Friday, January 30, 2009

minister's retreat

I returned yesterday afternoon from a 4-day minister's retreat for the Pacific Southwest District Chapter of the Unitarian Universalist Minister's Association. We met in nearby Palos Verdes at a Catholic retreat house operated by the Daughters of Mary and Joseph. For this retreat, as is our pattern, we met in conjunction with the local LREDA Chapter.

Monday started with a lunch meeting of the Chapter leaders. I'm the Secretary of the Chapter so I attended. Then as everyone else gathered and the retreat officially started I led an ingathering worship service, and then facilitated Introductions and a check-in that took the rest of the afternoon.

Monday evening I drove back up to Los Angeles to attend Gay Men's Chorus rehearsal, while back at the retreat, our invited guests, UUA Presidential candidates Peter Morales and Laurel Hallman, spoke to the retreat group.

Tuesday morning we continued our time with Revs. Morales and Hallman. Having missed the previous evening this was my first chance to listen to the candidates in depth. I was impressed with both but I was persuaded to support Rev. Morales and will vote for him in the election in Salt Lake this June. I'll post more about my decision later but briefly I resonated with Morales' view that now is a time for major and swift change at the UUA.

Tuesday afternoon we broke into small groups to further explore our own ideas about the issues raised that morning and the previous evening by the candidates.

Tuesday evening we had free time. I sat in the main meeting room with a group of 8 or so colleagues and we chatted together.

Wednesday morning we had a sample of intergenerational worship led by Rev. Erika Hewitt (Goleta), followed by a workshop on how to conduct effective intergenerational worship led by Rev. Clyde Grubbs and DRE Mary Jane Holden (Throop Church - Pasadena). Wednesday afternoon we had our chapter business meeting. Wednesday evening we heard what's called an "Odyssey" which is a personal history of ministry from one of our senior colleagues, in this case Rev. Jay Atkinson (Studio City).

Thursday morning we heard from a panel of speakers addressing the current economic situation focusing on the issue from cultural, spiritual, pastoral care, and institutional perspectives, followed by questions and discussion. We could have spent a lot more time on that. And then before noon, Rev. Anne Hines (Canoga Park) and I led a closing worship. The retreat ended with good-byes and people picking up sack lunches for the road.

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