News from Denominational Affairs – GA – Part 3

Another reflection about going to GA in Columbus OH in June:

From Ellen Rockett:

The best aspect for me of GA was just how diverse the experience was.

Dr. Glen Thomas Rideout led the GA choir in civil rights protest songs for our warmups each day, and his music showed an important consciousness of African American musical traditions. He treated choir practices as spiritual gatherings, and really “ministered” to the choir as the short time allowed.

The speakers were of course almost universally spectacular and powerful, and it was food for thought to see the gap between their speeches and the actions being taken.

I appreciated the chance to connect with the young adults who were there and in particular the chance to find common ground with the young adults of color I met. It really gave me a chance to listen and learn about their experiences on a personal and more heartfelt level. Those connections left me realizing how little I know and how much work I have to do – because the UU denomination as a whole made it clear they aren’t going to step up and do it for me. In response to seeing the pain of the young adults of color around me, I understand better in my gut what is meant by the Lilla Watson quote, “If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. If you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

And we saw how diversity can bring painful but important discussion – around the racial justice items and workshops, but also in the debate around the divestment from the occupied territories item and response to Rabbi Jacobs co-opting the opening ceremonies to bring a message he felt was very important. Seeing how messy the democratic process can get, even among a group of relatively-likeminded people, was an important experience to me in this election year.

All in all, I came away feeling better rooted in my spirituality and “put back into myself” by the community around me, but I also came away with a lot of the pain and confusion and anger of the people, and a motivation for action.