Before I begin my summer sabbath time and study leave, I wanted to share with you some
further thoughts on my experience at this General Assembly (GA) and also highlight some of the sermons and presentations from GA that I would encourage all of us to watch.
Many of my ministry colleagues and I commented that it seemed like the “true” theme of this year’s Ministry Days conference and General Assembly was failure, brokenness, and vulnerability. To put it plainly, for us Unitarian Universalists, most of whom (though not all) identify as White liberal folks, this year kicked our behinds. From Ferguson to Charleston, the continuing evils of racism and White supremacy have been put out there in plain sight in ways we simply cannot deny. What I heard from UUs at General Assembly were these questions:
- How can we acknowledge, in compassion, our own shortcomings and failures as a religious community?
- How can we find sources of hope and resiliency?
- How can we continue fighting the hells of this world by building beloved community?
The good news, my dear friends, is that UUFSC already knows the answer to these questions. That’s what I have witnessed in my first year serving you all as your minister. We are willing to face ugly truths and the depths of our suffering. We all are fiercely committed to loving one another and this world. And we know how to find beauty and have fun!
You know what felt awesome for me at General Assembly? The stories I got share with colleagues about UUFSC and what we have done this year: the work on healthy boundaries and staffing; feeding people who are homeless with respect and dignity; participation in the Beloved Conversations curriculum and small group ministry; our concrete support of First Christian Methodist Episcopal Church’s Charleston Vigil. Yes, I was bragging about us. And yes, I enjoyed it :-)
Below, please find the links to what I would recommend you watching from General Assembly.
When I return on July 28th, I look forward to sitting down with many of you and discerning our priorities for our second year of shared ministry. Blessings on us all and the work of Unitarian Universalism in Stanislaus County!
Must-Sees from General Assembly 2015:
- Dr. Cornel West’s Ware Lecture (to skip to Rev. Morales intro of Dr. West, forward to the 40 minute mark): http://www.uua.org/multiculturalism/ga/ware-west
- Rev. Dr. Marlin Lavanhar’s sermon ‘For Just Such a Time as This’ at the Service of the Living Tradition. Lavanhar is the Senior Minister at All Souls Unitarian Church, Tulsa OK. http://www.uua.org/ga/virtual/2015/worship/slt (to skip to the sermon, forward to the 1h 23 minute mark)
- Rev Sean Parker Dennison’s Berry Street Lecture ‘While Failure Is Not An Option': http://www.uuworld.org/articles/uuaga15-berry-street-sean-dennison (lecture begins at around the 24 minute mark).
- Amanda Weatherspoon and Kenny Wiley situate contemporary Unitarian Universalism in relation to the #BlackLivesMatter movement: http://www.uuworld.org/articles/uuaga15-talk-blacklivesmatter
- Adoption of Action of Immediate Witness for #BlackLivesMatter in General Session VI–take notice of the confusion in procedure, tensions, and anxieties in this process. http://www.uua.org/ga/virtual/2015/business/vi (begins approximately at the 47 minute mark of the video).
For great coverage of General Assembly and the highlights and take-aways, check out the UU World: http://www.uuworld.org/ga