The PSD Annual Conference is a weekend of workshops, worship, and fellowship in April of each year, and its location varies. At the Annual Meeting that takes place during the Annual Conference officers and directors are elected, the budget is approved, resolutions considered, awards granted, and reports presented.

PSD 2006 Annual Conference : “UU Con: Giving Life the Shape of Justice”  April 28-30, 2006 Sheraton Inn in downtown Iowa City, Iowa

Hosted by UU Society of Iowa City

The 2006 Conference includes:

The regular conference for adults. A Social Action Conference for youth (ages 12-18 or grades 7-12). “Scenes of Justice,” a program for children in grades K-6. Child care for children ages 3-5. Greeting from Iowa City

We did not blow away in the tornado last Thursday (April 13), but Iowa City did sustain significant damage. The hotel is undamaged except for the parking ramp and the conference will go on as planned. The windows in the parking ramp elevator blew out and they are currently working on getting them replaced. The only inconvenience might be using the stairs instead of the elevator but we are hopeful it will be taken care of.

Our church building was very fortunate in receiving only minor damage -- two broken windows. Further up Iowa Avenue, the street our church is on, there was substantial damage to a residential neighborhood. The entire community has been pitching in cleaning up the mess and we are hopeful the streets will be open soon. The route we gave you in the confirmation letter is open and fine for traffic.

We look forward to seeing you at the conference.

Vicki Siefers, Registration Peggy Houston, Conference Chair

pdf 2006 PSD AC Flier (166 KB)

pdf 2006 PSD AC brochure (424 KB)

pdf PSD AR2006 (3.08 MB)  

To Reserve a Hotel Room using a credit card: Online Hotel Reservations To Register at the Door and pay by check or credit card:The following files are in PDF format: Brochure (424 KB) -- does not include registration forms Registration Form (76 KB) Youth Conference Info & Registration Form (109 KB) Adults: To register at the door, print and fill out one registration form for each adult attending, and bring it to the registration desk. There will also be forms available at the desk when you get there. Children under 12 (or under 7th grade) should be registered on the form of an adult who is attending. Youth: To register at the door, print and fill out both the regular registration form and the youth registration, a pair for each youth attending. An adult must sign the youth registration form. There will also be forms available at the registration desk when you get there.


While you are here, be sure to visit our unique home at 10 S. Gilbert Street, four blocks north of the hotel.

Come early and stay late! The Unitarian Universalist Society of Iowa City welcomes you to our community! Many conference participants tell us they plan to extend their stay by a day or two, for Iowa City has much to offer! We hope you will, too.

logo designed by Anders Haig

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Prairie Star District UUA Annual Business Meeting

The 43nd Annual Meeting of Prairie Star District, UUA, will be held on Saturday, April 29, 2006, from 4:45 to 6:15 p.m., at the Sheraton Iowa City Hotel, 210 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City, Iowa 52240. The agenda for the meeting includes adoption of the 2006-2007 Prairie Star District budget, the election for the positions shown in the report of the Nominating Committee, and such other matters as may properly come before the meeting.

Congregations in good standing are entitled to a specific number of delegates who can vote at the meeting. The number of delegates is determined by number of congregation members. (See the link below for more information.)

An appropriate number of delegate credentials will be sent to each congregation President about March 20. Each congregation determines how its delegates are selected. The congregational credentials must be signed by a congregation leader, given to each delegate, and presented by the individual delegates at the Annual Conference registration table.

Every settled minister and minister emeritus is entitled to be a delegate (in addition to the congregational selected delegates) and will be sent ministerial credentials.

