Our next book will be Mistakes and Miracles, Nancy Palmer Jones and Karin Lin, the UUA’s 2022-23 Common Read. The book looks at what calls Unitarian Universalists to create multicultural, antiracist Beloved Community, what congregations need when they embark on this journey, and what common threads run through their stories. Nancy Palmer Jones and Karin Lin—a white minister and a lay person of color—share how five diverse congregations encounter frustrations and disappointments, as well as hope and wonder, once they commit to the journey. Mistakes abound. Miracles of transformation and joy emerge too.

Treva Burger and Latifah Griffin-Rogers will facilitate four 90-minute Zoom sessions on Mondays starting March 13, from 7-8:30pm, using adapted materials from the UUA. Please join us at https://bit.ly/USGwidenthecircle

For the second session, April 3, please read the introductory pages and 3rd & 4th chapters. The book is available from the UUA bookstore (or you can backorder if it’s sold out) Amazon (which also offers a kindle version-you can put the Kindle app on any device), you can download and listen from this page on the UUA website and on loan from USG.

Contact WideningtheCircle@usguu.org for a loaner book.  You are welcome even if you cannot attend all the sessions, but please read all the chapters to keep pace with the group.

Here are the questions we will offer for discussion at the second meeting:

Check in:

What thought or question has come to you since we last met, about your faith community’s road to Beloved Community?

Where did you recognize yourself, our faith community, or our Unitarian Universalist movement in these chapters?

Throughout the session:

What do you notice about how power played out in the Annapolis story about their Black Lives Matter (BLM) banner?Who were the decision makers? Are there folx who want to block the decision makers? What kind of power do those people have?

What other examples from these chapters come to mind? Who has power when? Does power shift, and how?

When you think about these examples from the book, how do you see yourself expressing power in your life? Who else (individuals or groups) has power in your life?

The experience of the predominantly white congregation in Phoenix honoring the needs of the African American community, instead of imposing its own vision, gets rooted in the congregation’s DNA. It re-emerges decades later in UUCP’s work with immigrants’ rights groups.

Thinking about our own faith community, what’s in our DNA?

What stories from our congregation’s past do we know that show who we have been and who we are?

Where in our stories can we find hope?

Where can we find sources of strength?

Where can we find cautionary tales?

Check Out: Likes and Wishes (We didn’t get to this last time.)

How was this session? Was it helpful for you? Would you have liked it to be different in any way?

  • For May 1, chapters 5 & 6
  • For June 1, chapters 7 & 8

There is also a recorded Zoom workshop, We Can Do This: Faith, Conflict, and Antiracism (Vimeo, 56:00), from the UUA General Assembly 2020 on-demand video library. Co-authors Jones and Lin moderate a discussion based on Mistakes and Miracles with Unitarian Universalists Aisha Hauser, Jimmy Leung, Rev. Bill Sinkford, and Rev. Marta Valentin.

Other books that have been recommended for widening the circle:

The Darkness Divine, by Kristen L. Harper 
Now being used to guide discussion in the White Antiracism Discussion Group which begins February 8 and continues on the following four 2nd Wednesdays.

Centering, Mitra Rahnema, Editor

Disability Visibility, Alice Wong

She’s Not There, a memoir by Jenny Boylan

Melissa by Alex Gino-  YA book about a trans girl

Trans Bodies Trans Selves: A Modern Manual By and For Trans People, by Laura Erickson-Schroth

Gender Born Gender Made, by Diane Ehrensaft https://theexperimentpublishing.com/catalogs/winter-2011/gender-born-gender-made/