The Perversity of Diversityrev mark morrison reed

Fuzzy Aspirations & Hard Realities

Rev. Mark Morrison-Reed will be our Keynote Speaker in Bloomington Illinois at the Chateau Hotel and Conference Center

“Why has becoming more culturally and racially diverse been such a challenge for UUism? Why, when our intentions are so good, is it still a struggle? There is a surprising, and painful, truth behind Unitarian Universalist efforts to become more racially and culturally diverse. This truth must begin with taking an honest look at who we are and why we are who we are, and it ends in a conundrum but not without hope. If UUs really want to change, accepting the truth is the only place to start. Torn between our reality and our aspirations, what are we to do?"

This presentation with will include viewing the DVD: Black Pioneers in A White Denomination, music and singing that explores what music has and has not appeared in UU hymnals over the last 50 years, small group discussion in which hard questions are reflected upon and a lecture based upon the findings in the Rev. Dr. Mark Morrison-Reed’s just released book Darkening the Doorways: Black Trailblazers and Missed Opportunities in Unitarian Universalism. In the end we will not only consider why achieving diversity is challenging, but also talk about which congregations have become successfully diverse and how.

Join Mark Morrison-Reed for an inspirational exploration of these issues, combined with worship, music and fun! Saturday will consist of two sessions with our keynote presenter, including some small group breakouts. An extended lunch hour will offer 2 one-hour informal sessions for affinity groups, workshop-type presentations, resource sharing, or browsing the UUA bookstore and district vendors.

Raised in the Unitarian Universalist faith, Mark was ordained in the Unitarian Universalist ministry in 1979. For 26 years, he and his wife, Donna, served as co-ministers--first in Rochester, New York, then in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Morrison-Reed's graduate thesis, Black Pioneers in a White Denomination, was published in 1984 and is still in print. Now retired from full-time ministry, Morrison-Reed divides his time between writing and other interests. He has been working with Meadville Lombard Theological School to organize and build the library's archive of materials relating to African American involvement in Universalism, Unitarianism and Unitarian Universalism and is teaching at the school on his research.

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Register ONLINE!


Friday, April 29

3:30 – 6:30 p.m. Registration,
Vendors Open

5:00 – 6:00 p.m. UU Media Team

6:30 – 7:45 p.m. Opening Celebration:
Welcome including
Sermon Contest winner

8:00 – 9:30 p.m. CMwD Annual Meeting

Saturday, April 30

7:30 – 9:00 a.m. Registration
Vendors Continue

9:00 – 11:15 a.m. Mark Morrison-Reed
Session #1

11:30 – 1:45 p.m. Lunch, including two
one-hour sessions of Topic
Tables and affinity groups

2:00 – 4:00 p.m. Mark Morrison-Reed
Session #2


WELCOME to District Assembly 2011

Greetings and welcome to the Central Midwest District’s Annual Business Meeting and Assembly.The title of our keynote by The Rev. Dr. Mark Morrison-Reed, The Perversity of Diversity, lifts up the provocative challenge of embracing racial and cultural diversity within the context of liberal religion. We’ll address this topic in a daylong workshop as part of a more streamlined District Assembly.

The difficult and sometimes halting move to integrate a largely white organization is not unique to Unitarian Universalism. Despite our stated denominational embrace of all peoples, the boundaries of race and class still inform the organizations of liberal religion.

As an African-American scholar and a longtime Unitarian Universalist who hails from this district, The Rev. Dr. Reed is in a unique position to comment on these challenges. He offers a hopeful and constructive approach confronting these disparities in our lives and in our congregations.

The issue is real; the conundrum is difficult. I extend this invitation across our district because the path to a more inclusive Unitarian Universalism is not possible without a broad embrace of the conversation.

During our business meeting, I will lead a discussion on the developing topic of “regionalism” in our denomination. Representatives of our neighboring districts, Prairie Star to our west and Heartland to the east, will attend the meeting.

