News – May 5, 2023
Dear Members and Friends,
At our congregational meeting next month we’ll be voting on whether or not to adopt the proposed 8th Principle of the Unitarian Universalist Association. It reads:
We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote:
Journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.
In the lead up to the vote, we’ll be considering the importance of the proposed principle in a few ways. The first will be through worship. Each week a member of the congregation will be sharing a video testimony about why they think it is important for us.
In addition, we will have two services connected to the Eighth Principle. The first will be this Sunday’s. In it, we will celebrate the ministry of the Rev. Robert Wedderburn. The first Unitarian minister of African descent. He was active in London from roughly 1802 to 1828, but has been almost entirely forgotten. He was the subject of some of my research this past summer while I was on sabbatical in England and prior to my rediscovery of him was essentially unknown in Unitarian Universalist circles. My sermon on him will be the first preached about his ministry in North America. It will be accompanied by a musical tribute to Harry Belafonte.
Then on May 21st I will offer a sermon on the 8th Principle itself and why I think it is important for congregations like ours to take seriously. I hope you are able to make or view both of the services! In addition to worship, we will have a number of other ways to consider the importance of the proposed principle. First, the Transformation Committee will be tabling outside of Channing Hall every Sunday between now and the vote. They will have a wealth information so please stop by, ask them questions and share your thoughts. Second, they are leading two different book discussion groups. One is of Heather McGee’s The Sum of Us. That group will wrap on May 18th. The other is of Mistakes and Miracles by Nancy Palmer Jones and Karin Lin. The book is the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Common Read for this year. Discussion about it will begin in early June. Look for more details in an upcoming newsletter!
Finally, renowned Unitarian Universalist lay leader Paula Cole Jones will be leading a hybrid workshop for us on May 20th on “Building a Culture of Inclusion.” She writes:
Building Beloved Community is about building a culture of inclusion. Is this our unfinished business or is it the bridge to a vibrant future for Unitarian Universalism? Over 240 congregations and UU organizations like State Action Networks, UU Ministry for Earth, and Black lives of Unitarian Universalists have had positive votes to adopt an 8th Principle that calls on us to build the Beloved Community. Many more votes are in process. Will we heed the call?
I hope that you find all of this helpful in making an informed decision about the 8th Principle. The Transformation Committee has done a stellar job of developing these programs to help you know about it and why it is important to the future of First Unitarian Universalist. I’m excited to see how the month goes!