Our worship associates, minister, and the Management Committee are planning for the congregation’s future worship needs.
To assist us please take this brief survey that is gathering information about people’s practice and preference for worship, recognising that our congregation has expanded throughout Aotearoa and internationally.
I wanted to share something about what the future might look like: especially something new about what’s going on in the space around climate change and degrowth. I’ve been finding that quite depressing, though.
I admit that I even asked ChatGPT for some examples of what I might say. The homilies it came up with were familiar, reassuring, anodyne and almost completely pointless. They did sound good, though.
Instead, I want to throw some ideas at you about what people are like, and how we work together. The ideas are all a bit flawed – they’re working notes and patterns to look out for – but I’ve found them useful.
Marlon attended Western Springs College and then moved to Wellington where he was a student activist at Victoria University, serving as President of the students association, campaigning against sexual violence and in favour of mental health support for students. He also worked part time as an organiser in the Living Wage Movement during his time as a law student at Victoria. Marlon is now the full-time community organiser for Te Ohu Whakawhanaunga, a broad-based coalition in Auckland working for social justice.
This morning is the fourth in a series of musings about what it means to be a living tradition. (Here are links to talks 1, 2, and 3.) How have we changed? Who decides what it means to be a UU today? And who owns the congregation?
When the eight members from diverse backgrounds were appointed to review Article II Bylaws, the first thing they did was consult UU stakeholders. These included, amongst others:-
Congregational leaders, lay and professional
Philosophical and Theological Groups (e.g. UU Humanists, UU Christians, etc.)
8th Principle and 1st Principle advocates
Past GA attendees
Former UUs who have left the faith
Unchurched UUs who still identify as UUs but don’t belong to UU
Members of the 2010 Commission on Appraisal
UU Issues groups (e.g., UU Earth Justice Ministry, UUs for Justice in the Middle East
This is participatory theology. Its purpose is to determine and articulate our shared values and theology.
I was intrigued by excerpts of Diane Miller’s reflections on the proposed changes to the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Bylaws to be voted on in June at the General Assembly. Dianne was a young pregnant feminist invited to be on the committee charged with revising our purposes. Her son was born during the committee’s work. He was a toddler when what we know as the Seven Principles passed General Assembly in 1985. It was a radical change from such statements in the past. Her son is now a parent with two children, and Diane is retired. She is 74. She is also delighted that the hard work of the committee she served is being revised nearly 40 years later. What struck me most is that, including her generation, which is also mine, three generations of those who became UUs after 1985 have only known the Seven Principles as the definition of who we are.
This morning I would like to focus on what it means to be a living tradition. As Unitarian Universalists we sing about it. We proudly proclaim it as what we are. But what does it mean? Most simply put our beliefs are etched in pencil and not carved in stone. But there are consequences. Like being green, being a living tradition isn’t easy.
It is a big topic, so this is the first of several random musings exploring who we are, how we got here and where we are being led. My hope is that we might better understand our Kaupapa, our mission and purpose.
At the risk of being grandiose, I begin this sermon a bit like the person who wrote the gospel of Mark. It’s more than 40 years since I read Madeleine L’Engle’s children’s book, A Wrinkle in Time. I have thought about it and talked about it since, but I haven’t relived it. (I didn’t watch the film because I didn’t want to risk my memory being ruined.)
Here is my telling of the bits that have stuck with me, with some interpositions along the way.