Finally, we’ll have a chance to learn and exchange ideas on congregational leadership during the extended lunchtime discussion format. See the enclosed Registration form if you’re interested in facilitating a table topic discussion.

brianLet us combine our aspirations and efforts for a larger, more diverse and more relevant Unitarian Universalism in Bloomington this spring.

Warmly, in the Spirit,


Rev. Brian Covell
President, Central Midwest District
Minister, Third Unitarian Church


About the Central Midwest District

Our district is one of 19, working to further liberal religious values as part of the Unitarian Universalist Association. We cover all or part of five states – Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Michigan and Indiana – serving almost 80 congregations with over 13,000 members. CMwD is part of the Mid-America region, working together with two neighboring districts to serve congregations across the entire Midwest.

CMwD Board of Trustees

Rev. Brian Covell
President (2013) Chicago, IL

Meredith E. S. Beckman
Vice President (2012) Madison, WI

Warren Thom
Treasurer (2012) Plainfield, IL

Emmy Lou Belcher
Ministerial Trustee (2011) Naperville, IL

Justine Urbikas
UUA Trustee (2011) Chicago, IL

Nancy Armstrong
(2013) Normal, IL

Suzi DeBeers
(2012) Waupaca, WI

Rosemary Johnston-Lawton
(2012) St Louis, MO

Mallory Mattimore-Malan
(2011) Springfield, IL

Open (2013) Secretary

CMwD Staff

Rev. Ian Evison
Congregational Services Director

Dori Davenport Thexton
Faith Development & Growth Director

Peggy Boccard
District Administrator

Gretchen Ohmann
Communications Coordinator

Kimberlee Tomczak Carlson
Youth & Young Adult Coordinator

Michelle Richards
Event & Publications Associate


Opening Celebration:
6:30 p.m. Friday

This is a stirring tradition, with its inspiration, music and welcoming messages to set the stage for our time together.

CMwD Annual Meeting:
8:00 – 9:30 p.m. Friday

This is your opportunity to learn more about the Central Midwest District! Reports on all aspects of CMwD business will be presented, and delegates will elect officers.

Lunch Table Topics

If you have a professional staff position in your congregation, or are in a leadership role, you can join others who do the same work to network and share resources. We hope for a wide variety of topics that will be of interest to you – see the registration form to either offer or express an interest in a topic.

Podcasts and Media Team

Do you have experience recording and podcasting worship services and events for your congregation? Would you like to learn how? We're looking for volunteers to record events at DA. These recordings give those of you unable to attend in person an opportunity to participate.

You will have an opportunity to be trained on the use of equipment. Bring your own if you have it! You may also tap District staff knowledge on ways to post media to your website. DA volunteers receive a discount on their registration fee. To join the Team, sign up on the Registration form and join us at 5:00 Friday, April 29 for an Orientation session.  Sandwiches, snacks and beverages will be provided.

Bookstore and Vendors

Peruse and purchase the latest and most popular books from the UUA bookstore. You will also be able to see what your fellow UUs across our district are doing and creating in their expressions of our UU values.


Register online.
Those using the paper registration in the brochure should fill out the registration form completely. Each adult needs their own registration form. Mail form(s) with check to:

District Assembly
Central Midwest District – UUA
1555 Sherman Ave, Ste 345
Evanston, IL 60201

Adult Registrations:

The fee of $95 (or the “early bird” pre-April 11 rate of $80) covers admission, all DA events and Saturday lunch.

Student and Young Adult Registrations:

For a reduced fee of $40, full time students or young adults (younger than 35) may register.
Student and Young Adult registration fees are subsidized by scholarship donations.

Reduced Rates:

A volunteer rate of $60 is available (until the April 11 deadline) to those who contribute 2 hours of time during the District Assembly.

Volunteer opportunities include: Registration
table, Bookstore sales & setup and Media Team.

Vendor table fee for vendors not choosing full Registration is $35 with opportunity to purchase lunch for $20.  Requests for financial assistance will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Please donate to our scholarship fund to support Young Adult participation in District Assembly. This is an option on the online registration form, or you may include a donation with your check. THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROSITY!!!



