Wrapping It Up- Because General Assembly Is A Gift!

Friends, get yourself to General Assembly.

Yes, it’s expensive. Yes, it’s a lot of days to be away. Yes, it means getting on airplanes (usually), but do this and get a gianormous boost to your faith and knowledge to do justice work, connecting and loving to heal our world and ourselves.

 

I just got home, and my mind is swirling, but I wanted to put down a few thoughts I got this week in Charlotte.

 

1. There are a lot of us.

I am blown away at what 4,000+ Unitarian Universalists look and sound like. And when I went out for meals and could see every surrounding table populated with UU eaters and every elevator and every sidewalk, I felt as though I was living in a UUtopia.  This was cool!

 

2. Compassion and Connection are enough, if both are verbs.

It’s all about how we are together, our compassion and our connections. It is not enough to have freedom of Belief, we must act on our beliefs. Instead of going to church, we must be a people Doing Church.

 

3. There is more to know, but that can’t stop me from jumping in.

From workshops on Dynamic Religious Education For All to lectures on How to Make Unitarian Universalism the Faith of the New Millennium, or  from worship with youth, participating in a Standing on the Side of Love Rally for LGBTQ rights to representing my fellow Religious Educators at the Annual Program Fund Lunch, there is a lot going on a lot to be a part of and a lot to DO.

 

4. We make mistakes. 

This being the 50th anniversary of the merger of Unitarians and Universalists, much history was told during workshops and worship services. I learned some of the ugly stories. I also heard how brave people of our community stepped forward to challenge leaders and demand we do better. We hold each other accountable so we can learn from our mistakes.

 

5. I can learn more watching Gini Coulter run plenary than reading 3 books on Congregational polity.

She. Is. My. New. Hero.

 

6. Work Hard, Rest, Laugh with Friends…then get back to work.

I am pretty sure I have the best friends/colleagues in the universe. Thank you all for keeping me sane, recharging my batteries and helping me fill in the gaps.

 

please watch the archive footage of General Assembly 2011 in Charlotte!  Especially the Sunday Service.

 

 

Symbols of Connection

Hi All-

There are a ton of thoughts to share with you about the lectures and workshops I have attended- I need time to process them, though.  In the meantime I wanted to show you one of the interesting things about General Assembly- the Ribbons!

Everyone is walking around with badges and each person has a different combination of ribbons, pins and stickers attached to their badge.  Here’s mine:

These are all symbols of our connections around our Association. I have my name (including CRE for Credentialed Religious Educator!!!), Pins for the carbon offsets I bought to help reduce the impact of my plane ride and the convention center use, a Standing On the Side of Love Pin, my Liberal Religious Educators Association lanyard, a Green Sanctuary sticker, Welcoming Congregation ribbon and the Annual Program Fund pink ribbon indicating that Channing was a Merit Congregation last year- giving an increase of money to the UUA .  YEA Channing!  Here’s a little video by our friend Peter Bowden explaining this:

What’s with all the ribbons? from UU World on Vimeo.

So we are doing well and maybe, we can expand our giving to the APF and Association Sunday in the years to come in support of the amazing work of the UUA who give our congregation a tremendous amount of support!

When I Close My Eyes- I See Banners!

It has been a big day and boy am I tired, but it has been SO worth it!

 

We began with LREDA Professional Day, a Good Officer training, lunch with a beloved colleague and an afternoon of reports from and discussion on the RE Education Futures Committee Report and the Strategic Plan for Professional Ministry.

I then attended the UU Ministers Association Barry Street lecture on Professional Conduct.

 

Then a quick dinner before heading into opening ceremonies.

 

So I watched the opening ceremony online last year and I thought I knew what to expect, but nothing prepared me for being in a huge room with thousands of jazzed up Unitarian Universalists spilling over with joy and spirit, parading with banners of their congregations, singing, clapping and SMILING! Picture hundreds of beautiful banners being held proudly.  Or watch it here

Friends, I am not afraid to say I was moved to tears.

I do wish there was a Channing Memorial Presence to wave a banner of our congregation, so instead I am showing a banner that represents us all- the UU Ministry for Earth!

And the singing!  Thousands of voices – joyous voices- raised in song.  Just what the doctor ordered.

The Golden Rule- How Are You Living It?

Tuesday, April 5th was “Golden Rule Day” A day to practice treating people the way we would like to be treated.  Sometimes, this includes treating ourselves as well as we treat others.  Watch this video of the

Charter for Compassion, created by Karen Armstrong, to bring more peace to our hurting world:

(It’s a good one for kids to see, too.)

Karen Armstrong will be speaking at our General Assembly this June as one of the many terrific speakers. Ware Lecture

If you are able, I recommend going to this amazing gathering of thousands of Unitarian Universalists in Charlotte, NC  June 22-26, 2011 General Assembly