June 5, 2019

Dear CVUU Members and Friends:

In a few weeks, Unitarian Universalists from around the United States and around the globe will gather in Spokane, Washington to take up the business of our Unitarian Universalist Association of congregations and covenanted communities.  In addition to some bylaw amendments, the largest item to be taken up is a Statement of Conscience (SOC) on our country’s and our association’s democratic process. You can find the complete text on our CVUU website and on the UUA website, but essentially, the statement of conscience acknowledges that the culture of democracy so treasured in the United States is tainted by historical and current practices of inequality and requires honest assessment and intentional change.  From the SOC:
Democracy is not only rules and systems, it is the culture and commitments of the people and of those entrusted with carrying out the will of the people. A truly democratic culture requires:

  • transparency and radical inclusivity (intentional deep listening, attending to the concerns of the most vulnerable, and caring about inclusion and exclusion);
  • cooperation, multi partisanship, and decision-making through consensus-building;

  • accountability and accessibility, being responsive to the public good versus special interests;

  • public officials being held to a high standard of ethical and fiduciary responsibility; and respect for the rights and needs of those in the minority.

I am certain there will be lively debate of this item, and your delegates will be asked to take part in the conversation and to vote on the final text.  At our congregational meeting on June 9th, we will ask for a sense of the meeting, an informal vote to give your delegates a sense of where CVUU members stand on this issue.  Please come to the June 9 meeting, prepared to vote on the SOC. This vote is non-binding but will be helpful to your delegates as they attend GA online as delegates on your behalf.

Following up on the horrific events of last week, the mass shooting at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center, I have heard from some of you that you knew some of the people directly affected by the mass shooting, people who worked in Building 2, or who had loved ones working there.  And of course, we are all affected by such terrible violence in our community. I have been moved by the consideration the city of Virginia Beach is showing for the spiritual and emotional well-being of the survivors of and witnesses to the attack. May we be a comfort to one another, and may we use our voices and our democratic process (flawed though it may be) to demand action on gun safety.

This Saturday afternoon at 2, we will gather to say goodbye to longtime member Mary Gaskill.  Mary’s daughter Tara and son Kyle will travel here for the memorial service. They are grateful for the memories of Mary you have been sharing with them and for our love for their mother.

Peace and love to you,


Rev. Justine Sullivan
Interim Minister, CVUU
T 757-627-5371
C 508-662-0279