Dismantling White Supremacy Resource
Rev. Rebecca Gant, Minister
UU Church of Bloomington-Normal, IL
“We are on a journey toward redemption.” So begins a quote from Rev. Dr. Sofia Betancourt in the chapter titled "Theology" in Widening the Circle of Concern: Report of the Commission on Institutional Change.
This winter, about 70 people from five Central Illinois UU congregations found their place in that journey toward redemption in a series of eleven sessions organized to study this report. The effort was a collaboration between the ministers and religious educators from Bloomington-Normal, Decatur, Peoria, Springfield, and Urbana-Champaign. The ministers and religious educators took turns facilitating the sessions from the accompanying study/action guide, which was created by the Commission on Institutional Change, the Liberal Religious Educators Association, Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, and the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Lifespan Faith Engagement Office. Rev. Marcus Fogliano, Project Manager for the Commission, joined the group for the first and last session, and Dr. Melissa James, Congregational Life Field Staff for the UUA, joined for the last session as well. The facilitators used a flexible approach, willing to switch gears when a topic needed more time, and to try new ways of presenting the material when necessary.
Throughout the eleven weeks, the participants discussed the recommendations included in the report, and made special note of those that applied to individual congregations. By the time the sessions wrapped up in early April, each congregation’s representatives had created a list of possible next steps. At the last meeting, the group agreed to meet again on a quarterly basis to share their learning, celebrate progress, and hold one another accountable.
Many of the participants reported that they enjoyed meeting other Unitarian Universalists from the area and hearing about what was happening in other congregations. The ministers and religious educators also enjoyed working together and appreciated the collaborative approach.