Ironicschmoozer’s Weblog

#1: Phoenix General Assembly and Ministry Days 2012, June 19-24, 2012



Brisk walk from home to Yolobus near Capitol, $2 ride to Sac airport Monday morning.   Caught a Phoenix cab to our rented house (thank God cabbies now have GPS) along with newly called minister to large River Road Church in Maryland/DC burbs.  She’s an amazing younger minister; her professor hubby just published book Why Americans Hate the Media and How It Matters.

My former intern and her minister husband like to find house rentals and avoid hotels for GA, and I’m one of the privileged.  We are in historic Encanto/Palmcroft neighborhood in a Spanish villa with a pool, TV room, wine chiller, and four bedrooms.  Wanna see it?  Click here.  With nine of us it’s cheaper than a hotel.  Two ministers made a grocery trip:  lots of chocolate bars!  A Florida minister made us a nice veggie dinner, which we enjoyed with reminiscences from seminary days.  Then a few of us did a run through of a readers’ theater play we will give at a workshop at GA on Friday.  We all turned in early.  Today’s temp was 112.  My roommate here has been a minister 24 years.  He did his seminary internship in our church 25 years ago!  Now serving in a co-ministry with his wife on an island in Washington state.



Today is Day one of the two Ministry Days (UU Ministers’ Association).  Got up at 5:30; the east coasters got up first.  Coffee by the pool after two folks swam, conversation about ministerial pensions and UUA fair compensation standards.  Half-hour bus or light rail ride to convention center; week’s pass only $17.  Hi-carb breakfast at the center, hello all around to familiar faces and a long conversation with a colleague in his 8th year in a southeast church of 650, just now getting a second minister!


Opening worship featured Susan Frederick Gray, minister in a Phoenix church, about the experience of serving in AZ with the police-state rule of Sheriff Arpaio here and the law known as SB 1070.   Powerful sermon, with prayer by my colleague from Milton, MA, who is on the UUMA Board.  Offering to support AZ Interfaith Worker Justice organization.


Coffee break led to more catching up with several folks and then a great presentation on social justice activism paradigms by Starr King School for the Ministry president and scholar from UC Riverside, and panel with UUA President, UU Legislative Ministry (California) Senior Minister, and African American minister from Arlington, VA.  Very thoughtful and thought-provoking.  Each presenter ended with a question we should discuss with folks near to us in groups of 2 or 3.

Chatted with CA pals on way to lunch room, then lost them.  Had long lunch visit with my first UU minister (from 1985!); a great listener!  Workshop on interfaith social justice activities with a panel of AZ rabbi, Methodist minister, Episcopal lay leader.  Coffee with senior colleague Doug and an accumulation of 5 other Pacific Central ministers at Starbucks sitting outside in 108 heat (thawing out after the AC morning).  Was approached by a few seminarians trying to find a church to do their internships.


Attended the Q&A with UUA denomination president Peter Morales.  In a past career he worked for the State and lived in Sacramento.  Went for a long walk outside to drop a greeting card off at a colleague’s hotel room to mark her 25 years in the ministry.  (Those marking 25 and 50 years in our ministry will be honored Wednesday morning, as well as those  ministers who have died in the past year.)


My eyes were dry, my lips were dry, my new tennis shoes may have been melting on the sidewalk, though a posted sign said it was only 108.


For dinner, met up with ministers from Hayward and Walnut Creek (CA) and central PA and Virginia/DC suburbs (both of them used to be in our district).   We dined outdoors, with ceiling fans and mist-ers; when the wind was blowing right it even felt chilly under the mist.  I found my way to light rail and the 15 minute walk home, with dry eyes again.  At the house, folks are watching the Seattle Mariners play the Arizona Diamondbacks.  I had seen crowds walking from light rail to the ball park downtown.


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Roger, that house is really beautiful! Enjoy it! We listened to the stream tonight for awhile. I am interested to hear how the Saturday visit to the tents goes, in terms of impact. I don’t know if we’ll get to see it, but am thinking it should be on the web somewhere………Lauren

Comment by odessaerin

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