I’ve uploaded a few new photos to my GA set on Flickr–mostly faces of Prairie Star folks I’ve run into. I’m also in the middle of two days of Pre-GA activities. Yesterday was a day-long meeting of the district staff. There’s more of us each time we meet, and always new faces: we were happy to be joined by Benette Sherman, the new program consultant for the newly consolidated district of New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine. Benette served the UU Fellowship in Ames, Iowa as religious educator. Both Nancy Heege and I are sorry to see her leave the district, but we’re thrilled to have her as a colleague on the district staff. One of the highlights for me from yesterday’s meeting was the breakout groups on various topics of interest we generated at the meeting. I’ll share the list of topics to give you some idea of the kinds of things we discuss at these meetings:

  • National strategy for small church vitality.
  • New and emerging congregations.
  • Campus ministry at district level.
  • Services to large churches.
  • Technology/web/blogging.
  • UUMA conversations about negotiated resignations.
  • Integrating clergy leadership in district work.
  • Policy governance on the district level.

We also added “Sustainability” to our list of topics. I took part in that conversation, and I facilitated the discussion on Technology/web/blogging. A couple of good suggestions that grew out of those groups involved having specific questions for year-end self evaluation along the lines of, “What new technology did you start using in your job over the past year?” and “What changes have you made in the way you do you job to lessen the impact on the environment?”

And today was the first day of Ministry Days, the annual meeting of UU ministers for fellowship and continuing education. This year’s presenter was the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. He made a terrific and inspiring presentation this morning, and he hardly mentioned Barack Obama.