Mississippi

The Magnolia State

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Sanctuary art at UU, Photo credit: www.uuoxford.co
Sanctuary art at UUCO, Photo credit: www.uuoxford.com

Mississippi is a land of hospitality, history and unlimited beauty, and there was no shortage of that true southern hospitality as we arrived to the home of Ole Miss in Oxford (University), Mississippi.  With weekend parking and electric hookups provided by the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Oxford, Austin and I were able to get comfortable and even disconnect the Jeep to do some more personal tourism in the area.

A young community by Unitarian standards (formally joined the UUA in 1997), this lay led congregation is overwhelmingly representative of our seven principles while ready and eager for the growth it is destined to receive.  On this Sunday, guest minister, the Rev. Fred L. Hammond (The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Tuscaloosa, Alabama) presented “Violence in America,” focusing on the existence of micro-aggressions within society.  Rev. Hammond expressed the need for the recognition and reevaluation of our own roles as UUs in the presentation and acceptance of micro-aggressions in our communities and in our governments as these apply to social justice needs and improved gun ownership legislation with mental health provisions.

After the service was an amazing “potluck,” (a term not fitting the cloth napkins, table coverings, and dinnerware!)  Also not fitting the term was the fabulous diversity of food for vegans, vegetarians and carnivores alike.  I can honestly say that I have never attended such a thoughtful potluck gathering–and amongst such wonderful people–before this day.

Welcoming chalice, Photo credit: www.uua.org
Welcoming chalice, Photo credit: http://www.uua.org

Not to be outdone, Rev. Hammond came back after our meal and presented an eye-opening workshop on Heterosexism, including revealing unethical and even unenforceable laws within the state of Mississippi that limit and undermine the education of Mississippi’s youth about the LGBTIA community (sexual minorities) within society.  And, although already a diverse and open community, the UUC of Oxford is currently working towards the formality of becoming a UUA recognized “Welcoming Congregation,” arranging the workshop as a part of their venture.

For information on attending the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Oxford, visit: http://www.uuoxford.com

For a wonderful sampling of Rev. Hammond’s thoughts, visit his blog “A Unitarian Universalist Minister in the South”: http://serenityhome.wordpress.com/

To better understand the requirements for becoming a Welcoming congregation, visit: http://www.uua.org/lgbtq/index.shtml

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I’m going to Jackson

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That’s Jackson, Mississippi, in beautiful 76 degree weather!  Another day free so each of a chose our want-to place in the State Capital.  I got a visit to the home of Nobel Prize winning author Eudora Welty and Austin chose the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science.

Although I actually got some beautiful shots of fresh blooming camellias in the Welty gardens, my new camera and I have not yet come to an understanding of operations.  Meaning, I don’t know what I did but I do know that I can’t find those pictures on it now!

We do have a few cool photos to share from Austin’s destination though!

A true two-headed snake
A true two-headed snake
Trying to lift off
Trying to lift off
Baby alligator
Baby alligator
Gotta' love that fish face
Gotta’ love that fish face
Austin being froggy
Austin being froggy

Our day ended with a wonderful dinner at Petra’s Greek and Mediterranean Grill on Old Canton Road in Jackson.  The restaurant serves authentic Greek, Mediterranean and Lebanese food and the hummus was to die for!

Mr. Duck attacks!

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And he's out of the water
And he’s out of the water
Heading for us
Heading for us
Getting closer
Getting closer
Almost on us
Almost on us
Still running
Still running
Evil eye and feather's rustled
Evil eye and feather’s rustled
Stopped to pose
Stopping for a pose
Turning for Austin
Turning for Austin
One last warning from the water
One last warning from the water
The family
The family

Our fishing outing on the bank had a bit of a twist to it today–

Thanks Mr. Duck for the great pictures!

Roosevelt State Park, Mississippi