I knew Alison 18 years ago when she was leading campus ministry at NYU, and then when she created the Mind the Gap fundraising campaign for youth and young adult ministry. She has consistently recognized the communities that we are not serving well for as long as I have known her, and in that time has been working on how to serve those unmet needs. Back then it was those bridging young adults. Now it is racial justice and our young families.
Alison is the only candidate proactively talking about religious education. I don’t want to be trite and say that children are the future of our faith, but it’s true and young families are not being served by our denomination. Over-programmed families do not need more programs when they come to their faith home. They need support, and they are looking for more ways to be together as a family unit. Alison recognizes that we need to change how families can experience faith development in the 21st century. She was the only candidate to attend the Family Ministry training last fall offered by LREDA, and she attended with her RE colleague. I really appreciate that she is a truly collegial minister who understands the value of what it means to work with all members of her staff. She also recognizes that the way we approach and “do” spiritual development for both children and adults must continually evolve as the larger culture evolves.
As for social justice work, Alison is on the front lines in her community, and that strong leadership inspires so many of her congregants to get involved in that work. She motivates people to live their values because she’s not asking anyone to do something that she’s not already doing. She leads from the trenches, and she’s the first one to step into tumultuous waters. I appreciate as a leader that she’s willing to face the opposition in ways that are both direct and kind. When Alison engages in conflict she’s very clear about where she stands, but she is able to engage the opposition because there is a consideration of their opinion even if they don’t agree.
Alison looks at ministry with lens of wholeness. It is important that we have a president that recognizes the cultural shifts in society with an eye towards multi-generational ministry and family ministry. Alison is someone who understands that RE ministry is woven into the work of the entire congregation. No one else has enough experience with religious education to understand that changes need to happen. Her work in the congregational setting with her RE colleagues has proven this to be true, and she will bring this understanding of what needs to happen in all our congregations to a larger scale at the UUA. Alison Miller is my choice for President of the UUA.
Laura Beth Brown, Director of Family Ministries
Beacon UU Congregation in Summit, NJ