This is a year that just keeps on giving! For the past several years, I have traveled to General Assembly and Ministry Days, but this year, something told me it would be best for me to stay here with you. I’m so glad I did. I got to see the Questers do their amazing service – what thoughtful young people, and how lovely to see the connection between the Questers and their mentors. I also got to be in our sanctuary with our two delegates and others to stream live the passionate discussions happening in the plenary hall In Spokane, Washington, site of this year’s General Assembly. Perhaps best of all, some 15 of you came back to CVUU after our Sunday morning worship to watch the morning worship live from Spokane. That’s a lot of church! We laughed, cried, and cheered together as we watched, and at the end, we burst into applause – with pride and gratitude that we get to be part of a faith such as this, that calls us to be our best selves. We are not there yet. There is pain in the system. People of Color and Indigenous Unitarian Universalists often find themselves at the margins. There was a moment of deep beauty when at the end of the service in Spokane, members of those often-marginalized groups came up on stage, literally and symbolically bringing the margins into the center. We as a people of faith, committed to the inherent worth and dignity of all people and to justice and equity in our dealings with one another, we must continue to do better. That means those of us with privileged identities need to listen more and work to educate ourselves about the injustice perpetrated against those who have been marginalized. There is such beauty when all are truly welcomed into the center, into the heart of this community of faith. I am so grateful to share this work and this learning with all of you.
You may have heard that there was some painful conflict at this year’s General Assembly. The UU minister from Spokane, the host city, chose this moment to unveil a small book of his essays. Many found (and I find) his musings to be painful, disrespectful to people of color, to transgender and nonbinary people, and frankly, to anyone who truly values our seven principles. Members of his congregation distributed free copies of the books in the exhibit hall, and many folks were deeply wounded. The minister was invited into a conversation about his behavior with UUA leadership. He declined to engage, and he was asked to leave. Local press covered the story of the conflict, and so you may hear of this. I have chosen not to purchase his book (it is for sale), but a colleague is sending me a copy that she received at GA. I will make it available for anyone who wishes to read it for themselves as soon as I get it, but I do not wish to support his unkind, inflammatory speech with my dollars. I will talk more about this in the fall when your GA delegates and I talk about our experience of GA this year.
I will be taking vacation and study leave this summer, as is customary for UU ministers. Dale and I will be back and forth a bit between Massachusetts and Virginia Beach, and I will attend SUUSI for the first time ever! I also have the honor of participating in our first ever Chalice Camp the week of July 8, so some of you may see me around then, but mostly I will be taking some time away to rest, read, and dream about next year.
Enjoy your summer, dear ones. I can’t wait for all that awaits us next year.
Peace and Love to you,
Rev. Justine Sullivan
Interim Minister, CVUU