Starting this summer, UCUCC will spend a year focusing on the spirit of Ubuntu. Ubuntu is the African concept of humanity—often defined as I am because we are. Leymah Gbowee is a Liberian peace activist. She defines ubuntu as “I am what I am because of who we all are.” This focus will connect our worship and our collective work in the months to come.
The Ubuntu Project will include:
• Worship and music that invites guest preachers that are Black, Indigenous, and
People of Color; engaging the congregation in liturgical arts with our Creativity
Council; engaging Womanist storytelling projects.
• Christian Formation opportunities that include continuing the Intercultural
Development Inventory, started at UCUCC in 2021; education on the African roots of Christianity; Anti-racism training; hosting a forum on race and faith. These elements are essential to shifting norms within the congregation. Training and education gives tools to evaluate our effectiveness of engaging diverse perspectives.
• Justice ministry opportunities of training leaders in outreach with partners like the
Organizing for Mission Network (OFMN). Deepening relationships throughout the city transforms what we bring to worship. Our prayers are interconnected with the needs of neighbors. Theological frameworks for preaching and creating sermon series become shaped by ecumenical partnerships.
• Partnership with the Global Arts and Theology Experience in bringing their Black Girl Magic Academy to Seattle. This gives a tangible space to carry the Womanist ethic lifted up in worship into institutional support.
• Investing in OFMN’s Seattle Cohort.
UCUCC is one of 25 Vital Worship Grants projected funded for 2022-2023. Since it began in the year 2000, the Vital Worship Grants Program has?now?awarded over 1,000?grants to churches, schools,?organizations, and teacher-scholars?across North America for projects that generate thoughtfulness and energy for public worship and faith formation at the local, grass-roots level. An advisory board of pastors?and teachers from a?variety of backgrounds assists?in the grant selections, and the?program is generously supported by Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. Founded in 1937, the Endowment’s major areas of?programming?are?religion, education, and community development.??University Congregational United Church of Christ also received a Vital Worship grant in 2014.