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What Happened at GA 2019?

If you missed GA this year, we hope you’ll spend some time going over some of the amazing worship and other events that took place this year. You can find all of the recorded events at https://www.uua.org/ga/off-site/2019

We would like to recommend the Ware Lecture, and The Service of the Living Tradition. We also would like to highlight the events below. Watch Alex Bates-Lamparella and Stevie K. Carmody lead the worship elements of opening ceremony. Though not from GA but from Ministry Days, you also don’t want to miss Rev. Leslie Takahashi’s Berry Street Address. All links follow:

Opening Ceremony. https://www.uua.org/ga/off-site/2019/worship/opening

Sunday Worship. https://www.uua.org/ga/off-site/2019/worship/sunday

The Berry Street Address: https://www.uuma.org/mpage/MD19BSEVideo

Also, at GA 2019, the minister of the Spokane Church distributed a copy of a self-published book that directly harmed members of our community. He was invited to return to covenant by engaging in conversation with other ministers and, especially, those hurt by his actions and he refused. If you feel the need to know more, you’re encouraged to read the statements released by various organizations as well as individuals. We are including the links below:

Public Statement: UUMA People of Color and Indigenous Chapter, Regarding The Gadfly Papers https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-4HvVMVT1pC3FkOZR0iIFd2XyMjYrt3z_egd8EAiNus/mobilebasic?fbclid=IwAR1fqtfUfUngy6bRaFiUMUrsi3orL6n59vpn6XhsLTpFf3PsiM5sxT7JrNQ

The time you sowed the wind and left others to reap the whirlwind by Theresa Inés Soto https://medium.com/@titasoto/the-time-you-sowed-the-wind-and-left-others-to-reap-the-whirlwind-bdbc67f83ce6

Telling Our Stories: The Failure of The Gadfly Papers by Chris Rothbauer https://medium.com/@crothbauer/telling-our-stories-the-failure-of-the-gadfly-papers-44b08351ed07

DRUUMM Statement in response: https://www.facebook.com/DRUUMM/photos/a.165860406803228/2215621331827115/?type=3&theater

LREDA Response: https://www.lreda.org/lreda-board-response-to-harmful-book

Open Letter from White UU Ministers: https://www.muusja.org/reprint-an-open-letter-from-white-uu-ministers/?fbclid=IwAR3teniL24HrzSluTB4heojfhC1E9Ou2q1TWHLaISCnQIOw1RPD_TOA-fLU

6 comments (Add your own)

1. Greg Lawler wrote:
In fairness to the author, if you are going to read criticisms of the book, you should also read the book itself. It is available on Amazon, The Gadfly Papers, by Todd Eklof.

Here is another link on comments https://www.revscottwells.com/2019/06/23/the-gadfly-papers/ . Included in the comments are Rev. Eklof's comments (and those of several other people) about the events at GA.

I know very little about this controversy other than what is written on the web, but I believe that fairness requires giving both sides of the debate.

While I do not think this is a great book, and there is much I disagree with, I believe that it an honest attempt by a minister to reflect on actions in the UUA, and characterizations of it as harmful and/or racist are misguided.

Sun, June 30, 2019 @ 7:32 AM

2. Richard Wachterman wrote:
Reverend Eklof's thesis that honest civil debate within Unitarian Universalism is being suppressed is being proven by the responses to his treatise. Those responses describe his statements as full of hate, including transphobia, ableism, and sexism. But they don't quote the statements. Unitarian Universalists are smart enough and strong enough to read a book themselves. If every harsh word about Eklof's treatise is true, readers won't be killed by it. They won't even be harmed by it. They will have made their own decision about a controversy rather than blindly accepting someone else's view. I believe that a fair reader of his treatise will not find it to be full of hate, transphobia, ableism, or sexism. But, don't take my word for it - read the book.

Tue, July 2, 2019 @ 6:10 PM

3. Finley C zcampbell wrote:
The basis of the Unitarian Universalist Association of congregations is the fourth principle and its violation will damage and destroy our efforts to be an alternative to fundamentalist religion. identitarianism is a form of religious fundamentalism.

Fri, July 5, 2019 @ 6:22 AM

4. Joan Staples wrote:
I have a copy of the Gadfly Papers and have read parts of it. In addition, I have read on the Scott Wells blog responses from others, including the author, about what really happened at GA. The Spokane minister's history contradicts the criticisms of the 500 UUA white ministers' letter. Having read the UU World for a long time, including some of the events referenced in the Gadfly (and the response) I believe that the UUA needs to consider what it is doing very seriously. It is becoming more like the fundamentalist religions we say we are against. We are talking about original sin and heresies like the faiths we say we are against. The ideal, I believe, is our seeking mutual power to defeat racism.r9

Fri, July 5, 2019 @ 7:29 AM

5. Carolina K-G wrote:
Are any of the above commentators attendees of First Church and/or residents of San Diego... ?
... because it's kinda creepy how people keep popping up everywhere to promote this book and defend Todd Eklof. It almost feels like some sort of a coordinated effort.

Fri, July 5, 2019 @ 8:55 PM

6. Greg Lawler wrote:
Carolina, This is the first time in my memory that I have seen UUA churches on their public web pages unfairly characterize someone who was honestly expressing a reasoned opinion (not one that I agree entirely with by any means). The totally unfair accusation of racism and harm to someone who does not deserve it has caused me to post. This is part of being a witness for the principles of the UUA. I have coordinated with nobody.

And just for the record, I have not been promoting the book. I have responded to inaccurate posts about the book to promote the principle of fairness to individuals.

Sat, July 6, 2019 @ 5:51 AM

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