MESSAGE FROM UUA President Susan Frederick-Gray
While Rev. Fred is on vacation please read from our UUA President, Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray.
June 18, 2020
This has been a week with hopeful wins and powerful momentum building for real systemic change. The uprisings across the United States continue to grow, the Minneapolis City Council voted to defund police, and the Supreme Court just issued a historic ruling making clear LGBTQ+ people are protected from workplace discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
It has also been a devastating week of unspeakable violence against Black lives. We lift up the names of these loved ones whose lives were taken just in the last few days — Oluwatoyin Salau, Rayshard Brooks, Riah Milton, Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, Robert Fuller, and Malcom Harsch.
It matters that we honor our grief and make time to rest. It matters that we celebrate the wins. And it matters that we don’t let up. We’ve got to keep naming, showing up, and organizing for justice, for liberation, for the lives and dignity of our Black, Indigenous, people of color, trans and non-binary siblings. And we’ve got to keep moving toward liberating practices of theology and community that reckon with how deeply our people are under threat while embodying practices of resilience, compassion, interconnectedness, and deep care that are so needed in these times.
This is exactly when we need the analysis and recommendations of the UUA’s Commission on Institutional Change (COIC). After three years of research, story gathering, and analysis of structural and systemic racism and white supremacy culture within Unitarian Universalism,
the report from the COIC is now available: “Widening the Circle of Concern” makes vital recommendations to advance long-term cultural and institutional change that redeems the essential promise and ideals of Unitarian Universalism. The COIC will share their report at General Assembly (GA) next week and offer workshops to help us engage the recommendations practically in our congregations and in our institutions.
I am grateful to all who have served on the Commission and to everyone who shared their stories. I want to especially recognize the people who served as members and staff to the COIC: Chair Rev. Leslie Takahashi, Mary Byron, Cir L’Bert Jr., Rev. Dr. Natalie Fenimore, Dr. Elías Ortega, Caitlin Breedlove, DeReau K. Farrar, and Project Manager Rev. Marcus Fogliano.
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.