Unitarian Universalist Songleaders Convergence 2020
UPDATE May 1 : DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, THIS CAMPAIGN HAS BEEN CLOSED. ANY PLEDGES MADE WILL NOT BE PROCESSED. THANK YOU.
UPDATE 4/29: It is with heavy hearts that we must share with you that the Association for Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries Annual Conference in Ann Arbor has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the first time in 38 years that we will not gather together to share our riches of talent and friendship. Read the full statement here.
We’re excited to bring the Songleaders Convergence back to the Association for Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries Conference to share skills, best practices, wisdom, and of course, songs! The Convergence offers days of learning and networking to nurture a deeper culture of community singing in our congregations and wider community.
We’re asking our wider UU community to help us with a match grant. A match grant means that if we meet our $6,000 goal, the UU Funding program will match it with ANOTHER $6,000! This means if you give $20, you’re actually contributing $40!
We’re inviting songleaders from across our Faith and all those who love community singing to converge for what promises to be a transformative gathering of resonance, harmony, and rhythm. The Convergence scholarship opportunities are aimed at making it possible for new leaders and participants of color who may not otherwise have the chance to participate to be with us in a community of growth and welcome.
Money raised will provide scholarships for leaders and participants of color and for first time attendees to the AUUMM Conference.
What can attendees expect?
- Confident & invitational songleading
- Songleading for worship and in the streets
- Deepening cultural context, story, worship, and preaching through songleading
- Harmony singing, vocal technique, circle songs, and more!
- Ministers and seminarians
- Religious Educators
- Choir members and singers
- Musicians both professional and recreational
- Anyone leading or wanting to lead songs in worship, around the dinner table, at the board meeting, or in the streets
Help Midwife Seminarian...
Peace and civility can only be manifested through forging personal relationships by way of interfaith dialogs, across secular lines, and taking our message of peace into the public square. I consider myself an artist of that ministry.
Sunrise Lake Michigan Painting
I see myself as a religious leader, poised through my training to teach people how to forge relationships civilly and bring about real change. I am to respond to situations of growth, conflict and change pastorally and creatively. The degradation of peace is often lost in the discourse when people are afraid to sit in discomfort in order to make this world just. So often peace is equated with ease. Peace comes in examining problematic behaviors in ourselves and our communities.
Weaving together marketing, arts and public relations with ministry has been the way I’ve shaped my vision to grow peace and civility in today’s world. I enroll people in our movement for peace by making it voluptuous, gorgeous and reverent. When humans are engaged by splendor, they are in a better space to hear one another and can engage in the deep listening required to reach peace in our hearts and actions. Art and beauty invite people in. It softens the discomfort. I affirm what Toni Cade Bambarayou says: “The role of the artist is to make the revolution irresistible.” As an artist of ministry, I use all my tools to make our movement irresistible. Won’t you support me, so I can take this next step toward becoming an artist of ministry on the canvas of our movement?
I see the MFC on December 6. I travel to Boston. I have had to prepare tests, reviews, photos, and more to get to the MFC. Now I need to travel, eat, take transportation and lodging while there. Your donation of any amount will help.
All who donate $100 or more will receive a postcard set of five of my art prints suitable for framing.
I have spent decades sharing our ideologies outside of our churches in places where people are struggling. Knowing how to harness the power of media is necessary to our movement. When we dance, sing and display beauty outside the church walls, we can appeal to people and open their hearts.
Autumn Trees: Falling Forward Reaching Back
Systems of oppression need to be dismantled and that only comes from 1:1 relationship. If we cannot love our mother earth, our transgender siblings, our unhomed neighbors, our queer children and our immigrant cousins as much as we love our god, how will we claim grace?
I answer this question with the sentiments of Alfred S. Cole and John Wesley: “Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike?”
It is in that loving, carrying beauty in one hand and our message of peace in the other across lines of faith, that we will bring about true and lasting peace.
Please come with me on this journey.
Fund Hope: Sponsor an Incarcerated UU
Thank you so much for supporting our Faithify campaign and for your interest in learning more about what Prison Ministry at the Church of the Larger Fellowship is like. This Faithify campaign is so important to the incarcerated members of the CLF. What we’re asking you to do is support the membership of our over 1,000 incarcerated UUs who live behind prison walls all across the country.
Through our Worthy Now Prison Network, we are able to provide vital programming for people who live in various forms of incarceration across the United States. In practice and on principle, we do not ask for membership dues from any of our incarcerated members. The programming we offer comes in the form of receiving a variety of printed material which includes:
- Two prison ministry newsletters a year
- A printed copy of the UU World magazine
- A printed copy of the CLF Quest magazine
Every dollar you donate will be doubled!
