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Bridging Day becomes Car Repair Day becomes Baby Day: General Assembly 2010 Day 3

Some days just do not go as planned, even when you plan meticulously. In my case, I am trying to encounter this year’s General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations with as little planning as possible. If you have only a minimal plan, and the plan goes awry, then you are already in a space to think and move creatively.

This day at GA began with a Plenary session, where the major agenda item was the consideration of the Creating Peace Congregational Study Action Issue / Statement of Conscience(CSAI). I have been inhabiting this issue for over three years, first as an interested military member and seminary student, then as a preacher invited specifically to preach in congregations studying this CSAI on issues of war and peace, and then as a member of the CSAI Core Team, doing research that led to the original draft of the Statement of Conscience.

I sat in (but did not actively participate) in the mini-assembly on this issue on Thursday Morning. I wanted to allow other voices to be heard, as I had been involved in so much of this project already. I had every intention to keep my silence in the debate, until an amendment came up that would have removed the “confession” section of the Statement, where we acknowledge that, as a faith, we have not always been our best selves around the issues of peace and war. I spoke against that amendment, focusing on the importance to the soldiers I hope to introduce the statement to that we admit our own failings and struggles, as they may be wrestling with some of their own. I was pleased to see that language of confession remain in the document.

The Statement of Conscience overwhelmingly passed, a relief after the original version was referred back last year. I was honored to play a small role in its development, and learned a great deal through the process… and it will be awhile before I get involved in a Statement of Conscience process again. I’ll need a break…

I then had the privilege to have lunch with the outgoing minister of the congregation where I am now the incoming interim minister. It was a wonderful conversation with a wonderful woman and minister, and that is all I’m going to say about that.

There is a wonderful dynamic that happens for newly fellowshipped ministers in the UUA. On Thursday night, you have the wonderful, joyous event of the Service of the Living Tradition, where you receive preliminary fellowship and are formally accepted as ministers by the association. Wonderful, joyous moment. The following afternoon, you meet with the representatives of the Association and the Ministerial Fellowship Committee, and they tell you about the long and somewhat involved process of making it from Preliminary Fellowship to Final Fellowship… It is a wonderful moment of humility inspiring scheduling, and I want to commend whoever came up with that timing so many moons ago. Priceless!

When I got back from taking a colleague to the airport in the early afternoon, my car quit working. Entire electrical system, no juice. After checking every fuse in the car (and missing the CLF Worship Service, unfortunately) I finally thought to check the battery… and wouldn’t you know it. I was rescued by a fellow UU and military veteran named Vince who took me to an auto parts place for a new battery… and that worked. Now we will see if it was just the battery, or something else (please don’t be the alternator!)

I made it a little late to the Baby Shower for a ministerial colleague, and it was a wonderful time of fellowship, of meeting, and of re-meeting. Many of those attending I had met before, but at a time when I would not remember much at all (because it was my MFC interview). They were very gracious as I re-met them. Oh, and my friend is having a Baby!

The baby shower made me miss the Meadville Lombard Alumni Dinner, and that is okay, others went and told me about it… including the new video that has a picture of me in it. Yes, before anyone else asks, they had my permission. It’s all okay. I would have been at the Dinner, but they happen every year, and my friend’s first baby shower happens only once. I did try to get to the Alumni dinner Lalitha, I really did… I swear. Cross my heart. Pinky promise. Please don’t hurt me…

I ended my evening sitting in the lobby of one of the hotels, reminiscing with a group of members of my internship congregation, and then taking the long route to the car (now working) by stopping to talk to colleagues and friends. One of my colleagues, known as the Earthbound Spirit in the UU Blogging World, said something to me that is still making me cry. You touched my heart ES, and I will remember what you said, when I have to make decisions about the levels of risk I am willing to run as a military chaplain. I swear. Cross my heart. Pinky promise. Please don’t hurt me if it happens anyway…

So, I don’t have a lot to report on the overall GA of Day three… because it was a really personalized day for me. I will say that it was a day of relationship, of building new ones, of celebrating others, and of having colleagues and friends move into our well seated relationships to say things to me that needed saying. That kind of relationship is more what Unitarian Universalism is, to my mind, than anything else we may do at General Assembly.

Yours in Faith,

Rev. David

One Thought on “Bridging Day becomes Car Repair Day becomes Baby Day: General Assembly 2010 Day 3

  1. Ah, David. Don’t cry. Just be the best chaplain you can be. I respect your call – but I also see in you one of the finest minds (and most generous hearts) of this generation of ministers. You will remain in my prayers…

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