Interfaith cooperation is a welcome and exciting theme running through this morning's social change workshops here at the Ogden district annual meeting. Whether the issue is global warming, marriage equality, or reproductive choice, the ability to reach beyond ourselves by participating in local interfaith coalitions is critical today. How refreshing it is to hear members of the LDS community alongside UU leaders speaking to "finding hope in a warming world" and participate in a workshop examining strategies for building bridges of understanding with local communities of faith.
In 1999, General Assembly delegates affirmed a commitment to interfaith cooperation – reaching beyond ourselves to confront fear, ignorance, and hatred by modeling what is possible in the broader community surrounding our UU congregations. To learn more about this visionary statement of conscience and ways to begin implementation, visit the UUA website.
Posted Saturday, 09 October 2010 12:26 Written by Deborah Holder
Formally known as the "Happy Puppy Fireworks Meeting," the 1st annual business meeting introduced our 2010-2011 YAC officers, clarified the idea of clusters, presented a draft of the job descriptions listed in the by-laws, clarified the scholarship opportunities for con attendance, identified our 4 goals for the year and introduced the 1st draft of our new mission statement. All within 1.5 hours! There was also an abundance of candy and doodling things.
The complete minutes will be available on the YRUU website but here are the highlights:
Mission Statement 1st Draft
YRUU is a radically inclusive group that encourages empowerment, promotes social justice and strives to create a safe community of welcoming fellowship in which the individuals can access the power within themselves as well as the power of the larger community as a whole.
Posted Saturday, 09 October 2010 11:04 Written by Jennica Davis
At a pre-assembly meeting, MDD Board President Jim Turner and the MDD Trustee to the UUA Board, Lew Phinney, spoke in depth to district ministers and congregational presidents about upcoming restructuring of the UUA Board, which will impact district governance down the line.
Currently the UUA Board is made up of 25 trustees, including one from each district and several at-large trustees. The Board is putting forward a resolution in the near future to restructure and cut the number of trustees by about half, though no concrete decisions have yet been made. One suggestion to enable this reduction is to organize our congregations by regions rather than districts, which would perhaps combine as many as four western districts to form the Pacific Western Region, which would then select one trustee for the UUA Board.
Congregations are encouraged to offer ideas and input to district leadership as the transitions are planned and implemented. Mr. Phinney emphasized that these changes will be the result of ground-up collaboration rather than top-down dictation from the UUA. Since the 20 UUA districts are individually incorporated entities governed by their member congregations and not the UUA directly, any changes in districting to a more regional model of organizations have to come from the districts themselves.
Questions to be considered include:
The impetus for these changes come from a number of directions. First is an examination of the history of how our current district structure came to be after the merger of the Unitarians and the Universalists 50 years ago. Many district boundaries were derived from political "horse-trading" and the preferences of individual ministers to stay connected with their close colleagues rather than by geographical or sensible criteria. Hence, Massachusetts is served by four separate districts, while some of the western districts like the MDD encompass vast geographical areas.
Second is the organizational chart of the UUA, which is described by Mr. Turner as "a plane wreck," even in its most simplified form. The consensus of the UUA Board and of the district presidents across the country is that the organization is not practical for the way we should be governed and provide service to our member congregations. Decisions that need to be made center around the relationship of governance to service, whether they should be separated or more closely bound together.
The Rev. Dr. Terasa Cooley, our keynote presenter this year, was also on hand to offer insight from the perspective of the UUA Office of Congregational Life, which is responsible for providing services to member congregations, including overseeing and assisting district staff across the country. The proposed reorganization's purpose is to "try to bring some reason into our organization" and to go back to the basics of our mission as a Unitarian Universalist religious movement.
She emphasized that geography should not be the only way that we organize our congregations, and that we can build relationships based on many other criteria such as size, program interest, the intersection of social justice with theology, and other such issues. These connections can be forged using new technologies, along with networking our congregations in geographical clusters as well. All three presenters stressed the importance of inter-congregational connection along with national organization, of cross-hatching services in such a way that isn't just about geographical proximity.
