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Ministerial Formation Network Webinars Available

Friday, May 11, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Allison King
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I had fun organizing the Ministerial Formation Network’s webinars this year based on feedback from MFN members about their interests. (Click Here to see the archives)

The top three suggestions for themed webinars from the MFN folks were:

Building the Beloved Community – 193
Ministry with Interfaith Partners – 95
Spiritual Practices for Flourishing in Ministry – 110

The results were some webinars featuring amazing presenters, identity-based breakout sessions for small group conversations and valuable insights for MFN members to reflect on in their formation. Below is a description of the webinars and the presenters we featured.

The MFN webinars on November 29 and December 7, 2017, were on "Building a Beloved Community." Our guest speakers were Rev. Otto O’Connor, Minister of The First Parish in Malden, Rev. Elizabeth Nguyen, the Senior Strategist for Side with Love, Rev. Kimberly Quinn Johnson, Minister of Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the South Fork and Rev. Ranwa Hammamy, President of DRUUMM (Diverse Revolutionary UU Multicultural Ministries).

They spoke of their formation experiences as ministers and about their vision and strategies for building a beloved community. Together we explored what it takes to build a prophetic ministry, and how to center anti-racist, anti-oppressive practices in our ministries.

Break out groups were available for POC identified people, LGBTQ identified people, and women only identified people (if there were enough folks to form them).

Presenters included:
Rev. Otto O’Connor is the Minister of First Parish in Malden. Otto is committed to loving across difference and believes in the power of community to transform our world.

Rev. Elizabeth Nguyen, roots for the Wisconsin Badgers, lives in Boston, and is a Unitarian Universalist (UU) minister. She is Senior Strategist of Side with Love, joining in November 2017. She is a queer Vietnamese-American and proud Midwesterner. She resources religious leaders, supports racial justice work, and develops programs that serve UU youth and young adults of color.

Rev. Kimberly Quinn Johnson, Minister of Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the South Fork. Before joining UUCSF, Kimberly served as Intern Minister at 4th Universalist Society of New York, where among other things—she led the small group ministry program and a monthly Jazz Vespers Service. She is a graduate of Meadville Lombard Theological School. At Meadville Lombard, Kimberly was a President’s Scholar and was awarded the Faculty Award for Religious Leadership.

Rev. Ranwa Hammamy, President of DRUUMM (Diverse Revolutionary UU Multicultural Ministries), is an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister and chaplain. She currently serves as a Chaplain with the Center for Elders' Independence in Oakland, CA. Raised Muslim, she identifies as a UU-Muslim, and is one of the co-editors for the in-process Muslim Voices in Unitarian Universalism text.

Our second themed MFN webinars took place in February 2018. They focused on learning about innovation and different Entrepreneurial Models of Community Ministry. They touched on the theme of using spiritual practices for flourishing in community ministry, and the challenges and joys of pursuing community ministry.

Presenters included:
Rev. Kimberley Debus works as an entrepreneurial community minister in the Capital Region of New York State, inspiring congregations to more artful and art-filled worship, congregational life, and public witness.

Rev. Erik W. Martínez Resly is a visual artist, community organizer, and Unitarian Universalist minister who founded and now co-directs The Sanctuaries in Washington, DC, which gathers and equips artists to be spiritually-grounded organizers working on the front lines of grassroots justice campaigns.

Rev. Ashley Horan is the Executive Director of the Minnesota Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Alliance, which she has served since 2014. As one of two part-time employees of this small state advocacy network, she wears multiple hats: community organizer, non-profit administrator, program developer, staff supervisor, and communications assistant, to name a few.

Kim Sweeney is a credentialed Religious Educator and independent consultant who worked for seven years as the Lead for Faith Formation and Safe Congregations on the UUA’s New England Regional staff team. She is the author of The Death of Sunday School and The Future of Faith Formation.

Our Third themed MFN Webinar was on Building Interfaith Partnerships and took place on Friday, April 20, 2018. Our presenters shared about their own journeys in interfaith work and about building partnerships in their communities. The touched on the challenges of interfaith organizing and how to build bridges with religious leaders of diverse faith traditions.

Presenters included:
Rev. Abhi Janamanchi currently serves as Senior Minister of Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethesda, MD. He graduated from Meadville Lombard Theological School, Chicago, Illinois in 1998 and was ordained by the Unitarian Church of Evanston, Illinois, the same year.

Rev. Linda Olson Peebles currently interim minister at Accotink UU in Northern VA, has served in various roles for the UUA and UUMA. Her most active role in interfaith work has been in founding and leading VOICE, Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement, a multi-racial, multi-ethnic power organization of Muslims, Jews, Roman Catholics, Protestants, and UUs to create change.

Rev. Joseph Santos-Lyons serves as Executive Director of APANO, Oregon’s oldest and largest Asian Pacific Islander organizing and advocacy group. APANO leads campaigns and social change initiatives to counter oppression and advance the rights and resources for all people to thrive. Joseph is also an ordained minister affiliated with the First Unitarian Church of Portland, and previously worked as a national director in the Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministry for ten years.

Rev. Sara Ascher, has been a Unitarian Universalist her entire life. A graduate of Lesley University and after graduating from Andover Newton Theological School in 2000 with a Masters of Divinity she spent the next 16 years serving Unitarian Universalist congregations in the United States. She now works with the global U/U faith community as the Executive Director of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists.

Rev. Eric M. Cherry has been the Director of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s International Office since August 2007. In this position, Eric manages the UUA’s relationships with U/U and interfaith partners around the world, provides resources for congregational international engagement, and supervises the staff of the UU Holdeen India Program and UU United Nations Office.

An additional webinar created for the MFN was also open to aspirants, candidates and ministers not enrolled in the program as a way of sharing resources and raising awareness of what the MFN has to offer. This webinar was called Insights for Your Search (a webinar on the search process - an offering of the Ministerial Formation Network, - open to all members of the UUMA).

Presenters included:
Rev. Keith Kron, Transitions Director at the UUA, who offered general comments about the search process.

Rev. Jennifer Brooks, currently serving as the Interim Senior Minister at the First Unitarian Church of Des Moines, who spoke from their experience as an Accredited Interim Minister.

Rev. Daniel Gregoire, Minister at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Grafton and Upton, who shared his insights from his own search process.

Rev. Dr. Sarah Lenzi, Minister at the Unitarian Society of Ridgewood, who shared insights from her own search process.

 --- Sana Saeed

UUMA Intern

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