Westside UU and the Racial Justice Change Team will be launching Beloved Conversations in January. Beloved Conversations uses a small group ministry format to explore the role of race/ethnicity in individual and congregational lives. It was developed at Meadville Lombard Seminary by the Fahs Collaborative and has been implemented by over 140 Unitarian Universalist, Quaker, and Jewish congregations. Starting in the January 2019, 48 Westside members will be participating in four different groups led by lay facilitators.
It is with great respect that we invite your participation in Beloved Conversations in Winter 2019. General Registration is open now through December 15th. We believe that your participation will have transformative impact on WSUU as we engage together in the work to dismantle racism, build a vibrant multicultural community and uphold the inherent worth and dignity of every person at Westside now and into the future.
As a participant, you will be making a profound commitment of time and energy to this important work. Participants in this curriculum commit to being fully present for a total of 26-30 hours in 2019. Here’s what you can expect:
January 11th and 12th – Beloved Conversations Retreat (all participants). This is a one-and-a-half-day workshop/retreat (Friday night and all-day Saturday).
February through May– Four separate groups of 10-12 people are set up to meet for 8 sessions between January and May. Two lay facilitators will guide each group. Each group will be holding sessions on a set day/time for the duration of the program: Sunday mornings (before Service), Tuesday evenings, Wednesday evenings and Thursday mornings.
These sessions offer participants a supportive space to talk about their own experiences, while identifying places where growth is necessary. As an instrument of faith formation, it offers participants a chance to rediscover the sacred and important presence of compassion, grace, risk-taking, vulnerability, and the healing joy when cross-racial relationships are reconciled. In addition, the curriculum offers real-time faith formation resources explicitly for people of color, as well as organizational support for making institutional change.
Please seriously consider participating in this transformative work within our congregation. To register please connect to the registration link: https://goo.gl/forms/DgWVBS1S6mDZ23PF3 by no later than December 15, 2018. Please note that all those registering will be asked to rank their preferred session days, and the Beloved Conversations Planning Team will review individual preferences before assigning participants to a specific cohort/group for the duration of the program. There is a $35 supply fee for attending the groups. Scholarships are available.
In addition, the Beloved Conversations Planning Team had received clear guidance that in congregations where people of color are limited in number (like Westside), having POC participate in small groups where they may be the only person of color places a burden on them to be representative, rather than as an equal participant. The Beloved Conversations Planning Team will ensure that POC participating in Beloved Conversations at Westside will be participating in a group or groups with other persons of color. We are following UUA best practices for creating groups that support the most meaningful experience for persons of color, without limiting the experience for others who do not identify as persons of color.
There are limited spaces available, so if you would like to participate, please don’t delay your registration. If we have greater interest than available session space, registrants will be placed on a waiting list. Those on a waitlist will have priority registration when the Beloved Conversations curriculum is offered again. If you have questions, please reach out to anyone on the Beloved Conversations Planning Team, or to the WSUU Racial Justice Change Team; and thank you for your thoughtful consideration. We hope to see you for Beloved Conversations!
The Beloved Conversations Planning Team
Nola Balch Kristina Darnell
Tracy Burrows Viv Monahan
Interested in learning more about Beloved Conversations? See