A message from Rev. Teresa Novak, minister of UU Church of Ogden, Utah:
We are still hosting Occupy Ogden on our lawn. It has been roughly a month and a half. There have been a fair amount of changes – we are down to 3 full time campers from a max of about 21. There were issues with drugs and alcohol and the local occupy group got tired of feeding them, and so most of them were asked to leave. (not by the church but by a GA decision) The remaining 3 campers are homeless, but very dedicated to the movement. They come to worship and actually to every activity we have. One played the recorder during a service. They also help out the church with raking leaves and now with shoveling the snow. The snow is the issue now, however, and we worry about the campers when the temperature drops. They say they are fine, and that they don’t want or need to go to a shelter. I am not sure we have either the resources or the will to invite them indoors on the coldest nights. Some of our members want to do that and some just want to tell them to leave “for their own good.” We are struggling with issues of caring vs care taking, and some are getting frustrated with what was to be temporary. There is stress about the budget even though our end of year appeal went well. Occupy is taking a tremendous amount of time, energy, and resources, and with only 100 church members it is getting to be more and more of a stretch to support the camp even at the level we have been. We have a donation page on our website, but as far as I can tell, no one but our membership has used it. (I will post it again below if any of you are feeling generous!) It just feels like we are out here all alone in the wilds of Utah doing something very few other churches are doing. We are in a small city, and the movement isn’t large here – less than 100 actives, about a third of whom are church members. Maybe we are crazy, maybe we should just give up, but Occupy might be the movement that saves us all, and maybe places like Ogden are where it will survive and grow. This really is religious work and in sync with every last one of our UU principles, so how can we turn them away? I hope we don’t have to do that, but I also don’t want someone freezing to death on our front lawn.
PLEASE donate now to help out the Occupy Movement in general, the AMAZING and SUSTAINING WORK that Occupy Ogden is doing, and the BEAUTIFUL EXPRESSION OF OUR FAITH that Rev. Novak andthe Unitarian Universalist Church of Ogden is participating in.
Please spread the word, share the message, and donate NOW!