Ministers Column July 2011

Dear Ones:

Welcome to summer! I am writing this column from Charlotte, N.C. where the Unitarian Universalist Association is holding its 50th General Assembly (GA) and celebrating its 50th anniversary. Happy Birthday UUA! I’m here along with Jo Anne Gillespie, Chris Joyner, and the Rev. Michelle LaGrave representing UUS:E as delegates. It was great to watch Jo Anne and Chris carry the UUS:E banner in the opening ceremony on June 22nd!

At this year’s GA I am very busy. Among other things, I was part of a team that presented a workshop on welcoming transgender people into our congregations and working with transgender organizations on social justice issues. I was so proud to speak in this workshop about my work and the work of many at UUS:E in helping to pass HB 6599, Connecticut’s transgender civil rights bill. It strikes me that so often in social justice work it takes years and years to win on an issue. This year, after half a decade of trying to gain critical protections for transgender people in our state, we won!!! I am proud.

Actually, it’s been a strange year in that regard. Every legislative issue that I and the UUS:E Social Justice Committee and many UUS:E members and friends worked on this year ended in . . . . victory. We won on paid sick days. We won on the state earned income tax credit. We won on in-state tuition rates for children of undocumented immigrants. We won on decriminalizing ossession of marijuana. And we won on Sustinet (mindful there is still a long way to go before we have a functional public health care option in Connecticut). Certainly these victories happened because there were strong coalitions working on all of them. Certainly these victories happened because Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy is more sympathetic to these particular
causes than his Republican predecessors. Certainly UUS:E was not the center-piece of any of these victories. Certainly not all of us at UUS:E agree on all of these issues. But we were involved in many ways, and I am proud to know that we played a role in these social justice victories. We can all be proud.

And now it is summer. I will be on vacation and study leave through to the last week of August. I am available for pastoral emergencies, but other than that you won’t see me around very much. I am looking forward to taking rest, finding renewal and getting ready for an awesome 2011-2012 at UUS:E. I hope you have a wonderful summer as well.

With love,

Rev. Josh