Can you give $50 to fund hope today?
By contributing to the success of this Faithify Campaign,
you will be helping over 1,000 UUs living in prison.
Additionally, with your help, we are able to offer our UU incarcerated members a number of the Tapestry of Faith classes which we have converted into correspondence format. These rich materials supply valuable religious education to our incarcerated siblings. Perhaps the best thing of all is, after becoming members and completing the New UU Class, they are eligible to receive a pen-pal connection with a free-world person (that’s you).
These pen-pal relationships are often the lifeline for giving and sustaining hope within the prison walls. It is the connection to the Power of We that is so vital to our Unitarian Universalist faith. Can you imagine hearing that you’re worthy of love and justice inside a system that often dehumanizes your very presence?
The cost of all this programming is about $150 per person. It would mean so much to the lives of these members if you, your friends, or your congregation found it in you to sponsor an incarcerated member’s cost of $150 dollars. That is less than $0.50 a day to fund this hope-giving ministry to an incarcerated UU.
Maybe that’s a little bit too much, maybe fifty dollars is more in your price range. The truth is, whatever you can give every dollar counts, every dollar helps bring programming and the message of hope and love to people in prison all across this country.
We have over 1,000 incarcerated UU’s depending on us.
Can you give $50 or more to fund hope?
Maybe you don’t feel comfortable standing on street corners and professing your faith but perhaps you would feel comfortable blessing someone’s life with the hope of Unitarian Universalism today! Won’t you bless someone with a membership to the CLF who is living behind prison walls?
* Thanks to the generous challenge grants supported by the Unitarian Universalist Funding Program, every dollar given to this Faithify campaign will be matched.
Songleaders Convergence- Update
The Convergence brought in new people to the organization and expanded our mission and our organization in powerful ways.
“Building a Movement...
The “Building a Movement for a Green New Deal” conference is designed to spark conversation and action to bring about legislation which addresses the climate crisis and economic inequality. Hopefully after the 2020 election there will be an opportunity to enact powerful legislation which will move our country away from a carbon based systems and toward renewable energy while creating well paying jobs for all. This legislation can be found in House Resolution 109, known as “The Green New Deal”.
“Building a Movement for a Green New Deal” conference will provide the language and ideas for participants to build support for the Green New Deal and to bring this language back to their congregations and communities.
The conference begins September 15 at 11:15 a.m. after the Sunday service at All Souls Unitarian church in Washington D.C. Reverend Rob Keithan, the Justice minister at All Souls, will lead a program in grounding the efforts of “Building a Movement for a Green New Deal” in Unitarian Universalist values. This will be followed by a keynote panel discussion led by notable local Unitarian Universalist activists in the environmental movement. Following there will be a panel discussion of a coalition of UU organizations with UU’s Ministry for the Earth, UU’s for Social Justice and UU’s for a Just Economic Community discussing ways to work together toward a Green New Deal.
Partnering with UU’s for a Just Economic Community for the conference “Building a Movement for a Green New Deal” include: UU’s Ministry for the Earth, UU’s for Social Justice, All Souls Unitarian Church, UU Service Committee, UUA and Side with Love.
On September 16 after a light breakfast there will be presentations from experts and persons of influence speaking on the intersection of environmental and economic issues.
On September 17 at 8:30 am the conference participants will gather in the Capital Visitor’s Center to hear speakers, deliver letters to representative offices and speak with staff of the elected officials encouraging support for the Green New Deal.
Help Lift Up...
UU Retired Ministers and Partners Association (UURMaPA)
In recognition of the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising (June 28, 1969), the Unitarian Universalist Retired Ministers and Partners Association (UURMaPA) has launched a UU Rainbow History Project, focused on collecting and preserving the history and stories of LGBTQIA ministers, their partners, and allies.
Many of us have witnessed an amazing cultural shift over the past 50 years toward ever greater acceptance, inclusion, and celebration of LGBTQIA folk in our UU faith communities. Ministers have often led the way, and sometimes paid a harsh price for being in this vanguard. The stories are rich, stirring—and important.
But time is not an ally in this process, so we want to move quickly to document the remarkable transformation of the UUA into a welcoming and affirming faith for people of all relationship choices and gender expressions. We are reaching out to draw forth memories from folks who remember the times and have valuable perspective on this evolution. Stonewall inspires anew, here among us today, exactly 50 years later!
The UU Rainbow History Project has begun gathering memories, photographs, sermons and other memorabilia on a website (www.uurainbowhistory.net) and in social media. Soon we will be working on producing a book to document this significant turning point in UU history. And all materials will be placed in UU archives, so future generations can learn about this incredible story, hopefully from many firsthand testimonials.
We are also sponsoring two conferences during this 50th anniversary year and if the October event is anything like the one last February (see pix below), it will again be powerfully meaningful. One attendee at the first conference remarked afterward, “This was a wonderful perspective on LGBTQ history—a breathtaking journey—and very uplifting. We have come so far. And I am so proud of the pioneers who lived in the disdain of society and bore such a burden.”
All this productive activity has a price tag, though, especially the technical developments and support for attendance at our conferences. And UURMaPA (which exists entirely on donations) has limited funding. The UU Funding Program has gotten us started, but through this Faithify Campaign YOU can help ensure that what we discern and discover about this pivotal era can become part of an enduring UU Rainbow History Project. Many thanks for your support!
Catalyze the UU Climate Justice Movement
The Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth is the primary fiscal sponsor of the Create Climate Justice initiative — deeply engaged in ongoing partnership with the Unitarian Universalist Association and UU organizations across the denomination to strengthen and grow UU Climate Justice ministries to the scale required in response to the existential crises of climate change.
This “Catalyze the Movement” fundraising campaign will support baseline operating expenses of UUMFE and the Create Climate Justice initiative (namely payroll for dedicated staff time) and scholarships for young UUs and UUs of the global majority to attend important retreats and convergences over the next 3 months.
More about the upcoming convergences that this campaign will support:
August 4-9th – the “Climate Justice: Extending our Reach” program at The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center in Highlands, NC will be an imporant time for in-depth learning and relationship building for the UU climate justice movement. Funds donated to this campaign will support 3-5 UUs of color and young UUs to attend this program.
August 22-26th – the InterNātional Initiative for Transformative Collaboration grassroots gathering “For Generations to Come” will be an inter-cultural, inter-faith convergence for peoples of all Nations – friends, allies, & relatives in the Sacred Black Hills (Paha Sapa). This gathering is an effort manifesting through years of relationship building and collaboration between UUs, Indigenous frontline community members, and partners, based upon an invitation into partnership that emerged at the Standing Rock Oceti Sakowin Camp. This will be a transformative and invaluable experience; funds donated will support UU partnership and participation in this effort.
September 15-17 – a strong UU coalition is hosting a program in Washington, DC focused on the Green New Deal and its underlying goals of creating economic justice and climate justice. A Green New Deal would create a necessary pathway for a Just Transition to an ecological civilization
The event will include worship, workshops, a keynote speaker, and an advocacy day on Capitol Hill. Hosting coalition partners include UUs for Just Economic Community, UUs for Social Justice, UU Ministry for Earth, UU Service Committee, All Souls Church Unitarian – D.C., and the UUA. Funds raised will support UUs of color and young UUs to be part of this program. (Photo Credit – Grist – Amelia Bates)
This campaign is also the online-component to a fundraising and speaking tour that UU Ministry for Earth is currently embarking on throughout Oregon and Washington:
UUMFE will be speaking at seven congregations throughout Oregon and Washington, leading up to the 2019 General Assembly in Spokane, to inspire and fortify the UU Climate Justice Movement and elevate the voice of the 11-year-old UU plaintiff to the historic Juliana v US constitutional climate lawsuit, Levi Draheim. UUMFE Program Director Aly Tharp, and “valve turner” Board Member Leonard Higgins will also be featured speakers and facilitators throughout the tour.
Numerous tour stops will include eco art builds to create beautiful and inspiring art pieces for the Procession of the Species event that UUMFE will host at the Spokane Convention Center & Riverfront Park on Thursday, June 20th at 5:30 pm.
The tour stops are:
- June 6th, First Unitarian Church, Portland, OR, 6:30 – 9 pm (doors at 6 pm) – vegan potluck begins at 6:30 and presentation begins at 7:30 pm
- June 9th, UU Church in Eugene, OR, 10 am worship service, 11:30 am after-church potluck, 12-12:45 presentation, 12:45-3 pm art build with eco-muralist Esteban Camacho-Steffensen, multi-media artist Patti Warner, and UUMFE Program Director Aly Tharp.
