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Home from UUA General Assembly!

This past week, myself along with Rev. Marlin Lavanhar, Shannon Boston, and Nicole Ogundare, traveled to Spokane, WA for the Unitarian Universalists Association’s General Assembly(UUA GA). Throughout the week-long conference, we connected with UUs from across the country, including our incoming minister Yadenee Hailu and incoming intern minister Mariela Perez-Simons.

Kicking off the festivities was the Banner Parade. We partnered up with our friends from Hope Unitarian Church as banners from UU churches paraded through the opening ceremony. You can watch the fun from our Facebook Live video.

Representing All Souls at UUA GA!

Amazing women of All Souls represented Tulsa, All Souls, and UUA at the opening ceremony and throughout the assembly. We are honored to have the talent, voices, and leadership of Nicole Ogundare and Yadenee Hailu on our staff and of Mariela Perez-Simons. We look forward to welcoming her to Tulsa! Powerful words and open hearts were shared at #UUAGA opening ceremony.

Nicole and I “womaned” the booth in the expo center. We were thrilled to showcase photos from our congregation to the hundreds of people attending the Assembly. We were a great team, making connections and sharing all the things All Souls, including building a 21st century UU church in downtown Tulsa! Watch the fly-through rendering of our new building here.

Karen Seymour-Ells from DuPage UU Church in Illinois.
Rev. Lavanhar and Nicole with Virtual Member Carol Sorensen.

Marlin stopped by in between sessions and meetings, connecting with UUs and even meeting face-to-face with our Virtual Member Carol Sorensen from Reno, Nevada! I can’t believe I didn’t get a photo with her with me in it! Shame, shame. I need to remember to get on the other side of the camera!

Nicole met other Membership professionals and made friends with Neal Anderson who was serving as a UUA GA Chaplain. <3 Neal.

I was lucky enough to meet Rev. Dr. Jane Page and her husband Greg. Rev. Page was first introduced to the UU faith in the 80s from Rev. Dr. John Wolf’s television show!

All Souls hosted the workshop, Healing America’s Largest Race Massacre is Religious Work, featuring excerpts from the documentary, American Heretics: The Politics of the Gospel. Nicole and Rev. Lavanhar led the panel discussion, lifting up the work our congregation is doing in regards to racial justice and our role in the film. You can see American Heretics at Circle Cinema’s Film Festival. Get a festival pass to see all the films in the line up or get your ticket to the screening of the film on Sunday, July 14 at 2:30 p.m. CST. Carlton Pearson and Rev. Lavanhar will be on the panel, with final panelist coming soon.

R & R in Spokane

Marlin took a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the Assembly with a horse ride outside of Spokane. Little did he know, he’d run into an All Souls member, Shannon Falter. Shannon had moved from Tulsa to Spokane two years ago. Small world!

Spokane has beautiful scenery, including water falls that roar right in the heart of downtown. Shannon and I took the SkyRide over the Spokane Falls—a beautiful site to be seen!

Representing Tulsa at UUA GA!

Nicole represented Tulsa’s Black Wall Street Arts wearing her shirt pretty enough for a picture! We said our goodbyes to Washington state on the last day, being sent off with a friendly avocado wearing a Speedo. Way to keep it weird Spokane!

Huge thanks to all the organizers, staff, and volunteers of UUA GA and to all the folks who stopped by to say hello! We’ll see you next year in Rhode Island.

Bonita James is the Director of Communications for All Souls and editor of beyondbelief.online. She is passionate about telling the stories of the church through the people who make it all happen.

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