Monday Registration, Reception, and Welcome
Pick up your registration materials outside the Imperial Ballroom of the Kansas City Marriott Downtown anytime between 2:00 and 7:00 on Monday and stick around for our wonderful opening reception! Join your colleagues as we enjoy each other’s company, reconnect and sample food and music of Kansas City. This year we will have a game area which is family friendly where pastor parents, their partners and other members can gather with their children for games (people are encouraged to bring a favorite game). In the connected main space there will be food and conversation from 7:00-8:00 and live music from 8:00-9:30. We will all be together at 7:45 for a welcome from your UUMA Board.
Tuesday Opening Worship
Rev. Sara Ascher, Executive Director of the International Council of Unitarian Universalists and Rev. Roger Bertschausen, Executive Director of the Unitarian Universalist Partner Church Council, will serve as liturgists for our opening service. Rupaia Lamarr (former General Secretary of the Unitarian Union of North-East India and a recently retired professor of political science), Rev. Fulgence Ngadijimana (a minister of the Assembly of Unitarian Christians in Burundi and now a refugee in Canada seeking to transfer his standing) and Rev. Norbert Racz (Senior Minister of First Unitarian Church in Kolozsvár, the largest congregation in Transylvania) will take part in the service. They are part of the panel discussion exploring the intersection of theology, ethics and culture that will be Ministry Days’ keynote address. As is our tradition, we will joyfully celebrate the dedication of children in our collegial community during this worship service. If you would like to have your child dedicated during the service, please indicate so on your registration form or inform Janette Lallier, Director of Administration, at email@example.com by June 1.
Keynote: Torda450 Theological Dialogue
We are excited to be partnering with the International Council of Unitarian Universalists, the Unitarian Universalist Partner Church Council and the International Office of the Unitarian Universalist Association on our programming for Ministry Days. This partnership is enabling us to bring the theologians participating in the Torda450 year-long theological dialogue together for an additional conversation especially with and for Unitarian Universalist ministers. The focus of the conversation will explore the intersections of theology, ethics and culture. You can read about the five theologians participating in the dialogue and learn more about Torda 450 at https://www.uua.org/international/torda450/theological-reflection
About the Theologians:
Rupaia Lamarr is a church elder of the Unitarian Church of Jowai, North-East (NE) India, which is the pioneer church established in 1887 by founder Hajom Kissor Singh. He was born on 2 March, 1958 to a second generation Unitarian mother and an indigenous religion (Niam- tre) practicing father. He studied Politics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi and also has a degree in Law. Professionally he has taught Political Science in Government Colleges for 30 years and recently retired as Principal of Capt. Williamson Memorial Government College, Baghmara, Megalaya.
Rupaia is an active member of the Unitarian Community and from an early age has been greatly involved in church life. As a young adult he became involved in various executive and administrative offices of the church. His background of growing up in a home with parents practicing different religions has been instrumental in his spiritual growth. This fact along with his passion for an academic life led him towards becoming more involved in reading and having various discourses on religious philosophy, scriptures and academic work. His key areas of interest are that of Unitarian Identity, Spirituality, God, and having a conceptual understanding of church. He is also keenly interested and well versed upon the subject of the history and evolution of Unitarianism - Ka Niam Mane Wei Blei in NE India.
At present Rupaia is the Vice-Chairperson of the Church and the chairman of the Hymnal Committee. He is also a member of the Constitutional Review Committee and engaged in the leadership training of ministers and church workers. He has also participated in various seminars and conferences on Religion and Spirituality and has recently returned from the pilgrimage to Romania organised by UUPCC Rupaia resides in Jowai with his wife Dipty who is Hindu and daughter Kheinkor.
Rev. Ndagijimana Fulgence is an ordained Unitarian Minister from Burundi in the central part of Africa. He discovered the liberating Unitarian faith power when he was going through a time of doubt and restlessness as a young Dominican brother on his way to priesthood. He went on to found a Unitarian church in Bujumbura Burundi and became its ordained minister in 2011.
With the recent unrest in Burundi, the Unitarian church was targeted by the government; attacked and vandalized. The Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana was kidnapped, tortured, threatened to be killed and jailed. He managed to escape Burundi as a result a tremendous pressure from UUs around the world who signed petitions, wrote letters to the government to release him and later helped him leave the country.
Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana is passionate about our liberal faith. He is currently the vice president of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists (ICUU). Rev. Ndagijimana Fulgence is married to Therese and a proud father of Well Brown Bwigenge.
Ellen Nugroho is the mother of three homeschooled children living in Semarang, Central Java province of Indonesia. She was the co-founder of the Unitarian Christian Church of Indonesia when she was in high school. Now she is a Unitarian Universalist who firmly believe in the true one merciful and just G-d beyond any religious or ideological boundaries who entrusts in us the mission to repair ourselves and the world with lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness.
Ellen holds degrees of bachelor in law and master in philosophy. She is the author of two books: the theological “Not God but Lord” (2005) and the educational “A Thinking Love” (2012). She serves as the executive director of EIN Institute, a non-governmental organization working to promote pluralism especially among young people.
