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GA 2005

The following has been posted to the UUA Site, as well as RadicalHapa, Philocrites, and FUUSE.


An open letter to UU youth of color and UU people of color who attended Fort Worth General Assembly and the broader UU community:

At General Assembly in Fort Worth, there were several incidents that reminded us that we have much work to do in our journey to becoming an anti-racist, anti-oppressive, and multicultural association. We, the UUA Board of Trustees, want to express deep sadness and regret that these incidents took place.

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Here it is folks: My candidates forum speech, that apparantly made some people think I was “wierd” and some think “fabulous”.
I am Donald Wilson, member of the Church of the Larger and Younger Fellowships.
General Assembly is billed as the Gathering of Congregations. I come to GA as a hunter and gatherer of ideas. I am an Idea Junkie. General Assembly is where UU leaders of all kinds come together, share ideas, and learn from each other. General Assembly is a sacred space, where the spirit and passion of each of us to do the good work of our faith is amplified, showing what we can do for each other, and in the wider world.
Every year when I leave GA, it’s that amplification of spirit that drives me through the rest of the year, and helps get that good work done in my UU communities, and in the Heartland district where I work. In Heartland, and in the re-combination of the the districts of Michigan and Ohio Valley before, it has been my job to take the ideas of those I work with, those I serve, and those I minister to, consume those ideas, build them, and make them Real.
Those ideas have dealt with youth and young adult ministries being built from scraps, conferences, working to design and redesign an entire district structure, and events anywhere from under a hundred to ten times that, from small group ministries to district assemblies.
I work daily with the same technologies that bring GA to our congregants back home, and helping those that DON’T understand these technologies be aware of how to use them. Donald Wilson is tech support. I manage your mailing lists, websites, I’ve also worked in the theatre, in publishing, and truly dabble in all of the communication arts, and beleive in making the ideas we dream at GA available and accessible to as many people as possible, so our dreams become Real.
A few years ago, I heard a sermon that has followed me. Just as the Heartland District was born, with the prospect of still more hard work before us, the Velvateen rabbit asked the skin horse “What is Real?”
To which the skin horse replied “Real isn’t how you’re made. It’s a thing that happens to you.”
The good work we do makes us real. We make Real things happen.
I beleive the role of the GA Planning Committee is simple: What you dream, be ours to do. The GA Planning Committee makes things Real.
Make me Real. Let me take your dreams for our General Assembly and its Gathering of congregations, and make Them Real too. Be Real, and Keep the Faith.
Thank you.

Proposed Study Action Issue 5, Moral Values for a Pluralistic Society, had its congregational support withdrawn after the Commission on Social Witness made its edits and modifications. Well, that might have stopped any other leading SAI, but the GA Youth Caucus (yes, the entire thing), stood behind mic 5, and have by the applause-o-metre tipped the scales. Jerry Davidoff followed them on that mic with “I know that speaking after the Youth Caucus is much like being asked to preach after Christmas”. Jerry is a delegate from the Church of the Larger Fellowship, who got a few fox calls when he introduced himself as such.

More coming I hope.

Note: Wake up earlier, the line @ the Corner Bakery is long.

Currently in the Uncommon Denomination #2004 workshop, talking about the Uncommon Denomination Advertising campaign. I’ve heard some people don’t think the campaign is reflective of UU’s. I think it will at least do no harm, and is a good start.

[rant]There is a website, http://www.uuhouston.org , that the group doing the campaign did NOT put on the billboards because it was “too long”. Bullshit. It’s perfect. UU Houston. City names are immediatly rememberable. Whatever.[/rant]

Interest – Worship – Fellowship – Covenant – Commitment – Leadershipt – Evangelize
On the screen right now. This is a best practices model that comes from a book, not published by a UU, that was the model used by the marketing team. Another book: Marketing for Congregations, Phil Cotler and Gus Rath.

I asked: does the marketing team have demographic info on the new members collected as a result of the ad campaign. The answer: annecdotal only. They targeted the 25-55 age group and different congregations are reporting slightly different results within that.

The Other Side of the Brige #2039
Co-Sponsored by The UU Mens Network and the UU Campus Ministry Offfice
Joseph Santos-Lyons is our moderator today. I’m convinced, and joined the UU Men’s Network.

This post will be edited several times through the day.

Once again, hotels are booked solid. More than I thought previously. There are people (including Chris Trace of the Commission on Social Witness who RUN a good chunk of the business at GA) who are driving an hour in from Dallas each morning. Also, everything within 2 blocks of the convention centre closes by 5 or 6 in the evening. When will the GA Planning Committee learn to look at local stores and their hours, especially those within walking distance? At least this year there are things near the hotels, unlike in Nashville. Last night we attempted to eat at the Cactus bar and Grill, and were ignored for over 10 minutes at our table. No one even came by to tell us they were our server. So we left and went to Chilis instead and had a wonderful waiter who helped me select Rahr’s Red, a local beer. Very good.

There are a few places with free internet access that I’ve found, although none close to the hotel yet. I’m in Kinko’s now doing work for the YA/CM booth, and using the free access here. The Houston Street Coffee House has it and good coffee, but closes at 5pm. The Cyber Cafe in the GA Exhibit Hall will be another place to frequent.

The Corner Bakery Cafe is WONDERFUL. They have awesome bagels, are friendly, and make my drinks right. There may be net access there as well, from the Mariott above it.

NEWS FLASH BATMAN! There is a small market on Throckmorton, for the people that need to buy groceries.

Lunch time
Coffee Haus again, this time sitting, waiting for sandwiches for myself and to deliver to Tessie. This place is packed with UUs. Coffee Coffee Coffee indeed. I’ve met with several people. Chris Trace is scheduled to meet w/ the Young Adult caucus tomorrow, wearing both his YA and Social Witness hats. He deserves it. He’s put so much work into the Social Witness group, he’s had to forgo much of his YA self. I’m hoping as his term ends, he’ll he able to be that young adult. Tim Murphy, Susan and Robert Smith, JohnnyFire and Erik David I’ve all come across. Still no sign of Miss Gini. I had a brief meeting with Linda Freidman, just to talk about what the GA Planning Committee does. Buttons are starting to be distributed.

We are checked into our hotel. Clarion, room 812 if anyone needs me. Problem: We have a king size bed, have 4 people booked for the room, the entire city is booked solid, and we’ve offered space to another person to boot.

I’ve found Robert and Susan Smith, who are important to find. Robert has been appointed to the YRUU Youth Council. You heard it here first folks, things are gonna change. Things always do when Robert shows up. I love the man, as he and I share many values in UUism, one of which is not caring if people like us.

All registered, and have my voting card so I can wave it with everyone else when Gini says to. I’m currently hanging out outside a forum involving Bill Sinkford for the Leadership Days, and have seen several people I’ve needed to connect with. No sign of Madam Moderator.

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