Common Read Group Meets, Newcomers Welcome

The minister, lay commissioned minister, members and friends of the UUCRT met Saturday morning February 10 in the sanctuary to discuss the UUA Common Read for 2017-2018, Centering: Navigating Race, Authenticity, and Power in Ministry. This first discussion focused on the essay “Othering and Belonging” by Rev. Darrick Jackson, and the response by Rev. Lilia Cuervo. The book group used the UUA discussion guide and practiced the spiritual practices for reading and discussing Centering: 1. Practice centering the experience of religious professionals of color; 2 Avoid the impulse to fix problems; 3) Resist the temptation to confess guilt and shame; and 4) question the UU tendency to question authority.  A full explanation of the spiritual practices can be found on pages 25-27 of the discussion guide.

The group decided that Centering is a rich resource and hopes more members and friends will join this vital discussion series. The group will meet again on March 18, from 12-1pm, to discuss leadership and ministry. The focus will be on the essay “Call and Response,” by Rev. Lauren Smith (pp 43-57), and the response by Rev. Dr. Susan Newman Moore (pp. 58-65).  Newcomers are welcome to attend. The UUCRT no longer has copies of Centering available for purchase. It can be purchased through the UUA bookstore here. One copy of Centering for shared use at the UUCRT will be available on the Welcome Table. Please do not remove the copy from the UUCRT and return it to the Welcome Table when you are done.

A Chance to Participate in the UUA Common Read

A Common Read invites participants to read and discuss the same book in a given period of time. A Common Read can build community in our congregations and our movement by giving diverse people a shared experience, shared language, and a basis for deep, meaningful conversations.

Each year’s Common Read is chosen by a committee including both headquarters and field staff of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). Anyone may nominate a book.

Common Read 2017-2018

side by side covers of the two 2017-18 Common Read selections: Daring Democracy and Centering

The challenges, the call, and the opportunity of this moment in Unitarian Universalism and in the broader US American society are compelling. Unitarian Universalists must be prepared and willing to look inward, examining, exploring, and acting to dismantle white supremacy culture in our association, in our congregations and groups, and in ourselves. At the same time, we must be prepared and willing to look outward and act to lift up Unitarian Universalist values in the political and civic challenges of our time. After much deliberation, the Common Read Selection Committee has chosen two books for this year’s Common Read:

Centering: Navigating Race, Authenticity, and Power in Ministry, edited by Mitra Rahnema (Skinner House, 2017), centers the stories, analysis, and insights of a number of Unitarian Universalist religious leaders of color as they explore how racial identity is made both visible and invisible in Unitarian Universalist communities.

Daring Democracy: Igniting Power, Meaning, and Connection for the America We Want, by Frances Moore Lappé and Adam Eichen, (Beacon Press, September 2017) lifts up the importance of democracy itself. It examines the anti-democracy movement that led to the Trump presidency, then offers a vision and call to action to save the democracy we thought we had and to take our civic life to a place it has never been.

Centering offers help with the inner work of today’s Unitarian Universalism; Daring Democracy provides a vision and practical guidance for advancing our justice-making work in the public square.

A limited quantity of each book is available at a 20 percent discount off the cover price on Sundays at the UUCRT. A discussion group meeting will be scheduled in February 2018 for Daring Democracy and April for Centering

Common Read 2016-2017

The Third Reconstruction

Common Read 2015-16

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson (2014,