United Days is a time to reconnect and to take part in opportunities to learn with presentations and workshops. We also honor the Distinguished Alum each year at the Alum Dinner.
Make United Days an annual event each spring.
› Meet up with old friends
› Make new acquaintances
› Gather for worship
› Explore a new subject
› Share fellowship over meals
› Learn what’s been happening at United
› Leave refreshed for your work or daily life
United Days 2016: The Power of Story (May 19-20)
This year’s United Days will explore how biblical and personal storytelling can enrich your life and inspire collective action in our congregations and our world. Stories build empathy—helping us step into another’s shoes, illustrate a point, entertain us or move us to tears. The Power of Story will immerse us in the environment of story, with contemplative and skill-building workshops, speakers and demonstrations. You will see biblical stories come to life, listen to personal tales of transformation and reflect on your own narrative. Join United alums, friends, staff and faculty (both current and emeriti/ae) for meaningful conversations, engaging activities and delicious meals. We look forward to seeing you!
|THURSDAY, MAY 19
|11:00 AM||OPENING WORSHIP|
|12:30 PM||PRESIDENT’S LUNCH IN THE CONTEXT CAFÉ
All are welcome to attend. Sign up to sit with current or emeriti/ae professor:
|Trina Armstrong, Mary Bednarowski, Barbara Holmes, Cindi Beth Johnson, Art Merrill, Thorsten Moritz, Steve Newcom, Carolyn Pressler, Kyle Roberts, Clyde Steckel, J. Samuel Subramanian, Sharon Tan, Wilson Yates|
|2:00-3:15 PM||TURNING POINTS
Six members of the United community share moments that transformed their lives.
|3:45-5:15 PM||WORKSHOPS – HOW DO WE TELL OUR STORIES?
|6:00 PM||HOSPITALITY TIME IN “THE INTERSECTION” ART STUDIO|
|6:30 PM||ALUM DINNER IN THE CONTEXT CAFÉ
|FRIDAY, MAY 20
|9:00 AM||WORSHIP IN BIGELOW CHAPEL
Preaching: Sara Morse ’03
|10:30 AM||BRINGING BIBLICAL STORIES TO LIFE
Renowned storyteller Valerie Tutson embodies scripture and invites us into the story.
|11:45 AM||LUNCHEON IN THE CONTEXT CAFÉ
All are welcome to attend.
|1:00-2:15 PM||THE POWER OF STORY: IMAGINING A NEW WORLD
Address by Valerie Tutson.
Ice cream served on Bigelow Chapel Patio (weather permitting)
|3:00-4:15 PM||WORKSHOP OPTIONS
|4:30-5:00 PM||CLOSING RITUAL
Leading: United Chaplain John Lee
- Both Days
- Early Registration: On or before April 8 – $125 (Includes two lunches.)
- Late Registration: After April 8 – $150 (Includes two lunches.)
- Co-registrant Early Registration: On or before April 8 – $100 (You must register together for this rate. Includes two lunches.)
- Co-registrant Late Registration: After April 8 – $125 (You must register together for this rate. Includes two lunches.)
- Golden Grad (Alums who graduated 50 or more years ago. All days.) – No charge
- Current United Students & Class of ’16 – $25 (All days, includes two lunches.)
- Non-United Students – $50 (All days, includes two lunches.)
- One Day Only – $75 (Includes one lunch.)
- Lunches Only – $12.50 each
- Alum Dinner – $35
- Golden Grad Alum Dinner (Alums who graduated 50 or more years ago.) – No charge
Join the Conversation: Changing Church, Changing Seminary
On Wednesday, May 18, at 6:30 p.m., you are invited to join a conversation at United about the changing church and how seminary education is evolving.
What Stories do We Sing in Our Congregations?
The stories that hymns tell and the theology that hymns impart influence us strongly. Someone once said: “Tell me what you sing and I’ll tell you who you are.” So, what are we singing in our churches today and why? Is it enough to just sing what we already like and know?
This workshop provides an opportunity to take a look at different “streams” of congregational song from different sources of faith and particular expressions of piety over the past 50 years and longer. Through presentation and conversation (and yes, through singing some examples!) we’ll examine what kind of “story” we’ve been singing in our churches. We’ll ask: what sort of diet are we giving to our churches, and how do the songs we choose affect the spiritual landscape of our congregations?
