Is there a place for poor Unitarian Universalists?

And when I ask “Is there a place for poor Unitarian Universalists?” I don’t mean one, or two, or a small handful of poor people within a congregation of prosperous people, but a vital presence of Unitarian Universalists in a particularly poor community, or coming out of the experience and responding to the poor people in a mixed community.

I’m not too hopeful; we’re pretty homogeneous. It’s hard to find a Unitarian Universalists congregation that’s not high-majority white, though I can think of a couple that may count or at least come close. And I remember my experience as a native Southerner in Unitarian Universalist: far from affirming, and tinged with the feeling that Southern Unitarian Universalists, save those who grew up in the old Universalist churches, were transplants and that the congregations served a kind of outpost. Economic poverty seems like another excluding category.

And its solution is more remote, too. Without new models of ministry. How would such a church be organized? How could it be supported? How would it be accepted, without pity or distancing? It’s hard to be different, either as a person or congregation.

And harder to expose how much poverty — or near-poverty — is likely unrecognised.

2 Replies to “Is there a place for poor Unitarian Universalists?”

  1. I think that we want to believe that there is a place, and our theology says there is a place, but the practiced reality is often otherwise. We like to protest and lobby. But we do very little social ministry that is self-empowerment for those of low income. And much of what we do, smells a bit of Lord and Lady Abundant coming by to fix you. Catholics and even some Evangelical Protestants do a better job of providing opportunities for low income persons to define their own needs, and work to meet those needs through congregation supported organizations/institutions.

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