Thursday, June 26, 2014

General Assembly 2014 -- Day 2

Day two started off pretty much the way day one ended: Worshipping with The Sanctuary Boston. WOW. Just...WOW. I know I've already ranted about them but goodness gracious these young folks can worship their ever-loving faces off. SO much singing and SOOO much heart and SOOOOO much love. It is so insanely beautiful what they do and it has been a gift and a blessing to have been a part of it. Rev. David Ruffin is my new hero. I gave him and many others involved with The Sanctuary Boston big, HUGE hugs after the "workshop" (that word doesn't do it justice--and really it was mostly straight up worship). Can't WAIT to see him do his thing AGAIN tomorrow in the two-part "Gathered Here In the Mystery of Love" worship/workshop!

I spent a little time walking around the Exhibit Hall for a while and introduced myself to Starr King Director of Recruitment, Rev. Jeremiah Kalendae. Great to finally meet him. Then I got some food and then went up to Starr King's "Sacred Activism: Heart-Opening Multireligious Exercises for Liberation" workshop with outgoing SKSM president Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker and Rev. Jeremiah as well as Starr King's Interim Director of Advancement Abbey Tennis (who also has a brilliant singing voice) and someone else whose name escapes me. Really interesting workshop going through a number of spiritually nourishing exercises from several religious traditions, including lots of beautiful singing and some wonderful chanting.

Wandered around chatting with some people for a while and then hit up a three-hour workshop entitled "AWAKE Ministries: A 21st Century Model for UU Worship" led by Rev. John T. Crestwell, among others, which was AMAZING. Veeery music-centered, much like The Sanctuary Boston, but much more gospel-styled music with a full band--many of whom are Christians--and a lot more "God language," (it is Rev. John T. Crestwell, after all) which I actually liked. I like the idea that UUs are (or should be) getting more comfortable with religious language than we have been. We're a religion, it's about time we act like it! The first half of the program was a beautiful, joyous worship service and then we took a short break and came back for the more workshop-y portion of the program where they discussed how they intentionally create deeply multicultural, multigenerational community in the home congregation of AWAKE Ministries in Annapolis, MD. Very, VERY interesting and useful stuff. I took lots of notes and I can't wait to get to work on implementing some of what AWAKE (and The Sanctuary Boston) are doing at UU Miami!

Wandered around a bit more. Hit up the exhibit hall again. Had a lovely chat with Abbey Tennis at the SKSM booth. Bought a few chalice necklaces and one of the lovely ladies there was nice enough to give me some cord for my bamboo chalice because the one it came with broke. She even threaded it and tied it up for me!

Around 6:30 I met up with Jenn Toth and a bunch of friends of hers at a nearby restaurant for some food and fellowship which was lovely. Then at 7:30 it was time for SYNERGY! This is always one of the highlights of GA for me and this time was no exception. Beautiful stories and beautiful singing and SO much joyous celebration from the bridging youth and their wildly supportive kin. I am always struck by an incredible sense of pride and awe and humility being in community with the amazing young people at General Assembly each year. They (we) truly are the future--but also the present!

After Synergy, a group of about seven young adults convened at a local bar for some "small group ministry" and seven turned into like 20 so fast we almost didn't notice. Got to chat with several people I truly love and respect a great deal (like the exceedingly lovely Raziq and my UU brother from another mother Jeremy) and had some particularly lovely conversation with GA Planning Committee Chair Bart Frost. The perfect end to another perfect day at GA! :)

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