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2018 Seminar Options:

An Introduction to Entrepreneurial Ministry

Limit: 50

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

No limit

What good is a song?  Why do we sing?  Our answers may differ significantly because our world views may differA 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  

Ministerial Relationships: We Are the Tools of Our Trade

No Limit


The essential tools of our trade are ministerial relationships—how we relate to and interact with those we serve as minister and how those we serve, given what they have come to expect from and understand about ministry, interact with us. In ministry settings where misconduct has occurred or where boundary violating behavior is a norm, this essential tool of our trade is typically broken, making the work of ministry harder and more stressful. Afterpastors commonly report unusually challenging relationships with leaders. We’ll explore the dynamics of ministerial relationships and reflect on our own practices, seeking to expand our relational skills, lower our stress, and be more effective and strategic in our interactions.


We’ll examine the changing role, image, status and work of ministers as well as the crazy-making interactions that ministerial relationships can occasion.

Strategies for serving and surviving well amid that craziness and best practices for effective, ethical, sane, and sustainable ministerial relationships will be identified. We’ll explore the common relational stance of misconducting ministers, noting power imbalances and numerous oppressions inherent in this stance and exploring how our own relational stances may inadvertently express a power over rather than power with. We’ll observe how a ministry setting’s difficult history, whether intense conflict or a predecessor’s unethical behavior, adversely impacts subsequent ministerial relationships. What does

it takes to serve and survive well when the essential tool of your trade— ministerial relationships—is not working as it should and how might a more strategic approach to ministerial relationships address chronic dysfunction, lower anxiety, and improve the health of the system.


The Rev Dr. Deborah Pope-Lance is a Unitarian Universalist minister and licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She consults nationwide with clergy, congregations, faith traditions, and agencies and maintains a psychotherapy practice near Boston, Massachusetts. Ordained in 1978, she has served in parish, transitional,and community ministries, taught at Andover Newton Theological School, and provided programs on the ethics of ministerial practice and congregational life for both lay and clergy leaders. She is a widely recognized expert on the unique challenges experienced by afterpastors. Her writings have appeared in When A Congregation is Betrayed: Responding to Clergy Misconduct (Alban, 2005), In the Interim (Skinner 2013), Transitional Ministry Today (Alban 2015) and elsewhere. Whence We Come and How and Whither, her 2011 Berry Street Essay (http:// BSE2011), an unflinching look at the harm clergy misconduct inflicts on the profession of ministry, is considered required reading for those in formation as well as experienced ministers.


Embracing Family Ministry; Breaking down Silos

Limit: 40

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.


Gathering Our Selves: Sustenance for People of Color in a Multicultural World

Limit: 30

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).  

Prophetic Leadership in the Digital Age

Limit: 40

The world has always needed prophetic voices calling people and society to pursue justice, healing, harmony, and peace. Yet the tools and the methods available for this work change over time. In the 21st century, there is a dizzying array of options available to the contemporary prophet. This course will equip faith leaders with the capacity to use digital resources for communicating effectively in the media landscape, combine digital activities with on-the-ground organizing to lead social change campaigns, create “ethical spectacles” to capture the imagination of traditional and digital media and promote your causes, and more.

The workshop will be led by one or more of Auburn’s talented staff who have been teaching these topics around the country for many years.

Prophetic Protest in the Public Square

Limit: 100

In this era of increasing public protest against social injustice, what is the role of the faith community outside of the walls of the sanctuary? Whether the protest is against racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism, xenophobia, islamophobia, transphobia, anti-semitism, or some other "othering," this workshop is designed to assist participants in constructing a theology of resistance and a template for prophetic presence in the public square.

Rev. Traci Blackmon is the Acting Executive Minister of Justice & Witness Ministries for The United Church of Christ and Senior Pastor of Christ The King United Church of Christ in Florissant, MO.

As pastor, Rev. Blackmon leads Christ The King in an expanded understanding of church as a sacred launching pad of community engagement and change.  This ethos has led to a tripling of both membership and worship attendance over the last seven years, expanding membership engagement opportunities, and the establishment of community outreach programs. Community programming includes a computer lab, tutoring, continuing education classes, summer programming, a robotics team, children's library and girls' mentoring program, all housed in the church.

Regionally, Rev. Blackmon's signature initiatives have included Healthy Mind, Body, and Spirit, a mobile faith-based outreach program she designed to impact health outcomes in impoverished areas.  Sacred Conversations on Solomon’s Porch, quarterly clergy in-services designed to equip local clergy to assess physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health concerns within congregational life, Sista SOS Summit, an intergenerational health symposium for women and girls, and Souls to the Polls STL, an ecumenical, multi-faith collaborative that was successful in providing over 2,800 additional rides to the polls during local and national elections.

Rev. Blackmon currently resides in both St. Louis, MO and Cleveland, OH and was recently named as one of St. Louis' 100 most influential voices. Rev. Blackmon is the proud mother of three adult children: Kortni Devon; Harold II; and Tyler Wayne Blackmon.

