“Incrementalism and progressivism are insufficient in these totalitarian times.”
-Reverend Susan Frederick-Gray, UUA President
“In this delicate turning…how will you become ready? No one’s comfort is at the center, you just do what needs to be done. Let’s be co-liberators and get free together.” Reverend Marta Valentin
In a time of great challenge and heartbreak in our world, what does our faith demand from us? At this year’s UUMA Ministry Days and UUA General Assembly, we explored the power, possibility, purpose, struggle and joy of finding the path forward together as Unitarian Universalists. I left Spokane inspired by the presentations and discussions, reaffirmed in my calling, and strengthened to continue our shared ministry.
During Ministry Days, I served as Chaplain Coordinator. I had the blessing of providing pastoral care to my beloved colleagues. One of the most important business items was the approval of a measure that charged the UUMA Guidelines Committee with studying the existing Guidelines. It proposed revisions, which clarify and strengthen our professional standards against behaviors that perpetuate white supremacy, hetero-patriarchy, and other systems and structures of oppression.
We also had a lovely dedication ceremony for the children of our colleagues and expressed our gratitude to outgoing President Rev. Cheryl M. Clarke for her dedication and excellent service to our faith. Together with my mentor, Rev. Dr. Clyde Grubbs, and Rev. Karen Von Fossan, Minister of the Bismark UU congregation and one of the clergy leaders in the Standing Rock Water is Life Movement, we presented two workshops on Decolonizing Unitarian Universalism. It was a step toward sharing our Indigenous Experience as Unitarian Universalists. We explored the meaning of colonialism, how it affects us all, and how we can decolonize and build communities with life affirming values.
There were so many beautiful GA experiences, including attending the Service of the Living Tradition, where our own Jim Lewis received his Preliminary Fellowship as a UU Minister. We are blessed to have him among us!
I attended the Ware Lecture delivered by Presidential Inaugural Poet, Richard Blanco. I participated in the workshop, “A Joyful Noise: Why Congregational Singing Matters” led by Music Directors Amanda Thomas and Francisco Ruiz. I sang with the GA Choir at all the worship services and closing ceremony. And I connected with so many amazing and inspiring friends and colleagues.
I have returned home both deeply recommitted to my Unitarian Universalist faith and to my Ministerial calling to shared Ministry with my Starr King Beloved Community. May the Power of “We” hold us and strengthen us!
Here are the links to some of the GA highlights:
- Worship, Opening, Framing: A Love to Change the World
- Service of the Living Tradition
- Ware Lecture by Richard Blanco