- June 10th, UU Fellowship of Corvallis, OR – 6:30 potluck and 7:30 presentation
- June 14th, Bellingham UU Fellowship, Bellingham, WA, 6:30 potluck and 7:30 presentation
- June 15th, East Shore Unitarian Church, Bellvue, WA, 11 am – 12:30 pm potluck and presentation, followed by a carpool/caravan to the Lummi Totem Pole Journey event in Seattle at 1 pm
- June 16th, University Unitarian Church, Seattle WA, 10 am worship service, 11:30-12:30 pm presentation
- June 16th, Woodinville UU Church, 3-4:30 eco-art build, 4:30 – 6 pm presentation, 6-7 pm potluck
Please help make this tremendous June fundraising effort a smashing success! Our planet and our hearts are calling for a strong, spiritually grounded transformative movement for Climate Justice. Only together and only with financial backing to manifest this vision can we make this happen. $10K is the baseline goal for this campaign — our stretch goal is $30K! Thank you for your support.
DRUUMM 2018 Fall Gathering
School sessions have begun. Churches, fellowships, and communities hold gatherings to welcome folks back into communion and a regularly scheduled worship program year. Seminarians and college students have started classes, are paying their tuitions. Intern ministers have just settled into new homes, in new towns, in new states to serve new congregations part-time. Many newly ordained ministers have also moved, maybe they are planning to go before the MFC, maybe they are in search and haven’t settled yet. All of these new beginnings are necessary expenses on our paths to answer our calls. For lay leaders and congregants in our faith, life is just as full of expenses, often unexpected and costly. These costs should not keep anyone from gathering in intentional community to rest, refresh, and renew their souls so they can stay in the fight to dismantle white supremacy.
The DRUUMM Fall Gathering is not the usual Gathering – it’s not a conference, training, or working retreat. It’s a Homecoming; a time to embrace old friends and greet new ones. It’s a time to gather and feed our collective souls with community building and reinforcing. This year, we will gather at First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Antonio to reflect on the past, to envision the future, and to create meaningful worship centering ourselves and our experiences. We need to come together so we can go back out and do our best to help heal this world.
DRUUMM strives towards personal and social transformation of our members by providing sacred healing spaces, where we can heal from internalized racism and other oppression’s. We honor our suffering, grieving, and letting go through intentional emotional release and catharsis. Our Fall Gathering is a moment when, as a community, we come together to provide care, in supportive and sacred shared space, as we continue to work towards collective liberation and healing.
Fund Hope: Sponsor an Incarcerated UU
CLF incarcerated membership is rapidly growing, and this means that the cost to serve nearly 890 prison members has also increased. It costs the CLF at least $150 per prison member to provide UU programing, and we need the continued support of friends, members, and the community. Many individuals across the United States living in prison are hearing about Unitarian Universalism for the first time. Some learn about the UU message of acceptance and inclusivity through CLF outreach or from a friend, family, or a cell mate.
Can you give $25 or more today?
Every dollar you donate will be doubled! *
So by contributing to the success of this Faithify Campaign,
you will be helping over 130 UUs living in prison.
Your financial support of the CLF Prison Ministry provides vital programming and services to over 800 incarcerated Unitarian Universalists:
~Worthy Now Prison Ministry Newsletters
~Reading Materials from Skinner House and Beacon Press
~New UU Classes
~Tapestry of Faith RE Correspondence Classes
Your generous contributions also help the CLF Prison Ministry run its letter writing ministry, otherwise known as our pen pal program. This ministry provides one-on-one contact between UUs in the free-world (that is, you and me) and one of our members living in prison. There are about 300 of these letter writing partnerships, and we have free-world letter writers living all over the world. Every year thousands of letters are forwarded through the CLF office in Boston to our members living in prison. This program is the heart of our ministry—it is the lifeline to many of our members.
Because of your past support, membership has included something exciting and new this year:
We asked all of our members who are incarcerated what their number one justice issue is while living in prison. The response was heart-breaking: The cost of medical care for people who barely make a wage came up over and over again in the letters. From this information, the CLF team of delegates, volunteers, and staff organized to propose an Action of Immediate Witness (AIW) at the 2018 General Assembly. We are so excited to share that our AIW, Dismantle Predatory Medical Care Practices in Prisons and End Prisons for Profit, was one of the three AIWs that were chosen by the body of UU delegates.
Most importantly, this wouldn’t have happened without the response of our members living in prison. They gave us the information we needed to share with the delegates. It was their passion that led the call of our campaign and made it such a successful and rewarding way to live our UU values.
“Sharing this news with our members living in prison is the absolute highlight of my work at the CLF. What a blessing for all of us!”
