Jamestown, N.Y. – The Rev. Dr. Richard S. Gilbert is the speaker at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Jamestown (UUCJ) virtual service on Sunday, April 11, 10:30 a.m. His topic is “Democracy As a Dream Deferred? I’m Taking the Fifth.”
Gilbert notes that after the “perfect storm” of events of the past year – coronavirus, political upheaval and economic free fall -- it may seem our democracy is on its last legs, truly a “dream deferred.” On this question, however, he says, “I will take the fifth.”
But what fifth? The fifth of the Seven Principles that Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations affirm and promote: “The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.”
UUs live out these Principles within a “living tradition” of wisdom and spirituality, drawn from sources as diverse as science, poetry, scripture, and personal experience. The Principles are not dogma or doctrine, but rather a guide for those who choose to join and participate in Unitarian Universalist religious communities.
Rev. Gilbert has been an articulate and impassioned advocate for social justice. Among his many roles he has been chair of the peace, justice and human rights committee of the International Association for Religious Freedom, president of Interfaith Impact of New York State, convener of the Clergy and Laity Concerned about Vietnam, and program director of the Unirondack Summer Institute. He is the author of many articles and publications, including his two books Prophetic Imperatives and How Much Do We Deserve?
In 2005, Gilbert retired after serving in the Unitarian Universalist ministry in Cleveland, Ohio, Golden, Colo., Ithaca, N.Y., and for 32 years at the First Unitarian Church of Rochester, N.Y. He received an M.Div. from St. Lawrence University Theological School, a D.Min. from Colgate Rochester Divinity School, and honorary doctorates from St. Lawrence University, Meadville Lombard Theological School, and Starr King School for the Ministry.
Gilbert has spoken frequently at the summer UU services at Chautauqua Institution.
For those who are interested, an optional “coffee hour” in breakout rooms follows the service.
Because of COVID-19 limitations, UUCJ Sunday services are currently virtual instead of at its 1255 Prendergast Avenue location. Anyone is welcome to participate by emailing UUJamestown@gmail.com to receive a Zoom link for the 10:30 a.m. service. The link goes out on Friday afternoon, but you can request to join until the start of the service on Sunday.
The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Jamestown is a progressive, liberal religious community serving the southern tier of Western New York and Warren County, Pa. The UUCJ’s mission is to promote and provide a community where diverse people of all ages may explore the meaning of existence, give expression to liberal religious values, and work for a just, sustainable society.