Yes, welcome to this brand new, fresh and sparkling forum for discussion and reflection! I hope that you will find it useful and provocative, challenging and helpful as we continue discerning our next steps in this important ministry of the church.
As Assistant Minister here at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Asheville, part of my job description includes providing spiritual leadership for the congregation’s program of social justice. In my work as a hospital chaplain, I spent a great deal of my time creating space for staff, patients and families to explore their emotional experiences and reactions to physical ailments so that they could engage more deeply and intentionally in their own healing processes.
In many ways, the work of social justice is quite different from the experience of being ill or injured in a hospital, but I find that there are some important points of connection as we begin to explore what social justice means to us as individuals and as a community. A big part of my work with the Social Justice Council involves nuts and bolts — reviewing and assessing policies and procedures, clarifying the “how” of social justice.
In order to have a clear sense of the “why” of social justice here at UUCA, we need to share our thoughts and experiences. We are a community, and I am new to the system, still learning your stories. This is in some ways helpful, because I have a fresh perspective, looking at things with new eyes. I am, however, only one person — and I am not here to tell you what is important to this community, I am here to listen as you share your stories with me, and with one another.
Through the Shaping Justice at UUCA activities, we are taking some time to step back from the nuts and bolts and dig more deeply into the emotional experiences and reactions you have to social justice work. My hope is that creating space for individual reflection will allow us to interact with one another and intentionally engage as a congregation.