Building Beloved Community: Social Change in a Multicultural World

January 21-23, 2011
Denver, CO
Sponsored by the Mountain Desert District, UUA
With generous hospitality provided by the First Universalist Church of Denver
4101 E. Hampden Ave.

Registration Deadline: January 17, 2011

Featured Speaker:

Janice Marie Johnson, UUA Multicultural Growth Director

Building Multicultural Alliances: Respecting Identity & Acknowledging Privilege

About Participating: 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 (stories about what’s important, rituals, decision-making, and group norms) and assessing which aspects of it facilitate social change and which might be barriers.

The reward is internally strong and externally focused congregations able to form effective multicultural alliances with the larger community. In this time when comprehensive and integrative strategies are necessary to reduce political and cultural polarization, religious communities have an important role to play by becoming models of Beloved Community. As Vincent Harding reminds us, Dr, King was exploring how to develop a new America where there is real, mutually respectful, cultural pluralism. He was building that powerful, non-violent, loving, determined, and compassionate movement defiant of predatory capitalism. For King and all people of faith, maintaining one’s humanity in the midst of oppression and suffering is a fundamental moral and religious problem. What action and religious resources can support individuals and congregations on the journey toward Beloved Community?

To help guide our journey together in January, we’ll be joined Friday evening by Janice Marie Johnson, UUA Multicultural Growth Director. As a religious educator, she is deeply committed to creating collaborative community — multicultural, anti-racist, anti-oppressive, interfaith, and multigenerational within the context of experiential learning. Her maxim is “Masakhane,” a rich and resonant word from the Nguni language — one of the many languages of South Africa. Loosely translated into English it means, “Let us build together.”

Friday night is a communal celebration including live music provided by Vince & Jazz del Barrio. On Saturday we begin with worship and a panel presentation on Becoming a Religion for Our Time followed by interactive exercises. After lunch, we’ll engage immigrant advocacy before breaking out into workshop sessions on compassionate communication, spiritual leadership, and small group ministry. Before a joyful closing ritual ending at 6pm, we’ll focus on practical steps for building strong interfaith alliances.. On Sunday, Rev. Dr. Kirk-Loadman Copeland will send us on our way with a rousing worship service.

In addition to gaining new insights and leadership skills, one of the many benefits of participating in Building the Beloved Community is co-creation of a joyful, multigenerational community. 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 a diverse team of from your congregation enables mutual support and increased ability to bring new understandings and resources home to your congregation.

New this year! Free Kindergarten – 6th Grade Children’s Program and free childcare for infants and toddlers throughout the conference. Families with young children are encouraged to attend and register their children for this relevant RE program with a justice focus which will run concurrently with youth and adult programming. Please contact Eleanor VanDeusen, You must make a reservation for both children’s program or childcare by January 10 noting the age range of children on the registration form.

Congregational Teams: Recruit a diverse leadership team representative of congregational life: Board members, staff, and committee chairs, youth. Multiple teams are encouraged. Travel subsidies for those traveling the greatest distance are available to MDD Fair Share congregations on a first come basis. Send request to

High school youth are definitely encouraged to participate as part of your congregational team for Building Beloved Community. All programming is designed to be fitting for a multigenerational audience. There’s a salsa band playing Friday night and a theatre workshop on Saturday. In fact, workshops are activity based, not primarily lecture based. Youth and adults are sharing housing accommodations. It’s not a typical con, but will be a transformational weekend nonetheless. Youth from all over the district will be inspired by different models of worship and covenanting together. They will be given the information and tools to return to their congregations and the YRUU larger community to continue working for social change in a multicultural world. Note: minors must be accompanied by an adult with signed permission from parent or guardian.

Fundraising Ideas: Our weekend together is heavily subsidized by district funds, The First Universalist Church of Denver, and other in-kind donations. Ideally, your congregation will give energy and support to ensuring participation. Consider a special Sunday plate collection; make and sell baked goods during coffee hour; designate a portion of your committee budget; set up a decorative contribution box actively soliciting donations on Sunday morning. To reduce travel costs, arrange to car pool with a group from a neighboring congregation. Southwest Airlines has some cheap fares into Denver depending on originating location.

Registration and Fees: All fees must be received by the applicable registration deadline. We cannot accommodate walk-ins. You must pre-register using the downloadable forms available on the MDD website. Register early! Space is limited and when capacity is reached, registration will be closed. Your registration fee covers all meals, program and materials. Meals included are Friday dinner and Saturday lunch. A vegetarian option is available. If you have other dietary restrictions, please bring what you need. The Fairfield Inn provides a hearty breakfast for guests.

Cancellation Policy: Registration fees are non-refundable after January 10 2011, event cancellation notwithstanding. Should weather conditions in Denver force cancellation or event delays, a voice message will be posted on the district phone (303) 756-1378. Refund requests due to personal emergency will be addressed after all event expenses are paid.

Accessibility: The main floor of the First Universalist Church of Denver is fully accessible, the site of all activity. If you require hearing assistance or large print program schedule, please note that on your registration form. There’s plenty of parking and the church is on a major city bus line.

Special Add-On Day for Religious Professionals: (Friday, Noon-4pm): Separate registration form and additional $25 fee required. Childcare provided with reservation. Bring a bag lunch. This program on Spiritual Leadership is designed for religious professionals. An abbreviated version is available to all during the Saturday afternoon workshop sessions.

Lodging: Please make your reservation directly with the hotel by Jan 10, 2011 to receive the discounted rate.

The Fairfield Inn & Suites Cherry Creek, 1680 South Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO 80222.
Reservations: 1-800-690-9799 or direct with hotel at 303-691-2223

A discounted rate of $64 night per room (plus 14.85% local tax) has been secured with the hotel and includes a warm hearty breakfast. Please make your reservations directly with the hotel by January 10 and be sure to mention “MDD” in order to secure the reduced rate. If you get snagged, ask to speak with Corey Lozano. The hotel is on a major bus line, a five minute ride to First Universalist Denver located on the corner of S. Colorado and Hampden.

Ground/Air Transportation: All events take place at the First Universalist Church of Denver, 4101 East Hampden Avenue, Denver, CO 80222 located at the intersection with South Colorado Blvd. Shuttle transportation is available through Super Shuttle, reservations recommended: 800-258-3826.. For driving directions to the church, visit their website, Please be sure to schedule an afternoon departure so you can attend Sunday morning worship (9:30 or 11:30).