Countdown to Ministry Days: June 20, 2015  

In the eyes of a first year attendant ...

After years of involvement in our Heart of Texas monthly ministerial cluster and annual Southwest UUMA Chapter retreats, I am looking forward to participating in my first Ministry Days. These experiences with colleagues have varied as to purpose from collaborations in Ordinations and Installations, to the creation of Summer Institutes and Social Justice Action Events. in every instance I have been challenged and inspired in the good company of colleagues. The value I find in such gatherings has added immeasurably to my ministry and life. They invariably involve individuated individuals serving strongly in their own roles and yet yielding to a greater whole. Who else knows the trials and triumphs of UU ministry? Who better can offer the insights and support that make a difference? Who else can get a resounding laugh out of some esoteric pun or describe a heartfelt matter to elicit tears? I am looking forward to the experience of a greater depth and breadth of collegial community in Portland, especially through the sharing of worship, witness and listening. meet ups and conversations. As a life-long vocalist, I eagerly anticipate singing in the Ministers Choir -- a thing of beauty that involves differentiated parts blending in service of the overall sound. Like I learned in getting into the rhythm of regularly connecting with my local and regional colleagues, after Ministry Days I imagine exclaiming, "What took me so long?!" 


Looking forward to seeing you soon,

Mark Skrabacz, Minister
San Gabriel UU Fellowship 


Don't Miss The Fun: The staff is super excited about the opening reception - we hope you will arrive in time to attend!Our theme is “the care and nurturing of ministers” and we have big plans to make you feel special. There will be Karaoke, Massage, Tarot Card Reading, a fantastic Photo Booth, Speed Networking, and quiet space to reconnect with your colleagues.  Some of the events require an appointment.  Make sure to arrive early (7:30) to sign up!


Ministry Onsite Packet: We will have copies on site but if you would like a little extra reading for the plane take a moment and download the onsite packet.  Click here.  Miss last weeks Countdown? Click here to read the archived version packed with more useful information.

Getting to your Hotel: The greenest and least expensive mode of transportation to downtown is the TriMet/Max light rail. Trains run about every 15 minutes most of the day, every day. It is a 30 minute ride from the Airport to the Convention Center on the Max. The adult fare is $2.50. For shuttle, taxi, and car rental information please visit


All 2015 UUA General Assembly attendees will receive a complimentary TriMet pass. The TriMet pass is valid on Max Light Rail trains, buses and streetcars in the city of Portland over the conference dates.  Passes will be issued available during Ministry Days registration hours (while available). Only one per registrant. Good Mon, June 22 through Mon, June 29. 

What to Pack: The 10 day forecast calls for temperatures in the 80s and 90s.  While packing remember hotels and convention centers are air conditioned.  It is best to prepare your wardrobe in layers. Always safe to toss an umbrella and comfortable walking shoes.  Be prepared for rain in Portland and preorder a Chalice Logo Umbrella. You can pay for the umbrella before you get to Portland and pick it up at the UUA Bookstore booth (230). To preorder your umbrella call at 1-800-215-9076 and tell us the order is for GA.

Planning your Meals: Please remember that meals are not included in this year's registration.  To help get you through the day we have planned breaks along the way.  Click here to see what food will be available onsite and when.  Where To Eat: This year we are making easier than ever to gather groups of people together for meals (especially Tues & Wed lunches!), conversation, meet and greets, games, yoga, or whatever else you’d like to do! We have created a Meet-Up group for the UUMA and anyone can create a Meet-Up or look over what’s been created and join in. Click here for more information!

Ministry Days Meditations:


Ministry Meditations is coming your way during Ministry Days. But watch out – you may be surprised! Our intern will be surprise interviewing people about what keeps them spiritually centered during ministry, and why staying connected with ministers is vital to the spiritual health of our ministers and our faith. Along with the interviews, we’ll be bringing the UUMA Spirit, by encouraging all of you to submit a meditation and help one another be spiritually plugged in. Click here to tap into the spirit we hope to spread during Ministry Days and beyond.

Scavenger Hunt:

The UUMA Staff has created a fun scavenger hunt for both Ministry Days and General Assembly. Pick up your card at Ministry Days registration or at the UUMA GA Booth to complete a number of tasks.  Each task has been assigned a points. Whoever has the highest point total at the end of Ministry Days will win a free registration for a future Ministry Days. Whoever has the highest point total at the end of GA will win a free registration for a future GA. Second place winners will receive a gift card for the UUA Bookstore, and third place winners will be awarded a gift bag.  

There are two chances to turn in your card: Submit by Wednesday at 2pm to the Ministry Days Registration Table, or submit by noon on Sunday at the UUMA Booth (Booth #200).


Sustaining the Call

Still thinking about what pledge to make to the Sustaining the Call campaign? If you need to have a conversation with a partner/spouse before you decide, now's the time! If you pledge by June 30th, you will be a Founding Member of the ​UUMA Endowment Fund in support of today's and tomorrow's ministries! Click here to make your pledge today.  Alternately, you can wait till Tuesday at Ministry Days where you will have the opportunity to pledge during the opening worship service. It will be a joyful time to support the mission and future of the UUMA together. Looking forward to seeing you there!


Shared Ministry Taskforce

Working on your GA schedule? Make sure to come to the Celebration of Shared Ministry Wednesday June 24th after the Berry St. Essay! Don Southworth as part of the Shared Ministry Implementation Taskforce joins the Fahs Research Fellows for innovative presentations on Faith Formation (and yummy food, too!) register for this FREE event today!


Collegial Conversations


The Ministry Days Planning team has some wonderful conversations in store for Portland.  Read the onsite packet for full descriptions and start thinking about which session you will attend: 

  1. Mentoring: Reflections...              
  2. Ministry Days in the 21st Century                
  3. Planning on Retirement?                  
  4. Reflections from Ministers of Color      
  5. Ministry in the Age of Ferguson         
  6. Got a Coach? 
  7. Proposed UUMA Guidelines Addition
  8. UUMA Bylaws Changes   
  9. Sustaining the Call   
  10. Collegiality 
  11. Supporting Our Partners & Spouses 
  12. Transitions and Search
  13.  Life After the RSCC’s 
  14.  UUMA Connect 


Join the UUMA & Commit2Respond in Standing up for Environmental Justice at GA. As one of the nine collaborating organizations for Commit2Respond, we encourage you to get involved with the Environmental Justice activities happening at GA:


1. Be there for the Action of Immediate Witness voting on Saturday at 8:15am. The UUMA Board has voted to endorse the AIW titled “Support a Strong, Compassionate Global Climate Agreement in 2015: Act for a Livable Climate” related to taking action around the United Nations Climate Conference in Paris in December 2015. You can read the full AIW text here


2. Come to the witness event with our Lummi Nation partners on Saturday afternoon. More info here


3. Participate in Commit2Respond's Exhibit Hall fun! Visit all nine of the collaborating organizations and get entered in a drawing. Start at the UU Ministry for Earth booth, #306.


4. Attend one of the many Commit2Respond sponsored Workshops at GA. More info here

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