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2018 CER St. Lawrence Seaway Spring Gathering
2018 CER St. Lawrence Seaway Spring Gathering
2018-04-13 19:00:00
2018-04-14 17:00:00
Friday, April 13, 2018 - 7:00 pm EDT to Saturday, April 14, 2018 - 5:00 pm EDT

Type of event: Conference

Sponsor: Central East Region of the UUA, First UU Society of Syracuse, Syracuse, NY

You Can't Spell Church without J-O-Y
2018 Seaway Spring Gathering

Come join UUs from across New York for a day of worshipping, learning and connecting!

Friday night Gould Discourse: UU Sniffing Salts with Sheila Schuh

Ours is now a unique position of discomfort and challenge that serves as a pore to deepening the embodiment of our faith.

If we are not going to “sleep through the revolution,” we must find agents to activate our Principles most consciously. From an ancient aching call from our land, to our modern societal ache for the Beloved Community-Wake, now, our senses and hear the earth call. Wake, now, our vision of ministry clear.

Saturday Morning Keynote Speaker: You Can't Spell Church without J-O-Y with Rev. Megan Foley

Unitarian Universalism is a faith that promises love, connection and justice for all sorts of people in all sorts of ways. Each of us gets the opportunity to practice this good news faith regularly. Then why does UU congregational life often feel so, well, exhausting? Why do our leaders regularly wonder if what they do matters? Why does it sometimes feel like church is a deep hole we’ll never finish digging out of? Let’s take some time to reflect on our true callings as religious leaders, and think about how to bring joy back into the good news we’re offering the world.


  • Adults - Sliding Scale of $30-$40-$50-$60-$70. Registration fees are on a sliding scale, based on your assessment of your ability to pay. Those who pay at the two highest levels are making a donation to help those in financial need for this event. Please remember that for a sliding scale to work, we need the same number of people with means to generously pay more to balance the needs of those who can afford less. Please let us know if you need a partial waiver. There are no full waivers but those requesting a waiver will pay only $5.00.
  • Youth - $25. Youth may request a partial or full waiver.
  • Childcare - is available for $5 per child. You must list the name and age of each child on your registration form.

Workshop Options

Session 1

  • Restorative Practices 101 – Sheila Schuh, 1st Unitarian Rochester. When relationships break down in our community, what tools and wisdom do we have for rebuilding and reconciliation? We will cover basic kinds of restorative practices, how they differ, and resources for next steps. We also will consider larger questions about the role of such practices in building more inclusive environments.
  • Understanding Micro-aggressions- Rev. Sunshine Wolfe, May Memorial. A 101 workshop on understanding oppression.  Discusses basic definitions including differences between oppression and prejudice and then explores microaggressions in detail.  I focus on sexism and racism, but other oppressions are covered as well including genderism, sexual orientation prejudice, and ablism.
  • Helping Smaller Congregations Connect with the Next Church-Going Generation - Rev. Megan Foley, Regional Lead, Central East Region. Join together with other small congregation members to hear from Rev. Megan about some simple ways to welcome and connect with the next generation of your church. There will be plenty of time to talk and compare notes with the experts – other small church members!
  • Sticky Membership – Rev. Renee Ruchotzke, Congregational Life Staff, Central East Region. UU Congregations tend to see lots of visitors, and spend a lot of energy helping them learn about UUism and how to become a member. This workshop focuses on the next step: Helping new members develop connections and become integrated into the life of the congregation.
  • Help! How Do I...? Where Can I Find...?? Music resources from the UUA and other sources- Sara Jo Brandt-Doelle, First UU Church of Syracuse. What does the UU Musicians Network (UUMN) offer? How do I know if a hymn is easy to sing? Where can I find the history of a song? Can theme-based worship help our music program? What if we don't have an accompanist? Are there new pieces out there which are good for UUs? Answers to these questions and more will be shared at this workshop concerning resources available to help congregations with their music programs.

Open Space Conversations

  • “Hear Here!” – Peter Diachun and others, First UU Church of Niagara. We will explain, demonstrate, and show participants how to establish an inductive loop in their own auditoriums to provide the best hearing to members who use hearing aids. Please read the following link from our Church website:
  • Time with Central East Regional Lead  - Rev. Megan Foley
  • Song-Leading without a Pianist – Rev. Kimberley Debus
  • Making Coffee Hours Gluten-Free  - Tina and Melissa Lesley-Fox
  • There will be an opportunity to offer additional conversations on the day of the event.

Session 2

  • Growing Up UU – YAC Youth. Come join members of the Upstate Youth Adult Committee in a discussion based workshop about what it means to grow up UU. Participants will get a chance to listen to and share their experiences growing up in a UU community, or what it was like to not grow up UU.
  • Commissioned Lay Ministers: The Story – Jeff Donahue and other CLMs. Commissioned Lay Ministers (CLM) are trained lay leaders who help with a specialized ministry in your congregation.  That ministry is agreed upon my the CLM, her/his minister, and the congregation’s board.  CLMs are lay leaders who have served in many capacities and want to take their leadership and service to a higher level.  Come here stories from CLMs in upstate NY on their preparation and service.
  • Trends in Family Ministry – Looking beyond the classroom to foster faith development – Leah Purcell. We’ll take a look at the new initiatives Think Orange; Death of Sunday School and Full Week Faith.  What might work for your congregation – large, small or in between? How does Family Ministry fit in Religious Education? What would be the first step to bring change in your congregation? Bring the mission statements of your congregation and RE program, if you have one.
  • “UU White Supremacy Culture” Curiosity Circle – Rev. Renee Ruchotzke. Many UU congregations have participated in #UUWhiteSupremacyTeachIn, organized by the #BlackLivesOfUU. This is an opportunity to learn together so you can find their own theological center and voice in this important time. Wherever you stand or however you feel, we will meet and walk with you.
  • Leading and Building a Music Program in a Small Congregation – Jody Brown. You don’t need to be a large church to have great music! Come learn how the Auburn UU Society (32 members) does it!

Registration and childcare request deadline is April 2, 2018.
It is planned to use an inductive loop (or T-loop) hearing assistance system in the main hall of the Seaway Spring Gathering. This will allow those who have hearing aids with a “T” switch to access the amplification system directly without additional equipment. If you need future details on this type of system please see this webpage from First UU of Niagara.

  • Register as an Adult
  • Register as a Youth - All Youth must have a sponsor for the programming on Friday evening and during the day on Saturday. You need your sponsor’s name AND email address to register. There will be Central East staff and approved volunteers supervising youth at the youth overnight, so sponsors do not need to sleep at the church.

Friday, April 13
7 pm Gould Lecture with Sheila Schuh
8:30-11:00 Reception and "UUs Got Talent"

Saturday, April 14
8:00 Registration
9:00 Banner Parade and Opening Worship
9:30 Keynote with Rev. Megan Foley
10:45 Workshop Session 1
12:00 Lunch with Affinity Groups
1:15 Meet Your Neighboring Congregations
2:00 Open Space Conversations
3:00 Workshop Session 2
4:30 Closing Worship and Youth Bridging
5:00 Safe Travels


109 Waring Road
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First UU Society of Syracuse
109 Waring Road
Syracuse, NY 13224
United States

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