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The following table gives the number of delegates each PSD congregation is entitled to send to the PSD Annual Business Meeting in 2006. The number of delegates depends on the number of members registered with UUA for 2005-2006. The two numerical columns in the table give:

Members: The number of members registered by the congregation with UUA. Delegates: The number of delegates the congregation may send to the PSD Annual Business Meeting in 2006

City Congregation Members Delegates
Ames Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 273 6
Burlington Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 73 3
Cedar Falls Unitarian Universalist Society 127 4
Cedar Rapids The Peoples Church 231 5
Clinton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 21 2
Davenport Unitarian Church 207 5
Decorah NE Iowa Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 41 3
Des Moines First Unitarian Church 353 7
Dubuque Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 37 2
Iowa City Unitarian Universalist Society 298 6
Mason City Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 12 2
Okoboji Iowa Lakes UU Fellowship   0
Sioux City First Unitarian Church 69 3
Storm Lake UUs of Storm Lake   0
Lawrence Unitarian Fellowship 144 4
Manhattan Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 103 3
Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church 255 5
Salina Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 36 2
Topeka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 123 4
Wichita First Unitarian Universalist Church 149 4
Arden Hills Pilgrim House UU Fellowship 70 3
Bemidji Headwaters UU Fellowship 56 3
Bloomington MN Valley UU Fellowship 147 4
Brainerd Northwoods UU Fellowship 18 2
Buffalo Unitarian Universalist Fellowship   0
Burnsville Dakota Unitarian Universalist Church 31 2
Duluth First Unitarian Church 219 5
Excelsior Lake Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists 28 2
Fridley Michael Servetus Unitarian Society 86 3
Grand Rapids Unitarian Fellowship 30 2
Hanska Nora Unitarian Universalist Church 72 3
Mankato Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 80 3
Minneapolis Lighthouse Sanctuary   0
Minneapolis First Unitarian Society 509 9
Minneapolis First Universalist Church 810 13
Northfield Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 43 3
Rochester First Unitarian Universalist Church 370 7
St. Cloud Spirit of Life Church   0
St. Cloud Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 68 3
St. Paul Groveland UU Fellowship   0
St. Paul Unity Church-Unitarian 855 13
Underwood Unitarian Church 40 3
Virginia Mesabi Unitarian Universalist Church 33 2
Wayzata UU Church of Minnetonka 215 5
White Bear White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church 560 9
Willmar Unitarian Church 52 3
Winona Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 40 3
Kansas City All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church 458 8
Kansas City The Gaia Community 40 3
Osceola UUs of Osceola   0
Warrensburg UUs of Warrensburg   0
Kearney Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 10 2
Lincoln Unitarian Church 309 6
Omaha First Unitarian Church 253 5
Omaha Second Unitarian Church 133 4
North Dakota
Bismarck Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 73 3
Dickenson Ocean of Grass UU Fellowship   0
Fargo Unitarian Universalist Church 96 3
Grand Forks Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 24 2
South Dakota
Rapid City Black Hills UU Fellowship 44 3
Sioux Falls All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church 69 3
Vermillion Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 18 2
Ashland Northwoods UU Fellowship 54 3
Eau Claire Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 147 4
La Crosse Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 83 3
Menomonie Unitarian Society 28 2
Rice Lake Blue Hills Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 50 3
River Falls Unitarian Universalist Society 57 3
Totals   8930 237

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Sheraton Iowa City Hotel 1210 South Dubuque Street Iowa City, IA 52240

The Sheraton is located in downtown Iowa City, three blocks from the beautiful University of Iowa campus. (Directions to the hotel will be part of your confirmation packet). It is surrounded by restaurants, art galleries, book stores, and interesting shops, and is less than four blocks from the historic UUSIC building.

Hotel Reservations

A discounted rate of $99 per night per room for one to four occupants is available. Children under age 18 may stay free with a parent. Rooms must be reserved by March 27, 2006.

For discounted rate, please be sure to specify that you are attending the Unitarian Universalist Prairie Star District Conference.

Phone: 800-848-1335 Fax: 319-337-7037

Free parking is available for conference participants in the city ramp adjacent to the hotel.


Adult registration includes Saturday breakfast, lunch, and dinner; and Sunday breakfast. If you prefer vegetarian meals, please indicate this on your registration form.

Conference Fees Adult early registration (before March 27, 2006): $115 Standard adult registration (after March 27, 2006): $130 Youth (ages 12-18) registration: $50 K-6 program registration: $40 Child Care (ages 3-5): $40 Registration

Please print the appropriate registration form for each attendee 12 years old and older.

Registration forms (in PDF format). Both forms are required for youth registrants.

