In its strategic plan for ministry, the UUA staff left some open questions for discussion. Here's another one.
Even if it is a moral and religious imperative for UUs, does becoming more multiculturally welcoming and competent necessarily mean that our congregations will grow?
The way this question is stated highlights the confusion in the UU World about the issue of multicultural competence and welcome, because it places this factor, not only at the top of the list of factors influencing growth but suggests that it alone might trump everything else.
It's easy to imagine a scenario in which UU's perfect multiculturally welcoming and competence but still don't grow. If, for instance, we don't find ways to reach the Gen X and Millenial generations (who are far more skeptical about religious institutions than their elders), it won't matter how competent we are as we age into oblivion. If we have nothing to offer the world except our multicultural competence we'll attract fewer and fewer people. I devoutly hope that
Our values demand that we welcome everyone with skill, and it can hardly hurt us to make sure that our doors are really open to all people and not just white people. If we don't do this work, we will surely flounder, if only because muilticultural INcompetence won't be tolerated by younger generations. This work is necessary but not sufficient; part of a plan that also has to include a focus on spirituality and a willingness to become multi-generationally competent and welcoming.