Dear UCM members and friends,
Over the last few weeks, Unitarian Universalists across the country have turned their attention to the ways the culture and practices of our denominational institutions still fall short of the multicultural, multiracial, and anti-racist ideals we espouse. In particular, the hiring practices of the Unitarian Universalist Association have been a focal point, and during this controversy, the Rev. Peter Morales resigned as President of the UUA.
The concerns raised about the persistence of white supremacy culture and structural racism within our progressive religious movement are not new. Unitarian Universalist ministers, religious educators, staff members, and lay people of color have experienced much hurt and pain because of this and have struggled to transform our denomination for many years. This history is important for all of us to know about and understand.
You can read a few of the initial statements from UUs of color that began this most recent conversation about white supremacy and structural racism within Unitarian Universalism here and here and here.
What does this mean for UCM?
As a member congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Association, and a congregation held in covenant with other Unitarian Universalist congregations, we are deeply connected to the systems and culture of our broader movement. The issues being raised are not just about the UUA but are also about our religious movement as a whole.
Our congregation is on a journey to better understand issues of race, multiculturalism, and anti-oppression. This year, we have begun to take small steps on this journey. Especially notable have been the “Navigating Whiteness” and “What Does it Mean to be White Here and Now?” programs led by the Adult Religious Education Committee. Also of note is the congregation’s recent work in support of social justice issues affecting immigrants, refugees, Muslim, and people of color in the state. I also know that efforts have been made in the past to support people and families of diverse racial backgrounds in the congregation. These are all good things and steps along the way.
In the coming days, there are a couple of ways we will be engaging with these issues here at UCM. First, there will be a discussion of the book Waking Up White by Debby Irving, on May 16th. Please consider reading the book and participating in this discussion. Second, the Personnel Committee will be developing hiring procedures that reflect our commitment to inclusion, equity, and justice.
I look forward to continuing to work with you all on these issues and towards realizing our vision for the congregation, which I believe includes examining the impacts and structures of racism and all systems of oppression.
This is a risky and vulnerable time for many in our country. Now more than ever we are called to show one another compassion and to work towards justice. Though there are times we will fall short, we continue to strive towards creating a religious movement and a world that reflects the Beloved Community we dream is possible.
May we allow this moment to teach us to live more faithfully, more lovingly, and with more integrity.
May it be so.
In faith and service,