Conference Registration Form (76 KB) Youth Registration Form (109 KB)

Banner Parade

You are invited and encouraged to bring your congregation’s banner (and pole) for the Banner Parade Friday evening, and banners will be exhibited throughout the conference. To learn more about banners, visit (Note: this links to a PDF file.)


Please check the choir box on your registration if you would like to sing with the conference choir at the Sunday Service at 9:30 AM.

Youth Program

Youth registration is $50, which includes housing and meals. All attending youth must be sponsored by an adult attending the conference. Let your congregation know if you are willing to sponsor a young person. Youth activities will be held at the UUSIC building, 4 blocks from the hotel; and youth will provide the Saturday evening worship service. Youth registration must include both the Youth Social Action Conference Registration Form and the PSD Annual Conference Registration form.

For Children K-6

Scenes of Justice -- We’re More Alike than Different! Children K-6 will explore stories from around the world through activities, games, and art. Parents and participants at the conference will be invited to stop in and participate in any of the projects; and children will eat with their parents or adult sponsors, so this will be a truly integrated experience for the whole family. Registration is $40.

Child Care

Child care will be available at the hotel for children ages 3-5 years. The fee is $40 per child; registration must be received by March 27, 2006.

Help us give the “shape of justice” a very human and very local face by focusing UU generosity on the Johnson County Shelter House in Iowa City. Shelter House, our county’s only general-use homeless shelter, offers shelter, basic and transitional resources, and encouragement toward self-sufficiency to anyone in our community who needs it. And we can help them meet this need if each of us participating in the conference brings items to donate to Shelter House. The folks there tell us that what they need most are:

Bath towels (new or gently used) Cleaning supplies Coffee Diapers, disposable Laundry detergent Peanut butter Phone cards, prepaid Toilet paper Toothpaste Toothbrushes Women’s personal hygiene items

Let’s gather so much that our UU generosity is truly newsworthy! In addition, 100% of the offering at the Sunday Service will be contributed to the Shelter House.

Please -- come with an open heart and an open wallet!

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Third most educated metro area in the US in 2005 “Top Business Opportunity Metro for 2005” “Super City of the Future”


UUSIC’s own, century-old church, a unique and rare survivor of 19th century Unitarian architecture on the prairie Old Capitol, territorial capitol built in 1840 UI Pentacrest, Greek Revival at its most impressive Carver Hawkeye Arena, soaring modernity and winner of several architectural awards Beautiful Victorian homes throughout the city.


the weekend of the conference:

UI Hancher Auditorium, The Crucible, by Arthur Miller

Jazz, rock, folk, blues, country, and contemporary music -- all within easy walking distance of your hotel

Annual Riverfest 2006, and Riverbank Art Fair, three blocks west of the hotel, with arts, crafts, music, and more


Import/export shops, art galleries, antique and book stores, coin and jewelry shops, funky clothes, kitchenware, records/CDs, art supplies, toys!


African, Chinese, Korean, French, Japanese, Indian, Mexican, Vietnamese, Greek, Italian, Irish, American, pub grub, deli, vegetarian, espresso, ice cream parlor -- you name it!


UI Art Museum - Mauricio Lasanski, Childe Hassam, Martin Lewis, Reginald Marsh, Joseph Pennell, John Sloan; “American Prints and Drawings - the January Collection”; and “Time and Space in African Art.”

UI Museum of Natural History - Take a 500-million-year journey through Iowa geology, ecology, and native cultures; also Bird Hall, Mammal Hall, a wonderful giant sloth, and a great tornado.


The Iowa River runs through the middle of the campus, and here you can see bald eagles, Canada geese, and a variety of other wildfowl. Peaceful walking paths make it easy!