Get in touch with Lew Phinney or Jim Turner and offer your suggestions! The time is now for congregations to be talking about how we can better organize ourselves for the betterment of Unitarian Universalism nationally and right in our own back yards.
Posted Friday, 08 October 2010 15:42 Written by Jess Cullinan
I was deeply disturbed to read the remarks made by Apostle Boyd K. Packer at the LDS General Conference last weekend, and feel it is incredibly critical at this time to let gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in our community know that not all religions or all religious people condemn them or their relationships. I am particularly afraid for the young people who may have heard his message and perhaps even decide to take their own lives as a result. It has already happened too much, right here in Ogden. If we can only save one young life, anything we do will be worth it.
One thing we can do is to stand on the side of love together this weekend.
So, Saturday at 5 PM we will gather in the parking lot behind the Marriot Hotel and march as a group to Ogden City hall. It is only a couple of blocks. We will sing and we will pray. Wear a yellow shirt if you have one. If you are clergy, please wear a stole, clerical collar or whatever else signifies your status.
This is not a march in opposition to the LDS faith. I have a great deal of admiration for many of my LDS friends and neighbors. I also believe in ongoing revelation. Apostle Packer was not speaking for God in his message, but was speaking instead from his own ignorance and prejudice. Many devout followers of the LDS faith were deeply hurt, disappointed, and disturbed by his remarks. We have a song in our hymnal that contains the words, "Reflections of Grace in Every Embrace." I love those words and I know they are true. I also have faith that the leaders of the LDS church will know that truth someday as well.
The march on Saturday will be in connection with the District Conference for the Mountain Desert District of the Unitarian Universalist Association and I am quite sure most of the 100+ attendees will participate. I am hoping that many others from the community will join us. We aren't planning a lot of speeches, just some songs and prayers. We will walk to city hall because Ogden has been asked to adopt non-discrimination ordinances that would offer some protection from housing and employment discrimination based upon sexual orientation and gender identity. I understand that a majority of the city council is supportive, but that the mayor has been delaying placing the issue on the agenda. That, too, needs to move forward, and quickly. This will be a prayerful act of religious witness, not a protest rally. I want hearts to be touched, for hatred and fear to be overcome, and for despair to turn instead toward hope. I guess I am asking for a lot! Still, it can happen, one step at a time, if people of faith and others always remember to stand on the side of love.
Please forward this widely to anyone you think might be willing to attend.
In faith, hope, and love. Bless us all as we do this work together.
Rev. Theresa Novak
Unitarian Universalist Church of Ogden
Posted Wednesday, 06 October 2010 09:55 Written by Rev. Theresa Novak
The outline of Rainer and Geiger's 2006 book Simple Church is, well, simple.
Clarity --> Movement --> Alignment --> Focus.
The church's purpose is to move people through a process of transformation. That purpose must be clear and explicit and all programs must be aligned with the purpose. If a program is not aligned with the focus of the church, Rainer and Geiger suggest it must be eliminated or revised. Is your youth ministry program aligned with the purpose of your church? Do you know what your church's mission statement is?
Our daily experiences teach us that simplifying is rarely an easy process. How does a UU sift through vast truths to find which ones sit right with her, utilize the inefficient and messy democratic process when he finds himself a leader, employ the rational mind while still reveling in the awe of mystery, and stay simple all the while?
A webinar presented by the Pacific Northwest District on "Spiritual Maturity and Healthy Differentiation" suggests that to be spiritually mature is to find solace in complexity. Sharon Daloz Parks states "mature wisdom is not escape from, but rather engagement with, complexity and mystery" while Benson and Elkin suggest that "experiencing a sese of personal well-being, security and peace," trusting in the process of life and having faith in humanity are crucial dimensions of a mature faith.
How can we use a simple process to explore a complex world? A dialogue is beginning on the Youth Ministry page. Join us.
Posted Monday, 04 October 2010 09:50 Written by Jennica Davis
Page 3 of 7«StartPrev1234567NextEnd»