The past month has been one of full immersion into the wider Unitarian Universalist community for me. First, Mara and I went to the Unitarian Universalist Association’s General Assembly in Portland at the end of June. General Assembly consists of a series of plenary sessions to discuss governance, provide worship, and celebrate achievements. On the governance side, there were several actions of immediate witness, most importantly one was adopted supporting “Black Lives Matter.” It was unique and special to attend a UU worship service with 4500 people in attendance and a huge choir. A special “pop-up” service celebrating the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality took place on Friday that was both celebratory and emotional. Also special was being there as our own Clark Olsen was awarded the Distinguished Service Award where Clark’s achievements were lauded by Rev. Mark Ward.
In addition to plenary sessions, there were also a series of workshops that provided an opportunity to learn about a variety of different topics. I attended a couple of great sessions, including one on the importance of covenanting, and another on a model for UU ministry in the 21st century called “Fulfilling the Call.” Fulfilling the call provides a new resource for both clergy and laity to identify and understand the expectations placed upon UU ministers, and ministries, in the 21st century. It provides performance-based rubrics that provide guidance for assessing how well a minister performs ministerial responsibilities outlined in a set of profiles defined by the UU Ministers’ Association. Our ministerial task force recommended this approach be used to help guide the congregation’s ministerial review in the future.
Then, this past weekend, Wendy Seligmann and I attended the UUA Southern Region President’s Convocation. As I describe in my News from the Board eNews article, the President’s Convocation provided a great opportunity to share common concerns and solutions with other UU congregational leadership. It was inspiring to see what everyone else is doing and to learn about the many different approaches that are being used in other congregations. We’ll be moving ahead in our board to adopt some of these best practices other congregations are doing.
So, it’s been a very busy month in my UU life and I’ve been inspired getting to know so many other UUs from around the region and from around the country.