I’m writing to you in the afterglow of an incredible, imaginative, powerful, and all-virtual General Assembly. With the third-largest attendance ever to the UUA’s annual gathering (more than 4900 people!) we chatted, workshopped, listened, learned, worshipped, sang, gave, phoned, and committed to the calling of our faith to work for justice and liberation. If you registered for GA, all the content remains available online through the Participant Portal. If you missed it, you can still watch highlights like Sunday Morning Worship and more.
It hasn’t been easy making the shift from the usual in-person GA to one that is entirely online. To make it work, we asked more of our staff and volunteers than is sustainable in the long run. I know many of you can relate. UU congregations have wrestled with the same kind of shifts. Months into this pandemic, so many of us are exhausted as we strive to manage changing work and family realities without a clear end in sight. So my friends, it is vital that we also take time to rest, because the road ahead is long.
Take time to rest—it’s advice that I myself need to hear! President Susan Frederick-Gray is taking the week off, and I’ll be following suit later this month. In fact, the UUA will be closing its virtual offices the last week in July to ensure all our staff are able to take time to rest and reenergize as much as we can. We want to be ready for what comes next.
Going into the fall, I’m excited and humbled by work called for in the final report of the UUA Commission on Institutional Change. The Commission’s report and presentation was a highlight of this year’s virtual GA, a culmination of their three-year process. The published report, Widening the Circle of Concern, is now available and lays out ten areas of recommendations to become a truly anti-oppressive faith community. It is essential reading for every Unitarian Universalist, with recommendations for the UUA, UU organizations and seminaries, and all our congregations. A free copy has been mailed to all congregations; hardcopy editions can be purchased from InSpirit, the UUA bookstore, and you can read the report online. And watch for opportunities from the UUA to deepen, connect, and share these transformative aspirations for our faith.
This moment has demanded something new of us. It has opened up horizons in our communities to make them accessible to a much wider set of people. It has pushed us to grapple with fault lines and shortcomings that have long been present but cannot be ignored. A culture of overwork prevents us from being present to what is most essential right now and devalues our labor. In that sense, I’m thankful there is no “going back to normal.” Instead, we go forward with the slow, hard, beautiful, daily work of transformation.
We must help each other take the time we need for ourselves and our families so that we can continue on the journey. I hope you all find restoration and renewal for your spirits in the coming weeks.
Executive Vice President