“So, what is ‘UU’?” That’s the question that people responded to in ‘elevator speeches’ last Saturday, as the final activity after spending about 4 hours together, listening, sharing, and querying. In our recent UU Basics workshop (online), we explored definitions, history, organizational structures, social action, and personal religious & spiritual journeys. It felt like a stretched out retreat workshop; or like a Meditative Listening Practice / Covenant group; or maybe an unexpected conversation over lunch with a colleague, or trading ‘church’ stories and experiences with longtime friends of a variety of religious backgrounds. At the end of the workshop, there was expression of appreciation for this time together, for the “renewal” provided, and desire for ‘more’: more history, more discussion, more contact with new people and new ideas.
Of the twelve people who gathered over the two weeks of this workshop, a few of us participate regularly in local fellowships or EUU. Five live far from established geographic fellowships, in Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Austria, and Switzerland. While some readers of the Unifier today (maybe you) have multiple memories of past gatherings at retreats or in local fellowship, other readers (maybe you) have never yet done so. I remember my own first time of hearing ’UU’ and ‘EUU’ and wondering what those acronyms and organizations really meant, and it was thanks to opportunities through a variety of meetings within UU communities – including UU Basics in Paris with Dorcy Erlandson, and numerous EUU retreats in Belgium & Germany – that I began to feel at home.
We who feel ‘at home’ with U/U and EUU are in a position to uphold this space for spiritual & religious exploration for each other but perhaps more importantly, for all who are newcomers or who continue to seek a comfortable place within our community. We can continue to provide an open welcome and space for discussion, through events like UU Basics, or ongoing discussions that are happening online, and at our retreats (coming up online, April 8–10). As events in Ukraine and elsewhere remind us, our world is wide, rich, often dangerous, often challenging. And as we see all around us as well, our world is also full of courageous, giving, committed and eager-to-learn-and-grow people. Let us of the EUU continue the work that creates and supports life.
Karen Kyker (Paris, France)