Last-minute GA information

Last-minute information about General Assembly 2010, to be held June 23–27 in Minneapolis, can be found here. It includes information about the GA schedule, business agenda, the convention center, nearby restaurants, public transportation options, and travel from the airport.

Follow GA on Twitter and Facebook. UU World’s GA Blog will follow developments in GA business, social justice, and other issues daily.

For information on how your congregation can watch GA events live at home, read this InterConnections article.

General Assembly registration fees increase May 1

Registration fees for attending General Assembly, June 23–27 in Minneapolis, go up on May 1. Before that, adult registration is $310 and youth registration is $185. Costs increase to $355 and $210, respectively, as of May 1.

The 88-member Bismarck-Mandan UU Fellowship and Church, Bismarck, North Dakota, is sending 14 people to GA. The congregation is paying full registration fees for all of them.

President Janis Cheney said the congregation is growing and leaders recognized that the Minneapolis GA, just a few hours down I-94, presented a not-to-be-missed opportunity to expose members to a large gathering of UUs and to bring home information about welcoming, leadership, and other topics.

Members who had been to previous GAs held information sessions after church. Those who indicated interest were asked to attend one or two pre-GA meetings to review the agenda and also participate in post-GA sessions including one or more Sunday service presentations.

“Our board considers this an unparalleled opportunity for making connections and growing in understanding of our faith tradition,” said Cheney. “We hope it will be an energizing and inspiring experience that will translate into greater engagement and development for those who attend and through them, for our entire congregation.”

Earth Day resources available

For congregations planning events around the 40th anniversary of Earth Day in April, the UU Ministry for Earth has developed an Earth Day resource packet. Earth Day itself is Thursday, April 22, and many congregations will hold events that week or the weekend before or after.

The resource packet includes information on the UUA’s current Congregational Study Action Issue “Ethical Eating: Food and Environmental Justice,” fair trade products, labor issues, and organic food. It also has an Earth Day order of service cover and insert, and a certificate to honor your Congregational Eco-Hero.

There is also information on what other congregations are doing and ways to engage your own community. You can share what your congregation is doing for Earth Day by registering the event and by emailing the UU Ministry for Earth photos and information about how the event went.

The Ministry for Earth is also encouraging congregations to hold a special collection to support its ongoing work.

General Assembly 2010 registration open

Registration and housing reservations open this Monday, March 1, for General Assembly 2010, which will be June 23–27 in Minneapolis. Registration is $310 for adults. Youth, retired ministers, and aspirant and candidate ministers pay $185. Find complete information here.

More information is on the GA blog, including details about GA events and logistics. There is also an email list, UUA-GA, for information and questions about GA, and an audio podcast. This year you can also follow GA on Twitter as well as Facebook.

This year most business sessions, also known as plenaries, are on the weekend to make it easier for delegates to participate. All GA workshops, around 190, will be on Thursday and Friday. More information on that is here.

UUA President the Rev. Peter Morales will lead the worship service on Sunday morning, and the Rev. Paige Getty of the UU Congregation of Columbia, Md., will lead the Service of the Living Tradition on Thursday. Other speakers this year will include Native American activist and two-time vice presidential candidate for the Green Party Winona LaDuke, presenting the Ware Lecture. UU songwriter Peter Mayer will be part of the opening ceremony.

The Rev. Dr. Galen Guengerich, senior minister of All Souls Church UU in New York City, will follow up last year’s popular UU University program track, Theology for a Secular Age, with a new, eight-part workshop series entitled The Necessity of Virtue. There will be no UU University this year.

The GA service project will be helping residents of Minneapolis’ Phillips neighborhood, less than a mile from the convention center, with landscaping, painting, installing walkways, and similar projects. GA participants will be invited to sign up for blocks of time during GA.

In a separate project, local UU congregations will begin building a Habitat for Humanity house in the Twin Cities in June through a UU Service Committee JustWorks camp.  GA participants are invited to come a week early to help with that. Go to the UUSC JustWorks website for details later this winter. There will probably not be opportunities for GA attendees to work on this house the week of GA. Funds will be solicited for both the service project and the Habitat house.

Church’s ‘Wellness Day’ draws big crowd

At the North Parish of North Andover, Mass., the Rev. Lee Bluemel organized a “Wellness Day” this spring and opened it to the community. She invited yoga instructors, life coaches, massage therapists, Reiki practitioners, and others to offer their services.

For a $25 fee congregants and people from the larger community could sample the offerings. There were workshops from “What is the Goddess Tradition?” to “Finding Your Creative Light,” plus health and wellness assessments.

“What sparked the idea for me really was an awareness of how many healing arts practitioners we have in the congregation,” says Bluemel.

She adds, “Despite the tough economic climate, this event was a winner. First, it was a fundraiser for the congregation––raising almost $2,000. Second, it brought people from the community into our church, some of whom are now attending services. Third, it helped practitioners make connections with new clients and each other. And finally, it made healing services available to people who normally could not afford them at a time when most people need self care. The feedback was positive from the participants and this event may become a yearly tradition at North Parish.”