Sermon by Shawn Newton.
This promises to be a momentous weekend in the life of our congregation, as we make a final decision about the purchase of a new home for First Unitarian. In my sermon on Sunday, I’ll be speaking to the significance of this move for our congregation’s sense of identity, and I’ll invite us to remember why we are seeking to transition to a new neighbourhood in the first place. I hope you’ll join us for this service, as well as for the Congregational Meeting at 12:30pm. Details about how voting members can participate and how non-voting members and friends can view the meeting are available down below.
During last week’s congregational conversation, tensions emerged around how issues of racism and classism manifest within our congregation. In response to this important discussion, I have joined with the Board of Trustees and Rev. Lynn in crafting this letter to convey that we take these concerns very seriously and commit to continue our work as a congregation to make real the values we profess—upholding “justice, equity, and compassion in human relations,” as our Second Principle states. Our prior designation of Racial Justice and Reconciliation as this year’s over-arching theme is timely, then, as we deepen in our understanding of what such commitments mean within our congregation, as well as beyond.
To that end, you are hopefully aware the delegates of the Canadian Unitarian Council will be gathering on November 27th to vote on whether to approve a proposed Eighth Principle, which reads: “Individual and communal action that accountably dismantles racism and other oppressions in ourselves and in our institutions.”
In preparation for this vote, Unitarians across the country are being encouraged—whether you are a delegate or not—to take part in a series of forums over the next two months that will help us to collectively gain more skill in approaching conversations around racism. I will be facilitating one of the small groups that will be part of this process. I very much hope that many, especially those who identify as white, will take up this opportunity to reflect and learn.
Details about the the four forums, which begin this coming Sunday evening at 7:00pm, can be found here. Vyda Ng, the Executive Director of the CUC, has recently said there will be a BIPOC “room” at each of these forums, and that people of colour who feel comfortable taking part in these sessions are fully welcome to participate.
Friends, these are times of significant change and spiritual growth for us as Unitarians. May we embrace the challenges of this time, trusting in the call to bring more love and more justice into our world.
In faith and love,