GA 09: Day Three
Motion calling for a shorter, more dynamic title for the denomination to be brought next year was passed. I supported this. See post below.
Two motions naming James McClelland and Eric Jones as Honorary Members.
That's about it.
We finally got somebody who actually knows something about growth to talk to us. Jane Dwinell, a small congregation specialist in the UUA (we're all small congregations in American church growth terms) spoke very well about a lot of good things. I was reading an Anglican book a while ago that was talking about the so-called "Decade of Evangelism" (1990s) being in fact more of a decade of learning about evangelism. I think that's kind of where we have been in the last few years, learning, thinking, not really doing. This can be a bit frustrating. But I hope we're moving on now. It's not brain surgery to learn best practice from thriving congregations in our community and in other communities.
Anyway it was all good. After lunch we split into region-defined groups and talked about various things, but came to no conclusions. It was alright, and good to see Kendal Unitarian Church's fantastic postcards they've just created, but I get a bit tired of such processes. I get tired of a room of 30+ people, all giving their opinions but with no sense that the group actually comes out with an end product. It's the kind of thing that happened at the Minister's conference too. I just get a bit tired of it.
Then we returned to the main room and talked about "elevator speeches" (we're yet to find a good Britishism for this) which is always fun. But much better to do the course Articulating Your UU Faith to do it a bit more intentionally.
Anyway, it got me thinking so I was able to give a good answer when I was asked to go and talk to a camera for a video that will be put on YouTube. I'll post it here, when it's online.
This was a bit of a strange session, not what I was expecting at all. It wasn't about congregational hospitality, but about 'opening our hearts.' At the risk of sounding a stiff-ass Brit it was all a bit American. We were asked to do some pretty raw sharing, and it was all very emotional, and a bit much. My worry was people were asked to dig out some pretty emotional stuff, and then the session just sort of ended. At a conference like Hucklow Summer School I could imagine this being pretty powerful. After such a session I could go for a long walk, talk to the chaplain, I could have time to process it all. But GA is not a time to process a lot of emotional stuff. It's much too busy and hectic, and not supportive or safe enough. I felt the session and context didn't hold the emotional baggage we were asked to unload well enough.
I was being welcomed onto the Roll of Ministers so was on the stage for part of the service. It was a nice service, but much too hot. Shame we couldn't be in a cool cathedral.