We had four 90 minute small group conversations around the topics below, and after dinner, we got together to share impressions.
One of the largest conversations was the Right relationship between UUA and theological schools, which went on for two sessions and is schedueled for another one tomorrow. There's a lot of energy around this presenting problem.
Some other comments from people about "ahah moments"
"Uneasiness there we don't all know the back story between the PTE and theological schools"
Not "Excellence in ministry" but "soul-satisfying ministry."
There's a core base of UU knowledge and identity that we want our ministers to have.and ..lots of ideas about how to impart it.
An individual's pride in being an excellent minister can be an obstacle to relationship.
Surprise (from a lay person) at lack of accountability structures/support/supervision for ministers in final fellowship.
Our language conflates the act of ministry with the title minister
Frequency and passion with which people talk about the need to deepen spiritual practice.
Importance of transformation
We have a ways to go before we can authentically raise the issue of diversity and pluralism in our congregations.
There's a difference between welcoming (persons of diverse race, ethnicity, etc.) and acting on their presence.
Low expectation for spiritual leadership to come from anywhere but ordained leadership.
As to my impressions, I have to say, I have rarely spent such a pleasurable day. Deep, respectful conversations with people who care about things I care about...how could you go wrong. Even defending my perceptions of our certification practices (MFC) to a skeptical audience, while not fun, seemed important and fruitful.
I was a part of a conversation on ministerial culture, including the culture we create with the ways we evaluate candidates, a conversation about fostering emotional maturity and spiritual depth in ministry, and a third which was called "Lay Theological Education," but which was really about the resource gap for persons who have taken all their congregation's adult ed, but don't want to go to theological school. That was an exciting conversation. But they were all good.
But speaking of skepticism, it's hard for me to imagine that these free-floating conversations are going to produce outcomes that will increase excellence in ministry. Oh, me of little faith. I'm suspending my disbelief, as I've seen this facilitator bring an even more confusing conversation to a fruitful end once
Tomorrow will tell the tale