Urgent Message: Beloved Conversation Registration
by The Rev. Bob LaVallee
Like the rest of the country, congregants at First Unitarian are witnessing a moment of racial accountability. If you heard me preach on August 16, you know that the church is moving into a multi-year commitment to more deeply enmesh anti-racism in the life of the congregation.
Our first step in this direction is participating in the Beloved Conversations program offered through Meadville Lombard Theological School. Beloved Conversations is a program for Unitarian Universalists seeking to embody racial justice as a spiritual practice. In Beloved Conversations, we are here to heal the impact of racism on our lives, in order to get free together.
The aim of this program is to underline that racial justice work is the work of our lifetime, and we engage it in different ways. There is no rush and no deadline; everyone has work to do and we will all have different learning goals and outcomes. The first phase of the course focuses on personal work. While personal work is an essential precursor to systemic work, it is also a worthy and needed focus in its own right and should not be seen only as a means to an end.
The course is divided into three kinds of interactions. There will be 6 online lessons, 6 Learning Pod gatherings, and 4 Meaning-Making sessions where we convene in a large group on Zoom. For more details on the course and the specific work, go here. There are also some very helpful short videos here. If you are interested in participating, be sure to check the web site to confirm that you are available on the program dates.
The ministers and members of the staff of First Church are participating in this, and we are encouraging all congregants to join us in this important work. The cost of the program is $120 per person for laypeople, but don’t let lack of resources stop you from participating! Generous congregants have donated funds to provide scholarships; anyone who wants to attend but can’t afford it will be funded by a scholarship.
If you wish to register (and we hope that you do) fill out the registration form at this link. The deadline for registering with First U is September 18.
After that date, you’ll receive a coupon code that will allow you to register at the Meadville website. If we have more than 20 people register as a group, the cost of tuition drops to $120, so please do not register with Meadville until you receive the coupon code. If you plan on paying for your registration, send a check for $120 to the church (being sure to note Beloved Conversations in the memo line).
Over 200 UU churches have participated in Beloved Conversations. If you have questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is important work for the life of this congregation, and we hope that you will join us.