6 Videos to Help You Prepare for UUA General Assembly 2017

For those of us going to this year’s General Assembly conference, the UUA has compiled a fabulous list of tools to help us prepare.  It includes readings, videos, books and activities.

Below are six videos featured in their list of preparatory tools.   I’m using them to jump start my preparation.   I invite you to do the same.  Videos vary from the full length documentary  13th to a 3 minute clip of comedian Aamer Rahman.

Have a team going to General Assembly?  Check in on your preparatory education and reflection plans.  Besides making sure everyone knows about these tools to prepare for GA,  you might want to plan an opportunity to watch one or more of these videos as a group.

I think I’m going to have a GA prep movie night…  What about you?   ~ Peter

1. Watch 10 Years after Katrina

Watch 10 Years after Katrina: Resilience, Recovery, and Reality  (30 Minutes)

August 29, 2015 marks the tenth year since Hurricane Katrina became a platform for a conservative recovery agenda pushed by then President George W. Bush. This agenda spearheaded the privatization of public places and public services in New Orleans and the storm-damaged communities of the Gulf Coast Region. The inequities and unjust outcomes of this agenda are laid bare in the short film Ten Years after Katrina: “Recovery,” “Resilience” & REALITY produced by the Greater New Orleans Organizers Roundtable.

2. Watch the Rev. Dr. William Barber at GA 2016

Watch GA 2016 Event 214 – Rev. Dr. William Barber on The Third Reconstruction (1 Hour, 9 Minutes)

Rev. William Barber, II, leader of Moral Mondays, Forward Together and NAACP NC, speaks on his new book The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement (Beacon Press). He calls for a nation-wide moral revival and offers a blueprint for state-wide grassroots organizing.

Order The Third Reconstruction from the UUA Bookstore
Get The Third Reconstruction for Amazon Kindle
UUA Common Read Discussion Guide

3. Watch 13th on Netflix

Watch the documentary 13th on Netflix.  Free month trial available. Directed by Ava DuVernay.  (1 Hour, 40 Minutes)

In this thought-provoking documentary, scholars, activists and politicians analyze the criminalization of African Americans and the U.S. prison boom.

4. Watch Rev. Mark Morrison-Reed at 50th anniversary of the Selma Crossing

Watch the Rev. Mark Morrison-Reed speaking at conference commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Selma Crossing. (50 Minutes)

5. Watch TEDx Talk by Jay Smooth

Watch TEDx Talk by Jay Smooth How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Discussing Race. (12 Minutes)

Jay Smooth is host of New York’s longest running hip-hop radio show, the Underground Railroad on WBAI 99.5 FM in NY, and is an acclaimed commentator on politics and culture.

6. Watch Hot Chicken Video with Devita Davison

Watch Hot Chicken Video with Devita Davison at the Social Capital Markets Conference 2016. (9 Minutes)

Nashville’s most famous chicken dish began as an act of vengeance by a spurned girlfriend of entrepreneur Thornton Prince in the 1930s. Instead of feeling burned, Prince was inspired and turned Hot Chicken into a thriving business. Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack is still in business but never grew outside of Nashville–even though his recipe is making money for others all over the world. At SOCAP16, Devita Davison of FoodLab Detroit told the full story of Hot Chicken, to illustrate cultural appropriation in action and the barriers to success that minority entrepreneurs often face.

6. Watch comic Aamer Rahman on Reverse Racism

Learn more about comedian Aamer Rahman (Fear of a Brown Planet) at aamerrahman.tumblr.com and on Twitter at @aamer_rahman.  (3 Minutes)


Is this your first General Assembly?  If so, this collaborative unofficial  UUA General Assembly Survival Guide is for you!

https://twitter.com/uuplanet/status/861712732369846272

Tips for attending UUA General Assembly 2017 Edition

This collaborative post and “survival guide” features tips and reminders for attending  the annual General Assembly conference of the Unitarian Universalist Association!  Note this edition has information specific to the UUA’s June 21-25, 2017 General Assembly in New Orleans, Louisiana.

This post was first made by a UU Growth Lab brainstorm in 2011 with my updating annually. Have a tip or resource to add?  Share it in a comment at the end of this post.

Share your tips, share this post with fellow UU’s attending for the first time, and I’ll see you at GA!

UUA General Assembly 2017 logo

Follow the UU World’s Coverage:

The staff of the UU World does an amazing job covering General Assembly.  Their GA blog and social media channels are the go to source for in-depth and breaking General Assembly news.

