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Registration for the Ballou Channing District Spring Conference is now open!  

Download program description and mail-in registration

Full schedule, program description and online registration

Eventbrite - Ballou Channing District 2012 Spring Conference

An Invitation

Peter Bowden will facilitate a Congregations and Beyond themed conversation at May 5th BCD Conference

If you can get to Fairhaven, MA on May 5th, please join me.  This is going to be a fabulous event.  Here’s why I’m excited and hope you’ll make the time to join me and promote the heck out of this event within your home congregation…

Getting Missional
I can’t wait for this event as it will feature a keynote by the Rev. Ron Robinson who is doing amazing work in Turley, OK with a missional approach to  Unitarian Universalist ministry.  This missional approach marks one end of what we’ve been discussing online as a growing “bandwidth” of what church can be.   There are a lot of ways we can go about being congregations and Robinson’s way is at one end of the spectrum.  I can’t wait to meet Ron in person and learn from his truly innovative ministry.

Congregations and Beyond
After our morning meeting, worship and keynote, we’ll have lunch and then go into five different conversations.  I will be facilitating one on the “Congregations and Beyond” paper written by UUA President Peter Morales. This paper has people talking across our association.   As someone dedicated to helping congregations adapt to life and ministry in the 21st century, I am *so* excited that we are having this conversation.   Too many of our congregations are slipping behind as technology and culture  change at an accelerating pace.  Friends, this goes far beyond needing a better website and Facebook page.  If your congregation is going to be here in 2020 there are some very specific trends you need to be following, skills to master, and ministry strategies to implement.  In other words, we gotta talk…

But don’t all come to my conversation – we have five of them!   

A Missional Progressive Guide to Changing A Neighborhood 
Rev. Ron Robinson 

Engaging with Hot Topics
Rev. Amy Freedman 

Spiritual Autobiography
Rev. Ken Read-Brown 

Exploring “Congregations and Beyond”
Peter Bowden

Gathered Here
Janet Richardi, Eva Marx & BCD Board Members 

Whether you attend my program or not, all Unitarian Universalists are encouraged to read, discuss, and share the the Congregations and Beyond paper.  You may visit my Congregations and Beyond page to  read it,  find related articles, and online forums for discussing.  I also have a range of related sermons and workshops I’m developing for next year.  If you want to book an event or guest speaking date for Fall 2012, I recommend contacting me by the end of April.

Look forward to seeing you on May 5th!

Full Program Details

Ballou Channing District Spring Conference and Annual Meeting
Saturday, May 5, 2012    8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Unitarian Universalist Society of Fairhaven
102 Green Street, Fairhaven, MA 02719  (Google Map)

Mission-Driven Congregations:  Living into the Community

“A passion for a mission can transformed people and can transform the world.
So a congregation’s mission must be grounded in, and meaningfully connected to,
its theological self-understanding and all of its congregational life.”

— Tom Berlin, coauthor Bearing Fruit: Ministry with Real Results
Being a mission-driven congregation gives meaning to a congregation and can by a means for outreach and a way to for a congregation to make a real difference in their community. This conference will explore various aspects of being a mission-driven congregation from working with the economically disadvantaged in a community to determining one’s own spiritual outlook to be the foundation for justice work.
The keynote sermon by the Rev Ron Robinson with his sermon, “Reshaping the World: church in likeness to a different God” will start the conversation by having participants consider the questions, “Where in a hurting world should we be?”  “How as progressives and liberationist can we create a different church that will bear different fruit than just maintain our religious organizations of like-minded souls?”

Rev. Robinson is the Executive Director of A Third Place Community Foundation, a non-profit formed by The Welcome Table, a missional, emerging congregation in the UUA located in Turley, OK. He is also the Executive Director of the UU Christian Fellowship and adjunct faculty of Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa, OK.  He has served on the board of the Southwestern UU Conference and is a recipient of the Von Stilli Award for his work in helping churches grow.

The afternoon will have four Conversations to further explore the theme by looking at various aspects of becoming mission-focused.  There will also be an opportunity to engage in a Gathered Here exercise. Scroll down for full write up of each.

The BCD Annual Meeting will be held in the morning at 9:15 as part of the worship service.


A Missional Progressive Guide to Changing A Neighborhood
Rev.Ron Robinson
A conversation on the Three R’s, the Four Paths, the Seven Acts that guide the work A Third Place does in Turley, OK and the lessons being learned as they have been engaged in renewing neighborhoods that are the lowest income and have the lowest life expectancy in the Turley area. Robinson’s ministry in Turley, OK was featured in the Spring 2011 issue of UU World Magazine. Read article, “Cultivating an abandoned place.”

Engaging with Hot Topics
Rev. Amy Freedman
What if our congregations actually encouraged people to explore the very topics that seem too hot to handle?  The Rev. Amy Freedman, who helped members of a congregation she served to openly discuss several controversial topics during her tenure will offer three strategies for encouraging robust engagement with controversial subjects. Facing controversial issues, including what kind of mission a congregation should have is important for a congregation to be healthy.

Spiritual autobiography                                 
Rev. Ken Read-Brown
Creating one’s spiritual autobiography can deepen individual spiritual journeys to provide a foundation for doing missional work in a community while also fostering a richer experience among participants in our congregations. Rev. Ken Read-Brown, has led spiritual autobiography groups several times during his twenty-five years as minister of First Parish in Hingham (Old Ship Church).

Exploring “Congregations and Beyond”                          
Peter Bowden
UUA President Peter Morales’ recent white paper, “Congregations and Beyond” offers a vision of the opportunities and challenges that face Unitarian Universalism if we are willing to push beyond pre-determined boundaries. Senior UUA staff recently has been in conversation with congregation and district leaders, including BCD Growth Consultant Peter Bowden (read more).  Building on these conversations he will facilitate a discussion about this important topic and its impact on congregational mission.

Gathered Here
Janet Richardi & BCD Board members
Gathered Here is a UUA initiative using an appreciate inquiry model to let UUs share their experiences with and aspirations for Unitarian Universalism.  The UUA Board and staff and District leaders will use the information assembled from these conversations taking place across the country to determine future course of the Association.

8:15     Registration, Mix & Mingle, Delegate Credentialing, UU Mall
9:00     Worship Service Opening
9:15     BCD Annual Meeting *
10:45    Hymn sing
11:00    Keynote sermon
11:45    Worship Service Closing
12:00    Picnic Lunch
1:00     Conversations & Gathered Here
2:30     Closing in Conversation Groups

* No fee to only attend the morning worship and District Annual Meeting
Other Information
* UU Network Mall:   An assembly of informational displays and items for sale, Vendors, congregations, and organizations that wish to have a display should call the BCD office (508) 599-6650 to reserve a space.

* Questions:  Call the District Office at 508-559-6650 or email bcdoffice@uua.org

* Thank You!  Your BCD Congregation Contributions helps provide staff support for the Conference.

Download program description and mail-in registration

Full schedule, program description and online registration

Eventbrite - Ballou Channing District 2012 Spring Conference