Friday, November 30, 2007

Thanksgiving with Family and Friends!

Haniyyah Zakiyyah Rhodes

Mom and Libra, my oldest daughter

Mom and I

My Thanksgiving break was great, even though I had a paper to work on. I got a chance to hang out with my long time friend, Haniyyah Zakiyyah Rhodes, an empowered sista friend who likes to talk and run her mouth as much as I do. She is a wise elder versed in nutrition and is multi-talented as a barber that specializes in natural hair care, small business management, and entreprenureship.

I stayed with my daughter Libra and her boyfriend Sammy.

I trust everyone else had a great time with family and friends!

Hangin' Out in the Motor City with Family!

L-R Mrs. Elvina W. Vaughn (my mom) and Mrs. Sandra Vaughn (my sister-in-law)

L-R Jennie (my niece)and her son; Sandra Vaughn and Rev. Michael Vaughn (my youngest brother. I have five)

L-R Libra M. Finley (my oldest daughter) and Qiyamah - Summer of 2007

My youngest sister Jackie and her granddaughter

Jennie and her son

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ordination Pictures

L-R Rev. Dr. Qiyamah A. Rahman, Kaleema Haidera Nur (my younger daughter) and Libra Malika Finley (my oldest daughter and child).

We were small in number but big in spirit!

It was a day for lots of hugs!

The Choir of the UU Church of Charlotte sang like angels and offered a range of music including: Wade in the Water, Every Time I Feel the Spirit, and the choral postlude was Siyahamba, a South African freedom song that they sang in honor of my plans to begin my ministerial career in South Africa. Jennifer McLeod, soloist (first row far right) sang I Believe I Can Fly and made me cry.

L-R Rev. Dr. Qiyamah A. Rahman and Rev. Leslie Takahashi Morris leading up to the Laying on of Hands Ceremony.

Charles Thomas on the right and friend opening up the Ordination Ceremony with drumming

Ordination Ceremony
Well, my pictures have arrived and I have relived my ordination all over again. Here are a few pictures that captured this wonderful day and event that I wanted to share with everyone!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Police Killings in South Africa on the Rise

I plan to do some investigation to determine if this news report is valid. It comes from a racist blog written by a South African that is an unabashed and avowed racist. However, the content of these two postings concerned me. If anyone is able to obtain info on either story I would appreciate it.
Blessings! Rev. Dr. Qiyamah A. Rahman

Johannesburg - More policemen were murdered in the eleven years after the advent of democracy in SA in 1994 than in the eleven years preceding SA's political transition, the South African Institute of Race Relations said on Monday.

"The research found that between 1983 and 1993, about 1 152 policemen were murdered. Between 1995 and 2005, a staggering 1 894 were murdered," the Institute said.

This indicates an increase of 64%," said Kerwin Lebone, the Institute's researcher who compiled the statistics.

Lebone said that if there were any South Africans that had to date failed to grasp the seriousness of criminal attacks on SA "these figures should shock them out of their complacency".

He said the murder of many policemen before 1994 was allegedly politically motivated, because liberation movements regarded the previous government as illegitimate, and encouraged attacks on that administration's personnel and institutions.

"There seemed to be no political motivation for the continued attacks on policemen after the political settlement of 1994," said Lebone.

He said the increase in the number of murdered police and the huge leap in aggravated robberies were of serious concern.

More disdain

Criminals seemed to be showing more disdain for the security forces of the present government than they did for the previous one.

Lebone also warned the government not to surrender its citizens' rightful monopoly on the use of force for self-defence to criminals.

"The continued brazen attacks on state institutions and personnel responsible for the safety of South African residents and citizens amounts to an attack on the state itself.

"Public trust and confidence in the ability of the state to protect them will be eroded if the state cannot be seen to defend itself," he said.

Lebone said the danger existed that the public would lose faith in the legitimacy of state institutions and begin to increasingly take the law into its own hands.

Posted by Dark Raven at 2:29 AM 7 comments

Azanian Cops Beat Woman into A Coma

If you Want Peace - Work for Justice!
See story below:

Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Azanian cops beat woman into coma

Image: Comatose woman after savage police assault

17 January 2007

A Pretoria woman is fighting for her life in hospital after being brutally assaulted by Sunnyside police officers. The assault, part of which was photographed, involved plainclothes policemen attacking a prostitute.

Pretoria News photographer Herbert Matimba started photographing the attack but was forced to flee after police turned their attention to him. He spent the night in hiding to prevent police confiscating his photographs. 'She was just hanging in his arms as he dragged her across the pavement'

Paramedics, who rushed to attend to the black woman who lost consciousness after an apparent "epileptic fit", were spotted carrying the woman's diminutive body on a stretcher to an ambulance - her blue sandals and pink handbag wedged beneath her feet.

Uche Kalu said he witnessed the attack on the woman outside Malet Flats where he lives. "It was extremely brutal. I had just bought cigarettes from a vendor on the corner of Johann and Arcadia streets outside our block of flats, when I heard women screaming. "As I turned around, I saw two policemen grabbing two women and throwing them to the ground before grabbing one of the women and pushing her into the back of the police van. As one of the policemen pushed the woman into the van the other tried to grab hold of the other woman, who began fighting back," said Kalu.