Reclaiming Prophetic Preaching in a Post-Truth Age

Limit: 30

Note: Preference will be given to people who have not taken an Institute Preaching Seminar in the past. In 2016, Oxford Dictionaries declared that their Word of the Year was “post-truth,” which became a popular word to characterize the public and political discourse during the 2016 Presidential campaign. Prophetic preaching, however, is the unflinching assertion of the truth of God’s justice towards those who least desire it, those who benefit socially, politically, and economically from systematic injustice. This course will draw upon the deep traditions of prophetic preaching, particularly from the Black church, to equip today’s preachers to preach God’s message of justice, redemption, and hope to those who most need to hear it.

Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III is the Senior Pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago, IL. With civil rights advocacy in his DNA, Dr. Moss built his ministry on community advancement and social justice activism. He has spent the last two decades practicing and preaching a Black theology that unapologetically calls attention to the problems of mass incarceration, environmental justice, and economic inequality. Dr. Moss is part of a new generation of ministers committed to preaching a prophetic message of love and justice, which he believes are inseparable companions that form the foundation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His sermons, articles, and poetry have appeared in publications such as Sojourners Magazine and The African American Pulpit Journal. His work has also been featured on Huffington Post, Urban Cusp, and The Root. Dr. Moss is an ordained minister in the Progressive National Baptist Convention and the United Church of Christ. He is on the board of The Christian Century Magazine and chaplain of the Children’s Defense Fund’s Samuel DeWitt Proctor Child Advocacy Conference. He is a Senior Fellow at Auburn Seminary.

Spiritual Leadership for Stewardship and Fundraising: Enough Already!

Limit: 60

In this seminar we will begin by exploring our own spiritual and cultural relationship with money.  Grounded in our own work toward health, we will examine the role of religious community in building a healthy and prophetic vision for our collective relationship with money.  We will share the latest research about giving and offer an overview of the adaptive changes needed for successfully resourcing mission, including practical wisdom and tools.

Rev. Lisa Greenwood has served as Vice President for Leadership Ministry for the Texas Methodist Foundation since March 2012. The Leadership Ministry for the Texas Methodist Foundation (TMF) helps clergy and lay leaders to discern and discover new ways to steward their communities’ potential to fulfill God’s purpose. Three program areas in which TMF's Leadership Ministry is making a difference under Lisa leadership are: Learning Communities provide opportunities for self-directed learning that builds courage in order to lead in an environment of change. Learning Projects offer experimental programs and projects that help Church leaders to gain new insights and develop innovative approaches to help the Church and its people to thrive during uncertain times. Congregational Cultures of Purpose and Generosity connect Church leaders with the resources they need to discern their purpose and respond with acts of generosity that help them achieve their God-appointed missions. Prior to joining TMF, Lisa was a Ministry Strategist with Horizons Stewardship Company from June 2008 - March 2012 and also served as Pastor to the Access Community at FUMC Richardson of the North Texas Conference from 2010 - 2012. - See more at:

Aimée A. Laramore, MBA, Owner/Lead Consultant, ALlyd Image Solutions and former Associate Director, Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy is a trusted consultant, effective strategist and premier team-builder in the field of faith & philanthropy.  She is the Owner/Lead Consultant for ALlyd Image Solutions, a boutique consulting firm dedicated to building organizational capacity and effective development practices, with more than 17 years of executive non-profit leadership.  Her ministry is anchored at the intersection of faith & giving, with a heart for generosity, youth ministry & diversity in giving.  

 Rev. Mary Katherine Morn is the Director of Stewardship and Development and Special Assistant to the President for the Unitarian Universalist Association. Mary Katherine’s passion for fundraising arises from her belief that ministry is the work of unleashing the best we have to give—and though we sometimes forget it, unleashing financial giving is what makes the rest of the ministry possible.  Previous to her denominational service, Mary Katherine served and grew small, mid-size, and large congregations in five different states.

Think like a Filmmaker: Sensory-Rich Worship Design for Unforgettable Messages

No limit

Are you burned out, in a rut, and frustrated by Sunday mornings? Then you need to “think like a filmmaker!” Renowned worship designer and teacher, Dr. Marcia McFee, will give you her time-tested strategies for creating and sustaining sensory-rich worship that offers unforgettable messages each and every week. Insights from filmmakers: art directors, screenwriters, composers, cinematographers and directors, will attract and ignite volunteers as they gain skills for every worship art. Applying these lessons to vital communication of important messages will not only inspire pastors and staff for their work, but will invigorate the congregation’s excitement for Sunday mornings.

Marcia McFee, Ph.D. has been designing, teaching and leading worship for over 20 years across many denominations and traditions. Connecting worship professionals and volunteers to their passion and depth of spiritual leadership is her aim in teaching and consulting as well as equipping them with skills to carry this out. She is the creator and visionary of the Worship Design Studio, an online experience of coaching, education, inspiration and a design application.   

Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, 24 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210-1409
© 2016 Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association.