What Are We Reading?
Rev. Beth Chronister
This past church year, UUC leadership teams have been engaging in shared reads about multiculturalism, racial equity, and transformation within Unitarian Universalism. The Board of Trustees has joined with the Equity Team, Executive Team, and leaders of the Racial Justice Team to read Widening the Circle of Concern, the report released to the General Assembly by the UUA Commission on Institutional Change in June, 2020. The Commission on Institutional Change was established and charged by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Board of Trustees to conduct an audit of white privilege and the structure of power within Unitarian Universalism, and analyze structural racism and white supremacy culture within the UUA. This report is composed of their findings and recommendations based on three years of research and interviews with UUs across the UUA. The report includes themes such as: theology, hospitality and inclusion, education for liberation, and restoration and reparations. It offers a vision for a more anti-racist, liberatory, and equitable faith tradition and religious cultures grounded in our values and guided by covenant. UUC joins numerous other congregations and leadership teams across the UUA who are engaging Widening the Circle of Concern and the recommendations made by the Commission. You can read or listen to the whole report online here!
The above teams gather once a month during the Board Study Session to discuss the different themes, recommendations, and how they relate to UUC. In this shared read, the leadership teams are asking the Open Question: What kind of Anti-Racist Community can UUC be? How will we become one?
UUC’s staff is also engaging in a shared read. Once a month, a staff meeting is dedicated to discussing a case study in the book Mistakes and Miracles: Congregations on the Road to Multiculturalism by Nancy Palmer Jones and Karen Lin. This book includes five case studies of different UU churches considered multicultural or intercultural, exploring their congregational and member stories, turning points, tensions, and strengths developed over decades. As a staff we are reading this text, in the words of Janice Marie Johnson, “to develop our antiracist, antioppressive, and multicultural habits and skills in order to prepare us to do our part to collectively nurture multiculturally competent, actively antiracist congregations into being.” We are reflecting deeply about UUC and UU as a tradition and beginning to imagine what comes next on our own road to multiculturalism.