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UUA General Assembly

GA Programming Sneak Peek: Worship Resources for Congregations

At GA this year, there will be multiple programs to provide resources to congregations for the development of vibrant, meaningful worship services that are intergenerationally and multiculturally inclusive.

GA attendees engaged at a 2009 workshop.
Engaged GA attendees at a 2009 workshop.

The anticipated programs you can look forward to are:

Worship for a New Age
Skinner House authors Mark Belletini, Wayne Arnason and Erika Hewitt will share their own experiences as worship planner and leaders, exploring successful strategies as well as missteps. Topics include intergenerational worship, prayer and meditation, alternative worship formats, new music, small group worship and more.
Rev. Mark Belletini
Rev. Wayne Arnason
Rev. Erika Hewitt
Mary Benard

Best Practices in Cross-cultural Engagement
Through song and story, the Council for Cross-cultural Engagement examines respectful use of worship materials from many backgrounds and cultures.  We will explore how congregations can increase cultural awareness in worship and build stronger relationships in the larger community.
Dr. Keith Arnold
Rev. Danielle Di Bona
Rev. Wendy von Zipolo

Engaging Music: Heart, Mind, Voice & Hand

Active participation within our gatherings is key to vibrant communal experience.  Music, movement and silence each offer powerful opportunities to engage participation. With a focus on ‘take-home’ learning, we’ll celebrate a short worship service, then explore together both the how-to’s and the conceptual grounding of what we’ve experienced.
Rev. Kevin Tarsa
Karen McCarthy

Love Saves: A Presentation of Useful Stories
A sharing of stories from contemporary experience, our history, the imagination and real life—stories useful in Sunday worship, as religious education resources and for personal meditation, stories that celebrate our deep affirmation that “Love Saves.” Drawn from stories the Universalist Heritage Foundation is gathering for an upcoming anthology.
Rev. William Sinkford
Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt
Rev. Paul S. Sawyer
Rev. Jeanne Nieuwejaar

Multicultural UU Worship: Embodying It
More than preaching, music, and education in a cross-cultural context, multicultural UU worship offers vital spiritual formation for congregational ministry while modeling and celebrating the sacred. Worship with us. Learn how presenters including Rev. Leslie Takahashi Morris and Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones are transforming worship to reflect multicultural UU community.
Rev. Alma Crawford
Rev. David Herndon
Rev. John Crestwell
Rev. Dr. Fred Muir

Singing Meditation: A Ministry of Song and Silence
Singing Meditation is an alternative form of worship that alternates repetitive singing of short, simple, interfaith songs with periods of undirected silence. Workshop includes brief lecture about the universal appeal of song and silence across cultures, the basics of starting a group, and concludes with a singing meditation session.
Ruthie Rosauer
Liz Hill

Story + Song + Spirit = Creative Worship for All Ages
Is your congregation seeking ways to enrich spiritual depth by crafting engaging, creative worship services for all ages? Come explore the key characteristics of dynamic, story-based worship services, as we go through the steps of creating one (in small groups) from opening words to benediction.
Rev. Erika Hewitt

UU Music Worship for the 21st Century
A vibrant movement of UU musicians is creating new music with relevant messages, inclusive of all and inviting to younger generations.  Jim Scott, and friends Amy Carol Grant, Rev. Fred Small and Matt Meyer will raise the roof, celebrating our ideals and demonstrating song-leading techniques to enrich our worship.
Jim Scott
Rev. Fred Small
Amy Carol Webb
Matt Meyer

UU Worship + Jewish Scripture = Diversity and Growth
Easy effective ways for congregations to be more inclusive, live out UU values, and make themselves welcoming to non-Christians.  Participants learn the basic Jewish scriptures: Torah, Tanakh, Talmud, Mishna, and Gomorrah.  Examples of wisdom in each that can enrich UU religious services.  Jewish holidays and observances to enrich UU worship.
Dr. PD Wadler

Weaving the Web of Worship
Two years ago the office of Worship and Music Resources came into being.  What’s happened since, and what might happen going forward?  Come learn how you can help weave a strong and beautiful web of resources to deepen the worship life of our congregation.
Rev. Erik Wikstrom

Young Adults and Worship: Soulful Sundown and Beyond
Hear about ways to bring contemporary worship into your congregation.  Our speakers will talk about how to create new worship opportunities that satisfy young adults and how to bring contemporary worship elements into your Sunday morning service.
Rev. Michael Tino
Rev. Scott Sammler-Michael
Aidan McCormack
Matt Meyer

Announcing Rev. Dr. Galen Guengerich’s GA Workshop Series, “The Necessity of Virtue”

We are delighted that the Rev. Dr. Galen Guengerich, Senior Minister of All Souls Unitarian Church in New York City, will be returning as a GA presenter!  He will be following up last year’s hugely popular UU University program track, Theology for a Secular Age with an eight-part workshop series entitled The Necessity of Virtue.