Advance Preparation

To get the most out of this General Assembly, schedule time to dive into these recommended tools to prepare for GA.  These include readings, videos, books and activities.  Don’t wait until the week before. You’ll want to pace yourself to make the most of these resources.

I’m jump starting my preparation by watching the 6 videos featured in this list. GA prep movie night?

Additional Registrations

Note there are these additional opportunities, but they require advance registration.

Before You Go:

  • Plan your life at General Assembly assuming you will not be able to access wi-fi in the convention center.  Internet access is always and issue. Bring critical information and contact numbers with you. If access is good, enjoy!  But be prepared.
  • Order a Standing on the Side of Love yellow shirt if you want to join fellow UUs wearing them while participating in the 2017 GA service projects (advance registration required) and at the #LoveResists Rejoicing for Sanctuary & Solidarity public witness on Friday, June 23, 2017 at 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
  • Convention centers, especially the main halls, are usually freezing! Bring a layer you can easily take on and off so you’re okay going from outside to hallways to the general session/plenary ice box.
  • Hydrate! Bring a water bottle. If you’re flying, bring an empty one to fill at a water fountain after you go through security.  You can usually buy a reusable bottle in the Exhibit Hall.
  • If you are a delegate, READ related business materials before you come.  You are deciding our future. Everything delegates need to review is  available here.
  • GA is amazing for network and learning.  Bring business or personal cards so that you can give your information to others.
  • Be sure that someone from your congregation is bringing the banner for the banner parade.
  • Download & review the Program Guide ahead of time.
  • The UUA GA Mobile App is fantastic.  If you have a smartphone, make sure to install it.  It will significantly improve your GA experience.  Plan on exploring and testing the app before you arrive. There are a lot of features. You can choose to follow posts by other attendees, share your own posts tagging which event you’re at, and much more.  The week leading up to GA, try opening the app each day. People will already be posting.
  • Plan out what workshops you want to go to.  Have a tentative choice made for all time slots in advance. You’ll need time between schedule blocks to take care of biological needs, talk to people, and change rooms. You won’t have time to pick as you go.
  • Pick a 2nd workshop for each time slot. You may find that when you arrive at your first choice it’s not what you expected and it will be good to know exactly where to go to get to your 2nd choice.
  • Pack comfy shoes.
  • Bring a bag you can carry comfortably with you at all times, like a shoulder bag or light backpack.
  • If you’re asked to carry your congregations banner during the banner parade, figure out how the poles/carrying PVC pipes go together before hand.  Here are banner specs from the UUA (pdf).
  • “Last year I had a binder where on the back cover I had a map of the area in the plastic cover thing, the front with my delegate card and other really important info, and inside my travel info, the program book, the business resolutions, etc.  It really helped me stay organized throughout.  Put in paper to take notes on, bring pens, etc.  I had that with me in my laptop bag and it was great.”
  • Talk to people in your congregation to find out about resources you can scout out and bring home and questions they might have, especially if your congregation has a very limited budget and will be under-represented by delegates. It is even nicer when you reach out to area congregations if your cluster is composed of smaller, less financially able congregations, and see how you can help.
  • If you can’t walk more than a mile easily, you will want to rent a scooter through GA Accessibility Services. If you often use hearing assistive devices in crowded settings, you will want to use GA Accessibility Services. Better to reserve equipment you turn out not to need than arrive & be blocked from participating because no extra equipment is available.
    GA Accessibility Services. 
  • If you have special dietary requirements, scout out the food vendors before departure and plan well ahead. Make reservations at places that will accept them. Pack extra food if you have really specific needs. It isn’t uncommon to have to wait at GA area restaurants for a long time, or to have relatively few places that can accommodate vegans, folk who need to eat gluten-free, or even offer acceptable fast alternatives for diabetics.
  • Plan a check-in breakfast/lunch/dinner with some people you know at some point.  Even if you’re the independent or introverted type, GA is really overwhelming in the sheer mass of people and having a drink with some familiar faces can be really nice
  • If you are the only one you know going to GA, start making connecting with people via the GA app and on Twitter.  For example, on Twitter you might tweet “Looking forward to _____ at this year’s #UUAGA conference.”  Fill in the blank with what you’re excited about.  By including the #UUAGA hashtag we can find your tweet on Twitter.  On the GA App you can share posts with photos.  You might share a photo of yourself and share what you’re looking forward to and what leadership role(s) you have in your congregation.
  • If you really want to hang out with your former minister that you haven’t seen in ten years, email them now and ask them to breakfast.  They will either say “yes” or “I’d love to talk to you for a minute at some point, but my schedule is totally booked.”  If you wait until GA to ask, the answer will almost certainly be the second one.  Ministers are really busy during GA.  I’ve found that breakfast is the meal they are most likely to be free.
  • Prepare your elevator speech about what Unitarian Universalism is and why you are one. Local folks ask questions; be prepared to answer.

