MESSAGE FROM UUA President Susan Frederick-Gray
I hold you all in deep care. As this pandemic continues to spread, it is taking its toll on our country and people. This toll includes the heartbreak and grief for loved ones and strangers who have died and those struggling to recover from COVID-19.
As religious communities, we will continue to be called on to provide moral and spiritual leadership. Our pastoral presence and commitment to mutual aid are especially important as people’s fundamental needs grow, both within and beyond our congregations. And the UUA is your partner, in covenant and care, as we navigate these times. It is our priority to provide the best counsel, care, and resources we are able in these unprecedented times.
Attacks on Our Democracy
We are witnessing widespread and insidious attacks on our democracy, Constitution, and voting rights. The President’s incompetence and misinformation campaign are costing lives. There are violent attacks by police and federal agents against people exercising the right to protest and people offering humanitarian aid.
Police violence against Black Americans goes unabated. Separation of families happens unimpeded at the border and throughout the country. The spread of COVID-19 in prisons and detention centers is ignored. There is a cruel disregard for the deepening health and economic crisis in real terms. An increasing number of Americans are in danger of going hungry and being evicted from their homes. The President uses every lever at his disposal to undermine a free, accessible, and fair election.
Creating a Foundation of Care for Our Society
We cannot “go back to normal.” The lesson of our time is that we must renew the moral foundation of care in our society. We need to be organizing, agitating, preaching, loving, and practicing now for a post-pandemic society that is more equitable and just. We must continue to amplify the voice of the Black Lives Matter movement and advocate for its demands. Our steadfast commitment is to advance the human rights and dignity of all people.
Essential to this work is nurturing a practice and spirit of liberation in our own congregations. The UUA, at both the Board and staff level, will be making the implementation of the Report of the UUA Commission on Institutional Change, Widening the Circle of Concern, a top priority. We must continue to do the work of dismantling historic, dehumanizing, and systemic racial injustice in our own communities. Over the months to come, I will be sharing more updates on the implementation of the COIC’s recommendations and support for congregations in this work.
Moving in Partnership
Knowing how difficult these days are, please be in touch with your regional staff with any needs, challenges, or questions you face. They are your first point of contact with the UUA – here to coach, companion, and connect you with helpful resources.
We are all living with grief, anxiety, anger, and uncertainty as we face the enormity of this crisis. Once again, I encourage everyone to make more time for rest, spiritual practice, and for connecting with your religious community and loved ones. Nurture what feeds your soul. Nurture what feeds your community. Nurture what inspires in you compassion, commitment, and action.
We can only navigate this unprecedented time together. Love, friendship, mutuality, community, and commitment – these will fortify us for the moral and spiritual leadership needed.
With you in love always,
Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray spends her days strengthening the thriving mission of this faith. In her spare time, she enjoys being with her family and playing with their dog, Hercules.
Unitarian Universalist Association. http://www.uua.org
There are seven UUA Principles:
1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
2. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
4. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
Unitarian Universalism (UU) draws from many sources:
- Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;
- Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
- Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
- Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;
- Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit;
- Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.
- These principles and sources of faith are the backbone of our religious community.
Grateful for the religious pluralism which enriches and enobles our faith, we are inspired to deepen our understanding and expand our vision. As free congregations, we enter into this covenant, promising to one another our mutual trust and support. Membership in our congregation is for those in agreement with this covenant.
- We warmly welcome all.
- We speak with honesty, respect and kindness.
- We listen compassionately.
- We express gratitude for the service of others.
- We honor and support one another in our life journeys, in times of joy, need and struggle.
- We embrace our diversity and the opportunity to share our different perspectives.
- We address our disagreements directly and openly, and see conflict through to an authentic resolution.
- We serve our spiritual community with generosity and joy, honoring our commitments.
- We strive to keep these promises, but when we fail, we forgive ourselves and others, and begin again in love.