Guengerich: ‘We need to have more in common’
General Assembly attendees filled the Charlotte Convention Center’s Ballroom B Friday morning to hear the second part of a workshop by the Rev. Dr. Galen Guengerich on what it would take to make Unitarian Universalism a “church for the new millennium.”
Guengerich, senior minister of All Souls Unitarian Church in New York City, spoke at length about the importance of being not just spiritual but religious. He also explored ideas about the defining characteristics of Unitarian Universalism, how shared histories and common rituals bind us together as a community, and how we need to adapt to a new understanding of what God is if we want to thrive as a faith.
The first part of Guengerich’s two-part workshop, held Thursday morning, focused on how and why Unitarian Universalism is failing.
“The challenge for Unitarian Universalism as a denomination,” he said, “is our tendency to think and act as though we are each a religion unto ourselves, each congregation developing its own rituals and each individual determining his or her own spiritual way of life. In order to thrive in the years ahead, we need to have more and more in common religiously, both as individuals within our congregations and as congregations within the denomination.”
At the conclusion of his speech the audience erupted in applause and then got to its feet to give Guengerich a standing ovation.