To the members and friends of FUUSN:
Each year, the FUUSN Board of Trustees sets priorities for our work for the coming year based on our reading of the needs and priorities of the congregation as a whole. These priorities are most relevant to the immediate year, but because the Board’s task is to think strategically about the direction and future of FUUSN, the priorities often have longer term implications as well.
This year, the Board is focused on a single priority: the promotion of anti-racism and racial justice efforts at FUUSN. There are certainly many pressing issues facing the congregation and our broader community, including the effects of climate change and the psychological and financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our individual lives and our community. Racial justice, however, stands out as an issue that is both timely and central to our present and future well-being as a congregation and a community. Racial justice is also inextricably intertwined with many of these other issues. For example, both climate change and the pandemic have disproportionately impacted Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color.
Every one of our seven Principles as UUs calls us to this work: We affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person; the need for justice, equity and compassion in human relations; acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations; a free and responsible search for truth and meaning; the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large; the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all; and respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. Without racial justice, without bringing everyone into the circle as equally valued members, it is not possible for us to live any of these Principles.
This is not work that the Board can undertake alone. It is not work that committees or groups, such as the Racial Justice Ministry, can undertake alone. It is work that must be done by all of us, individually and as a community. It is not easy work, it will not be quickly accomplished, and it will at times be uncomfortable. Yet it is work that has the potential to grow us in unforeseen ways, to deepen our faith, to strengthen our connections with one another and to ensure our future flourishing as a community.
We as a Board have committed to leading FUUSN in this work. As a necessary first step, we have each committed as individuals to taking the Pledge to End Racism and participating in the training in Living the Pledge being offered by the Racial Justice Ministry. We invite each and every member of the FUUSN community to join us in this training over time as these workshops continue to expand in terms of their availability and accessibility. There is a place for each of you at this table.
We are committed to envisioning and implementing a broad variety of creative, innovative initiatives in furtherance of our racial justice work. A seemingly simple act by a congregation can have broad-reaching inclusionary impact (and grow the congregation in the process) – when the UU congregation in Brewster, MA started offering sign language interpretation of services, they drew people from miles away who now had a way to feel part of the congregation.
That is just one example of the type of “new thinking” that will be needed in this endeavor. The Board is considering a number of such initiatives – but these ideas need to come from everyone, not just the Board. We encourage each of you to add your ideas to the mix by contacting any of the Board members. This is work we need to do together.
As with all complex and long-term goals, each of us will fail in this effort at times. But racial justice work is too important for us to allow it to fail. Our job is to raise each other up, to call ourselves and each other to be our best selves. Our job as UUs is to live our Principles – and those Principles call us to this work.
The Board is committed to this work. We invite each and every one of you to consider how you can meaningfully commit to it as well.
FUUSN Board of Trustees: Bruce Burba, Brian Hicks, Hattie Kerwin-Derrick, Chris Krebs (Chair), Siena Lerner-Gill, Christine Lookner (Vice Chair), Barbara Schmitt, Demie Stathoplos