This New Year brings us an opportunity for reflection. As we consider the theme of resilience, I invite us all to listen deeply to the wisdom and experiences of voices too long marginalized in our Unitarian Universalist communities. Following a call from our denomination, we have committed to centering the stories of people of color, as we examine our community’s role in dismantling white supremacy. It is in this spirit that I invite you to join me in a period of listening and discernment over the next two months.
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, we welcome two leaders in the local Black Lives Matter movement who have offered to share their stories and expertise with us. Will Jones, author of “Today’s Lesson: Black Lives Matter” and Vanessa Green, leader of Hudson Valley Black Lives Matter will guide us in a forum at 12:30 PM on Sunday, January 14th. Will is also leading the service that day. Our call right now is to open our hearts and to listen, to allow ourselves to be challenged. It may not be easy work, but it is essential if we wish to transform a system of privilege and power to one of justice and love.
Then on Saturday, February 10th, Rev. Chris and I will be leading a Leadership Retreat from 10AM- 3PM, open to everyone at UUCRT. The first part of this day will focus on the book Centering: Navigating Race, Authenticity, and Power in Ministry. This book is one of two UUA Common Read selections this year, and centers the stories, analyses, and insights of a number of Unitarian Universalist religious professionals of color as they explore how racial identity is made both visible and invisible in UU communities. The second part of the Leadership Retreat will focus on visioning an inclusive, racially just future for this congregation, with attention to our historic and systemic roots. We will be using social analysis research that I conducted this past fall for a seminary class to help us dismantle white supremacy together and build a new way.
As we move into 2018– a year that marks 150 years since the founding of this congregation– may we rise, resilient and renewed, as a people emboldened to live our values and act for justice in the world.