The 2022-2023 UUA Common Read

Shares how five diverse congregations encounter frustrations and disappointments, as well as hope and wonder, once they commit to the journey to create multicultural, antiracist Beloved Community.

Available as a Kindle ebook, and an audiobook.

Product Code: 6604
ISBN: 9781558968417
Format: Paperback / softback
Publisher: Skinner House Books
Pages: 448
Size: 8.5 x 5.5
Published Date: 08/13/2019
Availability:In stock
Price: $22.00

The 2022-2023 UUA Common Read

The May 2023 Justice and Spirit: Unitarian Universalist Book Club selection.

For more information about the UUA's Common Read, click here.

The introductory section of the Discussion Guide, Using This Guide is available.

The full Discussion Guide is now available.

To learn more about why this year's Common Read is important for congregations to experience right now, watch a panel discussion with the authors, Rev. Michael Crumpler, and Rev. Maria Cristina Vlassidis. You can also watch the panel discussion with Spanish captions.

What calls Unitarian Universalists to create multicultural, antiracist Beloved Community? What do congregations need when they embark on this journey? What common threads run through their stories? Nancy Palmer Jones and Karin Lin—a white minister and a lay person of color—share how five diverse congregations encounter frustrations and disappointments, as well as hope and wonder, once they commit to the journey. Mistakes abound. Miracles of transformation and joy emerge too. Extensively researched and thoughtfully written—with reflection questions at the end of each chapter—Mistakes and Miracles: Congregations on the Road to Multiculturalism will guide readers to apply these stories to their own communities, develop next steps, and renew their commitment to this hard but meaningful work.

“Karin Lin and Nancy Palmer Jones have chosen to risk being vulnerable with their respective stories and with those of others who have entrusted their stories to these courageous authors. They have taken a keen look at tumultuous challenges and difficult choices. Thankfully, they have chosen to center relationship as core to their work and ministry. They invite us to listen deeply and listen deeper still. The stories that they lift up are real, raw, and revealing. They invite us to face them without flinching and without denying the truth that we are invited to be privy to.

This volume invites us to notice when and how we lift up the voices of diverse populations of people and our partnerships with them as we, with intention, break down our congregational walls to create robust, vibrant community centers. And there’s more. We need to make room among ourselves to step back, ensuring venues for our partners to speak to us, knowing that their voices must be heard by us.

Karin Lin and Nancy Palmer Jones are helping us to develop our antiracist, antioppressive, and multicultural habits and skills in order to prepare us to do our part to collectively nurture multiculturally competent, actively antiracist congregations into being. They are memorializing the kinds of moments that form our identity, our history, and our vision for the future. For this, I give thanks.”
-—Janice Marie Johnson, Co-Director, Ministries and Faith Development, Unitarian Universalist Association

To read an excerpt of the book including the table of contents, foreword, and introduction, click here.

Bookmark and Share


Introduction: The Power of Stories at a Crucial Time

Some Words About Language

Chapter One: The Call of Our Faith

Chapter Two: Common Threads

Chapter Three: “Stumbling in the Right Direction”: Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis, Maryland

Chapter Four: “The Exploration of Difference”: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix, Arizona

Chapter Five: “A Fierce Conversation with Life”: All Souls Unitarian Church, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Chapter Six: To Answer the Call of Love: Karin’s Journey with First Parish in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Chapter Seven: Loves, Losses, and Shifting Paradigms: Nancy’s Journey with the First Unitarian Church of San José, California

Chapter Eight: The Journey Continues

Resources for the Journey

Acknowledgments: Villages to Thank

“We co-authors believe in the power and potential of congregations and of communities like them. Our own experiences show us that when a diverse group of people hang in there together—mindfully, humbly trying to embody their faith in all they say and do, while learning how to be in right relationship with each other—miracles of transformation take place both in the congregation’s individual members and in the institution itself.
   Congregations are living, breathing human organisms. They are messy, constantly in flux, and prone to make mistakes. Yet they also can be sources of inspiration, comfort, action, and joy. They are not where the fastest change happens on an issue, but they can be where some of the most important and enduring change happens.
   ‘We are a covenantal faith where we call each other into the work,’ Christina Rivera reminds us. On the one hand, when congregations and their congregants fail to live up to this covenant, they can harm the people who have trusted them. Too often those harmed come from traditionally marginalized groups. Too often these people are barred from the center of our congregations or pushed out entirely.
   On the other hand, when we Unitarian Universalists live up to our covenant—when we build radically inclusive, compassionate, antiracist, anti-oppressive, multicultural, multigenerational communities that act in partnership and solidarity for justice and liberation, as Rev. Susan [Frederick-Gray] describes—then we revitalize the whole project of congregational life. Then our congregational stories can serve as inspiration points, cautionary tales, and launching pads for both traditional brick-and-mortar congregations and newer, twenty-first-century forms of community building.”

Be the first to submit a review on this product!
Review and Rate this Item

You might also be interested in: