Unitarian Universalist Ministry in an Occupied World?

Read about UU's and the Occupy Movement

Also see:  Unitarian Universalists and Occupy Movement page

Yesterday I had a great conversation with a colleague on what role Unitarian Universalists and our institutions should play in the OCCUPY MOVEMENT.  I’ve had a number of similar conversations.  Unitarian Universalist leaders, clergy, members and friends — there is no one way UU’s are responding and certainly no agreement about how we should be responding.

In the video at the end of this post, the Rev. Rick Davis starts his comments at an Occupy Salem, OR event by saying, “I’d like to welcome you to the Universal Church of What’s Happening Now!!!”

I love that line.  “The Universal Church of What’s Happening Now!”  It is my opinion that congregations should be “engines for change” in our world.  And this is a moment when people are gathering in the streets calling for change.

If you aren’t doing so already,  now is the time to start organizing opportunities to discuss how this movement relates to your congregation’s ministry.

Here are the questions I’ve been discussing with colleagues. I’ve also shared them with the UU Growth Lab. I’d like to invite you to consider these questions.  You may comment here, share thoughts on your own blog, but most importantly, make sure your discussing them within your local congregation.  You have my permission to copy this post, excerpt questions and adapt away.  There are sharing buttons at the end of this post including EMAIL and PRINT buttons.

Discussing Our Ministry and the Occupy Movement:

1)  How does the Occupy Movement (and its sub-causes) relate to our congregation’s work and ministry in the world, everything we were doing or trying to do pre-occupy?

2) How do you think individual UU’s, congregations, and related institutions should respond to or participate in the Occupy Movement?

3)  What other questions, challenges and/or opportunities does the Occupy Movement present for Unitarian Universalists and our institutions?
Again, find some forum for discussing this movement and how it relates to our faith, values, and ministry in the world.  Good to start with a conversation among your congregations ministry team and board.  From there, there are so many ways we can be exploring these issues, both within our congregations and in our larger communities — sermons, forums,  panel discussions, small group sessions and more.

Don’t start with “When are we joining? When are we going down?”  Go deeper first. Have real conversations about the issues and how they relates to your congregation’s purpose.  And while doing so, maybe you can bring food and other supplies to your local occupation as a service project.  Every Occupy protest has a daily need for supplies.

2 comments

  • Really important not to get sucked into the myth that we are the only religion that is defined by these values. Maybe all UUs feel affinity for this– which would be the first time in our history we all shared affinity for anything! — but that doesn’t mean everyone who shares affinity through Occupy is ready to be a UU. And it ESPECIALLY doesn’t mean we’re the only religion that cares about poverty and justice.

    • Thanks, Elizabeth. Very important to remember these points. I think that whatever kind of congregation people are from, be it Unitarian Universalist or otherwise, it is important to ask how larger world events relate to our values, mission and ministry, and then to take appropriate action, build partnerships, and so on. These are things we should always be asking, not just when a relevant movement takes off around us.

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