Wednesday, June 25, 2008

First Day, GA...Yeay!

Day one at GA for the staff, ministers and religious educators is a "pre day". The ministers even get two pre days. We show up before the hotel staff knows what's going on, before the shuttles run and before all the volunteers are in place. It's good for us, keeps us on our toes, and offered me a chance at a nice long walk first thing in the morning. All good.

My favorite part about my professional day is always the connections I make, or renew. I got to see people I know who are from all over the country, who I know from leadership school in Colorado, GA in Ft Worth, St Louis or Portland, or Renaissance modules in Oregon and Washington. And the religious educators know how to do a power-packed-spirit-filled worship in a flash, and the hymns always have beautiful harmony. The programing beyond that was not spectacular for me, maybe because it was all about nature and worship and children "OK kids, let's go look at the weeds in the front garden!"'s not that bad, but the best part of the day--a session on mentoring--I had to leave to go to youth sponsor orientation. I figured youth staff sponsors shouldn't skip out on that one!

It was fantastic to see Michael in his role as youth staff. I remember GA in St Louis two years ago like it just happened; Rachel and Michael the only kids from our church, the youngest kids there and both pretty quiet. And here he was, doing skits, and leading a pack of youth from around the country. Opportunities are so open here in the UU world for leadership for-- anyone. We are lucky.

I love staffing our LREDA (my professional organization) booth in the big exhibit hall. I feel like a part of the big amoeba that is GA, and people talk to me who normally wouldn't; like the military man, and the family dragging their child around as he hung on dad's leg. Fun!

Our banner might have our old name, but it was still joyfully carried through the plenary hall for the banner parade. Michael was next to the UUA Youth Ministries banner. I'm taking pictures of banners that are really special, so we can have ideas about what we want for our future banner with our new name.

The opening worship introduced new music by Jason Shelton which follows our Six Sources. It was phenomenal, fantastic vocals, wide ranging styles, and I especially loved the story teller who wove a body prayer into the story and was backed by music that followed the story. The hall is huge and full of other UUs of all ages, colors, shapes, abilities and beliefs. I'm already filling up my tanks!

And best of all, one of my nearest and dearest friends lives here and came to stay with me! We've been friends forever and she's on the board of her UU church and had to come anyway, so why not make a girls' night of it? AND, I never would have known to go out for Cuban fast food without her here, but now I'm hooked. Beans and rice and plantains for me every time I can get 'em!

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