdependent web of existence.”
“The second principle is justice, equity and compassion in human relations. You can’t escape that one,” said Page. “So, four of the seven principles are directly related to justice and working toward a society where well-being, equity and freedom are available to everybody.”
Page also plans to bring information on Sunday for anyone who is inspired to get involved in immigration justice.
“It’s all about connecting with local groups in the area that are working on something specific. You start building relationships,” she said. “In San Mateo County, local coalitions helped convince the Board of Supervisors to create a deportation defense fund for immigrants facing deportation. It sounds small, but we worked toward it and succeeded.
“It’s all about connecting locally so that we don’t feel overwhelmed and can focus on something that’s manageable and doable,” she continued. “By doing that, we will not be overwhelmed but will feel empowered.”
For more information on the Unitarian Universalist Coastside Community, email Nancy Palmer at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Dave Rokosky at (650) 560-8671.
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