Pearlbear and many others

Michelle Murrain (Pearlbear) has received word from her United Church of Christ conference, meaning in so many words that “she’s leaving.” Not suggest even a hint of self-pity, accusation, or anger. It sounds like the right idea, and not too long ago, I thought about it, too. Goodness knows the slightly older UU Christian clergy know this story, and can recite a roll-call of those bright lights that sought better options with the UCC, Friends United Meeting, the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, the United Methodist Church, and — I’m thinking of a white woman here, incidentally — the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. This is just the first time the story’s come up in the blog era.

Her story: Leaving Unitarian Universalism

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. I know I’ve been guilty of the anger and bitterness part as I’ve slid outward to the very fringes of the UUA, and begun ecumenical service with other denominations. Michelle has shown a grace in her departure that I think is a model for anyone who must contemplate some level of re-alignment (including departure). This does not, however, relieve us of the duty of “digesting” her concerns about how our community deals with issues around race, class, gender, and Christology. -Derek

  2. Thanks, Derek, for your kind words. And thanks, Scott, for the post. I do have to admit to some regret that departures of folks like me does make it more difficult for the UUA to engage in these kinds of conversations, since many of those who feel these issues most keenly have decided to depart. But I also know that those who have chosen to stay are deeply interested in, as you say, digesting these concerns. I wish you all the best, and I know that we will be crossing paths again in the progressive religious community that is, as we speak, being coalesced in very interesting ways.

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