in the congregations
Church cluster organizes revival
Revivals aren't just for religiously conservative folk. Ten Unitarian Universalist congregations in Florida proved this when they got together in May for “UU Renewal Week,” a series of events including a keynote presentation by the Rev. Forrest Church of the Unitarian Church of All Souls in New York City.
“Our congregations often operate alone, and I wanted to do something that would bring us together, help us get in touch with our religion, and create some good feeling and enthusiasm,” said Jeffrey Harper, president of the West Central Cluster of Unitarian Universalist Congregations and the organizer of the events.
The renewal included a Friday night all-cluster worship service at the Unitarian Universalists of Clearwater church, featuring Church's sermon and a cluster choir. A daylong workshop on voter registration was held Saturday at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tampa. Then came the UU Prom Party, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Saint Petersburg, with a disc jockey, an original play, and a potluck dinner. On Sunday morning the congregations exchanged pulpits.
Events got good publicity in local media, including radio and television interviews with Church, a well-known author. “The event gave our cluster more visibility than we'd ever had,” said Harper. Other cluster congregations included those in Tarpon Springs, Brooksville, Lakeland, Lecanto, Odessa, and Sun City Center, plus the Unitarian Universalist United Fellowship in St. Petersburg.Although it was an ambitious program, it paid off. Said Harper,“This really was a revival and it was probably the biggest event we'd ever put on as a cluster. We're looking forward to more events in the future.”