—Mandy Goheen, Director of CLF Prison Ministry and Worthy Now Network
But that is not where the story ends. There are other justice issues our members share with us that are equally important. For example, they have described significant problems with living conditions, food, solitary confinement, guards, and so many other examples it’s hard to keep track of them all.
Mandy came across one that she thought all UUs would want to know about. In a religion that values learning so highly, it is important to know that access to information such as books and newspapers and religious materials and publications are all limited by the rules of each particular prison.
Our so-called Library here at Lumberton Correctional Institution, is a broom closet about 10 x 10 ft, there’s no table to do book research and no seating. And proper research books especially legal books are non-existent.
—Jackie Morehead, CLF Member whose facility only allows 5 books per person (including religious books)
One of the benefits of CLF membership is our reading packet program. In an amazing partnership with Beacon Press and Skinner House Books, we are able to send reading materials to our members in prison. Because of the many rules and regulations surrounding books in prisons, we can only do this by the generous sharing of text from Beacon Press and Skinner House Books of UU identified books. The CLF has permission to print a chapter at a time and share them in letter form. This way people like Jackie Moorehead have access to more books—more than what’s in a small broom closet.
But we need your help!
There is significant paper, printing and postage costs that go into this program.
By funding all or part of the $150 membership program cost,
you are amplifying our important message that people living in prison
are Worthy Now of Love and Justice.
Last year we sent over 641 reading packets to our members!
Wouldn’t it be cheaper to send books? Possibly, but prison regulations across the country are diverse and the rules around books are so complex that this is the best way for us to share Unitarian Universalism with our CLF members living in prison. Books such as Testimony; UU Humanist Voices in Unitarian Universalism; Amethyst Beach: Meditations; Our Seven Principles in Story and Verse; and Everyday Spiritual Practice ~ Simple Pathways for Enriching Your Life are bringing Unitarian Universalism to CLF members experiencing incarceration.
Can you give $25 or more to sponsor a UU experiencing incarceration?
* Thanks to the generous challenge grants supported by the Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock and Unity Church-Unitarian in St Paul Minnesota, every dollar given to this Faithify campaign will be matched.
UUMN Matching Grant
Healthy congregations are singing congregations! Congregations with thriving, vibrant music programs help us articulate our Unitarian Universalist identity because what we sing is who we are. The experience of music in worship – especially congregational singing – is what defines us for most people in the pews, because it’s the primary way they participate in the worship service. Growing resources that strengthen music ministry in our congregations is one of the easiest growth strategies we could possibly devise. But what do our congregations actually need in terms of resources, and how do we assess those needs?
In 2017, the UU Musicians Network received a grant from the UU Funding Program to fund a comprehensive survey of music programs in Unitarian Universalist congregations throughout North America, with the goal of identifying specific needs for resources and support. In order to best serve music ministry in our congregations, we need to know what’s actually happening in those congregations in terms of music programming and staffing. Our 1,000+ congregations vary wildly in their approaches to music ministry, and gaining practical knowledge of these approaches is crucial for determining institutional support for music ministry from both the UUMN and the UUA. The goal of this project is simple – to spend a year collecting as much data related to music ministry in our congregations as is possible. We need to know:
- Music program staffing (Volunteer? Paid? Hours per week worked? Relationship style with clergy? Participant in worship planning?),
Program Details (Choirs? Number of singers in each choir? Children’s programming? Other musical ensembles? Piano/organ/other instrumentation?)
- Budget for salaries and programs
- Repertoire (Which hymnal(s) used? Musical styles/traditions engaged? Needs/hopes for new music?)
- Is the person responsible for music ministry in the congregation a member of UUMN? If so, what’s the value of membership? If not, why not? Is UUMN membership/conference attendance supported through professional expenses? Is membership (and subsequent adherence to the UUMN code of ethics) a requirement of employment?
- Liturgical realities (Number of musical works in typical Sunday service? How does worship space support/hinder music ministry? What’s the typical worship planning process?
The UU Musicians Network is working with the Rev. Jason Shelton (composer, choral director, and music minister-at-large) to carry forward and complete the survey which is at the halfway point of completion. In order to finish the project, which will culminate in a series of reports to the UUMN Board and annual conference, and the leadership of the UUA, we need your help!
This FAITHIFY campaign will unlock a $5,000 matching grant from the UU Funding Panel, and those funds will be used to complete the project outlined above, resulting in an incredibly valuable collection of data that will shape the course of our faith community’s music ministry for years to come.