A Free Faith for All – the Promise of Unitarian Universalism

Laura ConkleLaura Conkle
Secretary, Ohio-Meadville District

All four districts’ delegates have now voted to make the final commitment to regionalization. The districts have begun the work of dissolving, allowing our congregations and communities to move into new relationships with each other and our association. After years of negotiating and exploring ideas and options, we’ve come to learn that we can grow better together and support our faith communities better in this new way of being.

We have strong relationships among lay leaders, ministers, staff and others. Now is the time for all of us to breathe deeply and remember, we are striking off in a new direction. Change is hard, even good change. If we can break our old cycles of doubt and mistrust, we will indeed create a space where we are including more folks and living our purpose as a life changing and lifesaving faith.

CER LogoThere are concrete steps in place, and you’ve read about them here on this blog. Our Memo of Understanding with our association is guiding our progress. Right now a team is forming to nurture the implementation of our region. You’ve heard about our Advisory Council that works with our congregations and communities to ensure healthy feedback and communication with our staff. It’s true; Wisdom Seekers would have duplicated the many ways we already have to participate in our national governance. And so rather than duplicate and disempower these existing structures, we ask our congregations and communities to get to know each other better and build collaborations. I know from personal experience that our association’s board is interested in knowing and hearing from all of us. If you haven’t yet, you can check out their board meetings on livestream.

I’ve written before that the district structures felt to me like a false barrier. I’m excited to explore how each of us can build and maintain stronger relationships in an open and inclusive environment. In my work I’ve held my focus on our first principle of inherent worth and dignity. I read somewhere recently that dignity is the allowance we make for each other simply because we are human. Each of us personally knows the feelings of anxiety and fear that can be triggered by change of any kind. And right now we are in the midst of great change. Please join me in assuming good intent as we explore together. It’s important to remember that we are all in this together, and we have the same goals. Unitarian Universalism calls each of us to create a better world.

I ask that each of us honor that we are feeling many things right now – to some extent excitement, some amount of anxiety and need for control, and I hope, a bit of joy at embarking on a new adventure together. Let’s be patient with each other as we move through implementing this brand new way and fulfilling the promise of our merger many years ago. May we take comfort in the knowledge that our siblings in the South are a bit further down the road than we are in this process.

We are not alone. We are among friends. We have the same goals. Let’s take great care of ourselves and each other as we create an environment where our faith can flourish. Many thanks for all you have already done to free our message and share our promise with the world.

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