1601 Jumer Drive, Bloomington, Illinois 61704. The hotel is just east of Veteran’s Parkway and between College and General Electric Roads.

For Guest Room Reservations:

  • Email ...
  • Call (309) 665-5671 (corrected number) and ask for Angie
  • Call Toll Free (866) 690-4006
    Click here for links to the Chateau's ...

The District Assembly rate is $89 and is guaranteed through April 1.
Mention CMwD to get this rate.

Be sure to make your room reservations for District Assembly by April 1. The best thing to do is to contact Angie at --- the reservations manager at The Chateau in Bloomington IL. Use discount code CMwD (or UUMA for ministers attending the ministers’ retreat). As of 3/24/2011, rooms are still available for April 27 through April 30.



If you would like a printed brochure mailed to you, please call Gretchen at or e-mail ...

Vendor table questions, contact Michelle Richards...

For any other questions, please feel free to contact District Administrator Peggy Boccard
Phone: 312-636-9724


Bloomington, IL
Friday, April 29, 2011

  • Call to Order
  • Chalice Lighting & Affirmation of Covenant:

We, the people of the Central Midwest District, affirm the UU principles and purposes as a guide to align our actions with our values.  We covenant in word and deed, with a spirit of acceptance, reason and compassion, voicing our concerns, and using grace in disagreement.

  • Secretary affirms quorum: announce number of delegates, number of congregations
  • Questions about Printed Reports (President's, UUA Trustee, District Staff, APF Representative)
  • Treasurer’s Report & Presentation of Budget
  • Comments on Future Budgeting
  • Statement on Co-Employment and Regional Cooperation
  • New Business
    • By-laws Revisions (Resolution attached)
  • Old Business
  • Nominating Committee Report and Election (Ballot attached if needed)
  • Adjournment

Period for Announcements

Rev. Brian Covell


Proposed Amendments to the By-laws

WHEREAS, the Board of Trustees of the Central Midwest District of the Unitarian Universalist Association (the “District”) has reviewed the By-laws of the District; and

WHEREAS, the Board of Trustees recommends that certain sections of the By-laws be updated;

Now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the By-laws of the Central Midwest District of the UUA shall be amended as follows:

Article III, Section 3(b), remove references to “the Director of Religious Education.”

Article IV, Section 3 (c), substitute for “proposed”, “Board approved.”

Article IV, Section 5, append “Consideration of resolutions without prior notice and discussion of said resolution shall last no more that 20 minutes combined, pending parliamentary procedure.  The Chair or his or her designee may defer any decision on a resolution to the assemblage for a majority approval.”

Article V, Section 3, amend sentence 3 to read “The UUA trustee shall be nominated by petition and elected in the manner prescribed by these by-laws for no more than 2 terms.”

Article V, section 4 (a), amend sentence 1 to read “All elections herein provided for shall be conducted by submitting ballots for this purpose to the member congregations...”

Article V, Section 4 (b) amend sentence 1 to read, “Delegates may cast ballots by mail, absentee, electronic transmission, or in person at the annual meeting as specified in the notice of meeting.”

Article VII, Section 1 (a), to append “The Board shall approve a proposed budget for the next fiscal year at the quarterly meeting prior to District Assembly.”

Rev. Mark Morrison-Reed was the Keynote Speaker at the 2011 Central Midwest District Assembly in Bloomington Illinois.

“Why has becoming more culturally and racially diverse been such a challenge for UUism? Why, when our intentions are so good, is it still a struggle? There is a surprising, and painful, truth behind Unitarian Universalist efforts to become more racially and culturally diverse. This truth must begin with taking an honest look at who we are and why we are who we are, and it ends in a conundrum but not without hope. If UUs really want to change, accepting the truth is the only place to start. Torn between our reality and our aspirations, what are we to do?"

Approx. 35 minutes