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When Unitarian Universalists congregations make efforts to diversify their ministries they are doing “a bold new thing.” Unitarian Universalists are writing a new chapter in the history of this faith. Congregations are going against the conventional wisdom of “church growth experts.” Unitarian Universalists are being counter cultural, which is consistent with UU history and identity.
Only 5 to 7 percent of congregations in mainline religions in the United States are multiracial/multicultural. And by multiracial we mean no one group is more than 80 percent of the congregation. Of that 5 to 7 percent only half are intentionally multiracial/multicultural. The other congregations are experiencing neighborhood demographic shifts that will eventually result in a different but still monocultural membership.
Multiracial/multicultural congregations represent a major cultural change. It takes about 10 years for a sustainable shift to take hold. Ministers of these congregations usually experience frustration in these efforts between 3 to 5 years.
In our attempts to diversify Unitarian Universalism, what we have learned from leaders who have been able to sustain healthy multiracial/multicultural ministries and the sociologists who studied these congregations is the same wisdom UUs on this ministry path have told us for a decade or more. I have listed 8 of those lessons here:
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Last updated on Tuesday, March 12, 2013.
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