|From the Executive Director|
Yesterday I returned from a week’s vacation. A lot happened while I was at the beach with my family looking at the ocean, cooking my favorite meal of the year and beginning serious preparations/decorations for my favorite holiday of the year. The New York Times published an article about the ongoing saga at my alma mater, Starr King School for the Ministry. A grand jury in Ferguson determined there wasn't enough evidence to charge a white police officer with killing an unarmed black man. There was a lot more that happened in the world the last ten days but these two events, if one is to trust social media, have taken up a lot of our members’ attention and time.
There are many strong opinions about these events and it’s difficult for people to discuss/disagree with each other when righteousness is in the air. Like everyone I have thoughts, opinions and prayers about these events. I wish they didn't happen. I wish we could discover and practice new ways to address conflict in our seminaries and on our streets. I wish we could learn how to take on complex, systematic issues such as power and race in new and more effective ways. And I wish I better knew how as a minister and as a UUMA I/we could lead the way.
My ministry is different than most of yours. I serve ministers. Ministers who perform amazing and wonderful acts of courage and compassion, who lead and love with integrity and grace, who sacrifice some parts of life so that they can more fully engage and celebrate other parts of life. And minsters who say/write words they wish they could take back, who sometimes forget the reasons they chose the path of ministry for their life and resent how that choice is playing out, who sometimes error on the side of timidity and fear and other times on the side of bravado and certainty. I’m fortunate that I get to see the best of ministers and I’m privileged (and heart-broken) when I see the not so best of ministers as well.
The place I turn to most frequently in times like these is our UUMA Covenant. It reminds me what I have promised to each of you and the world as a Unitarian Universalist minister. I’m always surprised to read words and be inspired in ways that I have seem to forgotten. For some reason the past ten days I have spent more time reading this section than any other - “We the members of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, covenant with one another…To cultivate practices of deepening awareness, understanding, humility and commitment to our ideals.”
In these days of pain and conflict amidst the joy and sorrow may we continue to cultivate practices of awareness, understanding, humility and commitment to our ideals. May our best selves show up in all the prayers we lead, vigils we participate in and Facebook messages we post. Why? Because “we aspire to grow in wholeness, and bring hope and healing to the world.” May it be so!