Past Fall Conferences

Chart of past Fall Conference themes, speakers, and locations

Fall Con 2013 flyer
St. Paul, MN
Oct. 18, 2013, 2 pm -- Oct. 21, noon

Theme and keynote: Conference showcases the work of the Fahs Collaborative, including Dr. Mark Hicks and Fahs Fellows Karen Bellevance-Grace, Phil Lund, and Kat Liu.

Odyssey by Carol Haag


Fall Con 2012 flyer
Williamsburg, VA
October 18, 2012 - 2:00pm to October 21, 2012 - 12:00pm

Theme and Keynote: Keynote speakers this year are Rev. Dr. Paul Rasor and Rev. Dr. Nicole Kirk, exploring the questions of how the future of our UU faith is informed by our history, why our history matters, and how we can hold the paradoxes and stories of our UU history.

We offer a special Friday-only rate for locals who would like to hear the keynote speakers and join us for one set of workshops.

For history buffs, we have scheduled free time if you wish to explore Colonial Williamsburg: the hotel offers an entrance ticket for the duration of your stay for the super-low price of $18.

Workshops: Eleven workshops to choose from!

Odyssey: Pat Ellenwood's Odyssey

Schedule: Please note that this schedule is a draft and may evolve somewhat at a later time. The pre-and post-con events are included, and the opening and closing times of the conference itself will not change (highlighted in turquoise).

Transportation: Information about airports, shuttles, taxis, Amtrak, public transportation

LARGE Add-on Day, Monday Oct. 22, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m: This year the add-on day for large church schools and/or large congregations will be held at the Williamsburg UU Church. Your breakfast is free at the hotel, and we will arrange carpools and taxis to get you to the church. The program includes a catered lunch at the church. Register for LARGE on the Fall Con registration form.

Fall Conference 2011

Portland, OR
October 20, 2011 (All day) - October 23, 2011 (All day)
Downtown Hilton

Don't Just Do It: Think About It: Sustaining Our Mind, Body, and Spirit

The Conference officially begins on Thursday afternoon, October 20th and ends on Sunday, October 23rd at 10:30 am. Departing on Sunday morning allows full participation in the Conference since flights east out of Portland are generally early morning ones. There are additional days you might want to consider:

  • If you are a Chapter President, Credentialing Mentor or Good Officer, meetings and trainings will be scheduled for Thursday morning, Oct. 20th.
  • LREDA is invited to attend the 11:15 service at First Unitarian Church on Sunday morning, October 23rd. Consider ending your stay by worshipping with one of our largest congregations.
  • Oct. 24 is “add-on” day for LREDA Large (for programs with 200 children or more) and LREDA Small (with multi-age programming). Information about programming will go out separately and additional registration fees are required.

In addition, we are currently exploring the possibility of offering a Renaissance Module which would begin on Wednesday, Oct. 19th with additional hours during each of the workshop time slots. The workshops are in process and will include various professional development, technological, and Portland area choices. Our keynote speakers are Kim Stafford, author and poet, and Bill Bigelow, author of Rethinking Schools books. We also feature an evening with storyteller Will Hornyak, open to the public at First Unitarian Church on Friday night.

Gaia Brown delivers the Odyssey this year: Hope is a Thing with Feathers.

Maclean Award sermon by Rev. Dr. Barry Andrews

Fall Conference 2010

New Orleans, LA
October 22, 2010 - 3:00pm - October 25, 2010 - 12:30pm
Riverside Hilton

Transforming the Jericho Road

As the author Michael Eric Dyson reminds us in Come Hell or High Water, the power in the Good Samaritan story lies in its transforming mindset –the “goodness” demonstrated by two people, a Jew and a Samaritan, born into and accepting of their respective privilege and oppression, engaging beyond those expectations on a lonely road to Jericho. 

The goal of this Conference is to demonstrate the links between religious education and social justice by engaging the stories of post-Katrina New Orleans. This year’s conference uses a new format of community engagement followed by small group reflection. Not only will we hear inclusive stories of New Orleans but also we will connect these stories to those we may not yet hear in our congregational communities – what Quo Vadis Breaux and the people of New Orleans call “lifting the veil.” New Orleans is every city, with stories of beauty and hardship. What do these stories tell us about our own communities and how do we learn and act justly in the cities to which we return at the end of our time together? 

Please join us in this important work of making the road not only safe, but also just.  

