Dear ,

I've been thinking of all of you, dear brave, beloved community because it's been a while! Even as we work to disrupt and dismantle white supremacy culture, I confess that the members of the Multicultural Ministries team have been caught in the cogs of "we're busy" and "we’re running out of time!" The tasks that require slow thoughts, deep breathing, or meditative silences are sadly few and far between; we’ve had to focus on doing rather than on being In this new season before us, we ourselves are seeking balance in the midst of our busy-ness.
From left: Janice Marie Johnson, Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, Susan Leslie, Michael Crumpler, and Audra Friend. Taken at Mosaic Makers 2017.
In the year that has passed, our denomination has had to reckon with the sin of white supremacy and its insidious impact on our faith community, especially our UUs of color. It has been painful, unsurprising, dismaying, inspiring, hope-inducing, and breathtaking the way we have responded. More than ever, Unitarian Universalists have been emboldened to move forward for justice. Members of this community anchor me and bring me hope.
Dr. Janice Marie Johnson
Multicultural Ministries and Leadership Director
UUA Multicultural Growth and Witness

"Masakhane" is a rich and resonant word from the Nguni family of languages of South Africa, of which Zulu and Xhosa are two. Loosely translated into English it means, "Let us build together."

Multicultural Ministries is staffed by Dr. Janice Marie Johnson, Rev. Michael Crumpler, and Audra Friend, and is a part of the UUA's Multicultural Growth and Witness staff team.
Honoring UU Women of Color Minister Emerita
In 2018, both Rev. Jacqueline Duhart and Rev. Hope Johnson were granted emerita status, making them the first two Unitarian Universalist female ministers of color to be recognized as such. Our warmest congratulations as well as gratitude for their service to our faith. Below is an interview with Rev. Dr. Hope Johnson. We will publish Pastor Jacqueline's interview in May after she winds down her tenure as parish minister at First Unitarian Church of Oakland.
Rev. Jacqueline Duhart

Rev. Hope Johnson
Interview with Rev. Hope Johnson
Rev. Johnson served as the settled minister for Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Central Nassau since 2006.

What hopes and dreams did you have for your life as a Unitarian Universalist minister when you graduated from Seminary?

My hopes and dreams included lifting up the lay leaders of our congregations through leadership development and authentic shared ministry between clergy, other religious professionals, and the laity.

What are three highlights from your ministry?

Establishing the annual commemoration of Juneteenth over the past 15 years.

Having my congregation see me as a person of color and being comfortable with that, rather than as happened early in my ministry, when they saw me as minister but"didn’t see my color."

Having a successful ministry as a 24/7 pastor to a congregation that I love dearly.

What are three wishes for your congregation?

I’d like UUCCN to have a "Black Lives Matter" sign without qualifiers.

UUCCN has worked hard and has begun to understand that we can’t all be on the front line at all times. , Sometimes we lead; sometimes we follow; sometimes we serve; and sometimes we simply bear witness. UUCCN is a wonderful hub that shines in offering a liberal voice for all and I hope that will continue.

I pray that UUCCN will continue to live into its rich legacy of being a caring congregation that is actively making this world a better place by "practicing what it preaches"within—and without—its walls.

Read the rest of the interview here.
Mosaic Makers
In October 2017, my Multicultural Ministries colleagues and I hosted the third Mosaic Makers: Leading Vital Multicultural Congregations conference in San Diego, California. All of us there wrestled with how to create and nurture truly inclusive, multicultural congregations as well as centering the voices of people of color. 

I’m delighted to share a brief report and video of our keynotes.

The Mosaic Makers Conference is a dynamic gathering and learning community for teams from congregations deeply engaged in the work of building intentional multicultural community. These congregations, as identified by UUA national and regional staff, gather together in spiritual community for two and a half days of worship, experiential learning, and community building around the theme of strengthening the fabric of UU multicultural ministries. The conference focuses on affirming four areas: worship, community life, leadership, and justice ministry. Watch UUA President Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray's opening comments to the conference.
As we know, multicultural ministry is not a solo act. This is not a job that the staff or volunteers can do apart from each other. Multicultural Ministry is shared ministry/team leadership. Commitment is needed from staff and lay leaders. You can learn more about Mosaic Makers on our fact sheet.
Last November, I had the privilege of attending the Mosaic Makers Conference at the First UU Church of San Diego. The beauty of San Diego was eclipse by the beauty of UU leaders from member congregations gathered together to worship, listen, learn, and collaborate on how we can build a multicultural, antiracist Unitarian Universalism. The milieu of 2017 was ripe for such a powerful discourse as our faith was fueled by the imperative to dismantle white supremacy within and resist white supremacy without. We learned that many of us of the global majority have yet to find a spiritual home in the only faith we’ve ever known. Mosaic Makers seemed like a pilgrimage of faith as Dr. Takiyah Amin called us to reflect on the oppressive lived-experience of people of color in UU congregations. Here’s the link to her powerful videotaped reflection.