In The Necessity of Virtue, the Rev. Dr. Guengerich will ask us to ponder, “What is your ethical basis for deciding what to do and how to live? How do you determine what you ought to do? The two most popular answers look either to commandments or to outcomes. Neither satisfies: divine commands are human ideas projected onto the divine, and the greatest good for the greatest number can trample the needs of the few. A more promising answer suggests we do what an ethical person—someone who has fulfilled his or her distinctive potential as a human being—would do. The key to happiness, Aristotle insists, is virtue: the state of character in which we fulfill our potential by living as human beings ought to live. In religious terms, this path leads to salvation not by grace or by faith, but to salvation by character.”

In the first workshop of this series, The Key to Happiness, we will explore how we can utilize our distinct human ability to think and reason to achieve the state of character known as virtue.  This will be followed by seven workshops that will delve into the virtues of Wisdom, Courage, Compassion, Justice, Temperance, Transcendence and Hope in order to achieve that key to happiness.

The Rev. Dr. Galen Guengerich presenting "Theology for a Secular Age" at the 2009 General Assembly in Salt Lake City.
The Rev. Dr. Galen Guengerich presenting "Theology for a Secular Age" at the 2009 General Assembly in Salt Lake City.

Introducing the GA Podcast

Today we are debuting the GA Podcast.  Podcasting is part of our campaign to use new media to reach many UUs in many different ways.  New podcasts will be available  on the first and third Wednesdays of each month. In our inaugural episode, we have an interview with Denny Davidoff, former UUA Moderator.


The GA Podcast is co-hosted by Melissa Saggerer and Don Plante.

You can subscribe to our Podcast’s RSS feed or listen to our first episode.

Heading to Minneapolis!

Tomorrow the General Assembly office staff will be off to Minneapolis to do our annual 6-month-out GA logistical planning trip. We can’t believe how quickly GA is approaching! We have a whirlwind itinerary over the next couple of days. We will be siting the Convention Center, seven downtown hotels and the University of Minnesota dormitories. We will also be going to the West Metro Recycle America facility and the Pioneer Paper Stock Company for a tour of their paper/fiber processing facility. By touring these facilities, this helps us know how we should sort our recycling at GA and how to best encourage hotels and the Convention Center to be as green as the can.

On this trip we have a ton of decisions to make and details to verify! We have to figure out how we will configure and set up our meeting rooms, exhibit space, plenary hall, and registration areas. We will verify specific details for all of our hotels (such as room types, internet availability, amenities, food outlets, parking costs, fitness centers, etc.) so our attendees are informed when they make their reservations.

Patty Cameron, a member of the Winchester Unitarian Society in Winchester, MA and the Accessibilities Coordinator of GA, will be accompanying us. Patty does the important work of thoroughly auditing all of our meeting and hotel/dorm facilities to ensure that they are accessible and welcoming to all.

Ginger Brown is coming, too! Ginger, a member of the GA Planning Committee and a member of the First UU Church of Nashville, TN, is serving as this year’s Plenary Hall Coordinator. Ginger will be meeting with us, our AV production company and convention services manager at the Minneapolis Convention Center to work out the plenary stage placement, seating charts, and all sorts of technical details.

Shawna McKinley, Project Manager with MeetGreen®, will be joining us as well! Shawna has been involved in the greening of the meetings industry for over 8 years and has been our greening consultant for the past 3 years. Shawna’s role is to help mediate relations with our vendors, and facilitate sustainability measures.

We will also be meeting with the 2010 Volunteer Committee! The Volunteer Committee is made up of about 10 UUs (most of them from the Prairie Star District – the host District of this year’s GA) who will donate hundreds of hours to help make GA a success. The Volunteer Committee spearhead many aspects of GA such as training and managing registration and delegate credentialing volunteers, serving as head usher and managing all of the other ushers, managing information services (“Ask Me!” volunteers), coordinating GA ambiance (decorations) and planning special events (evening concerts and dances, etc.). This year, the Volunteer Committee with work under the leadership of David Lauth, 2010 GA District Coordinator and member of the First Universalist Church of Minneapolis.

We’re packed and rearing to go! Wish us a safe trip!