Linnea Nelson

by Linnea Nelson, Director of Religious Exploration.

Last week’s 55th General Assembly (GA) of Unitarian Universalists in Columbus, OH, included people from around the world – 4,000 UUs gathered to hear the message that we must all love fiercely if we are to combat the hatred in this world. For the 30 of us from UUCF who attended GA, we were called to awaken and transform ourselves and our congregations to combat the rampant racism and white privilege plaguing our world … and our congregations. To me, the message was clear that personal and congregational transformation must be at the heart of this work.

Krista Tippett, the host of NPR’s “Interfaith Voices,” gave the Saturday night Ware Lecture exactly 50 years after Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke at GA. Back then, Dr. King called on our denomination to wake up to the revolution by: taking a world perspective, reaffirming the essential immorality of racial segregation and refuting the idea of superior and inferior races. 

This year, Tippett told us to remember, especially in these challenging times, that words matter, we must listen deeply to one another and we must love our way through the trials and traumas we face every day.

Black Lives Matter demonstrators at the UUA General Assembly.

Black Lives Matter demonstrators at the UUA General Assembly.

The revolution continues and we are called upon to marry Tippett’s message with the problems Dr. King identified. Tippett and many of our UU leaders at GA seemed to be telling us that we need to look at ourselves first. We need to check our own levels of bias, uncover insidious acts of microaggression and recognize and eradicate our own use of privilege and power. None of us can afford to sleep through the revolution.

As we all look within ourselves and at our own UUCF congregation, I hope we can use words to propel us forward, listen deeply to one another and love fiercely. To be a part of this necessary change in our currently white privileged order, we will need to continue to do the work begun this past winter during UUCF’s 30 Days of Love: Racial Justice campaign. Since that campaign, the UUCF Racial Justice Steering Committee has been working to organize in a way that will offer our congregation a strong foundation from which to move forward with opportunities for personal and congregational transformation. The goal is for all of us to be able to make the most permanent and lasting changes. Both at UUCF and in the world.

So let’s continue to march, organize and do good works to change this world, while reserving considerable energy to transform ourselves and our congregation to live up to Dr. King’s call to action. We have a lot of work to do in this ongoing revolution. Let us move together in love.