UUMA Convo Thread

General and tangential observations on the UU Ministers Association Convocation 2009

  • CONVO happens only every 7 years, and this may be the last one with UUMA restructuring of education and learning (also known as UUMA CENTER).  Attendance is around 400.
  • No one appears to be “live blogging” much of anything
  • Bill Sinkford is not here.  Peter Morales is (as is Gini Courter interestingly), and he pledged to visit the UU Church of the Philippines as early as 2010.
  • Worship has been amazing, coordinated wonderfully by Rev. Leslie Takahashi-Morris (with well wishes to David)
  • Little to no controversy, other than the simplified food menu that has raised a few grumbles, but was necessary given the lower registration and budget
  • A UU Fight Club of ministers sharing stories for future preaching has emerged.  We don’t talk about UU Fight Club.
  • Ottawa is really beautiful, parliament, an intense new War Museum, and I’ve eaten out for Indian, Vietnamese, and Thai.
  • Only a fraction of the UUA’s Dreaming Big and large church ministers are here, a bit surprising, and feeds the perception of disengagement by large church ministers.  It could be budget related but there also appear to only be a handful of the UUA staff ministers here.
  • The choir is singing a little in French tonight for the closing worship, directed by Rev. Jason Shelton, with a new version of the Fire of Commitment, which appears to becoming on par with Spirit of Life for its intensity and popularity.
  • A lost opportunity to educate ministers about UU projects through information tabling, which some may dislike, but I find very helpful.  You’ve got a captive audience for 5 full days, and a few have taken advantage to put out literature and be available such as ICUU, Historical Societies, Standing on the Side of Love, but where are all the other ministries?

4 responses to “UUMA Convo Thread

  1. Curious: what is the nature of the simplified menu that makes it the point of controversy?

  2. not enough snacks and drinks in between meals, sandwiches and soup every day for lunch. it is actually great food. tonight we’re having a huge banquet, which should be sweet.

  3. Christine Robinson

    Oh, the perpetual complaint that the Large Church ministers don’t come to enough minister’s gatherings. Sigh….

    I imagine that the 400 participants are heavily weighted towards new ministers, and that, indeed, is when Convos are the most valuable to ministers. The Large Church ministers are heavily weighted towards old timers. (Did I hear someone say that 40% of us are retiring in the next 5 years? Something like that).

    There’s only one large church, and the Church of the Larger Fellowship in all of New England, where the largest portion of our colleagues reside, and which is at least somewhat handy to this year’s Convo. There are no Canadian large congregations. Both of those pieces of geography are going to skew the attendance of large church ministers.

    But the biggest reason the large church ministers didn’t come is because of the pressures of time.
    I know that it’s hard to imagine the intensity of large church ministry…I’ve served churches at every stage and at every stage I thought I was working hard and smart…and every time my church grew, my work became more intense. The fact of the matter is that the larger my church, the less time I can be away, so I have to choose among the several minister’s gatherings and continuing ed opportunities that come my way each year. It’s one of the prices of church growth, already hard, and made harder by the complaints I hear from people when I do come.

  4. good point Christine. i’m not sure what our ‘demographics’ are overall, i’m totally speculating, which is problematic. i actually haven’t seen as many new ministers here as i expected, perhaps because the cost and the lack of ministries that can afford the cost.

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