At the fifth Tidewater Cluster Assembly held on October 14, 2017, Newport News was well represented with ten of nearly forty attendees. Having gathered at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Fredericksburg for this event, our UUFP team is pleased to offer these additional reports in complement to Courage Times Seven Part I previously published in The eFlame.
Joanne Dingus attended a workshop on "UU Evangelism," which provided some good ideas, many of which UUFP already implements. The second workshop in which she joined was titled "Courageous Spiritual Growth." Participants took time to consider how we define each of those words, both separately and together, and to reflect on how they are manifested in our congregations and in our personal lives.
Sandra Engelhardt and Pam Luke attended the "Climate Change and Sustainability" workshop by Keya Chatterjee of NASA. Rendering a very thought-provoking presentation, Keya stressed "three buckets of action." They were: prepare (by helping others), stop causing the problem (i.e., using fossil fuels) and minimizing human suffering and death. The importance of joining organizations and taking actions were discussed in detail.
Additionally, Sandra was present for the workshop on "Gerrymandering," led by OneVirginia2021 Executive Director Brian Cannon. Providing the background and possible actions to address this issue, the speaker included how various states have historically dealt with this problem. Brian invited us to learn more about the coalition's mission regarding "Virginians for Fair Redistricting" by viewing the documentary, “GerryRIGGED, Turning Democracy On Its Head.”
In the "Coalition Building" program, offered by Lisa Manion of Fredericksburg, we were divided into groups to work on various problems from the perspective of specific questions and skills.
Joanne Dingus described the spirit of our team. "I have to say my favorite part of the Cluster meeting was the travel to and from with Rosalee, Pam, Scott and Alicia. The amount of commitment, thoughtfulness, insight, leadership and love for our Fellowship exhibited in that van was amazing!" She concluded with a food for thought take-away, "How do we empower more people in our own congregation to embrace the qualities shown by the passengers in that van?"
Part of the Cluster Assembly's closing was a discussion for newcomers about the impact of UUA's General Assembly in New Orleans. The experience was both spiritual and wonderful, noted Joanne.
Next year's Tidewater Cluster Assembly will be at the UU Church in Williamsburg in the fall. Please think about attending! If you would like more information, contact one of the following: Henry Chambers, Alicia Hofler or Sandra Engelhardt.