Greetings from New Orleans, where I am attending national UU gathering, along with Pat E, Leroy E. and Matthew M. The UUFSC team is well, despite a tropical storm and tornado warnings! (I will admit– it felt a bit eery to be experiencing a tropical storm in New Orleans, where the ghosts of Katrina surround us).
Before General Assembly began, I was in the national UU ministers gathering, where we ministers spent a lot of time engaging about the various resignations, revelations, and changes that have occurred at the denominational level over the past few months, revelations that have engaged UUs across the country once again in conversations about racism, whiteness, and Unitarian Universalism (you can track these stories here: http://www.uuworld.org/department/uu-news . One article in particular you may want to check out is this one: http://www.uuworld.org/articles/blog-roundup-2017-04-21). As much pain and broken-heartedness got expressed, there was a palpable sense of possibility– perhaps the pain and disappointment will break us open to healing transformation. For any of us who have been through “healing transformations”, we know it is not the most comfortable of experiences. But definitely worthwhile. I realize I am being fairly general here– rest assured I’ll be sharing more about all of this when I return!
And in midst of wrestling with challenging stuff, I want you also to imagine what it feels like to sit in giant meeting whole of thousands of UUs….I want you to hear the Second Line band leading the parade of banners of UU congregations from around the country. There is vitality and beauty that arises from coming together and being REAL together– real about the beauty and the pain; the joy and the struggle. As this one sign put it: Resist and Rejoice!
You can tune into a live-stream of the general sessions here: http://www.uua.org/ga/off-site/2017. And you can read dispatches from General Assembly by the UU World here: http://www.uuworld.org/ga. On Saturday evening, I would highly recommend tuning into the Ware Lecture by lawyer, activist, and author of Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson: https://www.uua.org/liberty/criminaljustice/ware-stevenson
This Sunday, we are blessed to have Modesto Poet Laureate Gillian Wegener in our pulpit, affirming Audre Lorde’s wisdom that, “poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence.” Worship Leaders this week are Todd Whiteley, Gillian Wegener, and Sydney Gorham.
Minister’s schedule note: After I return from General Assembly, I will be taking four weeks of vacation and study leave, during which I will be completely “offline.” Brenda in the church office is available as usual to answer your questions or check in with a Board member! For pastoral care emergencies, you can also contact Brenda or pastoral care team members Pat E. or CL E. I will be returning to the office and back “online” on Tuesday July 25th.