By the Rev. Jake Morrill
This past July, a church committee requested a new message on the electronic sign, which faces the Oak Ridge Turnpike. The message they requested was “Black Lives Matter.” The board of the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church, or ORUUC, voted to approve it, and the message was added to the sign’s series of scrolling messages.
Since then, we’ve received feedback from different members of the community. Some has been to praise the sign; some, to criticize.
The Police Lives Matter Rally
Saturday night, I attended a rally called Police Lives Matter in A.K. Bissell Park. My colleague at ORUUC, the Rev. Tandy Scheffler, attended as well. She’s a recent graduate of the Citizen’s Police Academy.
She told me she saw the rally as a chance to demonstrate that support of police officers and support of black lives is not an “either/or,” but a “both/and” for her. Yes, she said, police lives matter, and yes, black lives matter, and yes, all lives matter. I agree. Along with my gratitude for police officers and first responders, I also attended because the rally’s organizers have been critical of the church’s “Black Lives Matter” sign.
When people have an opinion, I believe it’s important to listen. In fact, responding to online criticism of the sign in recent weeks, I’ve extended at least 15 invitations to people to sit down together so we could talk. I’m sorry to say that no one, as yet, has accepted my invitation. [Read more…]