More Than Tradition
Some UUA supporters are copacetic with this decision, but others are not. I guess to some there is nothing sacred about Sunday morning worship – whenever you have it, it’s still worship. Yes, worship is worship. I welcome it any time. But to me Sunday mornings are sacred. I think this decision is wrong-headed. I stand accused of being a hidebound, change-fearing traditionalist.
But I see this as being more than tradition. We live in a culture where Sunday morning is the predominant time to formally observe the spiritual and religious dimension of life. This, of course, is not true for Jews or followers of Islam, or burgeoning US Buddhists, but we as Unitarian Universalists are not any of these. We stand with, as we always have, the Protestant tradition of holding worship on Sunday mornings. Should this not be sacred time for our Association? I can’t imagine attending the scheduled plenary session on Sunday morning. This will certainly send me on my way home from GA early.
We have experimented for a couple of years now holding a seeker-friendly Sunday morning GA worship services that were powerfully felt. I’m not sure how many non-UUs attended these services, but who is counting? If only 5 attended, was this a ‘failure’? I know that one of the congregations I served near the site of one GA had busloads attending that service. They were energized and enlivened by the possibilities of Unitarian Universalism. Would local congregations send busloads on a late Sunday afternoon when it was combined with an insider-focused closing ceremony?
I imagine that one of the reasons for this change is to hopefully keep more people in attendance at the usually less-well-attended closing plenaries and closing ceremonies. My reply is to make the plenaries more interesting and compelling. That’s how you get people to stay. More work needs to be done on that score.
I’m not usually one who likes to hold on to tradition for tradition’s sake (although my aging body has been known to fight change!). I think that the decision to move the Service of the Living Tradition to a different time was a positive decision. I’m always in favor of more worship, not less. The quality and spirit of the Sunday morning GA worship these past couple of years were high and life-giving in a way that was not about us – it was Unitarian Universalism reaching out to the community that is primarily used to attending worship on Sunday morning. Why would we want to change that?