Here are some cool things I've been up to, and some upcoming:
I am celebrating 1 year of doing my podcast!! Late January 2019, I did my first podcast episode with Tom Jacobs, a former Benedictine monk. I love how the conversations have evolved and deepened over time. You can listen to all episodes of my podcast here.
Mid-January, I spent a week in Dallas, Texas, attending the Creating Change Conference, a gathering of over 3,000 people dedicated to LGBTQ activism and equal rights. It was moving to be there. I've never considered or labeled myself an activist, but I recognize some of my efforts fall into that category.
At the beginning of 2020, the leadership at Unity let me know that they were centralizing all Unity-branded retreats into my area and under my responsibility. That means that in addition to all the retreats I'm currently in charge of, I'm now in charge of three more big retreats/events at Unity Village: Silent Unity Retreat, World Day of Prayer, and a new Prayer Chaplain training. Keeping me busy, but it's meaningful work. Also, we're hiring another person for our team.
I am still on the advisory board of the Arts Council of Johnson County, going on 3 years. They are moving on my idea for a video blog in partnership with a local performing arts high school. I'm looking forward to seeing the results of that soon.
Though I don't have any recitals or recordings officially planned for this year, I've got some ideas. If you have some specific requests of what you want to hear from me, please let me know!
I look forward to sharing more music + inspiration in 2020 and beyond.
The 2020 Creating Change Conference
Unity's booth is front and center when you come into the exhibit area, with a beautiful display picturing Unity Village at night with the quote, "The is a divine goodness at the root of all existence" by Charles Fillmore. Yet people often seemed surprised to find out we were a spiritual organization. I could see the mistrust in their demeanor at the mention of "spiritual" and/or "church."
Because of my podcast, I've heard so many stories about the hurt that many of the LGBTQ+ community have experienced with their religious past, but that doesn't mean they are not spiritual, they just don't know what church communities are safe. Not just accepting, welcoming, and emotionally safe-- I mean, physically safe, too. That is an area I was blind to due to my own privilege up to now. Even Unity needs to up our game to let people know, especially trans people know, they are safe with us.
I got a glimpse at this conference of what things could be like in an affirming world that doesn't deny that sex/gender and different expressions exist: gay pastor trading cards, a Zen coloring page, "Our whole lives, Sexuality and our Faith," gender inclusive restrooms, and seminaries open to ALL who feel the call to serve and minister.
I attended two session in the afternoon: Spiritual Strategies for a Lifetime of Activism (which flipped anger, joy, and feeling tired on its head), and Trauma-informed Spiritual Care for LGBTQ+ Elders, which affirmed that it's so important to have compassionate allies not connected to church/spirituality and everyone has a role to bring their support.
Finally, a co-worker and I went to a reception with the LGBTQ Task Force board, as a thank you for Unity's sponsorship of the conference. Great exampleship of diverse leadership and representation on the board. Money was raised to replenish the scholarship fund for next year's conference, which will be Jan 27-31 in Washington, DC (right after the next elected president is sworn in). 🙏 So, if you are inspired to join next time, mark your calendar!
The online course I facilitate, Make Peace with Your Religious Past, is on a new platform called Teachable. It is user-friendly, beautifully designed, and still self-paced. Check it out and share with others!