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Thirty Days of Love, Day 11: Occupy the Present

Posted by Kayla Parker // January 26th 2012 // soundings, Stories and Voices // no comments

Date: Thursday, January 26 – Occupy the Present: Change the Future—Collective Visioning.

Staff Member: Campus Ministry Associate Kayla Parker

Description: “If you can imagine a better world, you can make one.” – Linda Stout.  Collective Visioning intentionally brings people together across social divides, generating a positive vision that is long-term, expansive, and solutions-driven. Collective Visioning is also about action planning so that we are prepared to actively work towards what we envision.

Question: How do you imagine we can make a difference in the world through standing of the side of love?

 Sign up here to participate in our Collective Visioning Webinar at 5PM ET with Linda Stout, Founder & Director of Spirit in Action. This webinar will be based on conversations that have been going on with Occupy movements in 20 cities in the United States and around the world.


I’m a woman of action. I like getting things done. When I think meetings are serving no purpose or are dragging on longer than they should be, I get really upset. When committees are formed to make a decision that could easily be made…I think you get my point.

So…why are you a Unitarian Universalist? You might be asking – and WHY do you work at the Unitarian Universalist Association??

Good questions, thank you! As much as my natural inclination is to be in a constant state of motion, I have learned that my actions are more effective when I take more time for reflection, visioning, conversation and generally being in the present. When I am intentional about the goals and aims of my action and talk it over with other people the job gets done better than it would if I had just catapulted into go mode.

I’ve also found that when I’m doing work on myself and living in the present I am open to what NEEDS to be done – which I might not have noticed if I were running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off.

Our staff group at Ministries and Faith Development read Salsa, Soul and Spirit this fall, a book which describes how most of our institutions are inherently racist and set up for those of us in the dominant culture to succeed. Leadership styles from other cultures are described, and I gained further insight into how a go-go-go mentality silences others who do not have the ability to go in the way that I do.

We also held trainings, subsequent discussions, and a lot of other reading – which were helpful and for which I was not begrudging missing valuable go time. I became better able to see what needed to be done by living in the present.

It was around this same time when Dr. Paula Quick Hall, a professor at North Carolina Central University (NCCU), an HBCU (historically black college and university) in Durham, NC came to me with a proposal about forming a Unitarian Universalist campus ministry at NCCU, and this serving as a pilot for outreach to other HBCUs. I knew this was a project that needed to happen no matter how many other projects I was juggling at the time. Working with the planning team for this project is one of the most rewarding projects currently in my portfolio – and had I been travelling at the speed of light I wouldn’t have been prepared or able to see it.

– Kayla.

About the Author

Kayla Parker is editor of Becoming: A Spiritual Guide for Navigating Adulthood. She is currently a seminarian at Yale Divinity School, and Ministerial Intern at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Meriden, CT.
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