Beyond the Walls

As we know, Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) congregations are in the midst of a major evolution of our by-laws. If approved by member congregations during the June General Assembly, UU’s will instantiate the love-centered values of interdependence, equity, transformation, pluralism, generosity, and justice into the document that defines who we are as a living tradition and religious movement.

Together with this UUA corporate initiative are CVUUS’s efforts to project our UU values and principles into the larger world. A year after adopting the Eighth Principle, we have committed to expanding our “community of communities” and creating an even more effective culture of inclusion.

The timing of these institutional developments could hardly coincide at a more opportune time. Like much of our country and state, the Champlain Valley is in a period of significant change. Too many of our neighbors are experiencing the impacts of increasing inequities, systematic disenfranchisement and oppression, and injustices.

Community Ministry has historically been an integral part of Unitarian Universalism. As developed by Unitarian Minister Joseph Tuckerman in the 1820s, Community Ministry is based on the concept of extending a congregation’s ministry beyond its walls and into spaces where it is most needed. As a member of the UU Society for Community Ministries (UUSCM) and the UU Ministers Association (UUMA), I am thrilled that CVUUS’s Board of Trustees voted in March to establish a Community Ministry and commission me as your Community Minister.

What might CVUUS Community Ministry look like? While we will develop measurable goals to guide our efforts in the next few months, Community Ministry will increase representation, awareness, sense of purpose, and connections that enable us to demonstrate our UU values and principles. CVUUS’s Community Ministry will advocate, collaborate, witness, and serve in the halls of power, in the public square, behind the pulpit, and in the intersections of oppression and disenfranchisement.

Here is a blessing offered by former UUA president, the Rev. John Buehrens: “Blessed are you who know the work of the church is transformation of society, who have a vision of Beloved Community transcending the present, and who do not shrink from controversy, sacrifice, or change. Blessed are you indeed.”