Uplift: Uplifting LGBTQ+ Experience Within and Beyond Unitarian Universalism

Embrace the Grace of Being Loved: A Charge to the Minister

By Janice Marie Johnson

Rev. Dawn Fortune receiving charge from Dr Janice Marie Johnson at their installation

Dr. Janice Marie Johnson offers her charge to Rev. Dawn Fortune

Editor's Note: This charge was offered by Dr. Janice Marie Johnson, UUA Multicultural Ministries and Leadership Director, for the installation of Reverend Dawn Fortune on Saturday, September 29, 2018 at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the South Jersey Shore, NJ. We are honored to republish it here.

Look around this sanctuary.

Feel the love. It is palpable. It is real—​and it is yours. Embrace the grace of being loved for all that is you. For all that is your life.

I charge you, Dawn Fortune, never to forget that are worthy of love. Break open your heart and accept what this deep, abiding love can mean.

You extend kindness first—​without expectation. I charge you to expect kindness in return. In so doing, invite help from others who want nothing more than to experience the joy of helping you.

I charge you always to act in your own authority as you embrace change with a sense of calm plus comfort, of safety plus bravery.

I charge you to ever lead with that integrity, knowing that we will follow.

Always let your homes near and far bring you sustenance. And I charge you to let this congregation be your home!

I charge you to:

Nurture your precious spirit.

Follow your infallible instincts.

Continue to share your unstoppable humor and delight.

Bring your creative spirit filled with sparkle.

Engage your holy curiosity that amplifies faith and faithfulness.

Unleash your righteous indignation as a fierce advocate for justice with equity. Your iconoclasm is well thought out and deftly executed. I charge you never to give it up. Ever afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.

Always bring your authentic voice coupled with your deep sense of purpose. Continue to say yes when you mean yes and no when you actually mean, no. Say what needs to be said directly, with fidelity, with a deep sense of purpose.

Look around this sanctuary one more time…

It articulates new understandings of family, of friends, and of fierceness.

I charge you to invite a world of joy, optimism, and love that you are so deserving of.

Cherish this moment, Dawn. It is your birthright. Be glad in it!

About the Author

Janice Marie Johnson

Dr. Janice Marie Johnson joined the Ministries and Faith Development staff group in January 2019 as Co-Director and serves as its sole Director as of January 2024.


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