President Bill Sinkford spoke to the ministers yesterday, as he does each year. He talked about some of his pet projects and mostly answered questions. Most of the questions were fairly predictable and he had good and candid answers for them. One question that stumped him: What is our strategy to keep "birthright" UU's?
Ouch. Can it be that no one has thought much about that important question?
The first strategy might be to ditch that terrible phrase, "birthright." In a denomination which prides itself on helping people grow into and choose their faith, a phrase that suggests that it has not passed on this value to its children (who are UU's by right, not their own choice) is unfortunate.
Call us Cradle UU's, perhaps. Here's the way to keep us. Offer us something beyond the "walk away skepticism" which so often passes for legitimate faith questioning in our congregational life. We don't have the hurt, or as much of it, that our elders have. We are ready to explore in our depths, to claim words and ideas that work for us and use them with confidence. This denomination has very little to offer us (although our individual churches often do) by way of resources for this deeper faith journey. Providing these tools would not only keep cradle UU's, it would keep those who come to us in a period of faith transition after they are finished with their pain and their anger and are, themselves, ready to move on.