Invitation to Comment on Tentative Plans for Rituals Anthology

Open Comment Period for Ritual Anthology

edited by Revs. Allison Palm and Heather Concannon

Contact information for input/feedback:

Duration of comment period: through May 1, 2022. The project is on hold until then.

Project description: Anthology of new UU rituals commemorating occasions and life events not traditionally ritualized.

Goal of project: To improve the range, quality, integrity, and inclusivity of rituals as practiced by UUs in congregations, in homes, online, and in circles of support outside of congregations.

Reason for comment period:

Since a call for submissions for this project was shared in August 2020, Skinner House and Revs. Palm and Concannon have learned much, with the guidance of the Skinner House Equity and Accountability Panel, about the implications of publishing rituals in the UU community, which has not yet fully embraced a common ethic of practicing rituals in a way that is respectful, inclusive, or accountable to ritual creators or to the communities in which certain rituals have particular meaning and resonances.

We realize that contributing rituals from the heart for publication involves vulnerability and requires trust—trust that the authors and the publisher will take care with how the rituals are presented and trust that congregations will take care with how the rituals are practiced. Although we can’t control what congregations do with the gifts that are shared with them through this book, we can communicate clearly in the book about best practices, UU values as applied to rituals, and the harm that results from misappropriating, distorting, trivializing, and being careless with rituals that are offered from contributors’ hearts.

Tentative Plans for the Book (developed in consultation with the Skinner House Equity and Accountability Panel):

  • Include a chapter in the book about the problems with how rituals are often conducted in Unitarian Universalist congregations, clearly naming the harm and giving guidance on how rituals should be approached. This chapter would be written by someone with credibility and expertise on rituals created by and centering marginalized communities.
  • Include a recommended covenant that we encourage worship planners to adopt. This covenant would also be promoted separately from the book.
  • Include contextual notes with every ritual about how and why it was created and, if the contributor desires, guidelines about what can/should not be adapted.
  • Hire an accessibility editor to revise rituals as needed, including guidance on which accessibility considerations should be offered as “adaptations” and which should just be incorporated into the ritual as presented.
  • Submit the entire manuscript for review to the Skinner House Equity and Accountability Panel before publication.
  • Create and share a video resource about accountability, integrity, and respect in performing rituals created by others.

Invitation:

We invite you to contribute as you are moved:

  • Rituals, along with any context and concerns that are important to you
  • Suggestions about people who should be specifically invited to contribute/participate in the book and/or video
  • Specific ritual topics that you think we should include
  • Suggestions about what should be included in the sample covenant for worship planners
  • Feedback on our plans for this project and additional suggestions
  • Suggestions about people we should invite to submit a new book proposal on the topic of misappropriation
  • Anything else you want to share about this project, our process, and Skinner House publishing in general.

We know there are a lot of demands on your time and we are grateful if you choose to carve out some time to share your longing and your expertise with us. We hope to hear from you.

You can email your thoughts to either of the following email addresses, or request a time to talk:

Mary Benard, Publications Director, Skinner House Books, mbenard@uua.org, Calendly to schedule a meeting if you’d prefer

Revs. Allison Palm and Heather Concannon, palmalli@gmail.com, hconcannon@uua.org

in consultation with the Skinner House Equity and Accountability Panel