Pastoral Message from UUA President

Dear Colleagues, Religious Professionals and Lay Leaders,

I am thinking of all of you. It is now three months into my term as UUA President, and it has been a time of repeated tragedies and traumas. These have included political traumas including the Transgender Military Ban and the rescinding of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. They have also included the devastating natural disasters of fires out West and Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria that devastated parts of Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. And there have been the violent human tragedies of Charlottesville and now Las Vegas.

I hold you all in my heart as you are called to speak to these events in your communities. You nurture communities where people can bring their heartbreak, their pain, their anger, their confusion, their despair. Through your leadership you are asked to create a container for all of our human reactions, a place where families might get support talking to their children, a place where our children can come bringing their sadness, confusion and worry.

As your colleague, your President, your fellow leader in faith, I want you to know that I am grateful for your ministry. I am grateful that you keep showing up with words of comfort and hope, of courage and challenge. This past Sunday, I spoke to a congregation about how this is no time for a casual faith – how the very real challenges and heartbreak of this time in this country and the world require a deep practice of our faith. These realities require a practice that makes room for us to bring our pain and our anger and our vulnerabilities, but one that also continually calls us back to love and to our human capacity for compassion and hope.

You all are on the front lines – providing ministry and leadership to people of all ages, helping us all not to lose our humanity in this very inhumane time, helping us all not to lose hope. Today, as I awoke, the words of Adrienne Rich were on my heart:

My heart is moved by all I cannot save:
so much has been destroyed
I have to cast my lot with those
who age after age, perversely, with no extraordinary power
reconstitute the world.

My fellow leaders, I cast my lot with you. We will not give up hope.

Yours in love and faith,

Susan Frederick-Gray

Resources:

Hate, Violence, and Trauma: Talking with Children

Trauma Response Resources for Families and Congregations 

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