"That was when one of the policemen grabbed her by the head and began smashing her head against the van's back doors. The woman fell to the ground where she was kicked in the head and stomach.

'A policeman is meant to arrest criminals'

"I could hear the policemen swearing before one of them picked her up and began strangling her. "She was just hanging in his arms as he dragged her across the pavement and threw her against the van several times before she started convulsing and shaking," he said. Kalu said that as people began screaming, a photographer began taking pictures. "When the policemen saw him they told him to stop before trying to grab him. I yelled at him to run and he did. I do not know where he went but I could see the policemen searching all the flat floors, waking people up as they looked for him.

"It is ridiculous. A policeman is meant to arrest criminals. If someone is shooting at a policeman then they should shoot back but they have no right to beat up someone who is not threatening them." Matimba's girlfriend, Mpule Mashiane, said she had been terrified. "I heard Herbert park his car, but when he did not come inside, I went to look for him. "As I opened the front door, there were two policemen and a policewoman standing outside. "They pushed me aside and began opening cupboards and looking under the bed, screaming at me to tell them where Herbert was.

"When I said I did not know, they took my cellphone and tried to phone him and told me I must tell him to surrender and come with them to the police station. "When I asked them what had happened they said he had taken an illegal photo of a 'patient' they were trying to help and that he must surrender or else they would arrest him," she said.

Nomsa Zulu, who hid Matimba, said she had been terrified and had not known what was happening. "I was talking to friends when a photographer ran to us and pleaded for help. "When he told us what happened I rushed him to my room." "We could hear policemen walking up and down our passage banging on doors screaming for him to surrender. "I was scared that they would find him and hurt him," said Zulu.

Tshwane Emergency Services spokesperson Johan Pieterse confirmed that medics had taken the seriously injured woman to Pretoria Academic Hospital after they received an anonymous telephone call for help saying that a woman was having an "epileptic fit". A paramedic said the woman had suffered severe head, neck and internal injuries as well as severe bruising. A Pretoria Academic Hospital nurse said the woman had sustained severe trauma as a result of a serious assault. She said the injuries could not have been caused by an epileptic fit. "It is as though someone has bashed her on the head with a heavy object," said the nurse.

Pretoria police spokesperson Inspector Anton Breedt said that the allegations of intimidation against Matimba would be investigated as well as any other wrongdoing which had led to the assault.


Posted by The Uhuru Guru at 11:42 PM

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Hidden Treasures: The Voices of Women in Judaism, Christianity and Islam

Downtown Chicago at Night

Lake Michigan at the Point!

Another beautiful scene at Lake Michigan in Chicago, IL

On Monday, November 5 at 8AM I had a tooth extracted. By 9:30AM I was sitting at the Catholic Theological Union listening to a panel discussion on recoverng the voices of women and addressing challenging and problematic texts. In a truly interfaith worship service they began with a Jewish prayer at 8:30AM. At noon we had a Christian prayer and at 5PM a Muslim prayer.

Jewish Prayer

Parts of the Jewish prayer were conducted from the book, Gates of Prayer for Shabbat and Weekdays: A Gender Sensitive Prayerbook by Chaim Stern, editor. Rabbi Ellen Weinberg dreyfus read from the Torah and the prayer service included a cantor.

Midday Christian Prayer
For this prayer we recited the following:
Leader: O God, come to our assistance.
All: Lord, make haste to help me.
Leader: Glory, honor and worship to God, to Christ and to the Holy Spirit:
All: AS it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. Alleluia.

We sang Lord of All Hopefulness and Psalm 95. We then recited prayer and someone read scripture form Isaiah 55:8-11. We had a brief silence, followed by prayers of intercession, the Lord's Prayer and a concluding prayer and blessing.

Muslim Prayer
I did not attend the 5PM Muslim prayer because I did not have anything appropriate to cover my head and I was not wearing a ankle length dress. Muslim planners included the following handout for non-Muslims:

The prayer in Islam consists of a unit that is repeated twice, three times or four times depending on the time of the day.

The unit starts in the standing position. The first chapter of the Quran "The Opening" is recited:

In the name of God, the All-Merciful, the Mercy-Giving.
All praise is for God alone, Lord of all the worlds.,
The All-Merciful, the Mercy-Giving,
Master of the Day of Judgment.
IT is You alone we worship and it is You alone we ask for help.
Guide us along the straight path
The path of those upon whom You have bestowed grace,
Not those upon whom there is wrath,
Nor those who have gone astray.

The next step is bowing, during which God the Almighty is exalted.
The third step is prostration, during which God the Most High is exalted.
The last step is sitting, during which supplications and greetings for Prophet Muhammad, Prophet Abraham and their families are given.

The Principles of Dialogue are worthy of use in other interfaith gatherings and so I include them here for your reference:

1. We should recognize that no single group or viewpoint has a complete monopoly on the truth.
2. We should not envision ourselves or any group as the saving remnant.
3. We should test all proposals for their pastoral realism and potential impact on individuals as well as for their theological truth.
4. We should presume that those with whom we diff ere are acting in good faith.
5. We should put the best possible construction on differing positions.
6. We should be cautious in ascribing motives.
7. We should engage the realities of contemporary culture, acknowledging the culture's valid achievements and real dangers.

