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Friday, January 18, 2008

UU Ministers Assoc. moves events from G.A. center.

The Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association executive committee has decided to move the UUMA's annual "Ministry Days" convention from the Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., convention center due to concerns about requirements that people show a federal ID to enter the port where the convention center is located. Ministry Days takes place June 23–25; the UUA General Assembly is being held at the convention center June 25–29. (For more on the controversy surrounding this summer's General Assembly, see "UUA leaders respond to General Assembly security concerns," 12.14.07; "Frequently asked questions about security in Fort Lauderdale,"; "Next year's General Assembly brouhaha today!," Philocrites 12.16.07.)

Here's the full letter from UUMA President Rob Eller-Isaacs:

January 17, 2008

Dear Partners in Faith,

I write as President of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association and in the name of the UUMA Executive Committee to express our sadness and to share our plans regarding the General Assembly. We are deeply disappointed that those attending the General Assembly will have to pass through security checkpoints in order to attend. We believe such requirements violate the high value our religion places upon inclusion and full accessibility. We are torn between a deep commitment to those values, and a like commitment to face-to-face engagement and deliberation. Some respected colleagues tell us that as a matter of conscience they will not cross through security. For them it violates a core commitment to the civil liberties of our neighbors. Others, regretting the situation and insistent that steps be taken to ensure full and open access at all future meetings plan to attend. The UUMA is responding to the situation in the following ways:

  • We are moving Ministry Days, our pre-GA gathering, to a fully accessible location outside the security zone.

  • We are designing Ministry Days programming to include opportunities for thoughtful consideration of civil liberties, immigration, and profiling issues arising from the situation.

  • We are presenting a workshop at the General Assembly itself devoted to effective ministry in a time of fear.

Most members of the UUMA Executive Committee plan to attend the General Assembly. We have deep respect for those colleagues whose conscience calls them not to attend. They will be missed. We affirm that showing up is a promise we make to one another. We decry the cultivated culture of fear that divides and weakens us. By coming together in Fort Lauderdale to deepen our understanding and demonstrate our concern we will make a powerful statement about what matters most to Unitarian Universalists.

Yours in Faith,
Rev. Rob Eller-Isaacs
UUMA President

The UUA board of trustees is meeting this weekend in Boston and is expected to discuss General Assembly security.

Copyright © 2008 by Philocrites | Posted 18 January 2008 at 8:13 AM

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