Saturday, June 26, 2010

GA Days 1, 2 and 3

Left: The Opening Ceremony, ending Day 1 of General Assembly (just a partial day).

First, I must apologize. I thought I would be posting each and every day from GA, but this has not been possible. So I'll do a summary now, and will come back with details later. I am sorry!

Wednesday afternoon was a day for registering, getting delegate credentials, and the Opening Celebration and Plenary 1.

The first Plenary (where business is done) actually has very little business other than to officially start GA. Gini Courter, the Moderator of the UUA, is always fun and funny and smart.

The Opening Celebration includes the customary banner parade, which seemed bigger and more spirited than it has in years. The highlight of the service for me was the music. There was some great music by both Ann Reed and Peter Mayer. I was particularly taken with "Holy Now", a Peter Mayer original that he performed. Here's a video of him performing it a couple of years ago at a different location:

Thursday, Day 2 of GA, was particularly packed. I went to three different workshops and one lecture, each excellent. The first program I went to was "Our Journey Stories: Creating Multiracial and Multicultural Congregations". It was a panel led by Rev. Dr. Qiyamah Rahman of Meadville Lombard, a UU seminary in Chicago. Panelists included Rev. Marlin Lavanhar (Tulsa, OK), Rev. Rob Hardies (Washington, D.C.), and Rev. Dr. Fred Muir (Annapolis, MD), all of whom are senior ministers of multiracial, multicultural congregations. I will blog on their insights some time after I return home from GA.

Next, I went to "Leadership in Small Congregations", led by Janine Larsen and Tandi Rogers Koerger. I always enjoy these small congregation workshops and try to go to one each GA to learn from others facing similar challenges, and to make connections. Once again, it was useful, fun and encouraging to talk with ministers and lay leaders who are in the same boat!

Next, I went to a workshop that was much more enlightening than I had even hoped: "Future Generations of UUs: What Will They Value?" This was a panel of three young adults, Chris Wulff, Julia Angley, and Andrew Mertz, who did a truly great job of unpacking the "Millennial" generation, and what they might (and might not) be looking for from a congregation in terms of worship and programming. I will also blog on their insights some time after I return home from GA. It was fascinating.

After that, I went to a lecture, the "John Murray Distinguished Lecture". This is an annual lecture series featuring scholarly thought on Universalism or a Universalist. This year Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker gave the lecture; she is the President of the Starr King School for Ministry, a UU seminary in California. Her talk was entitled "Connecting Beauty and Justice". What a great talk! Again, I will blog on her insights some time after I return home.

The day ended with the Service of the Living Tradition, a service that honors the professional ministry, professional religious educators, and professional musicians of our tradition. I will link to the video of the service at a later date.

The next day, Friday, was a Plenary Day for me. I will post about the plenary sessions all together at a later time. I'm running late for something -- it never ends at GA!