Unitarian Universalist congregations are called to celebrate multiculturalism and to be inclusive of all as affirmed in our first principle where we honor the inherent worth and dignity of every person.
At the same time, our congregations have received the mandate to support the dismantling of white supremacy so that we center the experience of peoples of color and those from historically marginalized groups in our institutional framework..
This is no easy feat, particularly in these challenging times within and beyond the walls of Unitarian Universalism. We’ve come a long way, but there are times when our intent and our impact are at odds with each other. How can we “make the circle wide” in appropriate ways?
Your Central East Regional staff focuses on offering tools and helpful suggestions for creating a warm congregational welcome for all.
We begin at the beginning—basic hospitality. We’ll often take an inventory of your practices. This includes taking a look at the warm welcome that should be extended to all regardless of gender, sexual orientation, class, race, ethnicity, and more…. Inviting intentional and thoughtful inclusion is critical.
We also know that there are times when attention needs to be paid to individuals so we make every effort to introduce our knowledge of identity coupled with the work of inter-cultural and cross-cultural engagement.
We invite the congregations that we work with to explore what true hospitality looks like. Though we share our general knowledge of ways to be more inclusive in a welcoming way, we also know that each congregation is unique. We have highly skilled staff that can work with you whether it is just to generally warm up your welcome, or to tackle some specific situations requiring sensitivity and we also support difficult situations as they arise. When working with individual congregations we enter into a period of discernment before offering specific tools or suggestions.
Your Congregational Life team is here to support your efforts to be more inclusive and welcoming. We also offer workshops, consulting sessions, restorative circles and opportunities to identify what is really going on. Please don’t hesitate to call on us—we are here to serve. In the meantime, do take a look at the rich resources on this site. I’ve added a few below that might be of interest to your congregation.
- Resources from Racial Equity Tools on Multicultural Competency
- Reading List on Hospitality from Matthew Gillette
- White Fragility: Why It's So Hard to Talk to White People about Racism from The Good Men Project
- Ten Ways to Deepen Your Congregation's Multiculturalism Journey
- Multicultural Welcome: A Resource for Greeters (PDF)
- Black Lives UU First Teach In Resources
- Reading List from Border Crossers
- UUA Page on Multigenerational, Multicultural Religious Education
- 16 Books About Race That Every White Person Should Read from Huffington Post.