I can barely use the word "recently" to describe an event in my community of lay and professional spiritual leadership. The Unitarian Universalist Association of congregations, represented by layers of "top leadership," are being called to rigorously and expediently, "...Commit To Translate our Values into Action." The call to action to sign A Declaration of Conscience is a call to "affirm our bold commitment." The wider UU world, however, was taking this more literally, and specifically.
Immediately I began asking questions of this Declaration of Conscience.
When I have such questions, I am sincere in wanting to collect the data and stories that prove or disprove bold statements. I did poll my immediate network of confidants and colleagues to ask these questions. The responses were non committal and full of resignation on the likelihood that our own association of congregations has the actual skill, motivation and humility to self-reflect on it's own demographics of identities of privileged positional power and authority.
I am grateful to have been a part of collecting signatures of individuals who serve (or have served) the ministry of religious education in our faith movement. The collected signatures accompanies a letter to the Board of Trustees that begins, "As religious professionals in Unitarian Universalism, we are writing with our deep, specific, and ongoing concerns about the impact of power structures in our association that further marginalize professionals within our faith."
In about 36 hours or less, nearly 150 signatures have been given, and counting.....
A careful but cursory scan shows that approximately 92% of the signatures are women.
Collecting the nearly 150 signatures has provide a exchange of stories that point to another concerning data point -- the frequency and nature of turnover in the positions of professional religious education. If we are to use the wisdom of the children and the most potent of questions....we ask: