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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

This week at Raising committed UUs.

Bill Doherty's cover story in the Spring UU World, "Home Grown Unitarian Universalism," raises lots of provocative ideas. He describes the efforts of a group of UU adults in the Minneapolis/St Paul area to explore Unitarian-Universalist history and theology. What makes the group interesting is their conviction that UU kids grow up without an adequate sense of their own religious heritage in large part because the adults haven't bothered to understand, celebrate, and pass on that heritage. They're trying to bring Unitarian Universalism's heritage into their homes, not just into their churches. One fruit of their Family Chalice Project, which Doherty describes at the end of the article, is an intergenerational, home-based community event called the "Sources Supper" — something like a UU history seder.

From the archives, Barbara Wells ten Hove laments that UUs often describe Unitarian Universalism as a "religion of exiles." She writes: "Too often lifelong Unitarian Universalists are left out of the story of our religion. We are made to feel that if we lack an experience of exile, we are not truly UU."

In the news, Don Skinner reports on UU-sponsored drop-in centers and support groups for gay teens. Jane Greer reports that a small Pennsylvania church is struggling to raise money to clean up an oil spill on their property.

At's blogs, Sonja Cohen tracks Unitarian Universalists in the media and Shelby Meyerhoff monitors the UU blogosphere.

Copyright © 2008 by Philocrites | Posted 4 March 2008 at 8:48 AM

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Rev Elz:

March 5, 2008 08:42 AM | Permalink for this comment

Thank you, Barbara Wells ten Hove! My own view is that the UUA exploits the newcomer/come-outer myth to hold onto its own highly centralized self-referrent power in exactly the same kind of small-church polity it condemns in our congregations. To acknowledge that UUs hang in for the long haul, grow, develop and diversify without leaving the faith is to acknowledge that 1) we are capable of self-governance if properly mentored in use of its tools, and 2) we need a far more diverse, less pulpit-centered ministry than we inherited from our Puritan forebears.

The Small Group Ministry program is does well at what it does. But it is not crisis ministry, and it is not a skill-sharing religious education program for people confronting life's transitions. To admit that we have lifespan UUs among us at all times is to admit that we need lifespan ministries: constant attention to death and dying, constant attention to youth, constant attention to family-starting young adults, constant attention to laid-off middle-agers -- and not just cyclic or partial mention in the weekly Sunday sermon. Not just the pastoral visit to say, "You're strong - it will all work out."

Up here in Vermont, I am more and more impressed with the mega-church model, in effect, that we have in Burlington. It allows the congregation to diversity over the lifespan and build loyalty. It is only possible, I have said before, with a strong pulpit ministry that is complete humble about the limits of its pastoral potential, and passionately dedicated to obtaining collegial ministry for everyone, either through guest speakers, contract ministers, or adjunct staff.

And wouldn't you know it -- that committed, unjealous pulpit minister is a cradle UU -- and perhaps, at his age ()the same as mine) would even say, "cradle-to-grave."

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