Minister’s Column-March 2019

Affirmation-Rev. Thomas Perchlik     In my last column I made jokes about PNW winter, and then we got mid-west style ice, snow and cold. As Heraclitus said, “change is the only constant.” On March 22 the sun will be at the equinox, the light and dark of our daily round balanced. It is the iconic center point of a season of change. Speaking of change, for years we have lit our chalice with these words: “As we come together to worship, we remind ourselves to treat all people kindly because they are our brothers and sisters…” Now, because we do want to treat all people kindly, we need to adjust this language.   First of all, not everyone fits into the binary of gender, male/female, boys/girls, brothers/sisters. Today, the majority of UU people who call themselves trans are not transitioning but instead are non-binary; not one or the other, or both-and. Any individual who comes into a UU congregation and hears ritual language that excludes them will likely not be inspired to join that congregation. Depending on their expectations of us, they may even feel harmed. We want to include and honor the experience of trans people; we want to include everyone equally, beginning with each person as they are.   Beyond that, we should also be aware that very few people fit easily or simply into the given gender categories. We want to admit that these “two” things are overlapping categories that make up a whole. Finally, the simple gender binary of male/female has been used to marginalize or oppress women and restrict men for centuries.   The Worship Associates, with encouragement from the Board, have proposed that we change the line to read “because they are part of our human family.” Other options are possible.   The plan is for us to hold some conversations on the suggested change. The board and Associates will then submit a final proposal to be voted on for approval at our Congregational Meeting in May or in June.   Peace Be Yours,   Thomas