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Central Midwest Chapter Retreat
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10/5/2015 to 10/8/2015
When: Monday, October 5 through Wednesday, October 8
Where: Siena Center
5637 Erie St.
Racine, Wisconsin  53402
United States
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The Program

Inspired by his experience with ritual in India, at the Tsubaki Grand Shire in Japan and with Swiss farmers, Rev. Dr. Mark Morrison-Reed asks "What is ritual? And what role does it play in your life?" The answer to these questions will lead us into a look at the evolution of ritual within Unitarian Universalism.


• What are UU practices when it comes to ritual?
• How has it changed in recent years?
• Why it is transforming what it means to be UU and religious?
• And what might our next step be?

In four process-oriented 90 minute sessions we will go back and forth between lecture, working in triads, listing, discussing, quiet reflection, and then a unison reading and back to lecture and a repeat of that the process. We will start from the concrete and explore our early experiences of participating in ritual. We will abstract from that what it is and why is it important, before looking at how it has evolved over the last decades within UUism, and why.


On Wednesday Rev. Dr. Mark Morrison-Reed will lead a morning worship service: “We are What We Sing - Diversity and Hymnody.” An exploration of UU hymnody over the last 75 years from the 1937’s Hymns of the Spirit through 2009’s Las Voces del Camino.

Featured Book Reading: An introduction to The Selma Awakening: How the Civil Rights Movement Tested and Changed Unitarians Universalism. Given Unitarian Universalism’s uneven engagement in race relations it was not the most natural thing in the world for so many UUs to rush to Selma. Why did they go and what role did they end up playing? Explore these and other questions (e.g.) Why, after Selma, was UUism unprepared for Black Power? And why is becoming more diverse still a struggle?

The Presenter

Raised in the Unitarian Universalist faith, the Rev. Mark Morrison-Reed was ordained in the Unitarian Universalist ministry in 1979. For 26 years, he and his wife, the Rev. Donna Morrison-Reed, served as co-ministers in first Rochester, New York, then in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Morrison-Reed's graduate thesis, Black Pioneers in a White Denomination, was published in 1984, and is still in print. Now retired from full-time ministry, Morrison-Reed divides his time between writing and other interests. He has been working with Meadville Lombard Theological School to organize and build the library's archive of materials relating to African American involvement in Universalism, Unitarianism and Unitarian Universalism and is teaching at the school on his research.

Mark is the author of the books, In Between: Memoir of an Integration Baby, Been in the Storm So Long, Darkening the Doorways, and The Selma Awakening: How the Civil Rights Movement Tested and Changed Unitarians Universalism. His articles, “Laying Claim To My Own Blackness”, “Religious Community Is Essential”, “Reflection”, “Selma’s Challenge”, “The Empowerment Tragedy”, and “The Last Word Winter 2011” have been featured in UU world.

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