UUA President Peter Morales Issues Statement on the Connecticut School Massacre

Peters-picDecember 14, 2012

The Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), issued the following statement on Friday, December 14, 2012, in response to the day’s tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut:

“I am shocked and profoundly saddened by the news of the massacre at a school in Newtown, Connecticut. My deepest condolences go out to the families and friends of those who lost their lives today. I know of nothing more tragic than a young life cut short by violence. This is a time for embracing one another and helping each other find strength and solace.

“This is just the latest horrific act of gun violence targeting innocent lives. Whether it’s the mall shooting in Oregon or the mass murders in Aurora, Colorado or the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords and others in Tucson, Arizona or the Columbine school killings, these instances of violence continue to erupt in America. It is an additional tragedy that today’s killings occurred in an elementary school where our youngest and most vulnerable spend their day. All Americans must reflect humbly and work to change the conditions that allow such violence to take place.

“We must rededicate ourselves to creating a society where differences are resolved without violence, where the mentally unstable do not have ready access to lethal force, where violence is not glorified, and where we can live, love, and work in safe places. Our task as a religious people committed to compassion and to peace is to show a better way.”

November Pastoral Message

Hi Family,

I am sitting in my home office reflecting on the incredible month I have had thus far.  The first weekend of this month I served as chaplain at the Central Midwest Fall Young Adult con that was held in Brookfield WI.  I thoroughly enjoyed the meals, worship, workshops and lively conversations about young adult ministry.

This past weekend (Nov 2-4), I attended the Youth Ministry Advisory Committee (YMAC) meeting in Boston where three new members were welcomed.  As happens annually, UUA President Peter Morales spent time with the committee engaging in visioning exercises that will guide its work during the next year.  To learn more about YMAC go to http://www.uua.org/uuagovernance/committees/ymac/index.shtml

Next week is Thanksgiving and for the thousands of families and individuals who lost everything except their lives or are living without heat and electricity because of Hurricane Sandy, finding something to be thankful for will be a challenge this year.  So as you gather with family and friends during this holiday season, I ask that you keep in mind the people in this country and around the world who will not have a warm home to relax in or an abundance of food to eat.

In closing, my prayer for each of you is that you take time each day to say thank you for something or someone in your life.  I think you may be surprised at how the simple act of being thankful can transform your life.  As always I would love to hear from you.  You can message me on Facebook at Monica Cummings, email me at mcummings@uua.org or leave a comment for me on the YaYA of Color blog at http://uuyayaoc.blogs.uua.org/.


Rev. Monica


Pastoral Message, September 2012

pic of me with love signHi Family,

On September 17, Rosh Hashanah began which is the Jewish New Year. On September 25 at sundown, Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement will begin. For Jews, this time of year is the High Holy Days, a time for serious introspection, of turning inward to consider mistakes and failings of the previous year. It is a time for atonement and to ask for forgiveness.

My first real experience with atonement and forgiveness was when I started working the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Until then, when I told someone I was sorry or asked for forgiveness I did so because it was the socially acceptable thing to do.  Or I was telling people what I thought they wanted to hear. Thus, before AA, my trying to atone for causing someone harm came more from a selfish intellectual level than a spiritual one.

With the help of my AA sponsor, I learned to sincerely right my relationships. I found inside myself the desire to return to, and stay in, right relationship with others.  I can still hear my sponsor’s voice telling me that making amends without changing my behavior would never be enough. One consequence would be people’s unwillingness to forgive me for the same hurtful behavior over and over and over.

My experiences in AA and in ministry have taught me that before I can seek forgiveness from others, I must first forgive myself. Further, without knowing how to forgive myself, I am not truly able to forgive others.

So I ask you, during these High Holy Days, do you need to forgive yourself?  Is there anyone you need to approach, sincerely, to ask for forgiveness? Is someone in your life seeking to make amends to you? Maybe there is someone you can to forgive.

I will close with a short prayer;

May you have the charity to forgive yourselves, the courage to ask for forgiveness and the compassion to forgive others.

As always I would love to hear from you.  You can message me on Facebook at Monica Cummings, email me at mcummings@uua.org or leave a comment for me on the YaYA of Color blog, UU Living Mosaic at http://uuyayaoc.blogs.uua.org/.


Rev. Monica




Pastoral Message, July 2012

pic of me with love signDear Family,

The airwaves and internet are flooded with news of the horrific mass shooting that occurred during the midnight showing of the new Batman movie.  When I first learned of the incident, I assumed that the majority of the victims and eye witnesses would be youth and young adults.  My heart breaks for the victims, eye witnesses and their families, friends and neighbors because they will forever be changed by this senseless act of violence.  My heart also is broken knowing that after this incident many of you may no longer feel safe or may hesitate to engage in activities such as this that bring you joy and excitement.

In grief, I offer you this prayer:

Prayer for the People of Aurora Colorado

Dear Unknown, Unknowable, yet Known by Many Names, we call out to you in this time of violence, loss, fear and pain.  May the victims’ families and survivors of this horrific event know that they are not alone.  May they know that people near and far are praying with and for them.

Dear Unknown, we call out to you for youth and young adults who have been traumatized by this event and will need the loving support of family, friends and faith communities to comfort and reassure them in the hours, days, weeks and years to come.

In the spirit of love that transforms hate.  In the spirit of community that transforms aloneness.  In the spirit that never forsakes and is always present.  We offer this prayer.


Rev. Monica