audette-gretchen“The Indispensable Discipline of Social Responsibility: Voluntary Associations.” –the Rev. James Luther Adams

In the introduction to the above James Luther Adams essay, the Rev. Kim Beach notes: “Central among our freedoms…is freedom of association.  …engagement in voluntary associations is [says Adams] “the indispensable discipline of social responsibility….The voluntary association at its best offers an institutional framework within which the give and take of discussion may be brought under criticism and subjected to change…in short, the voluntary association is a means for the institutionalizing of gradual revolution.”” (pg. 179, The Essential James Luther Adams, edited by George Kimmich Beach)

Though not the language I would use myself, I have always felt as JLA did: that the life of our faith is sustained by the voluntary association into which we freely enter – as congregations but also as individuals. As an individual, as a participant in the life of congregations, and as a clergyperson, I feel that participation in our larger association is not only valuable but essential – if I did not, I would not be a UU. Or my claim to Unitarian Universalism would be, as MLK once described some forms of faith, “dry as dust,” without meaning or value. My Unitarian Universalism requires me to be a part of the larger we that is the power and meaningfulness of our “living faith.”

In service to colleagues and our association, I have served in a number of roles throughout the years. There are a few specific categories of work you will note: service of support to professional colleagues (and frequently, the congregations they serve);  service to those in ministerial formation; and anti-racism, anti-oppression, multicultural work at the district/regional level.


  • Ministerial Leadership Network Exec., Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (2017)
  • Living Into Covenant, Discernment portfolio & mentoring – (2015 – present)
  • Good Officer, MDD/PWR – (2015 – present)
  • Southeast District “Dream Team,” (ARAOMC Working Group) (2011 – 2012)
  • Thomas Jefferson District Anti-Racism Task Force ( 2010)
  • participant, Standing on the Side of Love AZ campaign against SB 1070 (2010)
  • Virginia Area Conference of UU Ministers organizing team (2009-2012)
  • Member, Virginia UU Minister’s Association (2001–2012)
  • Member Southeastern UU Minister’s Association (1999-2012)
  • Thomas Jefferson District Good Offices Provider, SEUUMA (2006, 2009-11)
  • Southeastern UUMA Bylaws drafting committee (‘03)
  • social justice volunteer, UUF Hendersonville (2001)
  • K-1 R.E. co-lead teacher, Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church, (2000)
  • Senior High Youth Advisor, UU Church of Berkeley (1996, 1997)