Rev. Sofia Betancourt, President, Unitarian Universalist Association

Beloveds, we are called to communal care like never before—to serve one another, to organize for justice, to widen the circle of concern, to collectively imagine new ways forward in community, and to grow spiritually together. Our nation and our denomination are experiencing immense ideological struggles. Our congregations worry for their future existence, and our religious professionals and lay leaders are worn down to the bone. Yet ours is the work of hope in the world, where Unitarian Universalism commits itself to a liberal and liberating message for our time.

I believe in a Unitarian Universalism that draws on its noble heritage of freedom, reason, and justice to be nimble in responding to the needs of our living tradition. While we cannot know what will come in the next six years, we can commit ourselves to radical inclusion, faithful witness, and the embrace of a wide range of voices and leaders for our faith. The good news is we have already begun this important work. Together we will empower youth and young adult leadership, encourage collaboration across our communities and congregations, deepen our theological engagement, and invest in religious leaders of all kinds. All this while dedicating ourselves to the work of justice in the world.

I have served Unitarian Universalism for more than twenty years. During that time, I have witnessed the goodness that comes from our shared labor when we root our efforts in our common values. I have seen this through my work in our congregations, our seminaries, our human rights organizations, and at the highest levels of denominational leadership. I have been humbled by the trust of so many in our movement who have invited me into the work. From elders to children, and especially those pushed to the margins—I could not consider this ministry without the care you have shown me over the years.

I am shaped by leadership that is deeply relational, collaborative, and empowering across our communities of care. Serving as Interim Co-President of the Unitarian Universalist Association alongside the Rev. Bill Sinkford and Dr. Leon Spencer in the spring of 2017 required integrity, shared leadership, pastoral presence, and spiritual depth. It was a time of uncertainty and transition when Unitarian Universalists faced the unknown together, and renewed ourselves by reaffirming the values we hold most dear. I know that we can do so again. We will need each other’s love and compassion, resilience and strength, to model the kind of care in community that is required for justice and liberation to be at the center of our living. This is sacred work.

Communal care. Collaborative leadership. Facing the unknown together. This is how we will reinvest and reimagine a Unitarian Universalism that builds beloved community for all.