While you’re there:

  • Now that you’ve arrived, remember to HYDRATE!  And take time to eat and pace yourself.  GA is a marathon.
  • You don’t have to go to everything.  And that’s ok.  I ended up skipping things last year, including the Ware Lecture, because I needed a breather.  And dinner.  Besides it will be online.
  • You need to eat.  You’ll need to schedule that in.
  • Attend the orientations, from GA for First Timers to your regional/district ones.  They help.
  • Avoid picking up paper – use digital notes whenever possible (they’re tending toward less paper now any way)
  • Say “Hi” to people & don’t be shy to tell them that you’re a first timer.
  • A great way to meet people is to introduce yourself to people when you sit down in a workshop.  You already know you have a common interest.  Say hello and strike up conversation.
  • Whatever you do, go to the Service of the Living Tradition & the Sunday morning service. See program highlights.
  • Having a meal with other UUs from across the country can sometimes be more valuable than going to a workshop.
  • I was told this by my congregation and it really made a difference for me.  During a general session (previously called plenary) , if you aren’t sure what you’re about to vote on, don’t hesitate to ask for a point of clarification from the procedure microphone.  Because if you don’t know what you’re voting on, at least 100 other people there don’t know either.
  • There’s this GA tradition that I don’t fully get – getting as many possible ribbons from booths to hang from the bottom of your nametags.  When you check in, at least last year, you even got some “coupons” to take to certain booths to get certain ribbons.  I just followed the crowd on that one.
  • Wear comfy shoes.
  • GA volunteers are often wearing specific shirts or pinnies that identify them easily. They’re there to help you. GA is really possible because of the kindness and support our volunteers give.
  • If you are in need of emotional or spiritual assistance, if you experience any kind of harassment, talk to any shirted GA volunteer and ask them to help you be connected with either the Right Relations Team or the chaplains.
  • You are an ambassador of Unitarian Universalism!
    Many people in and around the convention center will be meeting their first Unitarian Universalists.   While at General Assembly, bring your best self and make living our values an intentional practice.  Sore feet because you forgot your comfy shoes is not an excuse.  Be kind. Be generous. Smile. Pick up trash. You are not a tourist. You are not a business conventioneer. You are an ambassador of our faith.

Joining the GA Choir

  • If you love to sing, GA Choir is your cup of tea. Rarely do we belong to congregations that can boast so many great voices or musicians.
  • Pre-registration for the 2017 Choir  is required. Onsite choir sign-up only occurs if space is available.

Get on Twitter!

  • GA is a great time to get on Twitter.  You’ll be surrounded by people to give you advice and amazing content to tweet about.  The following video was made before the 2014 GA in Providence. The process and tips all still apply, just know that the GA specific examples are now from that past GA.  It will get you up and running in 20 minutes.  Just make sure you go to GA in the right city – New Orleans!

Play with Video!

  • Going to film video at GA with your smartphone? Checkout my video tips page. Whether you are tweeting or sharing on Facebook or another platform, GA can be a great place to record videos.  If you are at GA with a team, you might take turns filming video updates from GA.

Getting Around

Tourism / Local Information

Have a tip or related resources to share?  Add it in a comment on this post or in response to where I’ve shared this post on Twitter or Facebook.  Thanks! Peter

https://twitter.com/uuplanet/status/861712732369846272

UU Gotta Tweet at #UUAGA video Crash Course

Update:  If you’re watching this in 2016, remember this year’s GA is in Columbus, OH.

Friends, I told people using the UUA’s mobile General Assembly event app that I’d make a quick tutorial on how to get started on Twitter.  Here it is!

In this video I walk you through the process of setting up a Twitter account,  connecting with UUs on Twitter, and a few basics on hashtags.   This is not a comprehensive training, it is just intended to help you set up a Twitter account before General Assembly.  You can learn during GA and in the #UUsGetSocial workshop series.

I look forward to seeing you in Providence, RI next week and on Twitter.  Once you’ve created your account, make sure to follow me at @UUPLANET.  I will also be announcing new UU social media events for the Fall shortly, ranging from Colorado Springs, CO to Providence, RI.

In cooperation,
Peter

Tips for Your First General Assembly – 2014 Edition

The following list of tips for attending your first General Assembly conference of the Unitarian Universalist Association was  made collaboratively by the UU Growth Lab. It was first published in 2011 and has since been updated annually.    The UUA’s 2014 General Assembly takes place this June in Providence, RI.

Before you go:

  • Plan your GA life assuming you will not be able to access wi-fi in the convention center.  Internet access is always and issue. Bring critical information and contact numbers with you. If access is good, enjoy! Otherwise, be prepared.
    GA Planning Committee member say there will be multiple free wi-fi locations in the convention center.  I’ve yet to attend a GA without internet access issues…
  • Order a Standing on the Side of Love yellow shirt if you want to join the crowds who will wear these shirts during our Public Witness event on Saturday night.  Order via UUA Bookstore here.
  • Convention centers, especially the main halls, are usually freezing! Bring a layer you can easily take on and off so you’re okay going from outside to hallways to the general session/plenary ice box…
  • Hydrate! Bring a water bottle. If you’re flying, bring an empty one to fill at a water fountain after you go through security.  You can also buy a reusable bottle in the Exhibit Hall.
  • If you’re representing your congregation and they have a budget, you might be able to get some good discounts on curricula, books, and marketing materials (banners, postcards, etc.) but remember you’ll have to have a way to get them back.
  • If you are a delegate, READ the stuff before you come.  You are deciding our future. Available here.
  • Bring business or personal cards so that you can give your information to others.
  • Be sure that someone from your congregation is bringing the banner.
  • Download & review the Program Guide ahead of time.
  • Plan out what workshops you want to go to, but don’t be wedded to the idea.  Pick a few you certainly want to go to, but be open because you’ll change your mind at least once while there.
  • Pick a 2nd workshop for each time slot. You may find that when you arrive at your first choice it’s not what you expected and it will be good to know exactly where to go to find your 2nd choice. (Also, at some GAs, the rooms were too small and you could find yourself unable to attend your 1st choice because it was full.)
  • Pack comfy shoes.
  • Bring a bag you can carry comfortably for days, like a backpack.
  • If you’re asked to carry your congregations banner, figure out how the poles/carrying PVC pipes go together before hand.  I still think my congregation was hazing me last year…
  • Last year I had a binder where on the back cover I had a map of the area in the plastic cover thing, the front with my delegate card and other really important info, and inside my travel info, the program book, the business resolutions, etc.  It really helped me stay organized throughout.  Put in paper to take notes on, bring pens, etc.  I had that with me in my laptop bag and it was great.
  • Talk to people in your congregation to find out about resources you can scout out and bring home and questions they might have, especially if your congregation has a very limited budget and will be under-represented by delegates. It is even nicer when you reach out to area congregations if your cluster is composed of smaller, less financially able congregations, and see how you can help.
  • If you can’t walk more than a mile easily, you will want to rent a scooter through GA Accessibility Services. If you often use hearing assistive devices in crowded settings, you will want to use GA Accessibility Services. Better to reserve equipment you turn out not to need than arrive & be blocked from participating because no extra equipment is available. GA Accessibility Services.
  • Download the official UUA GA 2014 Mobile App:
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id874590675
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=me.doubledutch.uuaga
  • Don’t wait to download the app until GA, do it now and play with it so you’re oriented to this tool and ready to go come General Assembly.
  • If you have special dietary requirements, scout out the food vendors before departure and plan well ahead. Make reservations at places that will accept them. Pack extra food if you have really specific needs. It isn’t uncommon to have to wait at GA area restaurants for a long time, or to have relatively few places that can accommodate vegans, folk who need to eat gluten-free, or even offer acceptable fast alternatives for diabetics.
  • Plan a check-in breakfast/lunch/dinner with some people you know at some point.  Even if you’re the independent/introverted type, GA is really kinda overwhelming in the sheer mass of people and having a drink with some familiar faces can be really nice.
  • If you are the only one you know going to GA, start making friends with people in the UU Growth Lab at GA Facebook group and via the GA app.
  • If you really want to hang out with your former minister that you haven’t seen in ten years, email them now and ask them to breakfast.  They will either say “yes” or “I’d love to talk to you for a minute at some point, but my schedule is totally booked.”  If you wait until GA to ask, the answer will almost certainly be the second one.  Ministers are really busy during GA.  I’ve found that breakfast is the meal they are most likely to be free.
  • Prepare your elevator speech about what Unitarian Universalism is and why you are one. Folks ask questions; be prepared to answer.

