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UUMA CENTER Institute for Excellence in Ministry: Worship
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Worship at the UUMA CENTER Institute

Worship life at the Institute for Excellence in Ministry has proven to be one of the highlights of the experience for participants. The feedback has been consistently and overwhelmingly positive. Here is what some have said about their worship and vespers at the 2013 Institute. The worship was: “particularly moving, and just what my spirit needed”, “outstanding”,“transformative and fed my soul”, “beyond excellent”, “sets the bar higher for the whole faith movement”, “the best that I have ever experienced”, “worship was the most important part of the Institute for me”, “reminded me what called me to this work”


We will start each day in worship together and close each day with a vespers service. Each service will be unique, striving to touch the senses, stir the soul and remind us of our highest purpose in living.


Monday Evening Vespers: Jason Shelton 

Tuesday Morning Worship: Tom Schade, Retired Minister and UUMA CENTER Committee Interim Co-Chair

Tom Schade retired from the First Unitarian Church of Worcester, MA in January 2013, after serving there for 13 years. He now lives in Ann Arbor, MI and is a member of the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor.


Tom in the Interim Co-Chair of the CENTER Committee and holds the portfolio of the On Line Continuing Education (UUMA Connect!). When he attended the National Non Profit Technology Conference, his name tag said that he was “Communications Director for the UUMA”


Tom writes the blog, “The Lively Tradition” at



 Tuesday Evening Vespers: TBA

Wednesday Morning Worship: Jacqui Lewis, Senior Minister at Middle Collegiate Church, NYC

Rev. Dr. Jacqueline Lewis is Senior Minister at Middle Collegiate Church in New York City and Executive Director of The Middle Project. Lewis earned her M.Div at Princeton Theological Seminary and her Ph.D. in Psychology and Religion at Drew University. Ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Lewis is a nationally recognized author, speaker, and preacher on the topics of racial, economic, and gender/LGBTI justice. Lewis has been adjunct faculty at Princeton Theological Seminary, Union Theological Seminary, The Graduate Theological Union, New Brunswick Theological Seminary, and Wesley Theological Seminary. She has been interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition, WABC, WNBC, CNN,, and Essence magazine, and The New York Times online. Author of The Power of Stories: A Guide for Leaders in Multi-Racial and Multi-Cultural Congregations and a children’s book that celebrates diversity, You Are So Wonderful!, Lewis has published numerous articles, sermons, and blogs. She is married to her best friend, John Janka, with whom she works for racial reconciliation every day.


Wednesday Evening Vespers: Beyond The Call: Worship and Preaching Arts Deans & Graduates














Thursday Morning Worship: Rev. Jennifer Ryu

Jennifer Ryu is the minister serving the Williamsburg Unitarian Universalists in Williamsburg, Virginia.  She has been there since 2006, after graduating from Starr King School for the Ministry in 2005.  Jennifer was born in Korea, grew up in Ohio, and discovered Unitarian Universalism as a young adult in Baltimore.  She currently serves the UUMA as Vice President of its Board of Trustees and is a graduate of the Beyond the Call: Preaching and Worship Arts program









Friday Morning Worship: Michael Piazza, Co-director of the Center for Progressive Renewal & Senior Pastor of the Virgina-Highland Church in Atlanta, GA

Michael S. Piazza is the Co-Director of the Center for Progressive Renewal and as such is the Senior Consultant for congregational renewal.  He is also the Sr. Pastor of the Virginia-Highland Church in Atlanta, Georgia, a congregation that has quadrupled in attendance since he became pastor in 2011.  Prior to that he served as the Senior Pastor and Dean of the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, Texas where under his leadership the congregation grew from 180 members to almost 4000 becoming the largest progressive and inclusive church in the South.  He is the founder of Hope for Peace & Justice and served as its president for seven years. Author of eleven books including Liberating Hope, Prophetic Renewal, Liberating the Gospels, and Gay by God he was named by The Advocate Magazine as one of the most influential leaders in the lesbian and gay community.  Rev. Piazza met his partner in 1980 and together they have reared two daughters who are currently in college.



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