Board Update on Anti-Racism Efforts at UUCM

Fred Hulting, President, Board of Trustees

After a fast onboarding for our new Minister, the Board and Reverend Lisa Friedman have been focusing this past month on COVID-19 preparedness, planning collaboration on our Developmental goals, and developing approaches for the church to advance anti-racism efforts. In this update I want to focus on the important work on anti-racism.

Because of the efforts of many members, we have seen some great activities offered to the congregation, from the My Grandmothers Hands study groups to efforts by the Social Justice Ministry to collaborative education programs with other area churches. This is a great start to our journey; but it is clear that we need to do more.

As both individuals and as a group, the Board has found it difficult to know how best to proceed; there are many different paths we could take.  Recognizing that we need to get moving and that we may not get it right, the Board has aligned on three next steps.

First, we are formally asking the Minster, Council, and Staff to “develop and implement plans to advance anti-racism programming and practices at UUCM so that it can be woven into all aspects of our church life and community.”   This is the most direct way to bring anti-racism actions into the everyday church experiences of our Members and Friends.

Second, we have agreed on how we can move forward and find a stronger public voice in this effort.  Our By-Laws provide some guidelines for how UUCM should make public statements, but it is short on details.  For example, several Members have asked about putting up a Black Lives Matter banner, but it has not been clear how we proceed appropriately.  The Board has now approved a process that we will use to respond to Member requests for any such statements.  To learn more about this process please read the article “Why Doesn’t UUCM Have a BLM Banner on Our Building?” by Board Member Becky Halat.

Finally, as a church we want to participate in the wider UUA movements on anti-racism, including the 8th Principle Project, Article II Commission, and the Commission on Institutional Change.  This will mean taking a position as a church on UUA by-laws changes and other actions, and re-examining our own culture and structures through an anti-racism lens. The Board is still discussing how to approach this, but soon we expect to form a task force to build a multi-year plan for the congregation to engage more widely in our denomination.

We believe these actions will help our church move forward on this important work.  Again, we will not get it exactly right, but we ask for your feedback, your encouragement, your criticisms, and your engagement. We will continue to keep you updated on what is happening in all these efforts.

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