It’s summertime and many in our congregation, including most on our board members, are away, so I’m spending my summer days pondering what’s ahead. TUUC is at the point of New Beginnings. We have a newly settled minister, Linda, three new board members, and clearly defined goals — engagement, social justice, and financial stability. Oh the places we can go; the things we can do . . . Stay tuned!
Skip and I went to UUA General Assembly in New Orleans in late June. It would be impossible for me to compress all we experienced in a paragraph or two. I will therefore share several general takeaways. From the pulpit, Linda has shared much about the uproar within the UUA hierarchy regarding what is now the generally accepted term used UUA-wide: “white supremacy” within our organization and beyond. This is a truthfully descriptive term that challenges some of us. We went with the expectation that there would be acrimony and dissension. I don’t know what went on behind the scenes, but what we experienced was compassion and heart—4,000 attendees with shared values and goals. There was open acknowledgement that things need fixing, but this was handled in a positive light. We were also pleased to see the large percentage of people of color and other discriminated-against groups who were represented at this conference. There is a very positive way forward.
Of special note, two revisions to the UUA Principles are under consideration, and a two year task force was established to examine the options for each Principle. In the 1st Principle, it has been proposed to change “the inherent worth and dignity of every person…” to …”every living thing” or ”every person and every being” or ”every person and every living thing.” That made for some very interesting conversations. Would we all have to become vegetarians? What about bacteria and viruses? etc. Start thinking about it. A commission was also established to study a proposed 8th Principle that addresses racism.
Of all the workshops we attended, I will share the premise of one with you, because it is how I’m approaching this coming year, “Wonder as a Justice Making Practice.” Intriguing title, right? Basically they suggested using the concept of wonder to create more open conversations. Use “I wonder . . .” to slow down the pace of thinking, and to create space for listening not only to others, but also to one’s inner voice.
To become more involved in social issues in Tacoma for example:
- I wonder how we can spread the word of our desire to help.
- I wonder how we can generate more community support.
- I wonder who else in Tacoma shares our concern.
- I wonder what the best ways are to let illegal immigrants know we support them and how we can get feedback from them.
Hmm . . I wonder how we can work together as a TUUC team to become a strong, committed, fully-engaged congregation both within and beyond our church community. Let’s all wonder together how we can be the best we can be.