In the area

Amana Colonies, 15 miles west

Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, 7 miles east

Kalona and its Amish community, 20 miles south

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Slate of Nominees for 2006 Officers President for two-year term ending June 30, 2008

Rev. Brian Eslinger, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ames, IA

Secretary for a two-year term ending June 30, 2008

Libby Starling, First Unitarian Society, Minneapolis, MN

Directors for three-year term ending June 30, 2009

Bobbie Goodyear, All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, Sioux Falls, SD

Nominating Committee (two to be elected) for two-year term ending June 30, 2008

Andrea Heier, Unitarian Universalist Church of Minnetonka, Wayzata, MN

for two-year term ending June 30, 2008

Mark Sanderson, All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Submitted by the 2005-06 Nominating Committee:

Andrea Heier (Wayzata, MN), Chair Fritz Hudson (Lincoln, NE) Carol Jean Larsen (Bismarck, ND) Kathleen Oldfather (Manhattan, KS) Sara Smalley (Minneapolis, MN: First Universalist) Biographical Information President

The Rev. Brian Eslinger is completing his ninth year of ministry with the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ames (Ames, IA). Prior to entering the ministry he was active in the Unitarian Universalist Church of Minnetonka, where he taught in religious education, served on the Board, and chaired the pledge drive. Brian served a two-year part-time internship with the White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church. He has served Prairie Star District on the Nominating Committee, and as Director, Vice President, and is completing his first year as President.


Libby Starling joined the First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis in fall 1992. At FUS, she served on the Search Committee and on the Board of Trustees for five years, including as vice-chair and chair. Libby is currently a member of the Midwest Regional Subcommittee on Candidacy and the Planning Committee of the Twin Cities UUA President’s Roundtable. Professionally, Libby is the Research Director for the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency.


Bobbie Goodyear has been a member of All Souls UU Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota for 15 years. She has served this lay led congregation as President, Secretary, and chaired the Nominating, Adult Education, and Building for the Future committees. After teaching 6th grade for over 30 years, Bobbie has recently retired.

Nominating Committee

Andrea Heier is a lifelong UU who has been Director of Religious Education at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Minnetonka for eleven years. Andrea serves as treasurer on the Prairie Star District (PSD) Chapter of LREDA (Liberal Religious Educators Association), and is the current chairperson of the PSD Nominating Committee.

Mark Sanderson has been an involved member in his local UU congregation, All Souls Church, Sioux Falls, SD, for the past 28 years. With a background in teaching and social work, Mark presently works as a teaching assistant at the Children’s Home Society, a campus which houses children either taken from their homes or waiting for placement in a foster home. Mark has served PSD as a Board member and a Resource Liaison.

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All events to be held at hotel, unless otherwise noted.

Friday, April 28

4:00 - 7:00 p.m. Registration
6:00 - 7:00 p.m. UU Bookstore and exhibits open
7:00 - 7:45 p.m. Opening celebration and banner parade
7:45 - 8:45 p.m. Keynote address
8:45 - 9:15 p.m. Keynote discussion
9:30 - 10:00 p.m. Worship service

Saturday, April 29

7:30 - 9:00 a.m. Breakfast, and table topics
8 a.m. - 7 p.m. UU Bookstore and exhibits open
9:00 - 10:15 a.m. Judy Lecture
10:30 - 11:45 a.m. Workshop A
12:00 - 1:15 p.m. Awards luncheon
1:30 - 2:45 p.m. Workshop B
2:45 - 3:15 p.m. Refreshments
3:15 - 4:30 p.m. Workshop C
4:45 - 6:15 p.m. Business meeting
6:15 - 7:00 p.m. Social time, cash bar
7:00 - 9:00 p.m. Banquet
9:15 - 10:00 p.m. Youth-led worship service

Sunday, April 30

7:30 - 8:45 a.m. Breakfast, and table topics
8:00 - 9:30 a.m. UU Bookstore and exhibits open
8:15 - 9:15 a.m. Choir practice
9:30 - 10:30 a.m. Worship service at the Englert Theatre

Sunday worship service will be held from 9:30 - 10:30 AM at the newly renovated Englert Theatre, located a short 1-1/2 blocks from the hotel. Built in 1912, the Englert has been a venue for such stars as Sarah Bernhardt, Paul Robeson, Ethel Barrymore, Otis Skinner, and Harry Lauder. This Iowa City gem has been restored to its former beauty after nearly a century of transformation.