Presenters include but are not limited to:

. . . I am tired of picking up people along the Jericho Road. I am tired of seeing people battered and bruised and bloody, injured and jumped on, along the Jericho Roads of life. This road is dangerous. I don't want to pick up anyone else along this Jericho Road; I want to fix... the Jericho Road. I want to pave the Jericho Road, add street lights to the Jericho Road; make the Jericho Road safe (for passage) by everybody..." 

— (Dr. Martin Luther King to Andrew Young as reported by John Hope Bryant 1/13/2010)

Fall Conference 2009

Providence, RI
October 23, 2009 - 3:00pm - October 26, 2009 - 12:00pm
Renaissance Providence Hotel

"A TIME TO EXHALE: Breathing Transformation into the Challenges and Opportunities of Unitarian Universalist Leadership"

  • Click here to read Rev. Dr. Liz Strong's Odyssey.
  • Click here to read her childhood beliefs.

We are excited to be welcoming the Rev. Dr. Peter Steinke, the Rev. Dr. Thandeka along with musician, Kevin Tarsa, to this year's Fall Conference. (See the Fall conference flyer here.) During these times of economic hardship for many and uncertainty for all, we struggle, as religious leaders, to find the balance between care for our congregations and care for ourselves. We need time to exhale, and this is it.

In an effort to encourage collaboration between colleagues and development of leadership teams that will serve our congregations most effectively, we are opening our conference this year to colleagues in the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association (UUMA), the Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network (UUMN), and the Association of Unitarian Universalist Administrators (AUUA). We hope many of you will find the time to join us. To that end, we have designed a ONE-DAY option making it possible to register and attend for Saturday, October 24th, only. Our theme speakers will be offering the bulk of their presentation on that day. (For single-day registration, please use the regular registration form.)

While the one-day option is available to all, we certainly anticipate that particularly our colleagues in religious education will be able to attend the entire weekend conference. The recognitions of Credentialing and the Angus MacLean Award will be presented at the Suday morning worship; the Rev. Dr. Thandeka will be continuing with us through the Sunday morning theme time;  there will be numerous Sunday afternoon events and opportunities for self-care; our colleague, the Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Strong will be presenting her Odyssey on Sunday evening; and the UUSC will be joined by others for Monday morning's program. It will be a full, regenerative weekend!

Please refer questions to our Administrator, Cindy Leitner ([email protected]) and . . . we look forward to seeing you in Providence!

Fall Conference 2008

Albuquerque, NM
October 24, 2008 (All day) - October 27, 2008 (All day)

Building a Multigenerational Faith: Creating Wholeness in our Congregations

  • Keynote speaker: The Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker

Starr King School of the Ministry President, author and noted theologian, shared her vision of our Unitarian Universalist congregations as integrative, holistic sites that foster wholeness and liberation. Access information about her new book, Saving Paradise, from which she drew much of her address. (


Looking through a multigenerational lens, UUA District Staff along with practitioners in the field offered workshops covering topics that include: Social Justice; Leadership; Worship; Learning Communities; Spiritual Eldering; Mentoring; Milestones/Rites of Passage; and, more!

We are grateful to our 2008 Odyssey Presenter: the Rev. Patricia Hoertdoerfer for sharing her life, humor, and wisdom.

Additional materials from the conference (we are currently working on replacing these documents): 

  • Multigenerational Leadership Resources
  • Notes from Multigenerational Leadership Workshop
  • Engaging All Life Stages and Needs in Multigenerational Worship
  • The Legality of Youth on Boards
  • Multigenerational Leadership Stories
  • Creating Multicultural Community
  • The PowerPoint presentation by Jesse Jaeger outlines the Principles in Multigenerational Community.
  • A bibliography for the conference is also available here.

LARGE Add-on Day: Rev. Robert Latham on The Challenges of Shared Ministry

Fall Conference 2007

San Antonio, TX
October 12, 2007 (All day) - October 15, 2007 (All day)

Weaving the Fabric of our Faith

Unitarian Universalism is a transforming faith that is held in communities and in the hearts and minds of those who claim it.  How can we provide programs across the lifespan that meet our need to seek meaning, to be held in love, to channel our passion for justice, and satisfy our quest to know more deeply the diversity and wholeness of our Unitarian Universalist faith? 

The Lifespan Faith Development staff group of the UUA invites you to join them as they share steps of their current journey from inquiry to actualization of Tapestry of Faith, a series of programs and resources for all ages.  

Engage in deep consideration of how we can equip and empower congregations to provide experiences across the lifespan that nurture UnitarianUniversalist identity, spiritual growth, faith, and ethical development. 

Together we will ponder philosophical and pragmatic issues.  How can we honor individual and community development at once?   How can we give definition to what it means to develop Unitarian Universalist identity while honoring diversity?  How can we deepen our theological understanding of growing in faith?  How can we reach seekers of all ages? 

