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"I felt so alive and so called to the UU mission."

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May 19, 2012

June 9, 2012

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September OWL Facilitator Trainings
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November OWL Facilitator Training
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Hold the Date 

Presidents & Ministers Convocations: August 29 (MBD) / August 30 (CBD) 

Congregational Staff Team Start Ups: September 12 (MBD) / September 13 (CBD)

Gatherings of Boards - retreats for multiple boards together: August 25 / September 22 / October 13


Religious Educators and Ministers Collegial Conversation: February 27


Leadership Summit: March 23


Renewing Our Commitment to Multicultural Ministries: May 18, 2013  

Details TBD 
Renaissance Module on UU Identity - March date TBD

Small Congregations Development Initiative

Adjunct Consultancy Training

Leap of Faith Initiative

Regional Youth Ministry Initiative

Learning Congregation Workshops

Districts Assembly

Recipe for Revival   

Doug Zelinski
by Doug Zelinski, Director of Leadership Development

We worship together to revive our senses, to renew our reverence for the mystery and miracle of our very existence. In this way, every worship service is a revival.

Last month, in an unprecedented move, the Clara Barton and Mass Bay Districts held their District Assemblies together, in the same place at the same time. There is much that could be said about the spirit of respect, appreciation and cooperation that the 200 delegates and participants from both districts conveyed to one another.  But the profound experience of the day was their revival.  As one participant exclaimed:   

Frankly, I was blown away! I came expecting a boring meeting and arrived at the best worship service I have experienced in way too long. I was moved, challenged, healed; filled up. I am so very grateful. I had not realized how much I was running on empty.


New Director of Congregational Development   

Rev. John Gibb MillspaughWe are pleased to announce that beginning in August 2012 the Rev. John Gibb Millspaugh will become Mass Bay & Clara Barton Districts' Acting Director of Congregational Development. Rev. Beth Miller, the Districts' previous Director of Congregational Development, retired in January.

John is and will remain part-time co-minister of Winchester Massachusetts Unitarian Society with his partner, the Rev. Sarah Gibb Millspaugh. Now in his tenth year of ordained ministry, John previously served the Tapestry congregation in Mission Viejo, California. He will be serving part-time with Districts.

In the late 1990s John was the UUA President's Assistant for Public Witness. He later earned a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard's Kennedy School. After studying with Ronald Heifetz, John went on to help introduce Heifetz's "Adaptive Leadership" to our movement. He edited the Skinner House book A People So Bold, a collection of essays on theologies and ministries of justice. In 2011, he chaired the effort that led the UUA 2011 Statement of Conscience "Ethical Eating: Food and Environmental Justice."


We are so pleased that John is joining our team! Please join us in welcoming John to the District staff.     

Recipe for Revival - continued from above    

FeatureOn that day we joined together in worship before and after the business meetings. It could even be said that the business meetings were a 45-minute interlude amid 90 minutes of spiritual revival. This revival included two sermons, fifteen congregationally sung hymns, six musical interludes, projected images, and two separate "congregations" joined as one. There was clapping, swaying, and foot stomping; laughter, tears and sacred silence.

How did we reserved New Englanders take to this much and this kind of worship? In the follow up evaluations we received from 82 of the 199 attendees, 95% recommended others attend a similar event; 40% said it met their expectations and 54% said it exceeded theirs. Immediately following the event, attendees' most common response beyond appreciation was a request to bring the recipe for revival back to their own congregations. 

So here is that recipe.
Many of our congregations already follow this or a similar recipe but it is always good to read the reviews of those who have reported a "delicious" experience.  As reported in the survey of attendees, these are the critical ingredients for a revival of the spirit that can be incorporated into worship services anywhere.  

  1. Music with beats that quicken our pulse and melodies that open our hearts.
  2. Lots of congregational singing that compels us to breathe as one body and voice our shared aspirations.
  3. Sermons that fill the emptiness we don't even realize we have.
  4. Projected images beyond hymn lyrics - images that revive our capacity to see what is holy about life.
  5. Evidence of connection to our UUs in other congregations so we know we are not alone and neither are they.
  6. Worship space that can lift us out of "ordinary time" and suspend us in uncommon experience.
  7. A smooth and practiced flow of ritual that conveys a commitment to excellence even as it accommodates mishaps and mistakes.
  8. A departing feeling of renewal, of connection to our purpose, and of the call to live out our UU values. 

Bring these ingredients together with a humble anticipation of grace and an openness to the unpredictable workings of the spirit and you have worship that renews and revives.

As summer approaches and many of our congregations adjust their worship schedules and styles, it is important to remember that the need to revive our connection to the mystery and miracle of existence takes no vacation. We can be running on empty at any time of the year. So adjust the recipe to meet your circumstances but never skimp on making the experience "delicious."