Our beloved faith movement is justly being asked to shift its spiritual focus from "I" to "we." But who are "we"? What would radical inclusion in Unitarian Universalism look like? How do we get there?
At Meadville Lombard, equity, inclusion, and justice are at the heart of seminary life in every aspect. Our students learn to effectively challenge white supremacy culture, ministering to you and your community. They are changing lives to change the world.
Stop by and meet our faculty, staff, current students, and alums. Learn more about our degree programs, Fahs Collaborative's curricula that you can bring back to your congregations and communities, work of the Library & Archives team, and our Global Initiatives. Pick up some swags when you are there!
Alumni/ae Reception & Annual Meeting
5:00-6:30 pm (doors open at 4:00 for conviviality)
The McGinnity Room, 116 W. Pacific Ave.
The Annual Meeting will start promptly at 5:00 pm. Email invitations will be sent to our alums. Please update your contact information if your email address has changed and you did not receive the invitation.
How "We The People" Can Save Our Democracy
1:30-2:30 pm Convention Center Conference Theater
The spirit of democracy is integral to Unitarian Universalism, and yet the culture of democracy is everywhere at risk. This session will explore how our UU values can help us to create a more resilient democracy by building upon our collective spiritual gifts of disruption, innovation, connection, and amplification.
Dr. Mike Hogue, Rev. Dr. Pamela Lightsey, and Rev. Dr. Lee Barker
The Minns Lectureship: White Supremacy Today
1:30-2:30 pm Davenport Ballroom C (Co-sponsoring with Minns Lectureship, First Church of Boston)
Right-wing populism is on the rise. Populism threatens Unitarian Universalists’ worldview by dividing the world into a righteous people and a corrupt elite. But left-wing populism can also push institutions to be more accountable. This historical lecture asks how Unitarian Universalists can respond to populism in the age of Trump.
Rev. Dr. Colin Bossen, MDiv '06 with Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray and Dr. Mark Loustau
Thursday, 10:00 am-noon and Saturday 3:00-4:00 pm DoubleTree Ballroom IV (Journey Towards Wholeness Transformation Committee)
The JTWTC will discuss its power mapping for the UUA report, and train participants to utilize power mapping in their home community. Participants will learn how to trace systems that create/protect systems of
Rev. Theresa Soto, MDiv '16 with Mandolin Restivo, Carrie Stewart, and Ted Fetter
Religious Professionals of Color Collaborative Power of Nosotros
1:30-4:00 pm Davenport Maple Ballroom (Called to Justice)
Religious Professionals of Color are experiencing heightened challenges largely due to our faith’s
Create Justice! The Power of Congregation-Based Organizing
1:30-4:00 pm 300B (Spokane Alliance)
Want to build accountable community relationships with the power to dismantle systemic racism and achieve justice? Two-hundred UU congregations are doing it! Spokane Alliance and UU organizers from various community organizing networks will share how this model works and how to build the Power of We to create justice.
Rev. Dr. Abhi Janamanchi, MDiv '98, DD '18 with Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones, Rev. Patrice Curtis, and Katie Ashmore
Love Resists Detention: Accompaniment & End Money Bail
1:30-4:00 pm 300A (UUA, UUSC, UURISE,
Accompaniment programs stop deportations, reduce bond fees, and keep families together. Bail bond funds release individuals jailed for being poor. These programs center people’s dignity in a system that denies it. Love Resists, UURISE, UU State Networks, BLUU, and frontline partners share how congregations can do this work more effectively.
Rev. Shawna Foster, MDiv '13 with Katia Hansen, Leslie MacFadyen, and Laura Wagner
Staffing: For Purpose, With Purpose
1:30-2:30 pm 300C (UUA)
Do your staff support your mission, goals, and needs? Are you intentional about living your values through your employment practices? Cultural norms and assumptions can get in the way, along with financial concerns. Unlock your congregation’s power and possibility by
Rev. Dr. Lisa Presley, DMin '07 with Jan Gartner
Healing America's Largest Race Massacre is Religious Work
1:30-2:30 pm 100A (All Souls Unitarian Church, Tulsa)
Healing America’s largest race massacre is religious work for All Souls, Tulsa. Portrayed in a new documentary “American Heretics” is an example of how a progressive, multicultural church can do justice and reconcile its past. It’s becoming a story of how UU’s across the USA/ world are collaborating today.