Dr. Stephanie Y. Mitchem was graduated from Northwestern University-Garrett Theological Seminary in 1998 and has been a professor of religious studies and women and gender studies at University of South Carolina, since 2005. Author of several books, including African American Folk Healing, Introduction to Womanist Theology, and African American Women Tapping Power and Spiritual Wellness (out of print, in revision). She has numerous essays and extensive editorial work. Her next book, expected this year from Lexington Books, is Race, Politics, and Religion: Toward Human Rights in the United States.
Stephanie would call education her ministry because for her, teaching and learning are acts of resistance and freedom and joy. She believes that these acts of education can serve to deepen our humanity. And all of these—education, resistance, freedom, joy, deepening of humanity—are, for her, at the heart of Unitarian Universalism as our communities co-construct theologies.
Rev. Norbert Racz is the Senior Minister of the First Unitarian Church, Kolozsvár, Transylvania.
Tuesday & Wednesday Lunch Time Meet-Ups
In an attempt to provide much needed time for you to connect with your colleagues, we have opened the schedule to allow for longer lunches. We hope that you will use this time to enjoy one of the many restaurants in the area. Please note: to help lower costs we will only be providing fuller snack breaks. No breakfasts will be provided. This year we will again use Meet-Ups to gather groups of people together over lunch (you can also plan an evening gathering!) Anyone can create a Meet-up or look over what’s been created and join in.
Do you have a proposal for a Collegial Conversation? Please send your proposal including who would lead the conversation and the topic of discussion to Rev. Melissa Carvill Ziemer, Acting Executive Director, by March 31 (firstname.lastname@example.org). We will choose topics of conversation from among those submitted in April with a goal of ensuring we have a range of conversations for your consideration.
Conversation with the UUA President, Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray
Join us for an evening of radical local justice support. We Unitarian Universalists are theologically wed to disobedience, as we were forged in the fire of the protest-ant reformation, bonded in this nation's struggles to become, and now are a well-enough organized machine to disrupt with our numbers, our intelligence, and our passion. Kansas City has long struggled with segregation, gentrification, and poverty; in conjunction with the Poor People's Campaign's 40 days of civil disobedience, local organizers are planning an evening of beautiful disobedience that will function only with the power of the cloth. Seeing that the presence of clergy is imperative for this to work, please adorn yourself in vestments as you see fit. As in any risky situation, you are invited to participate in a variety of roles; from risk-free witness at the convention center to side-line solidarity, to protection through direct action. Our strategy of disobedience is to surround and protect all that is life-giving, nourishing, beautiful, and moral. This event in organized conjunction with the Kansas Poor People's Campaign under the leadership of local organizers and Rev. Rose Schwab, state-wide chair of the "PPC" and senior minister of Shawnee Mission UU Church on the Kansas side of KC. Registration information will be available later in the Spring.
Food for the Spirit : A Service of Lamentation and Healing led by UUMA Intern Minister Sana Saeed, Rev. Darrick Jackson and Rev. Melissa Carvill Ziemer
Wednesday: 25/50 Worship
Continuing a long tradition, UUMA Colleagues will gather on Wednesday morning in celebration of Ministry. This year’s speakers, representing ministers ordained in 1968 and 1993, will be the Reverends Olav Nieuwejaar (50-year class) and Kathleen Rolenz (25-year class).
Rev. Kathleen Rolenz has ministered to congregations in Knoxville, TN, Glen Allen VA, and Cleveland, OH. She is an accredited Spiritual Director; a member of Spiritual Directors International, in practice for Spiritual Direction for over 13 years. She is currently serving as the Interim Senior Minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis MD. Some of her publications include: Sources of Our Faith, Restored to Sanity, and Worship that Works. She has served as editor, vice-president and president of the Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship. She likes her coffee black as hell, her theology strong as death and her ministry as sweet as love.
Rev. Olav Nieuwejaar's ministry has taken him from Boston, MA, to Cambridge,England, and back to New England. He served the UU Congregation in Milford, NH as Co-Minister with his wife, Rev. Jeanne Harrison Nieuwejaar.
There is a lot going on in the UUMA. Join us for our annual meeting when we will hear about new initiatives, approve our budget, elect new leaders, and celebrate those who have served. Gather with your Colleagues and be part of UUMA History.
Berry Street Lecture:
Creating Leaders for Beloved Community: The Challenges of Mentorship
The Rev. Meg A. Riley currently serves as Senior Minister of the Church of the Larger Fellowship. Previously, she has served as a Director of Religious Education for two Minnesota congregations, the UUA’s Youth Programs Director, Director of GLBT Concerns, Director of the Washington Office, and leader of the Advocacy and Witness staff group. She headed up the UU response to Hurricane Katrina, and was founding director of what is now the Side with Love campaign. She has represented the UUA on countless boards. In all of these settings, she has mentored and been mentored. She is a proud parent and a joyful gardener, who lives in South Minneapolis.
Respondents: Rev. Elizabeth Nguyen and Rev. Rosemary Bray MacNatt.