|CENTER Institute Program|
2018 Seminar Options:
An Introduction to Entrepreneurial Ministry
Can you envision a new form of religious community for the 21st Century, one that might attract the un-churched or those who describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious”? Are you entertaining dangerous ideas about leading that kind of change but aren’t really sure what’s involved? You’re not alone. The landscape of religious innovation is heating up fast and opportunities for real change are emerging. We’ll take a brief look at the range of experiments already underway and what we can learn from them. We’ll ask you to discern your own call to religious entrepreneurship and we’ll introduce the key elements involved in your innovation to your congregation or a start-up. You’ll learn the principles of design thinking like empathetic discovery, rapid prototyping and creating a “minimum viable product.” You’ll explore the value of carefully identifying who you want to attract, developing a unique “value proposition” for them and identifying the essential components that will make your new venture successful. Finally, we’ll connect you to some critical resources for implementing your idea. Our goal: Help you decide whether this is something you really want to do and help you get started. Worst case, you’ll learn some cool new concepts!
Rev. Brock Leach is a UU minister working to advance social justice and social entrepreneurship. He currently serves as an executive consultant to the UUA for its Multi-faith Futures initiative and has helped develop and lead its Entrepreneurial Ministry program in partnership with the UU Ministers Association. Prior to that, Leach was vice-president of mission, strategy and innovation for UUSC where he helped create and launch the UU College of Social Justice, Commit2Respond, a UU-wide campaign for Climate Justice, and UUSC’s Justice-Building Program. Leach has extensive non-profit leadership experience, having served on the board organizations such as YMCA, Habitat for Humanity Sarasota, and Children First, Sarasota County’s Head Start agency. Internationally, he serves on the boards of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute and Mavuno Congo and is a coach for the Global Good Fund’s fellowship program for social entrepreneurs. Prior to ministry, Brock had a 24-year career as an executive for PepsiCo and served as the company’s Chief Innovation Officer. He received his BA in economics from the University of Colorado Boulder, his MBA in finance and marketing from the University of Chicago, and his Master of Divinity degree from Meadville Lombard Theological School.
Rev. Sue Phillips is the UUA's Regional Lead for New England. She leads vision and strategy for the New England staff team as they serve the 231 congregations in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Sue writes, preaches, and speaks widely about congregational polity and covenant, and has taught Unitarian Universalist polity at Harvard Divinity School. She is passionate about adaptive leadership, conflict transformation, and lay-led worship and preaching. Two of her meditations appear in Bless the Imperfect: Meditations on Lay Leadership, edited by Kay Montgomery. Sue is especially curious about religious innovation, and is an avid follower and fan of Boston-based Unitarian Universalist Cooperatives, the creators of the Lucy Stone and Margaret Moseley cooperatives. Along with fellow New England regional staffer Hilary Allen, she founded Unitarian Universalism's crowdfunding site FAITHIFY. Before joining the UUA Sue served as the minister of the Keene Unitarian Universalist Church in Keene, NH. As a lay leader, she was the President of the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence (MA) congregation. Sue's career before ministry was at the Housing Assistance Council, a $50 million community development loan fund serving the poorest rural communities in the United States.Sue is married to the Rev. Tandi Rogers. She lives in Boston, MA and Tacoma, WA.
Rev. Cameron Trimble is the Executive Director, CEO of the Center for Progressive Renewal and Convergence. She most recently served as an advisor to the Congregational Vitality and Discipleship Team of Local Church Ministries for the United Church of Christ and as Associate Conference Minister of Church Development in the Southeast Conference of the UCC. In her ministry in the national setting, Rev. Trimble was responsible for the development of national strategy for birthing new churches. In her conference setting, she directly oversaw the birthing of churches throughout the Southeast Conference. Each setting has given her a unique perspective on the challenges of cultivating leaders equipped to meet the needs of the future of mainline Protestantism. Rev. Trimble is an adjunct professor teaching church planting and renewal with the Pacific School of Religion and Chicago Theological Seminary. She has co-authored the book “Liberating Hope” in 2011.She currently serves as a member of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship council, ChicagoNext and is the Co-Founder of MATTER, a 25,000 square foot co-working and innovation center located in downtown Chicago focused on catalyzing and supporting healthcare entrepreneurship.
