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Ministry Days Programming
A note on Programming:
Given recent events the UUMA Board and Ministry Days planning team is reviewing the Ministry Days programming. Please check here for updates.

Monday Registration, Reception, and Welcome

Pick up your registration materials in the Parish Room of the Hilton New Orleans Riverside 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 jazz music of New Orleans. This year we will have a family friendly space where pastor parents and their partners can gather with their children (including activities).  There will also be a quieter space with opportunities to color and work on puzzles together while reconnecting.  We will all be together at 7:45 for a welcome from your UUMA.

Tuesday Opening Worship

Do You Know What It Means . . . to be in New Orleans?

Our opening worship, conducted by the Southern Louisiana UU Ministers, launches us into recovery, rebirth, and renewal, the major work of New Orleans and our collective ministries. We are called to be more than tourists in this great city of gumbo and many cultures.  A jazz ensemble and child dedication are planned for the morning’s celebration. If your family would like to participate, please contact Janette Lallier.

Keynote Speaker: Colette Pichon Battle

Religion, Race and Politics: Human Rights as a tool to Create a Climate of Positive Change

"This interactive conversation will use a human rights lens to explore and address the often taboo topics (Religion, Race and Politics)  in order to achieve equity and justice in our society. The presentation will offer a Black feminist intersectional analysis to create a climate of equity and justice in this new era of threats to our democracy, our climate and our humanity.” - Colette Pichon Battle

About the Presenter

Colette Pichon Battle, Esq. recently assumed the role of Executive Director of the US Human Rights Network (Atlanta and New York City) with a mission to build a people-centered human rights movement in the US.  Colette aims to connect the grassroots human rights movement to the climate movement in the United States through initiatives focused on Economic Justice, Energy Democracy and Ecological Equity.

In her previous role as Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy, Colette worked on issues of global migration, community economic development, climate justice and equitable disaster recovery.  She has prioritized working with local communities, national funders and elected officials around equity in the post-Katrina/post-BP disaster Gulf Coast.  Ms. Pichon Battle was a lead coordinator for Gulf South Rising 2015, a regional initiative around climate justice and just transition in the South, and in 2016 she was named a White House Champion of Change for Climate Equity for her work with frontline communities in the US South.

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 are making easier than ever to gather groups of people together over lunch (you can also plan an evening gathering!) Building on the success of this program at the Institute we have revised our Meet-up group for Ministry Days.  Anyone can create a Meet-up or look over what’s been created and join in. Click here for information on how to participate.

Collegial Conversations

This year we will be holding a mixture of collegial conversations and workshops. To help us assign rooms to the proper event please let us know where your interest lies (you can change your mind once on site if you wish). The current working titles are:

  • Resistance and Resilience: Caring for ourselves, one another, and the planet we serve;
  • Follow up conversation with Colette Pichon Battle;
  • Introducing the Ministerial Formation Network;
  • Excellence in Shared Ministry: Next Steps;
  • What’s Up with Transitions?;
  • Centering: Navigating Race, Authenticity, and Power in Ministry;
  • Ableism and the UUMA;
  • Grief Comes Home;
  • Transitioning to Retirement;
  • After Care for the After Pastor;
  • Board Conversation;
  • Gumbo, Not a Melting Pot

Evening Vespers

We are continuously blessed by the commitment, vision and inspiration of our emerging colleagues. Participants in the pilot program of the Ministerial Formation Network will join Associate Executive Director Melissa Carvill Ziemer in lifting up the power and promise of collegial welcome and support for the health of Unitarian Universalism.  All those who have formally joined the UUMA in the last year will be ritually welcomed during this service, which will be held from 7:30-8:30 on Tuesday night at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside. 

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 1967 and 1992, will be the Reverends Fred Campbell (50-year class) and Meg Riley (25-year class).   

Annual Meeting

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. Stand with your Colleagues and be part of UUMA History.

Berry Street Lecture

The Ministerial Conference at Berry Street Executive Committee announces that the 2017 essayist, Sofia Betancourt, has had to step down due to her new role as Co-President of the UUA.  We are committed to our Mission to bring matters of importance to colleagues about the state of our professional association, and our mutual pursuit of the mission of Unitarian Universalism. Therefore, we are offering a five-member panel, with Kristen Harper, Mel Hoover, Ashley Horan, Adam Robersmith and Marta Valentín.


