Wednesday, June 23, 2010

UU Ministry Days ends, GA begins

Picture: There is a skywalk that connects practically everything downtown. It goes on for something like 8 miles! This is on the way from my hotel to the Convention Center. I'm inside the skywalk, looking out at another part of the skywalk. Came in handy today when I got caught in the rain without an umbrella.

Today started off with worship at UU Ministry Days. It's the annual "25/50 Year Worship." This service honors those ministers who were ordained 25 years ago and 50 years ago. Each of these cohorts elects from among its members one person to deliver a homily at this service. Now, these elected sermonizers are the cream of the crop. Surviving 25 or 50 years in successful ministry is an accomplishment in its own right, and so the selected speaker from each group is the cream of the cream of the crop. Not surprisingly, these sermons are consistently excellent. This year was no exception. From the 25 year class, the Rev. Barbara Wells ten Hove was selected. From the 50 year class, the Rev. Kenneth Torquil MacLean was selected. Both sermons touched me deeply, each moving me to tears at different moments. I'll have to post links to their sermons when they're available.

The UU Ministers Association (UUMA) then had its official Annual Meeting. The UUMA is the professional organization for UU ministers. It was somewhat less inspiring than the worship service, but you gotta do what you gotta do. I appreciate the efforts of the UUMA Exec! There was an interesting discussion about the upcoming 2012 GA in Arizona, and whether boycotting is the right route to take, or whether we should go there and protest. I'm actually quite torn between the two strategies. The important thing is, Unitarian Universalists should speak out on the racist immigration laws and work to keep other states from passing similar legislation. I personally think the most important things we can do are between now and the 2012 GA, not at the 2012 GA. But the interesting conversation will continue into GA and plenary.

Finally, the UU Ministry Days ended with the Berry Street Lecture (a tradition that dates back many years). The lecturer this year was the Rev. Gary Kowalski. His talk was (to my surprise) about poetry. I was expecting animal rights or ethical eating or something like that. But Rev. Kowalski is more than an animal rights activist and vegetarian! He gave a very enlightening talk on the importance of poetry and its connection to religion and ministry. The response was by the Rev. Lynn Ungar, minister for lifespan learning of the Church of the Larger Fellowship and a poet herself. She said that poetry and religion both connect the little things to the big things. I never thought of it that way... and she ended with "metaphors be with you". I love puns. Well, good ones.

Tonight is the Opening Celebration and the official start of the UU General Assembly. I'll tell you about it tomorrow!