-- Rev. Michael Crumpler, LGBTQ and Intercultural Programs Manager, UUA
Given the intractable nature of our complicity with whiteness, I hope my feedback centers on constructive critique that does not fail to say thank you. Thank you for sustaining this important work, with all the love, humility, and abiding dedication you all make evident.

-- KP Hong from Unity Church-Unitarian, St. Paul, MN
The Mosaic functions on various levels: national, regional, district, and cluster. If you want to learn more about this wonderful community, please reach out to Dr. Janice Marie Johnson at
Finding Our Way Home 2018
Most recently, I had the pleasure of hosting our UU religious professionals of color at our yearly retreat, Finding Our Way Home. This annual gathering is precious, sacred time for many of us, and this year was no different. It is important that religious professionals of color save the date: March 13 to March 16, 2019 for next year’s gathering. Please help us spread the word.
Once we were small and our community had hope that one day we would become many. I’ve lived long enough to see prayers come into being. I bless and love you all.

I received this blessing last March, at the end of our annual gathering for UU religious professionals of color, Finding Our Way Home. It holds a special place in my heart reminding me that there is a great cloud of witnesses from the Diaspora paying attention to what we are about these days. It was given to me anonymously, in ritual, during the closing circle. I’ve tucked it away in the gift bag that I custom made to sustain me from now to FOWH 2019.

Mindful Multicultural Offerings
For the past year, we in Multicultural Ministries have started each week by having intentional half-hour Monday gatherings for seemingly non-work related check in to ground our work for the week and to help us get to know each other in new ways. Who ever can make it participates. Our time together offers surprising slices of insight into each other’s lives: how a song heard on a Saturday has taken us back to our childhood; how the message on a random image on a postcard has reminded us of a goal made; and how we leave space for realizing our dreams, large and small. These moments of grace and gratitude have reminded me of what joy can be found in the everyday. You may want to try this out with your groups, professional and personal.
I ask all of you: what has brought you joy today?
Commission on Institutional Change
Recently, the Commission on Institutional Change released their report detailing the events of last spring surrounding the Southern Regional Lead Hiring Process.

Earlier this month, the COIC blogged on this topic: One of the questions/comments we hear often is why do we have to do this work right now when the world is so hard? Why do we have to think about what we might change when what is happening in our nation is so much more venomous? The COIC offers a compelling response.
Stay Connected with the UUA and our Justice and Inclusion Ministries
Subscribe to our other email newsletters to be "in the know" about our current campaigns, upcoming events, and other good news from our Unitarian Universalist community. Our offerings include:

  • Just Acts: Quarterly or as-needed updates on UUA campaigns and justice projects
  • Love Resists: monthly email with spiritual sustenance and partnership opportunities to combat criminalization
  • Side With Love: faithful inspiration to strengthen our commitment to resisting oppression
  • Uplift: LGBTQ stories and updates in Unitarian Universalism and beyond
General Assembly 2018
Whether or not you attended General Assembly in Kansas City this past June, here are some programs, receptions, and events that just might have been of interest to you:
Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism hosted three major events during GA:

  • Anatomy of a Bailout Panel Discussion
  • Care Package Build Project: During General Assembly, attendees helped assemble over 1,000 care packages for victims of domestic violence.
  • A trip to Uzazi Village for UUs of Color for a hands-on project.
From Multicultural Ministries:
  • Workshop: Be Bold! Vital Multicultural Congregations and Communities. "Learnings, Lessons, Leanings," and more from the Mosaic Makers community.
  • Workshop: 25 Years Later – The Thomas Jefferson Ball. A reflection on the ill-considered Thomas Jefferson Ball at General Assembly 1993 with a look at its implications for today and for our future.
  • First ever Reception for Religious Professionals of Color co sponsored by the UU Ministers Association (UUMA) and Multicultural Ministries
  • Jam Session co-sponsored by Multicultural Ministries and the Living Legacy Project (LLP). Hosted by LLP Trustees: Hope Johnson, Jan Sneegas, Janice Marie Johnson, Reggie Harris, and Kristin Famula. Learn about our upcoming Pilgrimages (Fall 2018 through Summer 2019). Jam with Reggie Harris, Greg Greenway, and Friends.
Buzz About Books: New Releases from Beacon Press and Skinner House Books
Other Updates
Mark Hicks, Janice Marie Johnson, and Hope Johnson are working on a MULTICULTURAL FAMILY RETREAT for next August at Ferry Beach. We will be partnering with LREDA for children and youth programming.
This issue of Catalyst includes additional writing by Audra Friend, Communications Coordinator, UUA Multicultural Growth and Witness
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Boston, Massachusetts 02210
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