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Turning Point

Turning Point

Essays on a New Unitarian Universalism

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In inspiring, fresh essays, 20 Unitarian Universalist leaders issue a clarion call for change in the denomination. They show a way forward from an isolated, individualistic "iChurch" to an inclusive, multicultural Beloved Community.

Editor: Fredric Muir

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Outlining a bold vision for the future of Unitarian Universalism, 20 leaders issue a clarion call for change. In inspiring, fresh essays, they implore us to collectively liberate ourselves from patterns that prevent us from becoming a robust faith for a new age. Emerging from a history marred by the errors of individualism, exceptionalism, and anti-authoritarianism, Unitarian Universalism faces a crossroads. Turning Point shows a way forward, by embracing promises shaped from our theology: generosity, pluralism, and imagination. With essays that include the stories of creative new types of Unitarian Universalist communities across the country, this essential new collection outlines a liberal faith for the twenty-first century. It offers a vision of an inclusive, multicultural Beloved Community and inspires trust that Unitarian Universalism can deepen and grow once again, meeting the aching needs of a new generation.

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Foreword  Jacqueline Lewis

Introduction  Fredric Muir

  On the Trinity of Errors
   "The iChurch Revealed," Fredric Muir
   "Living 'Under the Collar' With Unitarian Universalism," Tamara Lebak
   "Unitarian Universalist Faith Development in Stages," Thomas Schade
   "Telling Our Story," Parisa Parsa
   "The Power of Community and the Peril of Individualism," Cheryl M. Walker
   "The Story We Tell," Kimberly Wildszewski

  On the Trinity of Promises
   "The Promises of Unitarian Universalism," Fredric Muir
   "Our Historic Opportunity," Peter Morales
   "The Global Challenge of Universalism," Terasa Cooley
   "Re-imagining Unitarian Universalism," Carlton Elliott Smith
   "UU Military Chaplaincy and the Promise of Pluralism," Rebekah Ann Montgomery
   "A Story of Imagination," Mark Stringer

  Living the Promises
   "A Transformative Spiritual Relationship With the Divine," Ian White Maher, Original Blessing, Brooklyn, NY
   "Art and the Future of Ministry," Erik Martinez Resly, The Sanctuaries, Washington, DC
   "Better Together," Rowan Van Ness and Heather Concannon, Lucy Stone Cooperative, Boston, MA
   "Sanctuary Futures," David Ruffin, The Sanctuary, Boston, MA
   "Turning Toward Wholeness," Fred Muir, John Crestwell and Christina Leone Tracy, AWAKE Ministries, Annapolis, MD
   "The Remedy of Connection: Theme-Based Church," Kaaren Anderson, Rochester and Canandaigua, NY
   "Circles of Community," Nathan Alan Hollister, Scared Fire Unitarian Universalist, Carrboro, NC


  Postscript
   "A Letter to My Colleagues and Those They Serve," Fredric Muir

This collection of essays is about the future of Unitarian Universalism, a future to be constructed with the promises shaped by our theology and history, the promises of generosity, pluralism, and imagination. These promises—as promises often are—are a future waiting to be lived and loved. To arrive at this future, we must collectively liberate ourselves from a past that, while bright and bold for some, no longer serves Unitarian Universalism's dream of being a vibrant, twenty-first-century faith. In fact, this past is replete with errors shaped by individualism, exceptionalism, and a posture of anti-authoritarianism. These errors have become barriers preventing us from embracing our future.
—from the Introduction by Fredric Muir

"What will it take for Unitarian Universalism to thrive in the twenty-first century? Experiments! Creative Thinking! A hard look at the ways of the past that don't serve us, and an invitation to new voices to lead us into the future. All are here in this hopeful and loving look at this faith and this turning point."
—Christine Robinson, Senior Minister, First Unitarian Church of Albuquerque, New Mexico

"This collection of essays by some of our most compelling and innovative ministers and thinkers is a must read for anyone who believes the best days of Unitarian Universalism are ahead of us."
—Marlin Lavanhar, Senior Minister, All Souls Unitarian Church, Tulsa, Oklahoma

"Fred Muir is right: Unitarian Universalism stands at a critical juncture today. Turning Point is at once a prophetic critique of the ideologies and practices that cripple our faith, and an inspiring vision for our future-a future that is being born right now!"
—Robert M. Hardies, Senior Minister, All Souls Church, Unitarian, Washington, DC

"Turning Pointcomes to us at the right time. Its editor and authors offer a refreshing and compelling challenge to make real our commitment to this faith that we cherish. It opens our eyes to exciting new forms of ministry within and outside of the walls of a building, in the community, in the military, and in our global world. It challenges us to create a critical, though often elusive, roadmap to the rich mosaic that is the promise of Unitarian Universalism. "
—Janice Marie Johnson, Multicultural Ministries and Leadership Director, Unitarian Universalist Association

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