UUA General Assembly 2014 in Providence, RI

While you’re there:

  • Now that you’ve arrived, remember to HYDRATE!  And take time to eat and pace yourself.  GA is a marathon.
  • You don’t have to go to everything.  And that’s ok.  I ended up skipping things last year, including the Ware Lecture, because I needed a breather.  And dinner.  Besides it will be online.
  • You do still need to eat.  You’ll need to schedule that in.
  • Attend the orientations, from GA for First Timers to your regional/district ones.  They help.
  • If you’re on a budget, check out the map for what part of the Exhibit Hall you need to avoid
  • Avoid picking up paper – use digital notes whenever possible (they’re tending toward less paper now any way)
  • Say “hi” to people & don’t be shy to tell them that you’re a first timer.
  • Whatever you do, go to the Service of the Living Tradition on Friday night (updated)  & the Sunday morning service.
  • Having a meal with other UUs from across the country can sometimes be more valuable than going to a workshop
  • I was told this by my congregation and it really made a difference for me.  During a general session (previously called plenary) , if you aren’t sure what you’re about to vote on, don’t hesitate to ask for a point of clarification from the procedure microphone.  Because if you don’t know what you’re voting on, at least 100 other people there don’t know either.
  • There’s this GA tradition that I don’t fully get – getting as many possible ribbons from booths to hang from the bottom of your nametags.  When you check in, at least last year, you even got some “coupons” to take to certain booths to get certain ribbons.  I just followed the crowd on that one.
  • Wear comfy shoes.
  • GA volunteers are often wearing specific shirts or pinnies that identify them easily. They’re there to help you. GA is really possible because of the kindness and support our volunteers give.
  • If you are in need of emotional or spiritual assistance, if you experience any kind of harassment, grab any shirted GA volunteer and ask them to help you be connected with either the Right Relations Team or the chaplains.
  • You are an ambassador of our faith. Many people in and around the convention center and downtown area will be meeting their first Unitarian Universalists. This is another chance to make a good impression, invite folks to check us out, and show what great community members we can be. Pick up trash. Be kind. Be generous. You are not a tourist. You are not a business conventioneer. You are an ambassador of and for our faith

Joining the GA Choir

  • If you love to sing, GA Choir is your cup of tea. Rarely do we belong to congregations that can boast so many great voices or musicians.
  • You need to register to sing in the choir. Plan to be there for registration as soon as possible, every year it is different but it does fill up. This year (2014) it says “GA Choir registration will be held Tuesday 2:00pm– 6:00 pm and Wednesday 12:00 pm – 2:45pm at the kiosk in the West Prefunction lobby on the fifth floor of the Rhode Island Convention Center. Singers may register and pick up their music (for a $10 music fee). There will be a waiting list kept at the first rehearsal for spaces that may open subsequently.” Note all the rehearsals in the schedule. You may miss something else you’d like to do. You can’t do it all. Choir is a commitment, but worth it. I’ve heard the same about being a volunteer.

Before GA, make time to play — with the mobile app!

UUAGA 2014 App

If you’re going to the UUA’s 2014 General Assembly conference in Providence, RI this June and have a smart phone or tablet, you’ll want to make sure to download the brand new UUA General Assembly app. I just gave it a test drive and it is fabulous.  But don’t wait until GA, you’ll want to downloaded it now and start using it so come General Assembly, you’re good to go!

The UUA General Assembly 2014 app   is the official interactive mobile app for the annual meeting of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Inspirational worship services, informative workshops, entertaining programs, and a bustling exhibit hall help make GA an unforgettable experience for the thousands of Unitarian Universalists that attend.  (From iTunes App Store)

Before GA, make time to PLAY!

The UUA General Assembly 2014 app is LOADED with features.  So many, in fact, that I think you need to spend some time with the app before arriving at General Assembly. You don’t want to waste valuable GA time getting oriented to the app — do that in advance.

This mobile app allows you to:

  •  View schedules, explore sessions, and find after parties.
  •  Create your own personal schedule and access location and speaker information.
  •  Access interactive maps and find local places.
  •  Check­in to sessions, meetings, keynotes, and exhibitor booths.
  •  View an entire feed of the event activity, including attendee check­ins, photos, and more.
  •  Earn points, badges, and prizes for being active on the app and at the event.
  •  Expand your professional network and have fun!

