Capital and Northern Virginia Cluster Clergy Release Statement

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The clergy of the Capital and Northern Virginia Clusters released this statement this week in reaction to the ongoing violence in the United States.

Dearest congregations,

We are your clergy--those Unitarian Universalist and Ethical Culture clergy serving congregations in the DC metro area--and we want to write to you in this time of national anxiety and pain. Every week it seems there is another mass shooting or another terrorist attack. America has seen an increase in hate speech and racist and xenophobic language. And we are in the midst of an election season that holds challenging possibilities for our country, and encourages anxiety about our future, both as a nation, and a people united. We have been hearing from you, our members, about how it feels to be living in this world: scary, disheartening, hopeful, disturbing, disorienting. We feel this, too, and just as you have turned to us, we have turned to each other.

As colleagues, we are working together to coordinate our response to these times, sharing information about healing spaces and vigils, and supporting each other in ministering to you, our communities and the world. We wanted you to know that just as none of you stand alone, neither do we stand alone; indeed, this is a time that reminds us how grateful we are to be connected to each other, part of a engaged religious movement which reaches across the country.

Beginning in September, many of us will be offering a shared moment of connection and meditation during our Sunday services. We will ring a bell three times, inviting all into a space of solidarity and support with each other, remembering all who have been lost to violence in the week past, and honoring our commitment to a different world. As you experience that bell ringing in your congregation on Sunday morning, know that Unitarian Universalists and Ethical Culturists across the area are experiencing it as well, and that we are united in our care for this country and its people.

You are the reason that we have hope: your work for justice, your faith in humanity, your commitment to our shared values and beliefs.

We are grateful to serve you, and we are grateful that we do so as part of a larger whole. May we remember our connection to each other, may the long arc of hope keep us connected in these challenging times and may that connection sustain us and lead us forward.

  • Randall Best, Leader, Northern Virginia Ethical Society
  • The Rev. James Gibbons Walker, Chaplain, UU Fellowship of Southern Maryland
  • The Rev. Louise Green, Minister of Congregational Life, River Road UU Congregation
  • The Rev. Dr. Carl Gregg, Minister, UU Congregation of Frederick
  • The Rev. Laura Horton-Ludwig, Associate Minister, UU Congregation of Fairfax
  • The Rev. Abhi Janamanchi, Senior Minister, Cedar Lane UU Church
  • The Rev. Dan King, Minister, UU Church of Loudon
  • The Rev. Christina Leone-Tracy, Faith Development Minister, UU Church of Annapolis
  • The Rev. Nancy McDonald Ladd, Senior Minister, River Road UU Congregation
  • The Rev. Aaron McEmrys, Senior Minister, UU Church of Arlington
  • The Rev. David A. Miller, Senior Minister, UU Congregation of Fairfax
  • The Rev. Rebekah A. Montgomery, Assistant Minister, UU Congregation of Rockville
  • The Rev. Dr. Susan Newman Moore, Acting Senior Minister, All Souls Church, Unitarian
  • The Rev. Dr. Linda Olson Peebles, Minister of Faith in Action, UU Church of Arlington
  • The Rev. Amanda Poppei, Senior Leader, Washington Ethical Society
  • The Rev. Anya Sammler-Michael, Minister, UU Congregation of Sterling
  • The Rev. Scott Sammler-Michael, Minister, Accotink UU Church
  • The Rev. Lynn Strauss, Senor Minister, UU Congregation of Rockville
  • Hugh Taft-Morales, Leader, Baltimore Ethical Society
  • The Rev. Dr. Kate R. Walker, Minister, Mt. Vernon Unitarian Church

More clergy will sign onto this letter upon their return from summer leave; it represents the collaborative work of the entire DC metro area.