As I sit down to write, Unitarian Universalists from all over the country (and world) converge on Phoenix, Arizona. Around the convention center the air is filled with shrieks of recognition as old friends, acquaintances and colleagues reunite; the murmur of urgent and/or earnest sharing of news; and the rustling of paper, as the pages of program guides are turned in anticipatory frenzy. It’s quite the scene!
Having three days of programming behind me already, I’m happy for the opportunity to sit back and “digest” for a moment – reflecting on some highlights:
– a renewed connection with my long-standing conviction that “spiritual identity” must drive us to serve the larger whole, and that such activism is intricately connected with our own healing
– the thrill of worshipping with hundreds of UU ministers and a gospel-style choir
– an intense appreciation for all those who have “paved the way” of peace and sustainability through their example; whose courageous trust in the power of value-driven collaboration fosters truly meaningful innovations
– paradigm-busting reflections on experiences of, and theories of, oppression
– the opportunity to share my own “UU elevator speech” with a Baptist Canadian wanting to know the difference between UU and “the religion of the Flying Spaghetti Monster”
Still to come is this year’s version of the parade of banners from all participating congregations – usually a joyful highlight of the ingathering ceremonies, during which the diversity within the UU Association is made visible and celebrated. With this year’s focus being not on “celebrating us”, but on “serving others”, the planning committee decided (among other things) to simplify that visual display.
I’ve been so impressed by the thoughtful attention planners have given to such details, and anticipate this General Assembly to be a real turning point in the “culture”, public prominence and relevance of this denomination.
I encourage you to avail yourselves of the resources you will find on the uua.org website, to learn about and engage more fully with this “living tradition” of Unitarian Universalism, of which you are (or could be) an integral part!