Listed features include:

  • Update ­ — a quick way to share photos, comments, where you are, and which session you’re attending
  • Activity — ­ keep your finger on the pulse of the event. See what people are doing, view photos from the event, find trending sessions and topics, and “like” and comment on other attendee check­ins
  • Agenda — ­ view the full agenda and related information (session time, room number, speaker info, etc.) Attendees ­ see who’s at the event, and connect with them on the app
  • Exhibitors — ­ find exhibitors and sponsors, check­in to leave comments and feedback
  • Profile — ­ your official app profile, highlighting your name, profile photo, title, and organization
  • Leaderboard ­ — see who has the most points at the conference and climb your way to the top with check­ins

See? It’s loaded… So, do take time to set up a profile,  figure out how to navigate to events and venues,  share photos, and follow people you want to connect with at GA before you arrive at GA.

A Word of Caution
We don’t want to have thousands of UUs gather for General Assembly and then have all social media traffic for General Assembly get redirected into an app that only people at GA can see.  GA should be the most active UU social media week of the year, not a time when Unitarian Universalism goes silent.  Use the app, but don’t hide in it…

Keep it Social
Make sure that if you use the app, you still Tweet and share Facebook and other social media updates.  The app lets you connect Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts to the app and select which updates get sent out via those channels.

Tag it #UUAGA
Don’t forget to include the #UUAGA tag in any update you post via the app that you are also sending to Twitter! The app does not hashtag for you.

Don’t Forget Your Friends
While this app allows us to connect with others at GA in powerful ways, much the way Twitter & Facebook connect us year round,  we need to make sure we don’t totally abandon those who are not plugged in!  Keep your heart open and your eyes out for those who are not digitally connected at General Assembly.

Photos of Public Witness
The app does let you take and share photos. However, if you take and share photos of public witness and and use the app to send them to Twitter, they appear as links in your tweets, not automatically displayed Twitter photos.   During public witness I’m going close the app and focus on sharing Twitter photos and videos made with Vine — that will get more reach.

Peter Bowden at #UUAGALet’s Connect!
You can connect with me, Peter Bowden, on the GA app and on Facebook & Twitter. During General Assembly, this year I will be focusing on talking ministry & media with all of you.

Also, look for my Leading Congregations ad in the GA program book. That’s the home for my interfaith congregational consulting practice . At General Assembly I’m going to be booking the rest of my speaking, training and coaching for the year. If you wanted to work with me in 2014-2015, make sure to connect with me at GA. I expect to be booked for year by July 15h.

Download the UUA General Assembly App:

Collaborative Mulitmedia Piece for Sunday Morning GA Worship

Photo by Jake JacobsonFriends, we are working on creating a multimedia piece for Sunday morning worship at General Assembly to the reading “Beatitudes for Justice Builders” by the Rev. Lindi Ramsden.

In order to bring this message to life, we are looking for additional photographs of people engaged in many different kinds of activities: social action, worship, meetings, tender moments, service, working, playing…

Do you have photos to contribute?  Please share them with us by this Friday, May 16th. Logistics and copy of the reading are below.

Our vision is to create a visual presentation that is colorful, creative, fun, and moving. In addition to being part of  worship at General Assembly, if all goes well, this piece will be available after GA for congregational use.

In the Spirit of Collaboration,
Amy & Peter

How to Submit Photos

1. To contribute photos:

  • Email: For one or a handful of  photos, please email them to us here.
  • If you use Flickr and have lots of photos to share (more than 5) post them to the UU Stock Photo group and letting us know via email that you’ve shared them there.
  • If you use Dropbox, email Peter and he can share a Dropbox folder with you.

2. Photo size:   Photographs are going to be included in HD video presentation at 1920 x 1080, so please only share photos at that can resolution or larger.

3. Please only submit photos that you have permission to share online or that are already publicly available online such as on congregational Facebook pages.  We do not want to spend time hunting down photo permissions and so prefer images already online.

4.  In sharing photos with us you are granting us permission to use them in the multimedia piece at GA, which will be live streamed, permission to use in an online video, and affirming that you have permission of people in the photo to share it.  Permissions are not needed for photos taken at larger public witness events.  Not sure if you have the okay to share?  Please do not share with us or ask those in the photo first.

5. Please include the names of photographers to include in credits.    We will be sharing names of contributors in a slide at the end of the piece.

The Reading

“Beatitudes for Justice Builders” by the Rev. Lindi Ramsden

1 Blessed are you who can question your own assumptions and listen with an open mind; you will receive new insights beyond your imagining.