Amen and Blessed Be! Rev. Dr. Qiyamah A. Rahman

Collegium: An Association for Liberal Religious Studies

Craigville Conference Center in Cape Code near Providence, Rhode Island where I attended the Collegium Conference.

Another beautiful nature scene from the Craigville Conference Center

Heavenly sunset!

One of many beautiful sunsets! The next day a hurricane hit nearby bringing gale rains and high winds.

Collegium held its Annual Fall Conference November 1-4, 2007 at the Craigville Conference Center on Cape Cod. Collegium is an Association for liberal religious studies whose mission is to "bring together the best academic, ministerial, lay, andother resources to bear upon the intellectual life of Unitarian Univeralism through encouraging, sharing, and distributing scholarly and other creative work." Each conference features a distinguished guest. This years distinguished guest was Father Daniel Berrigan, one of the country's leading peace activists of the past half-century. Father Berrigan is a Jesuit priest, poet, pacifist, educator,social activist, playwright and lifelong resister to what he calls "American military imperialism." He recently celebrated his 85th birthday.

Thanks to a scholarship from Collegium, I had the opportunity to hang out with some high powered researchers and scholars. The format included research and research in progress in several categories that included: history, theology,ethics,and social justice. I presented my dissertation research on Clergy Sexual Misconduct under the ethics category. I posted another paper on Diversity and Religious Education but decided not to present it.

While there were a number of excellent presentations, my favorite was by far, Jane Rosecrans on Frances Ellen Watkins Harper. Harper is one of my favorite sheroes! I was delighted to meet Jane and hear about the things she is doing.

Rev. Kim Beach, a minister that I knew previously from Lynchburg, VA where he served as Interim, shared his insights and experiences from a recent trip to Israel and Palestine.

Rev. Victor Carpenter was also present and presented a response to Bill Schulz's Berry Street Essay titled, What Torture Taught Me. Victor spent a number of years at the Cape Town, South Africa congregation as minister. Another important connection we have is his interest in the Black Empowerment Era. He has conducted and written the most extensive history on the Era in the UU Movement/denomination.

It was a delight to meet Myriam Reynaud. We both were trying to recall where we had met and realized it was at Wednesday evening Vespers at First Unitarian Congregation in Chicago, IL. She attends the University of Chicago and I attend Meadville Lombard Theological School. As Unitarians, we both attend Vespers. Because of my class schedule I am seldom able to attend, hence my poor memory. (What is your excuse Myriam?)I also ran into another "classmate," Rudra Dundzila that presented on Domas Sidlauskas-Visuomis. He and I both took a course, Hebrew Bible, on line together. While I was not able to attend his presentation I know that his scholarship is stellar.

I roomed with Betty Hoskins, a long time UU Women's Federation member and past Feminist Theology Chair. We talked about my research and the possibility of my doing a General Assembly presentation as well as potentially publishing and presenting my recommendations and findings on clergy sexual misconduct through the UU Women's Federation.

In regards to other research I am conducting, once this semester has concluded I will focus on writing up the conclusion for my research on African American Unitarian and Universalist and Unitarian Universalist women that was funded by the UU Women's Federation.

I would like to thank Rev. David Johnson and his gracious wife, Julie Coulter, for their warm hospitality. Yours truly scheduled a return flight for 6AM to Chicago with a two hour layover in Atlanta. As a result I was forced to leave the conference early on Saturday instead of Sunday. However, I was able to ride to Providence, RI with Rev. Paul Sawyer and Father Berrigan. What an earful hearing about their adventures over the years. We had a close encounter with Paul almost missing his train. He ended up handing his keys to his rental car that he was unable to return because they were closed and there was no drop box. Julie Coulter and I spent the next hour trying to return the car. I ended up keeping it overnight and driving it to the airport the next morning, thus getting me to the airport and getting the vehicle back where it belonged! What a win-win situation!

Collegium 2008
I had not expected to attend the 2008 session even though I suggested that they invite Mark Morrison Reed as their "Distinguished Guest." They followed up on the suggestion and he accepted! I have to figure out how to get myself there next year!

Blessings! Qiyamah A. Rahman

Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, Across the Waters

Rev. LaDonna Sanders speaking to sisters in Chicago, IL about her vision for Mothers, Sisters, Daughters and her dream to link it to the Mothers, Sisters, and Daughters in South Africa component.

Rev. Franshon Salter, one of the participants that came to contribute her support to Mothers, Sisters Daughters, Across the Waters

A group picture marking the conclusion of the first meeting of Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, Across the Waters - L-R Rev. Franshon, Rev. LaDonna, Rev. Dr. Qiyamah and Mama Dawn holding Justice (4 months).

Kitchen Table Talk! Breaking bread together after talking, praying, and scripture reading. L-R Rev. Franshon, Rev. LaDonna, Mama Dawn and Justice.