Rev. Dr. Marlin Lavanhar, DD '17 with Rev. Barbara Prose and Bishop Carlton Pearson
Mini-Assembly on SOC: Democracy Uncorrupted
1:30-2:30 pm 111C (Commission on Social Witness)
The mini-assembly is the opportunity to propose amendments to the draft Statement of Conscience and to discuss its content prior to the vote.
Rev. Dr. Meredith Garmon, MDiv '03 with Dr. Susan Goekler, Alison Aguilar Lopez Gutierrez McLeod, and Jyaphia Christos-Rodgers
Liberal Religion Beyond Optimism
1:30-2:30 pm 100B (Skinner House)
For generations, liberal pulpits have rung with grand sermons about progress “onward and upward forever,” yet our people struggle to make sense of both their own suffering and enduring injustice all around us. What resilience lies beyond our historic optimism? How can that resilience guide us forward in authentic ways?
Rev. Nancy McDonald Ladd, MDiv '04
Getting Funding to Increase Your Connections and Power
1:30-2:30 pm Davenport Ballroom A (UU Funding Program)
This year the UU Funding Program will award $1,065,000 in grants to innovative, exciting projects that build our movement and deepen community connections, increase UU involvement in justice work, and organize for systemic change. Come meet the people who give it away and see if your project can receive funding.
Dr. Hillary Goodridge, DHL '18 with Michelle Rediker
Building Diverse Leadership in Your Congregation
1:30-2:30 pm 401ABC (UUA Nominating Committee and Appointing Committee)
This workshop will provide an opportunity to learn about skills and competencies to recruit and retain diverse leadership at the congregational level. Leadership skills developed in congregations can provide a pipeline for national leadership.
Rev. Kimberly Quinn Johnson, MDiv '15 with Aisha Houser, MSW, Jessica Falconer, and Rev. Amanda Weatherspoon
A Radical Welcome: Embracing People, Not Behaviors
1:30-2:30 pm Davenport Meeting Room 2 (Worthy Now Prison Ministry Network powered by Church of the Larger Fellowship)
Labels are a powerful thing. Often we don’t realize the harm that can come from them. This is especially true for the label criminal or sex offender when observed through the lens of mass incarceration. Are we UUs prepared to welcome the post-incarcerated sibling into our congregations, fellowships
Rev. Dr. Rodney Lemery, MDiv '18 with Rev. Debra Haffner and Rev. Mandy Goheen
Consensus Decision-Making to Counter Oppression: Let's Dig In!
3:00-4:00 pm DoubleTree Ballroom V (Allies for Racial Equity)
Utilizing more collaborative models is key to countering oppressive forces found at the very core of our ‘operating systems’ and within congregational life. In this session, we explore the basics of how organizations have used consensus decision-making to successfully disrupt white supremacy and reorient toward power-sharing.
Rev. Elizabeth Carrie-Ladd, MDiv '11 with Amy Smith, Jim Krawarik-Graham, and Lori Stone Sirtosky
James Luther Adams and the Soul of Democracy
3:00-4:00 pm 100C (James Luther Adams Foundation)
The UU minister/scholar/activist James Luther Adams drew on what he learned from his time in Nazi Germany to directly challenge the faith in white supremacy and to embody the faith of the free. We can apply that legacy as we too oppose white supremacy and creatively support inclusive democracy.
Dr. Sharon Welch (affiliated faculty), Rev. Dr. William Sinkford (affiliated faculty), Dr. Mike Hogue (faculty), with Rev. Joanna Fontaine Crawford
The Heathen World and America's Humanitarian Impulse
3:00-4:00 pm Davenport Ballroom C (UU History and Heritage Society)
The concept of “heathen” seems to be an antiquated category and yet it has had long-lasting implications. Stanford Professor Kathryn Gin Lum shows how heathenness has operated as an essential foil against and through which Euro-Americans have defined themselves as a progressive, humanitarian people in this year’s Conrad Wright Lecture.
Rev. Dr. Nicole Kirk (faculty) with Dr. Kathryn Gin Lum
Indigenous Experience and Unitarian Universalism
3:00-4:00 pm DoubleTree Ballroom I-III (UUA Green Sanctuary Program)
Indigenous perspectives on being UU. This will be a panel of indigenous UU people sharing their experiences within UU contexts, including the need for decolonization. There will be time for questions and reflections
Kia Bordner (current student) with Rev. Dr. Clyde Grubbs, Rev. Gary McAlpin, and Rev. Dr. Maria Cristina Vlassidis Burgoa
Consensus Decision-Making to Counter Oppression: Digging Deeper
4:30-5:30 pm DoubleTree Ballroom V (Allies for Racial Equity)
Consensus takes too long! Isn’t modified consensus just agreeing on some stuff and voting on other stuff? I’ve seen consensus be oppressive, too. It would never work here. We tried it once; it was awful. Together, we’ll unpack common misconceptions, pitfalls, and roadblocks when implementing this transformative, more equitable model.
