Dear UU Church of the Brazos Valley,
As the year draws to a close, we're reflecting on the ways that Unitarian Universalists were able to thrive in spite of so much turmoil and uncertainty. Whether we liked it or not, we had many opportunities to practice a new normal for Unitarian Universalism, and we continued to provide life-saving ministry regardless of changing conditions. Together, we upheld that interdependent web of which we're all a part. This newsletter offers some highlights from around the Association in the past year.
If you’d like to make a year-end contribution to keep Unitarian Universalism thriving, you can do so at http://giving.uua.org/friends.
With you on the journey,
Rachel Walden supports UUA Communications as senior manager for digital & marketing strategy. When she's not brainstorming content with her colleagues, you'll likely find her outside.
As a new congregational year began amid uncertainty and strain, UUA President Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray offered us wisdom and comfort in her annual Ingathering message: “There is great healing and sustaining power in our faith and our work is to make these manifest, in ourselves and in our communities—even if how we do this...continues to look differently than it did before.” It’s a message worth watching again.
Unitarian Universalism has always located itself in the present context. Last spring, UU World released a redesigned magazine that boldly reflected the cultural moment. To engage new readers and help individual UUs make meaning, the spring issue, entitled, “(Re)Building Democracy,” centered bold, visual storytelling and offered many different entry points into some of today’s most urgent concerns.
In response to the critical need to support congregations as they navigate safer ways of gathering during the pandemic, the UUA established a team to monitor the science, local conditions and needs, and to develop timely resources. They created a substantial collection of information, all regularly maintained and updated, and all guided by President Frederick-Gray’s key principles of staying rooted in UU values, following the science, and being flexible and realistic about what’s possible.
Embracing digital ministry with a whole heart and sense of adventure, UUA Youth and Emerging Adult Ministry staff created a new way to engage young liberal religious people. “JUUst Breathe Live” is a YouTube livestream with guests from around the country talking about things that matter. Subscribe to their channel and get notified when new episodes are available.
In our second virtual General Assembly, we refined processes and expanded access to our beloved annual gathering. With beautiful musical performances, robust chat room discussion, and a wide range of business being completed, UUA staff were proud to lean into a new normal with thousands of UUs and friends. A key piece of business completed at GA was the vote to encourage UUs’ active engagement in undoing systemic white supremacy.
The UUA’s Organizing and Strategy team made some internal changes this year to unify institutional social justice work under the banner of Side With Love. Knowing that we are most powerful when we understand that all issues are fundamentally interlinked, we remain committed to supporting UUs in bringing their best selves to justice work each time we choose to Side With Love.
Popular discussion about race, and the ways that systemic racism manifests, continues to be painful as well as transformative for many of us. Moved by the eruption of reprehensible violence against the Asian and Pacific Islander communities earlier this year, the UUA shared a message on Twitter to highlight how white supremacy culture seeks to divide people by identity in order to sustain its power. It was a message that resonated for many.