Presented by UUA Lifespan Faith Development Staff:  Judith A. Frediani, Rev. Sarah  Gibb Millspaugh, Dr. Tracy L. Hurd, and Jessica York.  With special speaker, UUA President, Rev. William Sinkford.

LARGE Add-on Day: "Spiritual Leadership" with Gini Courter

Fall Conference 2006

Orlando, FL
October 20, 2006 (All day) - October 23, 2006 (All day)

To Honor the Many Gifts We Bring

The LREDA Integrity Team tempts you to prepare your heart and soul for the 2006 LREDA Fall Conference in Orlando, Florida.  The topic is Linked Oppression.  We will be looking at common threads that run through the many forms of oppression that prevail in our society today as we try to surface, name and grapple with the forces that prevent us from achieving the diverse communities we claim to want.  To help us articulate our journey, we have invited Dr. William R. Jones, scholar, educator, philosopher and activist to be our keynote speaker.  The tragedy of oppression is alive with emotionally charged stories of people’s experiences.  We invite you over the next few months to expand and deepen your understanding of oppression. 

We’ve provided a link to what we hope will be an expanding list of books, movies and music from popular culture that touch on issues of racism, sexism, ableism, heterosexism and gender stereotypes.   Integrity Team List

          Most of all, though, we’d like you to engage in a discovery process, expanding and deepening your own skills and understanding so that we may truly “honor the many gifts we bring.”

**These resources have been reviewed and recommended by Fall Conference 2006 presenters, allies, and/or members of the LREDA Integrity Team.  Please read the materials on the Foundation list, AND choose at least one resource from the topic area you plan to focus on at the Conference, and read, view, listen to or use it before you arrive at the Conference.  We welcome your comments and suggestions.

Canadian Materials

LREDA Integrity Team

  • Annie J. Scott, Chair
  • Helen Bishop
  • Gail Forsyth-Vail
  • Chris Parker (liaison, LREDA Board)
  • Lisa Rubin
  • Jessica York

Fall Conference 2005

Philadelphia, PA
October 21, 2005 (All day) - October 24, 2005 (All day)

To Honor the Many Gifts We Bring

Our presenter, Rev. Lawrence Peers has provided consulting and training to new and established congregations of various sizes, boards of trustees, nonprofits, judicatories, young adult conferences, and national denominational organizations across North America. He has served as a congregational development and growth consultant with a national denominational office, as a minister and as a religious educator in local congregations, as a therapist and as a program coordinator in a nonprofit agency. He draws from a rich array of insights and methods developed in his work in congregational studies, organizational development, and spiritual discernment processes. Larry has worked extensively on inter-denominational projects and we are very pleased to have him as our LREDA fall conference 2005 presenter.

Fall Conference 2004

Chicago, IL
October 22, 2004 (All day) - October 25, 2004 (All day)

Religious Education: Models for the 21st Century

Todd Strickland/Catherine Farmer:  WAY COOL

Way Cool Sunday School is an experiential RE format, incorporating regular Worship, Social Justice, and Arts Sundays as well as curriculum-based Classroom Sundays, all grounded in a common focus on our Unitarian Universalist principles and values.  At its heart lies the conviction that children are best served when integrated into the whole life of the church, and that RE is where congregational transformation happens.

Nita Penfold: SPIRIT PLAY

Spirit Play is the Unitarian Universalist adaptation of Jerome Berryman’s Montessori-based religious education program, Godly Play.  Spirit Play honors multiple ways of learning in a concrete environment rich with story, spirituality, and art, where children can live into their own answers to existential questions while learning to live out their values in a community of multi-aged children.

Gail Forsyth-Vail/Helen Zidowecki:  SMALL GROUP MINISTRY

Small Group Ministry and Relational Religious Education
This model of religious education puts the emphasis on relationship. Children/ youth and the adults who work with them connect with each other and connect their own lives with the meaning found in sacred or wisdom stories.  The presentation will include the philosophical and theological underpinnings of the model as well as practical information on implementation in the local congregation.

Kathy Keith/September Gerety:  Workshop Rotation

(no materials available for web)

Workshop Rotation is a multidimensional approach to religious education based on Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. Each lesson is presented in several workshop forms, allowing children to experience and interact with the topic in a variety of ways.  The result is learning and a degree of understanding and retention that can come only from actually experiencing the lesson.  As it engages all the senses, it also engages a broad cross-section of the congregation, with multiple opportunities for adult participation in short-term commitments.