Voices from the Margins Offers Reflections on UU Diversity

Voices From the Margins: An Anthology of MeditationsCanadian UUs are justly proud of our commitment to social justice and our openness to diversity — but we may also be quietly aware our membership is not very diverse.

A new book of readings released this month by Skinner House Books, the publishing imprint of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), aims to deepen our conversation on this challenging subject.

Voices from the Margins: An Anthology of Meditations, edited by Rev. Mark D. Morrison-Reed and religious educator Jacqui James, gathers the thoughts of a varied group of Unitarian Universalist ministers — voices “often left unheard in Unitarian Universalism.” The contents reflect 50 years of slow but steady progress in broadening our base.

“When the UUA was founded in 1961, we had a very homogenous group of ministers — largely white men,” says Mary Benard, Editorial Director for Skinner House Books. “Now, our ministry is made up of individuals from all walks of life, including a broad range of ministers from non-Western European ethnic, cultural, and racial backgrounds. This collection reflects this transformation in our ministry.”

As UUA President Rev. Peter Morales says in his Foreword, the book’s meditations invite us “to listen to voices that have been silenced in the past. … In order to know one another, we must hear each other’s stories, see the world through each other’s eyes.”

Rev. Morrison-Reed served for 26 years as co-minister of congregations in Toronto and Rochester, New York, with his wife Rev. Donna Morrison-Reed. He has played a leading role in UU diversity issues in Canada and the U.S., including doing current research on diversity in Canada’s congregations. He presented preliminary thoughts on this research in a public talk, “On the Margin of the Margin”, at the February 2012 UU Midwinter Retreat in Bolton, Ontario. The talk was recorded by CUC, and is available here with his permission:

Listen to “On the Margin of the Margin” (MP3)

Rev. Mark Morrison-Reed

Rev. Mark Morrison-Reed

Morrison-Reed’s previous books, all available from Skinner House, include Darkening the Doorways: Black Trailblazers and Missed Opportunities in Unitarian Universalism; his graduate thesis Black Pioneers in a White Denominationand In Between: Memoir of an Integration Baby.

Jacqui James is a retired Massuchusetts religious educator who has focused on developing multicultural ministries and curricula. The two previously co-edited Been in the Storm So Long (Skinner House Books, 1991).

Voices From the Margins is available from the UUA on-line bookstoreSkinner House Books publishes books by and for members of the UU and liberal religious community, in areas including spiritual practice, memoir, inspiration, children’s picture books, contemporary issues, history, theology, worship, and church resources.