David Tucker, Trustee

The ERUUF Board of Trustees, in its work on behalf of our Fellowship, draws inspiration for its work from many sources. For example, we have a covenant for the Board that we adopt at the beginning of each ERUUF year, and which we strive to live by together to help us in our work and in our relationships with each other. Another source of inspiration for many of us on the Board is an essay written by a prominent liberal theologian of the 20th century, James Luther Adams: "The Five Smooth Stones of Liberal Religion." Looked at through the lens of this very important and wonderful essay, I wish to update you on our recent work on the Board.

Published in 1976, Adams' essay could be summarized succinctly as revolving around five main themes -- the Five Smooth Stones. They are: Courage, Hope, Joy, Justice, and Love. So let's start with the first one, Courage.

Courage: One of the great new developments at ERUUF in the past year has been the advent of our impressive new sign at the main entrance to the campus from Garrett Road. This sign gives our Fellowship new opportunities to raise our visibility in the community. It also raises questions, which the Board continues to discuss, in consultation with the Lead Minister, about how could the sign be used to express themes and messages of social justice significance that would best reflect U.U. principles and values. At the same time, what risks might we face, as we muster the courage to express the best of our faith? These questions can be deep ones, and our reflections continue.

Hope: What could bring us more hope for the future than our children and youth? Hence it was a joy to have ERUUF's Religious Education Director, Julia Tyler, speak to us at our March regular monthly Board meeting about all the great things that are going on in ERUUF's R.E. program these days!

Joy: Did I say joy? Why, yes I did! Our joy also revolves around ERUUF's terrific 50th anniversary celebrations that have been going on all year, with great leadership from the 50th Committee, its leaders, Rev. Deborah Cayer, and many others. And the Board is discussing the possibility of ERUUF launching a special, one-time fundraiser, to benefit the Fellowship, the wider Durham community, or both, following the conclusion of this year's Stewardship Campaign.

Justice: Remembering Dr. Cornell West's words that "Justice is what love looks like in public," the Board has been working on several fronts to promote ERUUF's efforts to be active participants in public, especially in terms of the broader U.U. denomination. We have been assembling delegations to this July's Southern Unitarian Universalist Leadership Experience (SUULE), the now-reforming Central North Carolina Cluster of U.U. congregations (in May), and the annual General Assembly (GA) of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) (in June, in Columbus, Ohio).

Love: Speaking of love, at the Board's recent Deep Chair special meeting, where we looked in greater depth at a topic of large importance, we discussed possible themes for the Annual Vision of Ministry (AVM) for the upcoming church year. I and many others have loved the theme for the previous year, Generosity, and for this year, Covenant. Rev. Cayer and her staff team, together with lay leaders and volunteers, have done a wonderful job with each AVM. What will the theme be for the upcoming year? Whatever it is, I once again have faith that we will love it, as it will have the potential to move all of us to speak, and act, and live according to the best that is in each of us, together, in this most precious spiritual community.