From Rev. Anya Sammler-Michael, Senior Co-Minister
Our congregation’s Board of Trustees recently adopted their own Covenant which begins with this promise:
We will work for equity and inclusion, countering systemic oppression in all we do for UUCM; we will work to overcome historic and institutional white privilege and other forms of structural inequities.
This is a covenantal promise to do institutional healing – a promise that will lead our Board to engage in some challenging but meaningful work. Part of this work includes a reflective look at our annual auction. The auction has been a core congregational event for as long as our longest serving leaders can remember. Many members share that the auction is their favorite event of the congregational year – without which they would be bereft for social engagements – as they fill their calendars by bidding on member dinners. In addition, the auction secures upwards of $30,000 for our congregation, supporting our core programs and aiding the fair compensation of our employees – a number that would be challenging to replace with other fundraising activity.
Holding all of this with respect, our Board and our auction leaders are asking the tough questions –
- Is there classism embedded in the way we run our annual auction?
- Are there ways that we can transform this event to increase its inclusivity?
- Who haven’t we heard from, that we need to hear from, to understand how this auction serves and how it harms our beloved community?
Given the love that so many feel for our annual auction, asking these questions is an act of courage. I commend our Board for embracing this work, and while I know there is never a perfect solution, there is worth and dignity in a good process as well as the opportunity for growth.