Culture Change: Educating for Liberation

Widening the Circle of Concern: Report of the UUA Commission on Institutional Change, June 2020 (cover)

While we often encounter each new day as a host of challenges, in this time of pandemic and righteous racial uprising, it is good to share that there is now available a heart opening and directly helpful “Commission on Institutional Change Report” study guide, “Widening the Circle of Concern.”

As a Unitarian Universalist religious educator, the seventh session, “Educating for Liberation,” resonated deeply with me. Combined with the heartfelt sharing of COIC members at the recent Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA) Fall Conference, Rev. Leslie Takahashi, Rev. Dr. Natalie Fennimore, and Dr. Elías Ortega asked that as UUs we learn from a place of courage and vulnerability…and that systemic change and culture change needs to happen at all levels (of congregational life). Friends, we can do this important work, if we engage a shared focus to truly be an anti-racist association of congregations. Let us be inspired by the words of Rev. Dr. Fennimore, who expressed, the ministry around racial justice is not harder than our other ministries…we have done ourselves a disservice by separating out racial justice ministry (as solely hard or difficult) …this ministry is wonderful and lifegiving.

From the site on the study guide… Many of you may be looking for ways to bring the hard work and findings of the COIC into the life of your congregation or UU community. This new guide provides 11 session outlines for a group or task force in your congregation to break down the various components and recommendations of the original report.

More than a discussion guide, this Study/Action provides framing and helpful hints on how your community can actively participate in transformative liberation. Widening the Circle is joyful change work that’s deeply rooted in our shared UU theology. We hope that engaging this guide offers your community an opportunity for meaningful connection during this time of isolation.

I would love to hear from your congregation as to how you engage with this important work!

Nancy Combs-Morgan, CRE-ML