“Rarely do I meet a theological student who has more promise than Shari Woodbury. My contact with her, especially in preaching and leadership courses, convinced me that she will be one of our greats. Her quiet passion, deep authenticity, poise and eloquence mark her as a superb minister. Naturally the leadership Shari has shown in social justice, especially around matters of racial justice, warms my heart. Were she not headed to the parish ministry, I would love her to work with me at UUSC. Our loss will be your gain." ~ Dr. William F. Schulz, then-President, UU Service Committee, and Affiliated Faculty, Meadville Lombard Theological School
Social justice is central to who we are as Unitarian Universalists: a people of "deeds, not creeds." We dream of a better world, one that gives life the shape of justice. We put our principles into action, from respecting the inherent worth and dignity of every person, to protecting the interdependent web of all life of which we are a part.
Making our outer lives align with our most cherished values - living with integrity - helps each of us grow spiritually. By working together in religious community, we combine diverse perspectives and skills. We share much-needed hope and solidarity. And together, we can achieve much more than any one of us could alone: a planet transformed by our care.
The Fire of Commitment
Social justice is an important part of what drew me to Unitarian Universalism as a young adult. I was passionate about this work as a lay leader, and I have discovered during my ministry thus far that I am able to reach people from the pulpit, inspire learning and action, and nurture the leadership of others in a sustained way.
Causes particularly near and dear to my heart include racial justice and multiculturalism, peace & principled nonviolence, and economic justice. I am a feminist, an environmentalist, and an advocate for interfaith understanding and cooperation. My consciousness has been raised around LGBT equality and the inclusion of people of all abilities, too. I recognize that other issues may be important to particular congregations and communities. I embrace opportunities to learn with and from the congregation I serve, as well as to help lead our witness work.
Building A New Way
From local actions to marches on the mall in D.C., I have participated in protests against things that disturbed me - what might be called Obstructive Program - especially with rising threats from 2016 on. But I have been equally drawn to what Gandhi called Constructive Program: creating new forms of social organization and ways of living that reflect our highest values. For example, I learned about grassroots economic development in India, facilitated a study circle on nonviolence and the economy, and served on a co-op board, leading our education work while we explored how to further build the co-op sector as an alternative economic model.