Who We Arecontributors to and builders of Be the Love
We serve on the Congregational Life staff of the Unitarian Universalist Association. We see our work as inspiring a commitment to building Beloved Community. In our workshops and offerings we have seen people excited and moved by the promise of Beloved Community. In fact, they kept saying, “Yes! But how?”
This website is one response to that request. Be the Love will serve as a mirror for a way of being we all want to live more deeply into. We will provide stories of people who choose love. Images and reflections about what we long for. Models that will help us be our best selves. We will offer each other – and mirror – the world we seek.
Minister of Beloved Community Formation
Pacific Western Region UUA
If what we’re working to change doesn’t change us then we’re merely playing with blocks.Ron Engel
Coming of age in the desegregating South as first born to working class, high-school aged parents, I learned to never give up Hope.
From Richmond’s Black majority City Council, I learned that race, class, and gender are mutually aggravating categories that cannot be separated one from the other and that learning to serve something larger than one’s own ego is hard personal work often done in public view.
From my Afro-Appalachian grandmother I learned how to share, loyalty to the community building power of the church, to love the land, myself and the gift of life.
From my friends and co-workers in the international cooperative movement, I learned the power of human cooperation to effect change and impact larger systems
Vincent Harding taught me to ground social change strategies in possibility rather than disappointment or resentment and to see myself and others as being midwives of Beloved Community.
From my Universalist and Unitarian friends and colleagues, I’m learning building trusting relationships means first extending trust.
Growth & Innovation Lead
New England Region UUA
We can already recognize that today time is split between a present that is already dead and a future that is already living — and the yawning abyss between them is becoming enormous. In time, an event will thrust us like an arrow into that living future. This will be the real political act of love.Antonio Negri
Some of the people, places, and spaces that have shaped me and my understanding of the Biggest Love:
- The radical interfaith hospitality of the Women’s Theological Center, where no one ever asked me “what” I was.
- The amazingly grounded people of Guilford College who taught me so much about word, silence, and faith in action.
- My colleagues in visionary, entrepreneurial ministries at Episcopal Divinity School, where theology from the underbelly is still at the center.
- The anti-racist and activist communities of Greensboro and Boston, where I fortunately also encountered and survived the shadow sides of activist culture.
- Occupy Boston and all the countless movement builders. My lot is cast with those “who age after age, perversely, with no extraordinary [and with extraordinary] power, reconstitute the world.” – Adrienne Rich
Operations Director & Justice Ministries Lead
New England Region UUA
All my life, I have been learning about Beloved Community. The influences are everywhere:
- Mom and Dad, for returning again and again to your baseline: the abiding love of God.
- The Aylmer Christian Reformed community that taught me belonging.
- My teachers at London District Christian Secondary School, for teaching wider perspective and the value of good questions.
- The Women’s Theological Center community for waking me up to realities and ways of being I had not known.
- Spiritual teachers and mentors: Nancy Richardson, Donna Bivens, Katie Geneva Cannon, Malidoma Patrice Somé, to name a very few.
- Siblings and friends, who listen and laugh and sing and cry and walk alongside.
- Laura Ruth Jarrett, lover, life partner, friend and religious genius.
And, most recently, communities of Unitarian Universalists glad to receive my gifts and eager to reciprocate.