Tuesday, 17 April 2012

A testimonial from Alison Mercer

Presented at the Unitarian General Assembly meetings, April, 2012:

I've heard and read so many words about Unitarianism and the things which we value about it: freedom, choice, warmth, tolerance, acceptance, community, support... oh so many words. But they could be used to describe several liberal faith groups. What makes Unitarianism so great?

Diversity within an organisation has been seen as a weakness: too many factions to keep happy. But in the case of Unitarianism, our diversity is a strength. Consider this: we are everyday people, different ages, lifestyles, educations, backgrounds, needs and expectations. And yet we are bonded together. Not by shared theological perspective, prescriptive creed, ethnicity or culture, but by something more powerful: the values and dreams we hold in common are forged not by certain words on a page, but in the honesty of our hearts and minds. We also recognise that hearts and minds are not entirely unchanging. Consequently, we share a fellowship in which we can be as we are, while we become the people we seek to be.

We're able to be this way because of past Unitarians who had both vision and courage: the vision to see what Unitarianism could become and the courage to let go of enough of the past to move forward. Just as 19th Century Unitarianism had to differ from that of the preceeding Century, so 21st Century Unitarianism finds itself in changed times. If we are to follow the example of our predecesors, we need to find vision and courage to look at what we are (not just what we think we are) and the courage to let go of what we must in order to let it flourish.

I believe our fellowship still contains people of vision and courage who will help us: to come to terms with and better serve our modern day multi-cultural and multi-theological congregants and potential congregants; and to become more outspoken and active in promoting and supporting our core values to the world at large. It's too good to keep to ourselves!

If you love something, set it free...

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