This year’s MDD Beloved Community program builds on past year’s Justice Ministries offerings with continued attention to adaptive leadership. Adaptive or transformational leadership requires understanding a group’s culture and assessing which aspects of it facilitate social change and which might be barriers. Our time together this year will focus on the meaning and purpose of justice ministry in religious community with attention to stories: How do we frame our own stories? How do we frame the stories of our community? How does the sharing of stories help us learn about one another and connect to the past so that together, we can move forward in the present?

To help guide our journey together, we’ll be joined by Unitarian Universalist minister, Jan Christian and Scholar-activist James Tracy.

An unexpected email, decades after her brother’s death in Vietnam, connected the Rev. Jan Christian to others still haunted by that day and their journey together revealed that going back can change the way we go forward. Rev. Christian chronicles this journey in her book, Leave No Brother Behind: A Sister’s Memoir. She brings years of experience in a restoring justice – making model and will help us explore the power of stories to bring healing in our own lives, in our congregations and in the community.

James Tracy,  a social justice organizer in the San Francisco Bay Area, and co-author of Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels, and Black Power, spent ten years capturing the stories of cross race/cross class coalitions that pooled their resources to build a vibrant and radical movement for racial and economic justice. Whether our 2012 Phoenix GA, justice ministries in congregations, the budding Occupy movement, or today’s immigrant rights coalitions, exploring these untold stories helps us understand that we don’t have the luxury to walk separately anymore.

In addition to gaining new insights and leadership skills, one of the many benefits of participating in Building Beloved Community is co-creation of a joyful, learning community where people at all levels of development are working together on something they really care about. In order for us to create a dynamic community and deepen the experience for everyone, we request that you commit to the entire event starting Friday evening and closing with Sunday morning worship. Sending leadership team from your congregation strengthens internal capacity offering mutual support for bringing new understandings and resources home to your congregation.

Congregational Teams: Leadership teams representative of congregational life are strongly encouraged and will be the primary container for sharing individual stories, engaging presenters, and interacting with the larger group. You can register an unlimited number of teams (Board, Youth Ministry, Committees, etc) at the reduced team rate. Travel subsidies for congregations traveling the greatest distance are available to MDD Fair Share congregations on a first come basis. Send request to Note: Minors must be accompanied by an adult with signed permission from parent or guardian.

Parents! During the conference we are offering a Peacemaking Workshop for Children ages 5 – 12. Please make a workshop reservation by January 10 noting the names and age of your children on the registration form. Upon request, childcare is available for children 4 and under at the rate of $20/per child. Please bring snacks; lunch provided. Contact Eleanor VanDeusen, or Kristin Famula,, for Peacemaking workshop details or to request childcare.