When we do a UU Common Read together, we share in reflection, learning, and action. A UU Common Read can take us on a powerful journey into what it means to be human and accountable in a world filled with both pain and joy.
Common Read 2023-24: On Repentance and Repair by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg
The 2023-34 UU Common Read is On Repentance and Repair: Making Amends in an Unapologetic World by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg (Beacon Press, 2022).
This UU Common Read was announced at the UUA 2023 General Assembly. Available now are an overview of this UU Common Read, Introduction to the Discussion Guides, and Workshop 1 of three that are planned.
This Common Read offers a glimpse into one of our faith’s foundational sources, Judaism. Readers explore the call to accountability as we follow Rabbi Ruttenberg into a framework for making amends offered by the 12th century Jewish physician and scholar, Maimonides.
On Repentance and Repair invites readers of any faith to explore practices for accountability that can bring us into wholeness and really make a difference in our personal, community, and national relationships. Purchase On Repentance and Repair from inSpirit: The UU Book and Gift Shop. Discounts on bulk orders of 10 or more books. An audiobook, narrated by Shelly Sheckell, is available from Libro.FM and other sources.
Discussion Guides and Videos
- Introduction to the UU Common Read of On Repentance and Repair
- Workshop 1: Repentance and Repair in Our Lives and Relationships (two 75-minute sessions)
- Workshop 2: Repentance and Repair in Our Covenanted Communities (90 minutes; can be extended with optional activities for two sessions)
- Workshop 3: Repentance and Repair to Transform Our World (90 minutes; extend with an optional activity; optional, additional follow-up session coming by Dec. 2023)
- Video. Homily: On Repentance and Repair (Vimeo, 14:15). The Rev. Alison Miller, Senior Minister at First Unitarian, Portland, OR, connects On Repentance and Repair with a Unitarian Universalist yearning for the social and personal transformations that can make ourselves more whole and the world better and more fair. This homily was offered to the UUs for Jewish Awareness (UUJA) Shabbat worship service at the 2023 General Assembly.
- Video. Pastor Libby Howe of the Wisconsin Council of Churches interviews the author, Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, on Ash Wednesday, 2023. The two discuss connections between Christian belief and practice and Maimonides' framework for accountability (Facebook, 31 min.).
Download and read a transcript of their conversation (Word), 9 pages).
- Video. Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg in conversation with the author Neil Gaiman, recorded live on his Facebook page October 3, 2023 (Facebook, 57:20).
- Video. The Rev. Darrick Jackson delivers a sermon, "Stop in the Name of Love," at Second Unitarian Church of Chicago in October, 2021 (YouTube, sermon at 35:55). He cites work by the LGBTQ disability activist Mia Mingus ("The Four Parts of Accountability"). The worship service, fully recorded, also includes a Time for All Ages reading of an illustrated children's book, "How to Apologize."
Preview the video resources and share links to the videos when promoting your UU Common Read. Suggest participants watch one or more before gathering for Workshop 1. You could even schedule an additional meeting as a watch party.
- Video. Author Danya Ruttenberg meets with the Rev. Marlin Lavanhar of All Souls UU in Tulsa, OK and Nehemiah Frank, member of All Souls and publisher of the Black Wall Street Journal. How can religious grounding--from Unitarian Universalism, Judaism, or any faith tradition--help us find our road to a transformative repentance?
Using the Common Read Discussion Guides
Please read the Introduction to this Common Read. It contains important guidance for planning, promotion, and workshop facilitation.
This UU Common Read invites participants to apply On Repentance and Repair to their own experiences. Using a small group ministry format, participants gather online or in person for workshops facilitated by religious professionals or lay leaders.
The workshops explore repentance and repair in (1) interpersonal relationships, (2) communal spaces, such as our congregations, and (3) our wider communities, such as nations. Workshop 1 may be offered as two 75-minute gatherings or by combining Parts I and II for a half-day Common Read. UU Common Read groups are encouraged to do Workshop 1 first, then move on to Workshops 2 and 3.
Workshop 2 will have special appeal to committees, boards, and action groups seeking a new, faithful approach to accountability within their congregational communities. The core workshop is 90 minutes. If you use optional activities, it's suggested to do Workshop 2 in two or three gatherings.
Workshop 3 offers a deep dive into accountability and repair for UUs committed to transforming our nation, systems, and world. Some groups will add an optional, additional meeting to make plans and commitments for congregational accountability work.
Previous UU Common Read Selections
2019-20 An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (Beacon Press, 2015) and An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People adapted by Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese (Beacon Press, 2019); UU Common Read discussion guide (PDF, 37 pages)
2018-19 Justice on Earth: People of Faith Working at the Intersections of Race, Class, and Environment, edited by Manish Mishra-Marzetti and Jennifer Nordstrom; UU Common Read discussion guide (PDF, 34 pages)