2006 Recipients: Janice Marie Johnson and the Rev. Hope Johnson

At General Assembly 2006, UUA President William Sinkford said that one of his honors is to present the President's Award for Volunteer Service. Usually this is given to one individual but, Sinkford said, that he "is pushing the limit this year, and presenting a 'two-fer.'" The 2006 award was given to Janice Marie Johnson and the Rev. Hope Johnson.

A simple list of all that these identical twin sisters have done for Unitarian Universalism, he said, "would overfill our time here," but that he presented a sample of their support of this faith. Janice Marie Johnson has served on the Ministerial Fellowship Committee Board of Review, as a trustee of The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center, as a trustee in our UU United Nations Office, on the Commission on Appraisal, and as president of DRUUMM (Diverse and Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries). The Rev. Hope Johnson has served on the UUA Nominating Committee, the Anti-Racism Anti-Oppression Multicultural Committee of the UU Ministers Association, on the Family Matters Task Force, as a Jubilee World trainer, and as an adult at-large member of the YRUU Council. But beyond this, Sinkford said, what he values most is "the faithfulness with which they both hold the vision of the beloved community that inspires this community wherever they are present."

Sinkford explained that Nelson Mandela personally gave the word Masakane to Janice Johnson, which means "let us build together," and that Janice uses this as salutation and prayer, and as the way in which she lives her life. Hope's name, he said, is an affirmation of her presence and the gifts she gives us all. "She is Reverend Hope, and that says it all."

Sinkford also informed the delegates that past recipients have usually been presented with the gift of an inscribed crystal bowl. But this year, both sisters asked to forgo these gifts and instead donate the cost of the gifts to supporting the ongoing transformational work of DRUUMM.