Some problems don’t vanish simply because we’re more open to talking about them. The same year I discovered Unitarian Universalism—a liberal pro-feminist, anti-racist religion!—the UUA was reeling from press reports about the sexual misconduct of some UU ministers. But talking about problems is a necessary starting place, an often painful starting place that makes change and progress possible.
Contributing editor Kimberly French looks at the challenges of helping congregations become sexually healthy and safe communities. In part one of her special report (page 22), she explores a provocative question: Can we be in community with sex abuse victims and offenders at the same time? (Whether we realize it or not, almost all of us know people who are one or the other or both.) In part two, she describes resources that can help congregations be vigilant and welcoming in their ministries (page 27). And in part three, she reports on the unnerving problem of clergy misconduct and recent efforts, championed by the UUA Board of Trustees, to address the problem (page 30).
With this issue, we bid a grateful farewell to the longest-serving member of the magazine’s staff. Donald E. Skinner retired at the end of August after seventeen years with the UUA as a news reporter for UU World and as the editor of InterConnections, the how-to newsletter for congregational leaders. Don was a congregational leader himself, and his sympathy for lay leaders’ concerns and his admiration for their work animated all of his writing. He profiles a UUA Breakthrough Congregation in this issue (page 6). I have to suppress the urge to ask him to jump on a story almost daily, and I miss his counsel and dry Midwestern humor.
This article appeared in the Winter 2014 issue of UU World (page 3).