2 Blessed are you who build friendships as well as justice; even when you lose an issue, you will have strengthened the foundation of your community.

3 Blessed are you who take delight in people; you will not be bored in meetings.

4 Blessed are you who agitate the placid waters of complacency; you will create waves in the inertia of privilege, and will know the thrill of riding the surf of change.

5 Blessed are you who lead with enthusiasm and confidence, resisting the temptation to shame the apathetic or self-absorbed; you will inspire curiosity and hope in others.

6 Blessed are you who play as well as work; you will have more fun, build more energy, and will draw the powers of the impish to your cause.

7 Blessed are you who ask for help in your role as leaders; you will find teachers at every turn, and your work will remain interesting and alive.

8 Blessed are you who do not demonize your opponents; your eyes and your hearts will be open.

9 Blessed are you who sing and dance; you will find energy and joy to lift you on your journey.

10 Blessed are you who offer thanks and praise five-fold for every critique; your children will want to visit after they are grown, people will want to serve on your committees, and friends will be interested in your opinions.

11 Blessed are you who study the rhythms of history; you will have knowledge with which to shape the future.

12 Blessed are you who work in coalition rather than in principled isolation; you will meet great people, learn things you didn’t realize you needed to know, and have partners for the journey when you are in the lead, or in need.

13 Blessed are you who discover, train and encourage young leaders; you will see your work expand and grow beyond your own time and talent.

14 Blessed are you who can change your mind; you are still alive.

15 Blessed are you who will not let the perfect be the enemy of the good; you will see progress in your lifetime.

16 Blessed are you with an active spiritual life; you will find perspective and comfort in times of loss and betrayal, and will rise without cynicism to meet the challenges of a new day.

17 Blessed are you who live from a place of gratitude; for you will know the meaning of Life.

 

UU Social Media Year in Review for 2013

Like - Social Media

Here are a some thoughts in response to Rev. Daniel Harper’s The year in review: UU social media in 2013. I’ll share more thoughts when I have time. Thanks for kicking off the review, Dan! ~ Peter

BLOGGING
We’ve discussed the issue of UU clergy vs. lay person blogging in the UU Growth Lab and most agreed that the ease of sharing ideas and engaging in discussion in topical UU groups has taken some of the energy away from public blogging. While it is great to have these forums, there was some worry expressed in having these conversations moved behind closed doors.

FACEBOOK OUTREACH & DESIGN
There’s been amazing UU outreach done over the last year via social media, especially on Facebook using combinations of striking visual images and quotes. The biggest contributors have been the page (featured in UU world this Fall) & , and Thomas Earthman’s I AM UU page.

TWITTER
There continues to be growth in the number of UUs and UU congregations on Twitter. The UUA’s twitter account now lists:

128 UU Ministers
50 UU Religious Educators
279 UU Congregations

I don’t have stats on the counts from previous years, though I’ve logged these numbers for future comparison.

Hashtags: Though they are now more mainstream, I don’t see many Unitarian Universalists using them well.  Some do, but not overall.  There’s huge potential to bring our congregations, clergy and other UUs on Twitter into larger conversations using hashtags.  Hard to say if it is lack of technical understanding, or simply lack of intention to reach out.

Gini’s Twitter Lesson: At the UUA’s 2013 General Assembly then moderator Gini Courter gave the full plenary a brief Twitter lesson.  It was great to see this attention brought to social media at GA.

VIDEO
The UU video site I curate, http://www.unitarianuniversalism.tv now has over 2450 UU videos. Alas, many are poorly filmed, and are designed for viewing by existing members chained to their pews. Unless someone is already a member or friend of the congregation, you have maybe 3 to 5 seconds to grab their attention. Many of the sermon videos posted online take 3 to 5 minutes, an eternity for a web video.

Also, many congregations are not titling their videos or tagging with keywords which reduces their value. Titles, descriptions and keyword tags will greatly increase the reach of the videos UUs are presently producing.

I’ve had many inquiries from congregations wanting to take their video to the next level (or to start filming) in 2014, which is encouraging. I still advocate for starting with an awesome podcast and periodic video messages designed for outreach (a message from your minister speaking directly to viewer online), and then getting into video of sermons.

PINTEREST
There are approximately 20 active UU congregations and UUA accounts on Pinterest. A search for “Unitarian Universalist” results in ~35 related boards. Numbers are approximate as some appear to not have been used since creating some time ago.

