Resources from the Management Center

I was talking to a friend tonight about management — church management in particular — and once again turned back to a favorite resource, the Management Center.

I can recommend their courses, but if you live too far from where they offer them (or it filled up) then be sure to get the companion book,

Managing to Change the World: The Nonprofit Manager’s Guide to Getting Results, a snip at less than $20. And their on-line resources have a lot to teach.

Just a brief post to point out a great help

Notes, from the Disciples GA for ours next year

This is less blog post and more notepad, to record on-the-ground observations from attendees of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) General Assembly. They’re meeting in Columbus, Ohio now, and the Unitarian Universalist Association will meet there next June.

  1. Convention Center seating leaves something to be desired.
  2. In the spirit of ecumenism, I suspect the same will be true of Unitarian Universalists.

  3. And the AC is too cold
  4. Yes, there are watering holes. Some less obvious.
  5. Taking names:

  6. And places to eat.
  7. (@BluetoothTodd is a parody account, so some cheese humor may be in play.)

    • Double Comfort

Following the Disciples General Assembly

As some of you know, I trained for the ministry and received the degree of Master of Divinity at Brite Divinity School, a theological seminary of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) General Assembly began today in Columbus, Ohio under the theme “Soar!” I noticed a bunch of my classmates flying cross country, and then I noticed they were going to the city the Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly will be next year: Columbus, Ohio.

And so the Twitter hashtag for the CC(DOC) GA is #DisciplesSoar.

Alexander_Campbell_1788But what keeps my attention is a playful and cheerful parallel hashtag. If #DisciplesSoar is for the serious business, the #CampbellCon is for the fun stuff, for the relationship building and a knowing recognition that our awkward, wonky church conventions bear more that a passing resemblance to comics and sci-fi fandom.  (The hashtag is a reference to Alexander Campbell, a wild-haired founder. It would be as if we had a hashtag #BallouBoatHome. But I’m sure we could do better that that.)

I mean, I wish we could be so playful. There are a few of us, but we’re on the magins.  If we Unitarian Universalists, who suffer from debilitating earnestness, could put up with Twitter accounts like

We have @UUHulk, but rely rather too much on it. (Him?)

So put a pin in it: we could have more fun at General Assembly. It might even make the hard parts more bearable.

And best wishes to the Disciples in convention.

Bad church member, or expectations considered

So, it’s the eleven o’clock hour, and I’m at home. Late rising, some work around the house and — dang! after ten o’clock and unshowered, so I decided to stay home from church. And I wanted to go and intended to go. I feel bad because, for a number of reasons including travel, I’ve not been able to attend worship for the last few weeks. But I also don’t want to rush, and I have more work around the house I’d have to put off until two o’clock or so.

Not Attending Worship is high on the classic Bad Church Member list, so perhaps that’s what I’m feeling. But rather than ignoring the feeling, I’d rather own up to the feeling as a (probably) misplaced expectation.

Church life requires a measure of discipine, but using old rules and expectations will stifle those who haven’t committed to the discipline of “just knowing how to behave” in church, including attending, volunteering, giving and all the rest.

I’m thinking through “what is” and “what must be.” And how I’ll make it to church next Sunday.

My two sources for weather information

I rely on two indicators for weather: my sinuses and Forecast.io.

When I’m already congested, a strong weather front will give me a blinding headache. (Like today.) But that’s not helpful for you, or Daisy, our bichon frise, who hates having a potty walk in the rain.

I recommend Forecast.io for amazingly accurate hyper-local, minute-by-minute weather forecasts, which sometimes (alas, not quite, today) gives the dog enough time outside to do what she must.

The licenced minister application

This is the text of the form — it fits on two sides of half-sized piece of paper — used by applicants for a letter of license in the Universalist Church. I pulled this from a filled-in example from 1920 in Indiana, but variant date back to the 1880s and forward to the 1950s.

Interesting stuff.

Universalist Church licence application (detail), 1920

Form 1.

Application for License

To the Committee of Fellowship of the [State] Universalist Convention:

Brethren:

I desire to devote my life to the work of the Christian Ministry, in the Fellowship of the Universalist Church. I respectfully apply for a Letter of License to preach under its auspices. The motives are expressed on the other side of this paper. I cordially accept the essential principles of the Universalist Faith as follows:

The Universal Fatherhood of God;
The Spiritual Authority and Leadership of His Son Jesus Christ;
The Trustworthiness of the Bible as Containing a Revelation from God;
The Certainty of Just Retribution for Sin;
The Final Harmony of All Souls with God.

And I freely acknowledge the authority of the General Convention, and assent to its laws, promising to co-operate faithfully in all measures that may be devised by the General Convention, and by the State Convention with which I am connected, for the furtherance of the work and welfare of our Church.

Fraternally yours,
[Name]

[Date]


I hereby certify that the above named [Name] is a member, in good standing, in the [Church name] Universalist Church.

[Name] Pastor
[Date]

(over)

Why do you desire to preach?

What led to this desire, and under what circumstances?

Why do you see to preach under the auspices of the Universalist Church?

What preparation have you had, or what experience in public address?

How long have you been a member of the church named on the other side?

What further references as to personal character can you give?

Have you applied for License to any other Committee? If so, to which, with what result?

[Name]
[Address]
[Date]

Harder to return to blogging

I’ve only written one blog post since before General Assembly, and is was of a “what do you think” format. It’s been for a number of reasons:

  1. There’s been lots of work at work, and sometimes writing this blog seems like added work.
  2. This is my family’s season for birthday and anniversary celebrations, plus a family wedding this year. That’s more fun that blogging.
  3. Selection_153I’ve spent the last month “conquering” (their term) the Duolingo Esperanto course. Mi skribas kaj legas Esperante pli bona ol unu monato antaŭ, and the gamified process was quite fun and rewarding. I even got a certificate.
  4. I didn’t have much to add to the discussion of the vital issues of the day, except that, at some points, I thought that writers were lost in delusional or self-serving arguments. And I decided to keep my own counsel.
  5. Oh, and I think that Unitarian Universalism has a grim future — as bad or worse as the mainline — and that forward progress is likely to look like a salvage and reconstruction exercise.

So it’s a bit hard to get back into blogging.

So, any take away thoughts from General Assembly?

Even though I didn’t go to General Assembly this year — there was a very nice family wedding the same time — I tried to keep up with the news as best I can.

And saying that, I’m glad I didn’t go. There seemed to be a lot of feeling there — and camaraderie — but (as I’ve suggested elsewhere) I can meet my friends elsewhere (online included) and the amount of forward motion the UUA generates doesn’t seem to justify the effort of GA. (Indeed, a lot of the work of the UUA seems to be solving problems of our own creation.) That and there seemed to be a good bit of grievance cultivating there. Enough.

But if you were there, perhaps you have other experiences. Better ones, worse ones. And perhaps you have a special way of actually participating in General Assembly. (I think the attend-every-possible-session approach is certain death.)

Feel free to share your thoughts.

And as of now, I do plan on attending the General Assembly in Columbus, Ohio next year.