“We gave him a chance to put his head in the guillotine so we had to shoot him.”

I just got this email. I am utterly disgusted.

June 8, 2020

Dear UUA Religious Professionals and Lay Leaders –

I write to inform you that the Ministerial Fellowship Committee (MFC) voted on June 5th to remove the Rev. Dr. Todd Eklof from fellowship with the Unitarian Universalist Association. The decision was made based on the Rev. Dr. Eklof’s refusal to engage with the fellowship review process after a complaint of ethical misconduct was filed by the Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA) in January of this year. After the Rev. Dr. Eklof refused to engage with the initial investigation, the MFC moved to create an independent three-person investigative team to undertake a full fellowship review. Participation would have allowed the Rev. Dr. Eklof to present his perspective and any concerns he had with the process, but again he indicated that he would refuse to engage with the review.

The MFC takes very seriously the requirement that our fellowshipped clergy abide by the guidelines of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association and the Rules of the Ministerial Fellowship Committee. They regret that the Rev. Dr. Eklof refused earlier attempts to “come to the table” after the distribution of his book The Gadfly Papers at the UUA General Assembly in Spokane in 2019 was received as harmful – particularly by the LREDA, Diverse and Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries (DRUUMM) and other organizations representing Unitarian Universalists with historically marginalized identities. This refusal to engage forced LREDA to seek redress through a formal complaint process.

Ministry is a relational endeavor, and it is a sine qua non of fellowship as a minister in the UUA that one be willing to engage with others when there is a concern expressed that one’s words or actions have caused harm, particularly to those from historically marginalized communities. We as Unitarian Universalists are called to work to repair historic and ongoing injustices to Black, Indigenous and other People of Color, to transgender and nonbinary individuals, to those who are disabled, who are poor, and others who have been marginalized, and to do so both within and beyond our faith community. The Rev. Dr. Eklof has sought to focus public attention on his critiques of the UUA’s approach to this work of repairing injustice. Whether he agrees or not with a particular approach to this work is not the essential issue in the Committee’s process or determination. Rather, the refusal to engage in dialogue with others and to be accountable for his actions through the MFC process was the context of the Committee’s review, and the basis for which it has now removed his fellowship.

In Faith,

The Rev. Sarah Lammert
Executive Secretary, Ministerial Fellowship Committee
Co-Director of Ministries and Faith Development

9 Replies to ““We gave him a chance to put his head in the guillotine so we had to shoot him.””

  1. The process never appeared to me, to be about genuine dialog. So much as it was a call to submit to being lectured in the name of accountability. While ministry is relational, a genuine relationship runs is mutual. In the UUA the relationship runs in one dogmatic direction, that is both hierarchical, and which must also stamp out any dissent.

    “Whether he agrees or not with a particular approach to this work is not the essential issue in the Committee’s process or determination.”

    But if it had not been for Todd Eklof’s disagreement with the UUA’s to approach anti-racism work, there would be no issue for the Committee to process, and no determination to find. His dissent was an essential component of the disagreement.

    Glad I walked away from the UUA with my honesty intact.

  2. The one silver lining is that Todd mentioned in a video through the UUCS Healthy Congregation process that he is working on an Independent Unitarian group. I, for one, am eager to learn more as the UUA has demonstrated absolutely that they are no longer UUs.

  3. I agree with Rev. Eklof. He had a Good Officer represent him in the proceedings and he was de-fellowshipped for representing Rev. Eklof. These double talkers were not acting in good faith from the beginning. This whole affair is a sham and a blot on the UU principles.

  4. I am saddened by the attacks on Rev . Eklov.
    He has been falsely accused of every “ ism” possible, and it seems nobody is looking at him a as a human being. His work on behalf of getting the gay marriage law passed in Washington State, his work with a Black minister in the inner city of Spokane , helping with issues of drug abuse, and racism is simply ignored . Instead he has been viciously attacked and “ dismissed “ for some unpopular criticism of UUA top down tactics. In my view this is Mc Carthyism.

  5. Thank you. I got a tip-off from a third party, and was waiting for a more formal launch to comment. It’s not for me, and never was going to be, but I think the level and choice of program is useful and appropriate for this stage. Other attempts at a Unitarian alternative have tried to come out of William Ellery Channing’s head fully formed, but doesn’t actually offer what’s needed. It will be interesting to see what develops; also how sharply it will be opposed (because it will be opposed.)

    Maybe that’s the comment.

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