top of page

A Message from UU Association

As the first month of 2022 draws to a close, I am sending you love and so much care. I have never experienced anything like this extended period of uncertainty, isolation, discouragement, loss and heartbreak. I hear from so many corners how exhausted our religious professionals and leaders are. The constant planning and changing plans. The emotional toll of the difficult decisions we have been making for more than two years. We’ve been on high alert on so many levels for years now – trying to protect ourselves, our families and communities – trying to save lives from health, economic, and political calamity. The other thing I know is that virtually none of us are at our best. This is hard as leaders when we hold so many responsibilities and have to navigate so many expectations. It’s also hard as we minister to communities of people who are also struggling. Incidents of people acting terribly seem to be everywhere. I send you grace and care as I know too many of you have been on the receiving end. And I pray for all of us to feel the deep compassion and loving kindness that is present to us and a part of us.

I invite you to connect your values to your joy and to be reminded that we are not in this struggle alone.

One of the things I’ve been trying to do each morning is listen to music and dance as a way of connecting with my own joy. Recently, I was reminded of a wonderful video clip of the late John Lewis dancing to Pharrell’s “Happy” at a campaign event for Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. It’s a moment that illuminates the grace he showed over many decades of working for social justice. Throughout a long and distinguished career, he experienced daunting obstacles and setbacks but never stopped celebrating life.

This video made the rounds on January 5th of last year as people celebrated the incredible turn out in the Georgia Senate election run-offs. The turnout was the success of Black organizers, registering and turning out voters in historic numbers despite the disenfranchisement efforts of the state. I share this memory because it matters that we remember the times when the people have led and won. It matters that we take time to savor moments of joy and sweetness. They provide vital sustenance. And sustenance is critical because the struggles we face are long-haul. What are the moments bringing you joy and sustenance? How might you create moments of joy and sweetness in your days? In these difficult times, when we face daunting challenges on seemingly every front, it’s more important than ever that we as leaders continue to offer ourselves and each other grace and that we have intentional time for rest and joy. I invite you to connect your values to your joy and be reminded that we are not in this struggle alone by connecting with the UUA’s 30 Days of Love, our annual celebration that runs approximately from Martin Luther King, Jr. Day through Valentine’s Day. This is an opportunity to collectively nurture our spirits, deepen our understanding, and take action on our values. This week’s events focus on Voting Rights and Democracy. I am especially looking forward to the Friday Songs of Joy events. I remember the video of the great John Lewis dancing, and it inspires me to keep working for the passage of the Voting Rights Act that now bears his name. It inspires me to want to make our ancestors dance as they witness our efforts – rooted in love and joy – creating a sea change toward justice and dignity.

Yours in love,


P.S. The official launch for UU the Vote 2022 is coming soon! Democracy, electoral justice, and voting rights are on the line. Visit the Side With Love Action Center for ways you and your congregation can take action in defense of our democracy today.

P.P.S. Share the Side with Love Sunday worship service with your congregation this Valentine’s Day! This worship service can be streamed online or downloaded to share at your regular worship time.

Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray spends her days strengthening the thriving mission of this faith. In her spare time, she enjoys being with her family and playing with their dog, Hercules.

27 views0 comments


bottom of page