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Keynote Speaker Friday, April 28, 7:45 p.m.

Making A Difference in a Globalized Age: Lessons from the Field

Johanna Chao Rittenburg Manager, UUSC Economic Justice Program

Learn more about the impact of civil society movements from all over the world as Johanna shares stories from the economic justice partnerships and human rights and workers rights program being developed at the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. She will describe how local community-based efforts (such as PSD, UU Small Group Ministries, social action committees, and youth groups) have become vital members of coalitions that tap into larger policy and advocacy efforts for social and economic justice. She will conclude by examining the theological roots of our faith, which provide a foundation for faith in action.

Before coming to the UUSC, Johanna worked as a community organizer and activist on racial and social justice projects and as a mediator in the district court system. She helped build bridges between diverse communities on contentious issues, and started several policy projects and organizations focused on the immigrant and Asian-Pacific Islander community. Johanna has degrees from Stanford University and the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and was named a Lucius N. Littauer Fellow in 2005.

Judy Lecture Saturday, April 29, 9:00 a.m.

The Revolution Starts Now

The Rev. Valerie Mapstone Ackerman, MSW, MDiv Red Dog Farm and Retreat Center, Haskell, OK 

At a time when words like peace, compassion, understanding, and reason have become suspect, it is the duty of peaceful, compassionate, and reasonable people to stand up and make their voices heard. This revolutionary idea must include a gentle spirit and a commitment to non-violent action. It is possible to change the course of human events, but only if we prepare ourselves in mind, body, and spirit. Because Unitarian Universalism has always borne a heretical heart in matters religious and social, let us fulfill our legacy and step forward to be the change we want to see in the world.

Valerie grew up in a working class town near Pittsburgh, PA. Married young and divorced quickly, she knows the social welfare system from the client’s side. After graduating with degrees from the Universities of Pittsburgh and Michigan, and from Meadville-Lombard Theological School, she worked with young people, in reproductive health care, as an advocate for homeless children, and for residents of public housing. A community organizer, politician, therapist, and adjunct faculty member of the School of Social Work at U-Michigan, she has served UU congregations in four states. Her ministry now includes itinerant preaching, consulting with UU boards and congregations, advocacy for peace and justice, hosting spiritual retreats and discussion groups, and award-winning writing.

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PSD Annual Conference 2006: Saturday Workshops (A) 10:30-11:45

A1: A Field of Dreamers and Doers: UUs and Social Justice in Iowa

Tom Lo Guidice, PSD Social Justice Coordinator and member UU Fellowship of Dubuque, IA Service. Education. Witness. Advocacy. Community Organizing. Knowing where to start to work for change in our society can seem like an overwhelming task. It’s important to choose the best type of action according to congregational interests, skills, and talents. In this session, we will explore types of social action and hear from three Iowa congregations (small, mid-size, and large) and the work they are doing. All of the represented congregations are members of the Iowa Cluster of the Prairie Star Social Justice Network.

A2: Singing in the Oral Tradition

Paul Soderdahl, UU Society of Iowa City, IA Songs handed down in the oral tradition are tools for engaging in daily activities and coping with life events. These songs of protest, of freedom, and of peace give power to those who fight for justice. Our singing will draw from calls and chants, spirituals, gospels, hymns, African music, and contemporary songs. You don’t need any musical training to participate. You just need to bring your voice and a willingness to join in the vocal community. Youth, young adults, and families with children are also encouraged to participate in this workshop.

A3: The Revolution Starts Now, Part 2

Rev. Valerie Mapstone Ackerman, MSW, MDiv; Red Dog Farm and Retreat Center, Haskell, OK Though many UU congregations have thriving social service programs, few enjoy effective social justice programs. What’s the difference? Can we find ways to save the “babies in the river” AND stop them from becoming endangered in the first place? Share your stories of frustration and success, and learn some techniques for assessing and strengthening your congregation’s social justice programs.

A4: Mission, Music, and Money

Rev. Don Rollins, Nora UU Church, Hanska, MN We UUs swim in a sea of ever-increasing and often complicated advice on church governance and growth. This workshop asks and answers the question, “What is essential for a people to become the 'beloved community'?”

