While Wednesday is obviously the official beginning of General Assembly, it's also more of a warm-up day as it begins at 1pm at the earliest and much later for most. Thursday is when the action really begins and for me it started off just right.
First thing I did was head over to Panera with Erik and Jaime for some breakfast and then we all went to a workshop entitled "Six Words, One Image: A Worship Arts Immersion." While it wasn't exactly what I expected it to be and there was a point toward the beginning where it started to delve a little too much into essentially being a commercial for Starr King School for the Ministry, it turned out to be really, REALLY cool and actually really made me want to go to Starr King (at least for that moment in time).
The reason they talked so much about SKSM was that "Six Words, One Image" is actually a highly condensed version of an intensive program offered by SKSM. The idea is to incorporate a daily spiritual creative practice into your life by combining six words with one image to tell a story. The origins of the idea go back to a scene of Ernest Hemingway drinking at a bar. Hemingway turned to the man next to him and said "I could write the perfect story in six words." The man obviously doubted the idea that any story could be told in six words. Hemingway responded: "For Sale: baby shoes. Never worn."
|Six Words, One Image|
The discussion then moved on to incorporating the arts into not only worship but congregational life. They talked about the importance of sensuality, of engaging all the senses much in the same way a filmmaker does--and how as folks grow older, they begin to move away from sensuality in favor of rationality (and how this phenomenon has roots in our Protestant and Puritan forbears). They also talked about being intentional about cultivating truly multivocal and truly multigenerational ministry. Lots of great ideas and inspiration; a perfect way to kick off GA.
For lunch, Jeremy and I had a meeting with our Florida District Young Adult/Campus Ministry steering committee which was wonderful. It's great to be able to sit down with all those amazing folks and discuss all the exciting ideas we have for the committee, such as the possibility of a District YA conference in Orlando, a Regional YA conference in New Orleans, and the logistics of developing a model that will translate to the regional level so that we can begin planting committees similar to ours in other districts that eventually will be supported by Regional YACM steering committees.
After lunch it was, befittingly, time for "Choose Compassionate Consumption: From Personal Choice to Collective Action." I took a few good notes about the UU Service Committee's "Choosing Compassionate Consumption" program and learned about some resources, but the most exciting part of this workshop for me was talking to Saru Jayaraman afterwards. I told her I would love to get her to come speak in Miami and she gave me her card and informed me that the restaurant workers organization she formed in 2001, the Restaurant Opportunities Center United (ROC), actually has an office in Miami. I also talked to Kara Smith of the UUSC and got a business card from her as well, which was really awesome. But last but certainly not least, I got Saru Jayaraman to sign my copy of "Behind the Kitchen Door" and got a picture taken with her: