The UU Common Read

A graphic illustration shows the head and shoulders of nine different adults in individual squares, as in an online meeting.

Even when we cannot gather in person, a Common Read can still bring us together.

The UU Common Read builds community in our congregations and our movement by giving diverse people a shared focus for reflection and action. A Common Read can take us on a powerful faith journey into what it means to be human and accountable in a world filled with both pain and joy.

Cover of Mistakes and Miracles: Congregations on the Road to Multiculturalism

Mistakes and Miracles

What lessons and inspiration can we find in Mistakes and Miracles to guide our striving for Beloved Community, today?

Common Read 2022-23: Mistakes and Miracles by Nancy Palmer Jones and Karin Lin

Co-authors Nancy Palmer Jones and Karin Lin—a white minister and a lay person of color—explored five UU congregations' journeys toward Beloved Community. Their book, Mistakes and Miracles: Congregations on the Road to Multiculturalism, shares the joy, disappointment, and growth these congregations found.

Today, Unitarian Universalists are grappling with a charge to dismantle white supremacy in ourselves, our communities, and our world. As we enter a Common Read of this book, many will bring a spirit ready to meet the urgent need for multiculturalism and antiracism work in our congregations and our movement.

Read or Listen to Mistakes and Miracles

Mistakes and Miracles can be purchased from inSpirit: The UU Book and Gift Shop. Discounts are available on orders of 10 or more books.

You can also listen to Mistakes and Miracles as an audiobook!

If you need the book in another format, please email UUA Publications Director Mary Benard at mbenard@uua.org.

Resources for Mistakes and Miracles

The UU Common Read invites participants to engage deeply with the stories of people in UU congregations who have chosen a faithful path toward Beloved Community and struggled along the way. The discussion guide offers a series of four 90-minute, online gatherings. The final session guides strategic planning to move forward toward antiracist, antioppressive, multicultural community, from wherever you are.

To facilitate this Common Read in your congregation, please start by reading the section, "Using This Guide."

To learn more about why this year's UU Common Read is important for congregations to experience right now, watch the co-authors' panel discussion (Vimeo, 25 minutes) with the Rev. Michael Crumpler and the Rev. Maria Cristina Vlassidis​​​​; you can also watch with Spanish captioning (Vimeo, 25 minutes). Share this panel discussion in your congregation to help promote your Common Read series.

Then, you might invite Common Read participants to prepare for the sessions by watching a Zoom workshop, We Can Do This: Faith, Conflict, and Antiracism (Vimeo, 56:00), from the UUA General Assembly 2020. The Mistakes and Miracles co-authors discussed themes of the book with Unitarian Universalists Aisha Hauser, Jimmy Leung, Rev. Bill Sinkford, and Rev. Marta Valentín.

Previous UU Common Read Selections

2021-22 Defund Fear by Zach Norris; UU Common Read Defund Fear resources

2020-21 Breathe by Imani Perry; UU Common Read Breathe resources

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)

2017-18 Centering (UU Common Read discussion guide (PDF, 28 pages)) and Daring Democracy (UU Common Read discussion guide (PDF, 31 pages))

2016-17 The Third Reconstruction by The Reverend Dr. William J. Barber with Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove (UU Common Read discussion guide (PDF, 27 pages))

2015-16 Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (UU Common Read discussion materials)

2014-15 Reclaiming Prophetic Witness by Paul Rasor (UU Common Read discussion guide (PDF, 20 pages))

2013-14 Behind the Kitchen Door by Saru Jayaraman (UU Common Read discussion guide (PDF, 20 pages))

2012-13 The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander (UU Common Read discussion guide (PDF, 19 pages))

2011-12 Acts of Faith by Eboo Patel (UU Common Read discussion guide (PDF, 17 pages))

2010-11 The Death of Josseline by Margaret Regan (UU Common Read discussion guide (PDF, 28 pages))