GOOGLE +
I’m getting circled more often by UU’s but I don’t know if people are really using Google+ more or are just being forced to create accounts to use Google services.  As for congregations, a search for Unitarian results in ~90 UU congregations (with profile photos) on Google+.  Searches for Unitarian Universalist yields fewer number, and Universalist fewer still so  “Unitarian” seems best for tracking the trend at this point.

What are your observations on 2013?
And your hopes and dreams for UU Social Media in 2014?

Share your comments on Dan’s post at
The year in review: UU social media in 2013.

New book on humanism, UU theology, and the growth (or not) of the UUA

I just ordered a new book on humanism, our UU theology, and the history of our association, REGAINING BALANCE: THE EVOLUTION OF THE UUA by Michael Werner, published by Religious Humanism Press.

I’m excited for this read as this relates directly to conversations we’ve been having in the UU Growth Lab over the last two years, especially last month.    I haven’t read it yet, so I can’t recommend it yet.  But stay tuned! I’ll let you know what I think.

If this subject is of interest to you, you may order it here.

Mike Werner
Mike Werner

‘Find out the history of the UUA that no one has told you.  Find out why the UUA is declining.   Find out why there is a rightward theological turn. Find out what can reverse the downward trend.”

“The author details the cultural, philosophical and political history of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) especially in regards to Humanism  and critical thinking.  The evolution of the UUA from a focus on reason in religion to one of radical tolerance is described along with the loss on membership.  Culturally important factors such as postmodernism, process theology, second wave feminism, value theory, new age, theological education, the “religious redefinition” game, population dynamics, and the age of narcissism in religion are brought together to show how multiple interacting forces have led to the UUA to ideological extremes of indiscriminate pluralism.  The secular revolution is then described and possible solutions for the UUA going forward presented.’

“In this book Mike Werner analyzes what is wrong with the UUA and suggests how we can correct our problems and become once again a vital and growing religious movement.  It should be read by every UU who cares about the future of our Association.”  — William R. Murry, Former President and Dean, Meadville Lombard Theological School

The History of Humanism and the Unitarian Universalist Association

Below you may find videos of a lecture by Werner.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Michael Werner is an ardent Humanist and Unitarian Universalist having been past President of the American Humanist Association, Vice President of the Fellowship of Religious Humanists, President of the Humanist Foundation, President of the Unitarian Church of Charlotte, a founder of SMART recovery,
and an adjunct faculty member of the Humanist Institute. He supports a balanced Humanism of heart and mind, reason and compassion and a balanced Unitarian Universalism that helps us discover how to be more fully human.

Millennial UU Innovators Discussion Google Hangout

The following is the archived video of the live Millennial UU Innovators Discussion Google Hangout convened by Carey McDonald on June 5, 2013.  Total running time 1 hour.

Now you may be asking, how do these things get scheduled and how do I get involved?   Join the UU Growth Lab on Facebook!  Many great conversations happening and connections  being formed there…  Not on Facebook?  Well, you really need to be if you want to be part of our 21st Century UU leadership. Its how we’re organizing….

Start Tweeting at #UUAGA in 3 Easy Steps

Reprinted from previous UU Planet post.

You have a smart phone, you’re on Facebook,  you might even have an iPad.  If you DO and you’re at General Assembly, it is time to try Twitter.  I know you can do it and I want to follow your tweets.  Here’s a quick guide.

  1. Find someone you know who is techie and probably tweets.
  2. Offer to buy them an ice coffee if they help you get set up on Twitter.
  3. Do what they say.

I’m serious! GA is the perfect time to get some social media and tech coaching from friends and colleagues.

We need to help each other to learn the communication tools of our time.  I’ve found that one-on-one is best for some people, especially those who are anxious about trying. That’s why I’m doing more private clergy social media training these days.  But I can’t do that for everyone. We need to help each other. If you are at GA and Tweet, try and teach one person how to do the same during the week.

Now that you are set up, make sure to do the following while your coach is standing by…

  1. Write your first tweet. If you’re at GA, include the hashtag #UUAGA.
  2. Next, have them show you how to search for a hashtag, that’s the keyword tags we use to create conversations. Search for #UUAGA by clicking here.
  3. Follow other UU’s tweeting using that tag.
  4. Follow me on Twitter @uuplanet. I’ll follow you back.

Let me know via Twitter if you’ve started Tweeting this GA.

Don’t forget to use the GA Hash Tag!  When you tweet during GA, if you want all of us to follow it, include the tag #UUAGA.

Use Hahtag #UUAGA at GA