Over the past year, our minister and individuals in our congregation have addressed racism in many ways, including Black Lives Matter signs, study groups, sermons, letters to a local newspaper, and small group discussions. Now we must decide: will we speak with one voice, and will we act deliberately, as a congregation, to fight institutional racism?

Rev. Lois Van Leer and your Board of Trustees believe that our principles and our mission compel us to speak out and take action, but we want to let you, the congregation, speak for yourselves. On December 4th, the congregation will vote on whether or not to endorse the following statement. A vote to affirm this statement is a vote for a unified, congregation-wide effort to address racism, impacting decisions by our leaders, programming, and budget.

The Woodinville Unitarian Universalist Congregation commits to supporting the movement for Black lives with resources, time, energy, and physical presence.

Our white members commit to doing the internal work of addressing our privilege and racism so that we may better act to build beloved community.

We will work to create and maintain covenantal relationships with the Black community in the Seattle Area and Seattle’s East Side. We will risk being vulnerable and courageous in the building of these relationships acknowledging that we need to step up and step in behind Black leadership. We will let those relationships inform and guide our actions in support of the movement for Black lives. We will be responsive, responsible, and firm in our commitment to the movement for Black lives.

We commit to compassionate and non-violent actions in support of the inherent worth and dignity of all Black people.

We will act to dismantle structural racism against Black communities in education, employment, housing, voting rights, and access to health care. We will act to reverse the disproportionate effects of environmental degradation on the Black community. We will work for the equitable and ethical treatment in the administration of criminal justice in the Black community.

We will engage in faithful discernment that we may know when to speak and when to listen, when to lead by following, when to be a presence, and when to witness.

The Woodinville Unitarian Universalist Church is committed to the transformation of our own and other’s lives. As such we claim the movement for Black lives as a religious and spiritual mandate.

Here is a schedule of events leading up to the vote that includes a facilitated discussion. There’s plenty of time between now and the final vote for us to hear your feedback and answer your questions.

Nov. 6th – Discussion after service

  • Details to be announced
  • Child care will be provided

Nov. 18th – Final announcement (15 days before vote as per bylaws)

  • Final text of statement (we may change it in response to feedback)

Dec. 4th – Congregational vote on resolution

  • Absentee and proxy votes allowed, as per bylaws
  • Voting rules to be decided, details coming soon.
  • Child care will be provided

If you find it hard to discuss racism, you are not alone. A year ago, I joined the Board of Trustees amidst controversy in the UUA over adopting a statement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, and heated discussion in our own congregation about our Black Lives Matter sign. I wasn’t sure what to make of it all. While I never considered myself a racist, I think it’s fair to say in hindsight that I was ignorant of the facts, my ideas contained contradictions, my actions were not fully aligned with my values, and guilt and anxiety prevented me from fully exploring my own thoughts and feelings.

I’m still a work in progress, but after much reading, talking and thinking, I’m a different person now than I was then. I’ve been transformed, not simply by being a member of this congregation, but by virtue of the fact that, as a Board member, I knew that I would need to make decisions with consequences. Now you all have a decision to make. May you treat it as an invitation to transform yourselves and to support others in their transformation.

Adam Fass
President, WUUC Board of Trustees