As the movement for disability rights; multicultural awareness; ongoingwork in LGBTQ ministry calls to our congregation, we know have a critical mass of people in the congregation who have been particularly devoted to anti-oppressive / multicultural work in the Sacred Conversations on Race group which began in 2015. Meeting almost monthly with a regular attendance of twelve, including and led by people of color, we are at a critical time in our society and in our congregation. After hosting a regional conference about multicultural awareness called *Differences That Make a Difference,* it became clear we were ready for a deeper exploration and opportunity to integrate multicultural awareness in our congregation, as well as to develop some muscle around addressing complex conversations around difference in our faith community and in larger interfaith settings (like our countywide interfaith justice ministry LIFE.
And so our congregational leadership made the decision to start a new program in February 2017 called Beloved Conversations to facilitate healing conversations around race and ethnicity that inform our faith. Beloved Conversations is a supportive small group ministry that meets people where they are. At the same time, it emboldens participants to be brave and find loving ways to call our communities to their most sacred values of inclusion. It’s not about righteousness or being politically correct. It’s about being Unitarian Universalist; living in covenant; and living into our 2021 vision:
We are a generous and inclusive faith community that compassionately leads the way in creating connections to build a just, sustainable world. We worship, work, and play together, deepening our faith to offer spiritual support to one another in times of need and joy.
Living our Great Covenant will be further evident in our congregation and community by increasing our diligence to dwell in peace, while seeking truth and helping one another build on a firm foundation of love and service: recognizing our differences and yet courageously embracing shared human experience to pursue happiness.The benefits are manifold. Leadership development and developing leaders who can usher us into a more culturally sensitive world. The next launch of the program will be in the year 2018-2019 and we plan on having programs for Beloved Conversations graduates throughout the coming church school year and congregation-wide engagement opportunities quarterly.