A5: The Engaged Citizen and the Common Good -- Getting Started

Elaine Rockwell, First Unitarian Church, Des Moines, IA As UUs committed to changing the world for the better, where do we start? How can you start an informed conversation about “everyday social justice” within your congregation? Based on Turning to One Another, by Margaret J. Wheatley, the conversation begins with two questions: “What is my faith in the future?” and “When have I experienced working for the common good?” To close, we will brainstorm actions for practicing the common good, as individuals and as a church community.

A6: Think Globally, Act Locally: Global Outreach from Local Fellowship

Bob Anderson, Unitarian Fellowship, Ames, IA Learn about opportunities to promote international education, development, and peace through local initiatives.

A7: Civil Marriage for Everyone Now

Rev. Virginia Wolf, UU Congregation of Eau Claire, WI Seventeen states have passed constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage or similar legal protections; other states are in the process of trying to pass such amendments. Is yours one of these? What are you doing about it? What might you do about it? What is at stake here? Why should you get involved, no matter what your state might or might not be doing? Come share your ideas and carry home ideas from others.

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PSD Annual Conference 2006: Saturday Workshops (B) 1:30-2:45

B1: What Can You Do to Help Reduce Poverty in the World?

Charles Fantz and Genia Peterson Kornhaber, UU Fellowship of Topeka, KS The UU United Nations Office has developed a new program, “Every Child Is Our Child.” It is a way for UUs to connect with the UN’s Millennium Development Goals in Ghana. Come find out how you can help educate children who have been orphaned by AIDS, reduce poverty, and promote gender equality.

B2: Gilead and a Vision of Life

Marilynne Robinson, Congregational United Church of Christ of Iowa City, IA Winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, Marilynne Robinson is a faculty member in the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her novel Gilead recounts the experiences and thoughts of a small-town Iowa minister, writing to his young son as he feels the approach of death. Meet with the author to discuss this novel, described as a “hymn of praise and lamentation” that reflects on themes of “faith, courage, forgiveness, solitude, friendship, grace, as well as human weaknesses ...”

B3: Faith Activism and the Living Wage Movement

Johanna Chao Rittenburg, UUSC Economic Justice Program Manager How are faith activists playing a powerful role in generating positive social and economic change? How do we move from the “Word” to the “world”? View a new documentary on the Santa Fe Living Wage campaign and engage in a discussion about faith-labor-community coalitions that are having a profound impact for economic justice.

B4: Making Your Congregation Young Adult Friendly

Andrea Anderson, Dakota UU Fellowship, and David Leppik, member of PSD Board and First Universalist Church, Minneapolis, MN All Unitarians Universalists share in the challenge and responsibility of making our congregations places where people are encouraged and enabled to become increasingly mature, responsible adults. A primary aspect of this challenge is to engage young adults in the life of each of our congregations. If we are to do that, we each need to contribute to making our congregations more young adult friendly.

B5: Board Basics 101

Nancy Heege, PSD Executive, and Prairie Star District Board Members What’s the proper role for board members in a UU congregation? Should board members be concerned with day-to-day operations, or should they keep their focus on the long-term vision? How should our time be spent at board meetings? What orientation does a board member need? Join us for a conversation about “Board Basics.”

B6: How the Intelligent Design Movement Impacts Our Congregations, Communities, and World

Fritz Franzen and Sam Wormley, UU Fellowship of Ames, IA Join us as we explore these questions:

What is science? What is evolution? What is Intelligent Design? Should it be taught as science? Why should we care? B7: AMOS Changed our Church: One Church’s Experience with a Community Organizing Strategy

Sally Boeckholt and Rev. Mark Stringer, First Unitarian Church, Des Moines, IA In a workshop sponsored by the Prairie Star District board, representatives from First Unitarian Church, Des Moines, discuss how their church became involved with the Industrial Areas Foundation, the challenges they faced, and what they gained. Then you can share your successes and challenges with community organizing. Learn more about the invigorating role that community organizing can play in the life of our UU congregations.

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