Why Was the UUA’s Sustainable Ministry Summit in St. Louis?

So I’ve been thinking about the Sustainable Ministry summit that happened here in St. Louis during this last week. And one thought keeps staying at the forefront of my mind…..

Why the he** was this summit in St. Louis?

Reading through the twitter-feed it looks like this summit could have taken place in Boston at 24 (especially since there is all this talk of the UUA being in financial straits). Other than the local ministers who did a worship service for the participants, there doesn’t seem to have been any local input.

There was no “field trip” to Ferguson.

There was no talk to the local clergy like Rev. Traci Blackmon or Rev. Starsky Wilson or Rev. Osagyefo Sekou or Rabbi Susan Talve about how they are doing the balance of internal congregational work and being in the community and money. (I’m guessing that any of these people would have loved to talk about that, if not all of them)

The consultant was not local; and on top of that was not a UU. (any particular reason Rev. Ron Robinson–who is doing exactly a “new ministry” that is so talked about–couldn’t have been asked to speak?)

So let’s take a minute to look at this……the UUA comes to St. Louis less than a year after things get set off here; within a month of the #BlackLivesMatter banner being stolen from First Unitarian-St. Louis’ fence facing a major city street; and within days of peaceful protestors being tased by St. Louis city police officers while the chief looked on.

Can the UUA talk about sustainable ministry when it ignores what is happening on the ground in the place where they decide to have this summit?

So I’ll ask again….why the he** was this summit in St. Louis?

This is not to begrudge the conversation/focus of the summit. It is something valuable. Yet I’m thoroughly confused by the place aspect of it. Why come to St. Louis and not talk about what’s going on here?

2 thoughts on “Why Was the UUA’s Sustainable Ministry Summit in St. Louis?

  1. I was not one of the organizers of the Financial Summit, just a participant, so I can’t speak about this with any authority. But my assumption is that the site was chosen because it was central to the US and therefore easier (and cheaper) for people from all over the country to fly to. Also, it was close to an accessible airport and there was good mass transportation. So I suspect the reason was purely a practical one. The consultants were Methodist (ex-Alban Institute I believe) because the Methodist Church has done extensive research in the changing patterns of religion in American and they had excellent national data available. One whole day a the Summit was devoted to the presentation and processing of this national data.

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