July 3, 2020
Beloved Community Program Update: Finding Our Next Right Action
Unity's Beloved Community Staff Team
As part of two gatherings following the killing of George Floyd, “Finding Our Next Right Action” provided Unity Church members a chance to connect online, ask questions, discuss next steps, and stay engaged. Breakout groups organized by topics—from protesting to legislative demands around policing to hands-on volunteering—provided opportunities for constructive exchange of information and discerning our next right action. From the array of ideas generated, the Beloved Community Staff Team worked to organize and discern next steps, prioritizing actions that expand upon existing ministries, that create brave space for deeper relationships with community partners, that ask for greater humility and spontaneity in addressing gaps in our commitments, that enlarge our prophetic imagination in the work of racial justice. There is work for everyone, from Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) assessments to community organizing training with Team Dynamics to legislative work on policing with the Racial and Restorative Justice Team. For those who participated in earlier breakout sessions and all others who are seeking to engage in this moment’s call to action, please click here for Finding Our Next Right Action.
June 24, 2020
Beloved Community Program Update: #WeCantBreathe // Finding Our Next Right Action
Unity's Beloved Community Staff Team
In early June, a little over one week after the killing of George Floyd, Karen Hering and KP Hong of the Beloved Community Staff Team convened two programs, prompted by conversations of Black clergy and leaders. The first, #WeCantBreathe, was an opportunity for people to come together on Zoom to reflect on what our broken hearts can teach us in times like these, and what our UU faith calls us to do in the wake of the killing. We looked inward to our spiritual practices as the first step.
Finding Our Next Right Action, the second program, was held the following night. Seventy-five people showed up online to ask questions and discuss next steps. Breakout groups organized by topic such as “protesting,” “police reform/abolition,” “neighborhood organizing,” and more, raised many good questions, highlighting the need to learn from and perhaps be guided by our uncertainty. The resource list generated from these discussions is being prepared separately. Follow-up and next steps are underway by the Beloved Community Staff Team, please watch for more information. CLICK HERE for a summary of the breakout groups from this online program.
What became clear is that the next steps forward have to lead from engagement with the community. This will help us cultivate or strengthen right relationship with Black leaders by building on connections already made or by building new ones. If ever there was a time to lean into our Ends of creating brave space for racial healing, dismantling dominant culture, and creating a multicultural spiritual home built on authentic relationships, this surely is it. But, how do we take our uncertainty and work in proximity with Black leaders to affect change?
The Beloved Community Staff Team is working to identify key pieces of potential work from the range of ideas generated at these discussions, as well as address any gaps that might need our attention. There is work enough for everyone. Some of it is personal work like taking the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) to examine our own path toward the anti-racist values to which we aspire. Other work is practical, like helping with rebuilding businesses damaged in the protests. Still other work is legislative, to make sure this moment doesn’t pass without significant change. Please watch for more information about our next right actions in congregational email messages and on the Unity Church website.
May 29, 2020
Our list of community resources includes where to donate money and resources, current needs and information about direct action/protests, and anti-racism learning resources.
Beloved Community Resources
Next Right Actions
Unity Justice Database
Team Dynamics House of Intersectionality
Anti-Racism Resources in the Unity Libraries Collection
Creative Writers of Color in Unity Libraries
The History of Race Relations and Unity Church, 1850-2005
Beloved Community Staff Team
The Beloved Community Staff Team (BCST) strengthens and coordinates Unity’s antiracism and multicultural work, and provides opportunities for congregants and the church to grow into greater intercultural competency. We help the congregation ground itself in the understanding of antiracism and multiculturalism as a core part of faith formation. We support Unity’s efforts to expand our collective capacity to imagine and build the Beloved Community. Here, we share the stories of this journey — the struggles, the questions, and the collaborations — both at Unity and in the wider world.
The current members of the Beloved Community Staff Team include Rev. Kathleen Rolenz, Rev. KP Hong, Barbara Hubbard, Drew Danielson, Laura Park, Rev. Karen Gustafson, Angela Wilcox, Pauline Eichten, and Erika Sanders.