Congregation Takes a Risk - and Succeeds
During the Martin Luther King Day Weekend, the Unitarian Universalist Society of Mill Creek, in Newark Delaware, invited racial justice organizer and activist Chris Crass to present a Courage for Racial Justice / Courage for Liberation Conference and Training that brought together area congregations from multiple faith traditions and the local activist community working on issues of Racial Justice. “We had 113 people attend the Saturday workshop, and 111 attend the worship service the following day. Two-Thirds of the attendees were Unitarian Universalists, but the rest were members of our local community” says Rev. Gregory Pelley, minister for the UU Society of Mill Creek. “It became an interfaith community event”.
After hearing Chris Crass speak at the UUA General Assembly this past summer in Columbus Ohio, one member of the congregation, Linda Lucero, decided to work to bring Chris Crass to speak at Mill Creek. The congregation partnered with the two other congregations in the Wilmington Delaware area, including receiving financial support for the First Unitarian Church of Wilmington. They also conducted a successful Faithify crowdfunding campaign, and received registration and advertising support from the UUA’s Central East Region. “With recent developments in our country, we wanted to have someone who could talk about organizing for Racial Justice in a way our members could get engaged with” Rev. Pelley explained.
The congregation has experienced renewed energy for the work of Racial Justice, and a deeper sense of connection to area congregations and the racial justice activist community. “The surprise was that we pulled it off, and that we raised all the money we needed to raise to make it happen.” The event was a risk for a congregation of 141 members to attempt. When asked what the congregation learned that could be useful for other congregations, Rev. Pelley said “Go for it… take the risk and put your energy into it. We were successful because we kept broadening the vision and the scope to include as many people as we could.”