It's really hot in the Pacific Northwest. I mean really hot. It was 106 degrees today here in Portland.
That is so hot. I mean, wherever you might be, 106 is hot. But here in the Pacific Northwest where most folks have no air conditioning and we get all steamy when it's 78 degrees; this is incredibly hot.
So here I am in Portland, representing the Liberal Religious Educators Association. We are intentionally trying to work together with all our colleagues (musicians, ministers, and administrators) to create fantastic collegial relationships. Here's the description of our workshop for tomorrow, it sums things up pretty well:
The UUMN and Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA) are currently working together to lift up supportive and reciprocal staff relationships. This workshop brings religious educators and musicians together and shares stories of how to initiate and invite partnership between staff members, with a focus on how to remove obstacles of habit, silos, and territorialism.
It's a little tiny bit mind blowing to be here with so many UU musicians. I met very briefly with the UUMN board today. It was 3pm on day two of their meetings. And they were still smiling, still laughing, still coming up with fresh ideas and innovative plans.
That is effective and engaged leadership.
I went to the Compline (final church service of the day in the monastic tradition) and my soul soared with the fine music.
I walked back from the Compline service with Jason Shelton and got to confess in a "fan moment' that the ringtone on my cell phone is actually the first measures of "The Fire of Commitment" but really, we had even more fun talking about our kids.
I got to give a great big hug to Minister of Music at the Minnesota Valley UU Fellowship; Sonja Johnston. This is my home congregation from age 10 to about 36. She taught me "Spirit of Life" and was my AYS teacher when I was 14 and played the wedding march at my wedding. Here we are together at a conference. I am humbled and amazed!
The conferece seems to be brilliantly organized. There are so many things to make you feel welcome and part of the whole. There is a "goody bag" of things to make your stay easier from coupons for half priced meals to a travel mug to a name tag that says "new" to let everyone know that you need a kind word and a helping hand. And there was a copy of the new Spanish language hymnal and many, many samples of sheet music. I can't wait to sift through it all.
And can I say enough about Keith Arnold, the president of the UUMN. He's kind, warm, amazingly organized. And I think maybe even a friend. He serves the musicans and all UUs so well. We are lucky.
So, I'll hope for a little cooler weather tomorrow for the hike (five blocks!) to First Church. I'll look forward to the good worship that is bound to happen, and to the good conversations I know will happen. I'm honored to be here and honored to serve on the LREDA board.