while everybody else seems to be headed to General Assembly. We on the upper far West Coast had to think hard about whether we could afford to hop a plane and cross the country diagonally so that we could be with all the other kids at Ft. Lauderdale for a week.
I decided to save my pennies so I could attend next summer in Salt Lake City, on the tenth anniversary of my attaining Preliminary Fellowship and walking that long aisle with my collegial cohort, to receive the blessing of the elders and a handshake from the UUA Prez, John Buehrens and other notables. That was an exciting week!
The controversy about Ft. Lauderdale's convention center didn't particularly interest me; I had already made the decision not to go when it came up. The thought of being in muggy Florida in June certainly didn't appeal either. All in all, I'm glad I'm not there.
But I am missing the chatter on the ministers' listserv. They are getting to see each other in person and I am missing my friends and colleagues! They aren't posting on the chat because they are sitting next to each other talking. Or they are seeing each other at the airport and hugging and exchanging the news, as they make their way to the Ministry Days site.
It's been several years since I was able to attend Ministry Days events and I miss that gathering. There are a number of colleagues I only know by reputation---good reputation, that is---and I'd love to meet them. UU ministers are extremely approachable, I've found, even the shy ones, even the highly popular ones. Nearly every one of them seems willing to say a friendly hello, even if they can't stop to talk or get acquainted. Very few seem aloof and distant.
I haven't heard any scuttlebutt about whether there will be a UU Blogger dinner. I organized it last year in Portland, and I don't know if anyone has stepped forward to pull it together in Ft. L. I hope so---it was a lot of fun and not a lot of work. I also don't know if there's any effort to get bloggers together to talk about UU blogging. I have noticed several new UU bloggers popping up and that seems like a sign that UU blogging is getting stronger and better developed.
I'm betting that GA this year is a less well-attended event than it has been in the past. With prices up and controversy sharp, it seems to me that many will opt out this year. I'm guessing there will be an effort to change the mind of the UUA board, which had cancelled the connections of affiliated organizations in favor of congregational connections only. I'm guessing there will be a lot of political fervor over the presidential (that's USA, as well as UUA) election(s).
My presidential candidate is Undecided at this point, at least in the UUA presidential election. I know both Peter Morales, who is currently minister at my home congregation in Colorado, and Laurel Hallman, who has been minister at First Church Dallas for many years. Either of them would do a great job. By next year, I expect I'll have made up my mind, but right now I'm reserving judgment. It's interesting to see that in our election, we too have a man of color and a strong woman as our choices. I wonder how the campaigning will go----will Laurel supporters have the same challenges as Hillary supporters? Will Peter supporters have the same challenges as Barack supporters?
My experience with UUA election campaigns is that they are quite civil, at least on the surface, though I may not be on the inside track with the rumor mill. I doubt that two ministers would use dirty tactics to win the race; at least, I hope not.
If you are going to GA, I hope you'll blog about your experiences and give us homebound folks the benefit of your wisdom. Let us know what you pick up.