Building Vocal Communities: An African American World View
What good is a song? Why do we sing? Our answers may differ significantly because our world views may differ. A discussion of African world view will provide the context for looking at traditional aspects of African American music: function, oral/aural tradition, call and response, poly-rhythms, syncopation, repetition, leaders but no conductors, leaders but no soloists, improvisation, composite rather than linear melodies. This will be the context for discussing the continuum of African American music including calls, chants, Spirituals, Gospels, Blues and emerging song forms; their styles and purposes.
Dr. Ysaÿe M. Barnwell is a gifted musician and master teacher who has been a member of Sweet Honey In The Rock® since 1979. Her workshop Building a Vocal Community® has been conducted on three continents, making her work in the field a significant source of inspiration for both singers and non-singers, a model of pedagogy for educators, cultural activists & historians. In 2016, President Obama nominated Dr. Barnwell for membership on the National Council on the Arts. The nomination awaits confirmation by the Senate
Embodied Organizing For the Planet: Prophetic Social Justice Ministry for the 21st Century
What does bold, embodied, prophetic, organizing look like? The Environmental Justice Collaboratory, Justice-Building at UUSC and Commit2Respond believe the time is right to provide essential healing work and organizing skills in an integrated fashion. With deep theological grounding, music, and experiential learning we will explore and survey a range of skills, techniques and landscapes that can be used to connect this work across all kinds of difference. We seek to create and be fearless, grounded, connected leaders: Bodhisattvas for the Planet.
As we look about our world, there is much that can lead us into despair and cynicism. We are in an unprecedented moment in history - a time of great peril and great opportunity. When we acknowledge our pain and grief for the world we are empowered to move through it and act with dignity and determination. The grief that we experience is essential. If we truly believe that all life is interconnected, then we all benefit from a global view that holds and honors intersections of place and people, kind and kindred, micro and macro views.
This track brings together expert leaders and guides, Climate Justice Activist and founder of Peaceful Uprising, Tim DeChristopher, and Bryan Cahall, who will weave together an integrated approach. The track will include 1) opportunities to explore theological grounding that calls us to act and supports our work, 2) embodying our grief and ways to facilitate healing for ourselves and our professional settings, and 3) tools and techniques for organizing for social change.
Tim DeChristopher is an American climate activist and co-founder of the environmental group Peaceful Uprising. In December 2008, he protested a Bureau of Land Management oil and gas lease auction of 116 parcels of public land in Utah's redrock country by successfully bidding on 14 parcels of land for $1.8 million with no intent to pay for them. DeChristopher was removed from the auction by federal agents and taken into custody, eventually serving 21 months in prison.
Bryan Cahall is a storyteller, poet, and singer-songwriter based in Providence, RI. Tim and Bryan collaborate to offer powerful events weaving together speaking, music and song. Tim has often said, "We will be a movement when we sing like a movement.” Bryan's music helps reminds us that we are part of something much bigger than ourselves.
Catherine Coleman Flowers is the Director of Environmental Justice and Civic Engagement of the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary. She is the founder of the Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise Community Development Corporation (ACRE) which seeks to address the root causes of poverty by seeking sustainable solutions. She also serves as the Rural Development Manager for the Equal Justice Initiative serving the citizens of Lowndes County, one of the 10 poorest counties in Alabama’s Black Belt. Ms. Flowers has been able to bring significant resources to address its many environmental and social injustices. Specifically, her work at ACRE addresses the lack of sewage disposal infrastructure in Alabama's rural Black Belt, the legacy of racism and neglect stretching back to the time of slavery. Ms. Flowers is also an internationally recognized advocate for the human right to water and sanitation and works to make the UN Sustainable Development Agenda accountable to front-line communities.
Embracing Family Ministry; Breaking down Silos
American families are lacking critical societal support structures. Unfortunately, many houses of worship are not offering viable solutions. Learn effective strategies and practical tools from this northern New Jersey team whose thriving family ministry model has served well their mid-size congregation and large children and youth program. This workshop is ultimately geared toward congregations of multiple sizes and families of all variations.
Rev. Emilie Boggis is the Minister of Congregational Life at The Unitarian Church in Summit (UCS). She serves as the VP of her UUMA Chapter, recently finished her term as President of Summit’s Interfaith Council, and is a student in the Entrepreneurial Ministry program.
Laura Beth Brown, Director of Family Ministries at UCS, has also served congregations in Manhattan and Long Island in her 15 years as a professional religious educator. Currently, she is the VP of her Liberal Religious Educators Association Chapter, and before that served for six years as a Good Officer.
Entrepreneurial Faith Communities: A Jewish Perspective
Much has been written about the “Nones” in recent year: those who are disaffected and/or not affiliated with traditional religious communities or denominations. Traditional religious communities and denominations in the United States, in turn, have generally seen their own vitality and size in decline in recent decades, and have struggled with how to address that problem. However, there are “bright spots” across the country that have found ways to connect with the disaffected and create new kinds of community characterized by meaningful ritual and worship, deep learning, and powerful engagement in the healing of the world. This workshop will explore these dynamics and possibilities, drawing from the experiences of the Jewish Emergent Network, a collection of some of the most dynamic and innovative Jewish communities in the country.
Sharon Brous, Founder and Senior Rabbi, IKAR, is drawn not only to those already invested in Jewish life, but also to the deeply disaffected, folks who wouldn’t even walk in the door. She is driven to find ways to make Jewish learning, ritual and community compelling and meaningful even for those alienated by conventional religion. In 2004 Rabbi Brous, Melissa Balaban and a handful of young entrepreneurial Jews set out to build IKAR, a laboratory for bold, imaginative Jewish practice – which quickly became one of the fastest growing Jewish communities in the country and a model for inspiring Jews from the most marginalized to the most engaged. In 2013, The Daily Beast recognized this work by naming her the “Top Rabbi in America,” and the Forward has named her one of the 50 most influential American Jews. Rabbi Brous is a Senior Fellow at Auburn Seminary.
Gathering Our Selves: Sustenance for People of Color in a Multicultural World
Note this seminar is open to people of color only. It’s not easy hosting the body and spirit of a black or brown person. Generations of our ancestors lived out their lives nested in inhumane settings that were determined to confine us to limited conceptions of who we are and what we could be. While that cultural machine is still at work, today’s religious professionals of color must find spiritual and intellectual sustenance that affirms our being while enabling us to create practices that minister to the brokenness of the world. This experiential workshop is the pilot for the launch of a theologically inclusive, multi-format, art-infused curriculum to sustain the spiritual resilience of people of color – people of African/Black, Latinex, Asian, Native American, Arab, or bi-racial ancestry – in mixed race-settings. Pre-conference reflection required.
Dr. Mark A. Hicks is the Angus MacLean Professor of Religious Education and Director of The Fahs Collaborative Laboratory for Innovation in Faith Formation, both at Meadville Lombard Theological School (Chicago). His teaching and scholarship are noted for the transformative quality of stretching the boundaries of the mind, body and spirit in service of growth and development. He is the principle author of the small-group ministry curriculum, “Beloved Conversations: Meditations on Race and Ethnicity”, “Building the World We Dream About”, and the article, “Spiritual Malpractice and the Struggle for Voice in Multi-Racial Congregations”. He holds a doctorate in philosophy and education from Teachers College, Columbia University in NYC, and is a member of All Souls Church, Unitarian (Washington, DC) and The Riverside Church (NYC).
Pray like an Activist: Wisdom Teachings for the Practice of Freedom