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Ministry Days 2015 Program
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Monday Registration, Reception, and Welcome

Pick up your registration materials at the Double Tree Hotel anytime between 2:00 and 7:30 on Monday and stick around for our opening reception!  This year’s Monday night opening reception will be time to share collegial time around the theme “Good Care and Feeding of a Minister”! When making your travel arrangements consider arriving in time to join us for the reception at the DoubleTree Hotel. At 7:30 and prepare to be a little pampered!

Tuesday Opening Worship

“Make Big Shadows” — Rev. Duane Fickeisen

As we gather in covenant in Portland, we will ground ourselves in this dynamic location, recognize the challenges and triumphs of our ministries, and imagine the next steps toward our aspirations of fulfilling the calls that lead us onward. We will dedicate ourselves to children and families of colleagues. I will call on us to be awake and to be bold and cast big shadows where the Spirit has both the space and the invitation to move and to play. We have much good news to bring to the world as we stand in a rich and complex past and craft new ways of proclaiming the love that holds us all. Will we do that? Boldly enough to cast big shadows?

A Child Dedication Ceremony will be part of this morning's service.  If your family would like to participate, please contact Rev. Linda Olson Peebles.

The Rev. Duane Fickeisen is a native of the Pacific Northwest and is minister emeritus of the Unitarian Universalists of the Cumberland Valley in Boiling Springs, PA. He now lives in Portland, Oregon, with his spouse, our colleague the Rev. Judy Welles. He is a member of First Unitarian Church of Portland. His grandchildren know him as GD. Duane serves on the Pacific Western Region’s Ministerial Transitions Team and as webmaster for the UU Retired Ministers and Partners Association. He is looking forward to more time for gardening, photography, writing, and exploration as he completes his fulfilling service as Secretary of the UUMA.

Keynote Speaker: Rev. Rob Hardies

“Giving the World the Best of Unitarian Universalism”

“Is Unitarian Universalism a faith worth giving my life to?”  “Is the ministry a vocation worth devoting my life to?”  These are questions that I and many colleagues I know have asked from time to time.

These questions—and others like them—led me on a journey to discover the riches of our Unitarian Universalist faith.  A journey that has culminated for me in a resounding “yes”—in a joyful affirmation of our faith and our ministry.

This year at ministry days I’d like to share with you—my colleagues—some of this journey, as well as the grounds for and content of my “yes.”  Together, I’d like us to explore the riches of our tradition, and how they can help us meet the challenges and opportunities of ministry in the 21
st century.

Now more than ever the world needs the
best of what Unitarian Universalism has to offer.


About the Presenter

Robert Hardies was called at the age of 29 to be senior minister of All Souls Church, Unitarian in Washington, DC.  He is now completing 14 years of ministry in this vibrant and diverse congregation in the heart of our nation’s capital.


In 2009, Rob helped lead the struggle to make DC the seventh jurisdiction in the nation to embrace marriage equality.  DC’s mayor signed that historic legislation in the sanctuary of All Souls Church.  In 2014 the Washington City Paper, DC’s alternative weekly, voted All Souls Church the “Best House of Worship” in Washington, and Rob its “Best Religious Leader.”


Rob has served as adjunct faculty at Starr King School for the Ministry, Meadville Lombard Theological School and Wesley Theological Seminary where, in 2011, he completed a doctoral project focused on the spiritual lives and devotional practices of 19th century Unitarians and Transcendentalists.


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. Visit for information on how to participate.

Conversation with the UUMA Board of Trustees

Gather with your UUMA Colleagues to hear about the good work of the board and provide input and feedback regarding the direction of the association.


Collegial Conversations

Titles of conversations will be announced in April. If you have an idea or would like to see a certain topic addressed please contact Allison Palm ( by March 15.


Possible topics may include: Excellence in Shared Ministry; Retirement; Ministry and Parenting; Commit2Respond; Theme-Based Ministry; Starting Well in Ministry; Interim Ministry; Mentoring; Social Media; Ministry and the Black Lives Matter Movement; UU Minister’s Partner Gathering; UUMA Connect and more.

Conversation with Peter Morales

Gather with your UUMA Colleagues for the annual conversation with the UUA President.

Evening Vespers

Healing Vespers Service

Experience healing and connection at this Vespers Service held at the First Unitarian Church of Portland. This service is an opportunity to reconnect with the sources of joy, healing, strength, and inspiration in your ministry.


Wednesday: 25/50 Worship

Continuing a long tradition, UUMA Colleagues will gather Wednesday morning in celebration of Ministry.  This year’s speakers, representing ministers ordained in 1965 and 1990, will be the Reverends Dave Weissbard (50-year class) and Gail Seavey (25-year class).

Dave Weissbard
's mother's doctor brought him into the First UU Society in Albany NY in utero. Dave was the final graduate of the Theological School of the St Lawrence University.  He served the First Parish in Bedford MA for 9 years; the Fairfax (VA) UU Church for 5; and the UU Church, Rockford IL for 27.  The Rockford Congregation commissioned the Humanist section (No Other World) of Kendyl Gibbons & Jason Shelton's contata on the UU Sources.

Gail S. Seavey graduated from HDS and was ordained at her home church, the First Universalist Society of Rockport MA.  She has served congregations in California, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and has been at her present call, The First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville, TN for 10 years.  She presently serves on the TN Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, as the Executive Secretary for Nashville Organized for Action and Hope (NOAH) a Gamaliel affiliate, as  a Meadville Lombard Theological School teaching pastor and as a UUMA coach.   She has been married to artist James Seavey for 46 years – together they have two grown sons and two young granddaughters.

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

“Mission Impossible: Why Failure is Not an Option” — Rev. Sean Parker Dennison

Rev. Sean Parker Dennison is a graduate of Starr King School for the Ministry and was ordained in 2000.  He has served congregations in Stockton, CA; Salt Lake City, UT; San Luis Obispo, CA and is now the minister of Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation in McHenry, IL. He also considers his active social media presence a part of his ministry, including posting daily prayers to Twitter and Facebook since 2011.

Sean has served the Unitarian Universalist Association in a number of ways over the years: serving on the Accountability Group for the Justice General Assembly 2012; chairing the Journey Toward Wholeness Transformation Committee; serving on the UU Ministers Association nominating committee, serving on the Starr King School for the Ministry Board of Trustees and as chair of the Admissions Committee, and helping found TrUUsT—an organization for transgender ministers and religious professionals in the UUA.

In addition, Sean is a parent to 2 grown children, a grandfather, a photographer, painter, and poet.


Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, 24 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210-1409
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