GA is preceded by two days of minister's meetings. I went to the business-oriented day. It's been a while since the continuing education day was useful to me, so I just come late. It is so good to see one's colleagues! That pleasure was deflated by a business meeting run with such poor process that it felt like an abuse of power...was an abuse of power at least in terms of parlimentary rule....and all for a cause I would have probably supported. I'm feeling very alienated and that's a hard place to be.
The Berry St. Essay was very interesting this year, and a nice blend of a scholarly lecture and a passionate response. The lecturer held up the embarrassing reality that while our denomination had been pursuing anti-racism and multi-culturalism with a passion for a decade, no records have been kept on our progress because nobody wants to ask for statistics about the number of persons of color in congregations. The few statistics we do have come from an outside source (National Pew Research data), or are somewhat suspect. We are amateurs in the statistics business! The speaker went on to point out that a theology underpinning our multiculatural efforts is very much a part of deepest history...a good reminder. The respondant gave a heart-felt personal testamony. An African American, Rosemary finds this the only faith for her but regrets that her children are so lonely as the only children of color wherever they go in UU land, beginning with their own Sunday School.
I was sad to hear this, not only because of the human drama of being a mom wondering if one's work and chosen life is the right one for her children, but because our denomination has put a lot of resources into nurturing ministers of color on the assumption that ministers of color would attract congregants of color. Apparently, that has not happened, even for this splendid, talented minister who lives in a very multi-cultural area. Gives one pause.
(There are plenty of UU Youth of color at GA, by the way, and it seems clear to this casual observer that they enjoy the experience of having a critical mass of peers. But most UU kids don't come to GA.)