Minister’s Message for July, 2024

The following is an excerpt from Rev. Sharon Wylie’s sermon “The Sermon After General Assembly” offered on June 30, 2024. You can watch the full sermon on Chalice’s YouTube channel.

I believe that it is part of being a Unitarian Universalist to eventually face the question: Am I still UU? Ours is not an easy faith. I am not UU because it aligns easy with who I am; I am UU because this faith pushes me and challenges me. I know the day will come when I will wrestle with my discomfort over feeling out of step with the UU majority on some matter of importance to me. I feel that is inevitable; it’s part of who we are. So this advice I share with any of you who may be wrestling with that question is the advice I want to capture for myself in the future. I’m speaking to Sharon of the future, and I will look back here to see what I said and advised myself from a grounded point of view.

First: You will have the impulse to resign your membership. When something upsetting happens, we want to show someone that we are upset. We want to demonstrate. But resigning as a member does nothing but take away your own power and voice. You can resign later if that turns out to be the right choice. But resigning as an act of protest does not effect change.

Second: You are likely feeling lonely. Hurt and lonely. The sense of belonging and shared commitments can feel very fragile at times. Take time to grieve. Take time to check in with UU friends who feel as you do. Take time to check in with UU friends who disagree with you on this matter. As Rev. Safford told us, we may not be like-minded, but we are surely like-hearted. People with shared values and ideals can still disagree on significant issues. We are not each other’s enemies.

Third: Remember that pluralism is now one of our explicitly stated values. “We celebrate that we are all sacred beings, diverse in culture, experience, and theology.

We covenant to learn from one another in our free and responsible search for truth and meaning. We embrace our differences and commonalities with Love, curiosity, and respect.”

And fourth: If this is truly a crisis of faith, I suggest giving it a year. Stay in community, keep trying to connect. If the hurt comes from a GA action, wait until after the next GA to see what happens there. And if in a year, it truly feels like Unitarian Universalism is no longer your home, then you will know it is time to move on.