General Assembly 2000 Event 402
Tables packed the Center Ballroom. Centerpieces by Empty Shelves lent a more formal appearance. Unitarian Universalists (UUs) filled their plates with a hearty breakfast at the Awards Ceremony, where individuals, churches and organizations received recognition for outstanding performances. Jean Gillespie provided an able Master of Ceremonies.
The Annual Program Fund and UU Ministers Association Sermon Award was presented by Rev. Gary Smith and Judy Pickett. This award is given for the sermon that is most effective and promoting financial support of UUism. Rev. Gary Kowalski received the award for the year 2000.
The Holmes-Weatherly Award is given to those who best exemplify the founding spirit of the Unitarian Fellowship for Social Justice. The award went to Helen Henry for her lifetime of work with indigenous peoples and was presented by Robette Dias.
The Mark DeWolf Award honors the first UU minister to die of AIDS, and is given in recognition of long-term service to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) community. The award was presented by Susan Gore to this year's recipient Al Usack, president of the board and oral historian of the GLBT Ministers.
Rev. John A. Buehrens, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), said, "I am pleased to announce that the UUA President's Annual Award for Volunteer Service to the Association will be presented at the Nashville General Assembly to Dr. Leon Spencer of Statesboro, GA.
"As a district leader, as a UUA trustee, as co-chair of the process which launched our Journey Toward Wholeness, as a volunteer trainer, and as a committee member, and as a friend and counselor to countless other volunteers, Leon's volunteer work among us has been truly extraordinary."
"For more than a decade, often at considerable personal and professional sacrifice, he has given unstintingly of his time and of his wisdom as we have struggled to find a path together on which to deal effectively with issues of exclusion, injustice, and oppression. Along the way, his own spirituality and commitment have only become deeper and more inspiring—blessing those of us who have had the privilege of working with him."
The James Bennett Award, which was omitted from the program, was presented by Rev. Mel Hoover to two congregations in the Seattle area for their work in presenting the UU view of social justice at the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle. The award was instituted two years ago by James Bennett to honor the congregation that has done exemplary work in social justice. The recipients are the University UU Church and the Ranier Valley UU Congregation. The check will be given to Ranier Valley UU Congregation as a new member.
The Young Adult Campus Ministry Award honors a person who has committed to ministry to young adults. Rev. Donna DiSciullo presented the award to Sharon Hwang Colligan for her work in San Francisco.
The Angus H. MacLean was created in 1971 by alumni of the St. Lawrence Theological School for excellence in RE. As usual, Norman Mailer presented the award, this year to the Rev. Jeannellen Ryan for her excellent work in Religious Education.
The O. Eugene Pickett Award is given to the congregation that has made an outstanding contribution to the growth of UUism. Margaret Beard presented the award to the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville, which showed how it is possible to move through a serious conflict involving ministerial misconduct and emerge a stronger community.
The Skinner Sermon honors the sermon that best exemplifies the social implications of religion. Elizabeth Capone-Newton presented the award to Ginger Luke for her sermon, "Why No Living Wage?" (PDF, 7 pages).
The Unsung Unitarian Universalist Award honors those UUs whose actions inspire support and express UUism but who are not generally recognized. These people make the health of our Congregations vital. Coral Dudek of Bellingham UU Fellowship received the award from Rev. William Sinkford.
The Unsung Unitarian Universalist Youth Award is given to the youth whose actions inspire support and express UUism, but who are not generally recognized. Paul Dechichio received the award from Rev. William Sinkford.
The Youth Advisor of the Year was presented by Nathan Staples to Rick Bibby in recognition of his outstanding service as a youth advisor.
The Social Action Leadership Award from the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee honors inspirational advocates for social justice. William Brach received the award for advocacy of children from Nancy Bartlett. The monetary award was donated to Mr. Brach's favorite cause—children.
The Living the Mission Award is given by the Partner Church Council for creating and deepening international connections. Rev. John Gibbons read the award in both English and Romanian and honored Rev. Denes Farkas, who transformed tourists into pilgrims and deepened the connections with the Romanian Unitarians.
The International Association for Religious Freedom Award (IARF) was presented by Doris Hunter to Rev. Richard Kellaway for his work advancing the IARF.
The Schweitzer Award is given by the UUs for Ethical Treatment of Animals (UFETA) for the sermon that best exemplifies Schweitzer's teaching of reverence for life. This year's recipient was Rev. Ron Sala, who received the award from Rev. Clyde Grubbs honoring Sala's sermon, "Mind Your Own Business"
The Clayton Raymond Bowen Award honors the best paper from seminarian on Bible. Cecil Bohanan presented this year's award to Ron Robinson for his paper "Rhetoric and the Disclosure of Power in Luke."
Reported by Deborah Weiner.