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PatGoller-DA2010-194Riding back from the 2010 Central Midwest District Assembly-UUA on Sunday before last, I read from a Meg Barnhouse book ["Did I Say that Out Loud?"] I had picked up at the assembly book store at Wheeling, Illinois. Meg, a long time UU Minister and host of "Radio Free Bubba" on North Carolina Public Radio has incredible insight and a sense of humor that in her telling makes ordinary things have special meaning and import.

The book literally fell open to a short reading called "Brick by Brick." I read as the miles toward Springfield melted away.

Meg had been driving by a brick wall job in her hometown Spartanburg [South Carolina] for several weeks and observed a suntanned man of 70 who appeared to be the job supervisor. He watched and smiled as young brick layers buttered and stacked brick, laughed, talked and encouraged others on. He, Meg concluded seemed to enjoy his work, but she began to wonder what about it made him smile. Was it the idea of the project in process or interacting and teaching young wall builders the tricks, the techniques that form a good wall? Was it the idea of finishing a long job or did he even notice how long it was and simply take joy in the day to day work? She concluded that he probably didn't even think about the end product or about the space between this job and the next, but enjoyed the process of on-going work.

The district assembly themed "Becoming the Faith of our Time," seemed much like the on-going work of building a long brick wall.

Future congregation presidents or treasurers joined the lunch tables on Saturday whose announced subject interested them. Enthusiastic musical types were sequestered for three rehearsals over the weekend with the funny and generous Marty Swisher, Choral Festival director, from Unity UU Temple in Oak Park. All were invited to Marty’s hotel room for an "M & M party" after performance! It was the first District choral fest and some opted out of the rest of the weekend to join the choir for rehearsals and performance on Saturday evening after the banquet.

Others with serious furrowed brows and questions joined in conversations about finances, governance, social outreach, programming and more. Others set up vendors tables like Diana and me. We came to promote the UU Women's Connection and celebrate Margaret Fuller's 200th birthday. Other organizations...humanists, Channing Murray, Women and Religion committee came to promote their causes and programs too.

I chose the Young Adult service after choir practice on Saturday, because I heard one of the choir soloists singing "Imagine" by John Lennon as I walked by. His voice and guitar drew me in. These Young Adults are always so full of hope and ideas. But this year they asked participants to pipe up with ideas about becoming the faith of our time. UUs are never without ideas and there were many, but that brings me back to Meg who encourages me to think about just enjoying the process and keeping up the work.

Becoming the faith of our time seems all process. Building a connecting wall, teaching others how to mortar up the bricks of raising consciousness, money and fun, taking care of business, providing programming for our congregations and taking up opportunities to seriously practice the pluralism our principles encourage us to strive for. It is what builds the wall for me...the sought after Holy Grail of being the faith for our time is already in place and we need only keep on keeping on.

Pat Goller, Tuesday, May 11, 2010
UU Women's Connection of the CMwD