Beloved Conversations at UUC

Rev. Beth Chronister

I am excited to announce that UUC will be launching Beloved Conversations in the coming church year. Beloved Conversations uses a small group ministry format to explore the role of race/ethnicity in individual and congregational lives. It was developed at Meadville Lombard Seminary by the Fahs Collaborative and has been implemented by over 140 Unitarian Universalist, Quaker, and Jewish congregations. Starting in the fall of 2018, 36 members of UUC will be participating in three different groups led by lay facilitators.

More about Beloved Conversations…

Beloved Conversations is a teaching and learning curriculum that holds both the tensions and joys of an intentional multicultural community. The curriculum assumes that every conversation with another human being is a cross-cultural conversation, even if your conversation partner is from the same racial group as you. Nested inside communities of faith, Beloved Conversations creates a first step – a learning laboratory – for how to live in a multi-racial, multicultural, theologically diverse community, and how to use those learnings to work for a racially just world, both within and beyond the congregation.

Using a small-group ministry format, the curriculum creates a supportive space for congregants to talk about their own experiences, while identifying places where growth is necessary. As an instrument of faith formation, it offers participants a chance to rediscover the sacred and important presence of compassion, grace, risk-taking, vulnerability, and the healing joy when cross-racial relationships are reconciled. In addition, the curriculum’s third edition (2017) offers real-time faith formation resources explicitly for people of color, as well as organizational support for making institutional change. The program begins with an opening retreat and then continues through 8 different sessions in small group.

Ways to get involved…

The three groups for Beloved Conversations 2018/19 have already been filled. Much like in the first year of Wellspring, there was an intentional process of inviting possible participants who are leaders from across the church to experience together the process and potential of Beloved Conversations and to help establish the program for years to come. Consider this our pilot year. In coming years, the program will be both by invitation and open enrollment! Eager to get involved?

  • Come to Meadowbrook on October 7th to hear two Beloved Conversations trainers from the Fahs Collective, Rhonda Brown and Rev. Kierstin Homblette Allen, lead Sunday worship.
  • Have conversations with members who are participating about their experiences.
  • Continue on with your own commitments to Racial Justice whether that is through reading, conversations, advocacy, activism, witness, deep listening, or seeking new perspectives.

Interested in learning more about Beloved Conversations? See
www.meadville.edu/fahs-collaborative/fahs-curriculum-catalogue/beloved-conversations.

Susan St. John

UUC Communications Coordinator