We, the Staff and Organizing Collective Board of Directors for Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism, are writing to share our excitement about a historic event happening in St. Paul, Minnesota Wednesday, October 30th through Saturday, November 2nd, and we hope that folks from the congregation will join us there!
The Harper-Jordan Memorial Symposium – named after Frances Ellen Watkins-Harper, noted African-American writer and suffragist and Rev. Joseph Jordan, the first African-American ordained a Universalist minister – responds to a longing on the part of many Black Unitarian Universalists to more fully understand how to live out a Unitarian Universalism that centers our Blackness. At this four-day gathering, we will break bread together, learn about and engage a Black Unitarian Universalism, spiritually connect, build community, have fun, and unapologetically proclaim a Black UU theology! We will offer six plenaries over two days, with topics ranging from Black UU contextual history and Unitarian Universalist manifestations of Black faith, to an opportunity to hear from our friends from other faith traditions about the significance of Black people gathering together who also happen to be a part of predominantly white denominations.
For the first time, BLUU is hosting a gathering that is open to all. We know that a Black UU theology doesn’t just benefit Black people – just as our history isn’t isolated in its impact and relevance, the ways in which we think about and live out our faith are useful to anyone committed to lives of spiritual resonance and justice making. We also know that conversations about theology should not be reserved for people most connected to Abrahamic faith traditions, ministers, academics, or people who claim “theologian” as a profession. Understanding the contours of our faith as UUs is a necessary exercise and a meaningful spiritual practice, if we are to be UU and not just talk about Unitarian Universalism.
This is going to be an unprecedented gathering of people, many UUs and some not, and all equally invested in the care for, consciousness-raising around, and commitment to Unitarian Universalism that centers and celebrates Blackness! Of course, BLUU’s Organizing Collective Board of Directors and staff will be there! But organizers, chaplains, and historians will also be there! Elders and folks new to our shared faith will be there! Musicians, academics, and theologians will be there! Folks who love being UU and folks who aren’t always sure how to feel about being UU will be there! And most importantly, it is our deep hope that folks from your community will decide to be there, too!! If you have been struggling with our faith & really thinking about what it truly MEANS to be a UU – COME TO THE SYMPOSIUM! You won’t be disappointed!
If you haven’t already, you can register, book accommodations, and check out the schedule at https://www.blacklivesuu.com/about. And while we are excited that everyone is welcome to participate in the Symposium, we are prioritizing spaces for Black people, Indigenous people and People of Color, so register now! If you’re a Black UU and worried about what it will be like to be at a BLUU-sponsored event that is not Black sacred space in its entirety, please receive this Love Letter from us and consider coming anyway. And if you can’t come, but would love an opportunity to help someone else get to the Symposium, click on the Registration link and Sponsor a Registration!
In the meantime, let folks know about the Symposium! Attached you’ll find a flyer that you can share with the congregation electronically, or print and post on your community’s bulletin board, as well as talking points about the Symposium to help you answer questions that folks might have. And if you have any questions about anything, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We can’t wait to see you in St. Paul!