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Chicago Oak Brook Marriott, April 28-30

RA2017 logo A900Rev. Dr. Lee Barker - Pres Meadville Lombard

In spite of our small numbers in the national religious scene, Unitarian Universalists have been at the forefront of every significant social change in our nation's history. Now, more than ever, we need to work with partners to have an impact in our cities, states and country.

Our Keynote Speaker on Saturday morning was Rev. Dr. Lee Barker, President and Professor of Ministry at Meadville-Lombard Theological School! Rev. Dr. Barker's topic is:

To Multi-faith: A Verb

Unitarian Universalism is perfectly situated to promote constructive multi-faith engagement for increased understanding and enhanced harmony. Success will depend on a new understanding of what it means to “be engaged.”


We asked Lee, “Why are you passionate about the subject of multi-faith partnerships – what excites you about it?”

Being more deeply engaged in authentic multifaith partnerships and alliances allows for growth in ways we cannot even imagine. And by growth I don’t mean only the expansion of inclusiveness and justice—as true and important as that is. I mean growth in one’s theological, philosophical and ethical life. I have experienced it myself and I have seen it among my students, many of whom have long multifaith “credentials.” They find that when they get even deeper, they can’t ignore core differences. When they confront that reality, they have arrived at a new place of possibility and hope.

As our congregations are experiencing greater attendance and members’ activism in our communities, it is more important than ever before that we work with other faith communities to bring our values to the forefront. When we partner, our impact grows exponentially.

We invite you to share your photos and impressions on social media: #MidAmericaUU17

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Here are some we have so far:

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Dear Members and Friends of the MidAmerica Region of the UUA,

The past few weeks have been difficult for many across the Unitarian Universalist community. We have all struggled, as pain resulting from patterns of institutional racism and the impact of white supremacy within our Association has been laid bare, reflecting our failure to live up to our covenant, our values, and our commitment to creating the beloved community.  

As difficult as this time has been, I believe that it represents a watershed moment for our denomination.

eric huffer 2013The MidAmerica Region will be holding our Regional Assembly in a few weeks, April 28th-30th, 2017. Unitarian Universalist from across our 13 state region will be gathering in Oak Brook, IL. This offers us an opportunity to come together and begin this important work. I believe it starts with listening. With that in mind, I, and the MidAmerica Region Board, would like to offer an hour-long listening circle opportunity on Friday, April 28th, prior to Regional Assembly, at 4:00 PM. I invite any and all who wish to come, hear one another, hold each other’s pain; not looking to agree, but to understand and begin to see our way forward. We will hold this circle in the Westchester Room of the conference center at the Oak Brook Marriott.

I look forward to being with you in Oak Brook, in a few weeks. Thank you for your work and your commitment to building a better way.

In faith & hope,

Eric Huffer
MidAmerica Region of the UUA

You do not have to be registered for Regional Assembly to participate in the Listening Circle. We would, however, appreciate an RSVP:

We find that often during larger meetings, it is important for persons who share specific identities to be able to have time and space where they can meet with each other for conversation, support, sanctuary and/or caucusing.

This year, we are providing two rooms for this purpose. They are the Villa Park and Burr Ridge rooms on the lower level, and they will be available on a first-come, first served basis. There will be sign up sheets by the entry, and we request that you sign up for only one hour at a time to allow the rooms to be shared by any groups that may need them. These rooms are designed to be for members of historically marginalized communities; if you’re looking for spaces for conversations about specific issues and/or topics, we invite you to look for space in the hotel lobby, rather than signing up for one of these rooms.