Why Was the UUA’s Sustainable Ministry Summit in St. Louis?

So I’ve been thinking about the Sustainable Ministry summit that happened here in St. Louis during this last week. And one thought keeps staying at the forefront of my mind…..

Why the he** was this summit in St. Louis?

Reading through the twitter-feed it looks like this summit could have taken place in Boston at 24 (especially since there is all this talk of the UUA being in financial straits). Other than the local ministers who did a worship service for the participants, there doesn’t seem to have been any local input.

There was no “field trip” to Ferguson.

There was no talk to the local clergy like Rev. Traci Blackmon or Rev. Starsky Wilson or Rev. Osagyefo Sekou or Rabbi Susan Talve about how they are doing the balance of internal congregational work and being in the community and money. (I’m guessing that any of these people would have loved to talk about that, if not all of them)

The consultant was not local; and on top of that was not a UU. (any particular reason Rev. Ron Robinson–who is doing exactly a “new ministry” that is so talked about–couldn’t have been asked to speak?)

So let’s take a minute to look at this……the UUA comes to St. Louis less than a year after things get set off here; within a month of the #BlackLivesMatter banner being stolen from First Unitarian-St. Louis’ fence facing a major city street; and within days of peaceful protestors being tased by St. Louis city police officers while the chief looked on.

Can the UUA talk about sustainable ministry when it ignores what is happening on the ground in the place where they decide to have this summit?

So I’ll ask again….why the he** was this summit in St. Louis?

This is not to begrudge the conversation/focus of the summit. It is something valuable. Yet I’m thoroughly confused by the place aspect of it. Why come to St. Louis and not talk about what’s going on here?

Would #BlackLivesMatter to Unitarian Universalists Without the Protests? (GA Query #1)

[those of you familiar with Quaker practice know what I mean by query. for those of you with less Quaker experience, queries are questions that members are asked to consider during their silent worship period. if they are being used during a monthly meeting, they are typically concerning subjects that will be coming before the meeting]

Now that we are about 3 weeks away from the start of General Assembly, I thought I would pose some queries that are related to my activities during GA.

So query #1……

Would #BlackLivesMatter to Unitarian Universalists without the protests?

(don’t give me your knee-jerk reaction to the question, really think about it)

Here’s why I ask…
Before the “county brown” [St. Louis County police] decided to mess with reporters here in Ferguson, most Unitarian Universalists had virtually ignored the extrajudicial killings of African Americans by those in law enforcement and the treatment of communities of color by law enforcement in general. One doesn’t have to look at too many of these cases to see the almost universal silence from our end of the liberal religion spectrum.

Having been around Unitarian Universalism for more than a few days, I’ve seen and heard UU talk about issues of law enforcement/criminal justice and race that would make Calvin feel proud.

Then Ferguson happens. (and NYC and Cleveland and Baltimore and N. Charleston and…)