Rev. Elizabeth Carrie-Ladd, MDiv '11 with Amy Smith, Jim Krawarik-Graham, and Lori Stone Sirtosky
Ability, Gender, and Race and Class: We Rise
4:30-5:30 pm 100C (EqUUal Access)
Come to a vibrant exploration of faithful, intersectional responses for these difficult times. This program will include brief introductions of intersectional perspectives, practical case studies, group and paired sharing, and practices for resilience in this work.
Rev. Theresa Soto, MDiv '16 and Rev. Suzanne Fast, MDiv '09
Talking the Walk: Communicating Across Social Class
4:30-5:30 pm 300B (UU Class Conversations)
Our nation is divided, and class is a key fault line. As in past moments of turmoil, our UU community offers leadership. But to create healing dialogue, we must understand how class shapes communications styles. This workshop will help participants incorporate different styles to build strong UU and interfaith communities.
Rev. Kimberly Quinn Johnson, MDiv '15 and Sky Stewart (student) with Rev. Dorothy Emerson and Denise Moorehead
Beyond Hiring: Developing & Nurturing Multicultural Ministry Teams
4:30-5:30 pm 100A (UUMA)
Far too often, multi-cultural ministry teams don’t work out. This “breakdown” leaves white ministers and congregants perplexed as to HOW things fell apart so quickly. Because the work does not stop after the hiring. Different multi-cultural ministry teams will present on the topic.
Rev. Dr. Abhi Janamanchi, MDiv '98, DD '18 and Rev. Nancy McDonald-Ladd, MDiv '04 with Rev. Amanda Weatherspoon and Rev. Manish Mishra-Marzetti
Service of the Living Tradition
7:00-8:30 pm (UUA)
Many of our alumni/ae will be honored in their various stages of ministerial fellowship.
Prospective Student Lunch
11:30 am - 1:30 pm Davenport Meeting Room 5
Come have lunch with us at General Assembly in Spokane!
Find out how the master's degree programs at Meadville Lombard will equip you with the knowledge, skills, and experience you will need to activate the justice-making, peace-building power of liberal faith, and how our low-residency programs in Contextual Learning model enable you to pursue an exceptional master's degree from where you live and serve, supported by a learning community of faculty, peers, and mentors and a curriculum that integrates theory with practice.
From "I" to "We": Developing Faith Whole-Congregation Style
1:30-2:30 pm Davenport Ballroom A
When the faith formation of a congregation is not centered,
The Fahs Collaborative: Dr. Mark Hicks, Joy Berry, and Rev. Ashley Horan, MDiv '12
Centering Liberation Through UU Theologies
1:30-2:30 pm 111C (Commission on Institutional Change)
This workshop seeks to reflect on the liberatory potential of Unitarian Universalist theologies. It will consider how the findings of the Commission on Institutional Change can inform our commitment to theological perspectives that resist white supremacy culture, that hold us accountable to the ways we have harmed each other, and points to practices of hope.
Dr. Elian Ortega-Aponte (President-Elect) and Rev. Leslie Takahashi, MDiv '04 (affiliated faculty) with Rev. Dr. Sofia Betancourt
The Power of We in Global Unitarian/Universalism
1:30-2:30 pm 401ABC (U/U International Joint Working Group)
Unitarian/Universalism is a global faith. Beyond North America, U/U-ism is given new life and meaning that is nuanced by culture and context. How to partner across our global faith is filled with opportunities and perils. The ‘power of we’ begins with decolonizing our western imperial experiences and understandings.
Rev. Dr. Abhi Janamanchi, MDiv '98, DD '18 with Rev. Alicia Ford, Rev. Sara Ascher, and Rev. Roger Bertschausen
Upcycle Your Congregation
1:30-2:30 pm 111B (UUA, Skinner House)
Looking for down to earth but creative ways to revitalize your congregation? Meet the authors of Upcycle Your Congregation! Learn from and experience their approaches to music, worship, social justice, multi-generational programs and more. Come in congregational teams; you’ll leave inspired!