Kristen Harper graduated with a D.Min from Meadville/Lombard Theological School in 1999. Her doctoral thesis was on the six ordained and fellowshipped UU women ministers of African descent.  She was only the second woman of African descent to be called as sole or senior minister through the Unitarian Universalist settlement process. A multi-generational Unitarian Universalist, Rev. Harper has served congregations in Lansing, Michigan, Ormond Beach, Florida and Barnstable, Massachusetts.  She has served the Unitarian Church of Barnstable for 15 years, the longest settlement currently for a minister of color. Rev. Harper has contributed to Voices from the Margins: An Anthology of Meditations, and the soon to be released Centering: Navigating Race, Authenticity and Power in Ministry.


Mel Hoover currently serves as co­-minister of the UU Congregation of Charleston, WV, with his wife, the Rev. Rose Edington. For many years Mel served as the director of the UUA’s Faith in Action Department. Mel is the 2013 recipient of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Distinguished Service Award. The UUA Board of Trustees presented this award to Mel at the 2013 General Assembly in Louisville, KY in recognition of his work in anti-racism, anti-oppression, community-building, gender equality and environmental jus­tice; and his role in shaping the path of faithful justice-making in the UUA. In presenting the award, board member Lew Phinney said, “Mel is a truth-seeker, truth speaker, collaborator, networker, and community-builder. His ministry is filled with gifts of the spirit-grace, hope and courage. Where others see injustices and fall into despair, Mel looks for ways to make new paths.” For 11 years, Hoover served as the Chair of the Board of Directors of Crossroads Ministry, an interfaith antiracism education and organizing institution, and he continues as a crossroads core trainer. He also serves on the Faith Leaders Religious Roundtable for the National Conference for Community and Justice and on the Religious Leaders Roundtable of the Congressional Caucus of Black State Legislators. Hoover is involved with the Earth Charter Movement and is an incorporator of “Earth Scouts” for boys and girls 3 to 17. He is a founding member of West Virginia Patriots for Peace.


Ashley Horan is the Executive Director of MUUSJA, the Minnesota Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Alliance.  She also serves as the national Learning Coordinator for Beloved Conversations, a small group ministry program focusing on issues of race and white supremacy in our congregations.  She is a lifelong UU, and lives in Minneapolis with her partner, the Rev. Karen Hutt, and their two children, Zi (16) and Aspen (2).  



Adam Robersmith was raised in a Lutheran church with a Universalist theology at home—“God doesn’t throw anyone away and neither do we!”—the Rev. Dr. Adam Robersmith has spent his life learning to bridge difference personally and professionally. His family is multi-cultural and multi-racial, including various European and Romani (Gypsy) ancestors, Christian and Jewish ancestors, and cousins and in-laws from a wide diversity of heritages. Trained in neurobiology and ecology, he also pursued work in the arts before becoming a Unitarian Universalist minister. He serves Second Unitarian Church in Chicago as their settled minister,  is a spiritual director and formator in private practice, and is a member of DRUUMM and the UU religious professionals of color community. 


Marta I. Valentín is in a shared ministry with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Medford, MA. Her former shared ministries were with the First Church Unitarian in Littleton, MA, and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, VA. Her first settled ministry, shared with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, was at First Unitarian Universalist Church in New Orleans. She also brings experience from a number of other Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) wide positions: the New England Regional Staff, the UUA's former staff group, Identity-based Ministries, Public Information Office and Beacon Press. She has shared her gifts as well with the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association’s (UUMA) CENTER continuing education team. She identifies as a Nuyorican (Puerto Rican New Yorker) Latinx and is a member of DRUUMM and the religious professionals of color community. A published poet and percussionist, she is the first person of color to produce a Skinner House meditation manual, A Long Time Blooming, and has been published in various other Skinner House books. She has participated and/or led GA Sunday morning worship services and others in Ft. Lauderdale, Long Beach, Ft. Worth, and Louisville, as well as led workshops. She’s even played Rumi in an “Activist Play!” She lives in Ayer, MA with her wife Alison, ten year old daughter Jaiya, mini-poodle Jack, and Siamese cat Cleo. She is a drummer and very good salsa dancer, and has been known to turn to salsa music to jumpstart a stuck sermon, or um, essay…

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