Tom Witt has been a keyboardist, worship leader, song leader and worship planner for over 30 years and is well known for his spirited and rhythmic skills at the piano. He has developed a deep interest in eclectic congregational song that builds up the body of Christ for the work of mercy, peace, justice and inclusion in the world—from Gospel to Taizé and Iona, from 4-part African song to traditional European hymnody. Tom serves as music coordinator at United, is part of the chapel music staff at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, and co-founded Bread for the Journey musical ensemble. He co-authored, with Susan Briehl, Holden Prayer Around the Cross: Handbook to the Liturgy (Augsburg Fortress, 2010), and edited the songbook collection Singing Our Prayer (Augsburg Fortress, 2010).
Speaking Transformational Stories: Oral Storytelling
In this interactive workshop we will rediscover our abilities to tell stories. We will have the opportunity to remember and share stories from our faith journeys and find ways to make connections with age-old Bible stories. Storytellers have their memories, imagination, voices, bodies and more to bring the stories to life. We will exercise them all! You will learn storytelling techniques and leave with stories to share.
Valerie Tutson graduated from Brown University with a self-designed major, Storytelling as a Communication’s Art, a master’s in theatre and received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Rhode Island College. Since 1991, she has traveled the U.S. and the world teaching, gathering and sharing stories and songs. More…
Writing Transformational Stories
Have you had a transformative experience you would like to be able to share in a blog, newsletter or sermon, or even just for yourself? Author and storyteller Kristin Maier will guide participants through the process of shaping a lived experience into a compelling and rich narrative.
Rev. Kristin Maier ’07 is the author of A Good Telling: Bringing Worship to Life with Story. She has presented workshops on stories and storytelling at the regional and national level, as well as developed stories for print, blogs, worship services and theatre. Kristin also serves as minister to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northfield, Minn.
Transformational Stories through Collage
Do words escape you? Are they just not quite enough to capture and convey transformational experience? Then come explore altered books. Altered books are art objects created from existing books. Pages of these books are transformed using paint, collage, stamps, doo-dads, gems—you name it—adding an artistic and fanciful twist to the existing words. Let the spirit move you. Unleash the creative spirit within you. No experience necessary. If so inclined, you can bring a book of your choosing. Hardcover books with sturdy pages and a sewn spine work best.
Hortense MacLeod ’15 is an artist and theologian who is called to arts ministry, the facilitation and celebration of the creative spirit within all. Her mediums include music, painting, collage and performance art. She graduated from United’s M.Div. program with a concentration in theology and the arts and serves at United as interim recruiter.
Worship Leader: Sara Morse ’03
Sara Morse has been the pastor of Hazel Park UCC in St. Paul since January 2009. She was ordained in 2003 and has been blessed and humbled to hear the stories of many and engage in vital ministry over this time. She comes from humble roots; growing up in rural Wisconsin on a dairy farm she learned the value of hard work and relationship. Sara graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She had other career aspirations until she finally realized that God was calling her to parish ministry. Upon finally figuring out that God’s call was real, she attended United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities and received her Masters of Divinity. Sara loves being a pastor and cannot imagine doing anything else because it allows her to meet individuals where they are on their journey of faith and how the church can be instrumental in creating a just, peace, open and affirming world. When she is not hanging out at church, the community or visiting people, she likes to be home with her husband, Tim and two boys, Daniel and Michael – enjoying their creativity and love.
Narrative Pastoral Care for Liberating Untold Stories
This workshop is about using narrative therapy as a strategy for providing pastoral care with those who are struggling and experiencing distress in their lives. Narrative therapy involves focusing upon our stories, our personal narratives, the stories that others tell about us and communal narratives. Stories have the power to de ne us to ourselves and to others. Some of these stories are empowering and af rming while others are destructive and oppressive. Engaging in pastoral narrative consultation with individuals and with communities can help them learn to appreciate themselves and to co-author richer, thicker and more lifeaf rming identities and to serve as God’s partners to fashion a world abounding in justice, compassion, loving kindness and gracious inclusion within the living human web of being.
Rabbi Shalom Reznik-Bell serves as the Director of Spiritual Care for the Sholom Community Alliance. He is also a Doctor of Ministry student at United focusing upon “Feminist Womanist Narrative Pastoral Consultation with Older Persons in Residential Communities and with their Families.” Jaki Cottingham-Zierdt ’14 is currently completing her fourth unit of CPE; for the past few years, she has focused on narrative therapy and uses it extensively in providing pastoral care with older adults. She has a special interest in providing narrative pastoral care with communities who have experienced oppression. Jaki will be teaching Interfaith Dialogue: Building Bridges at United during the 2016 Summer Term.
How Can I Preach on That?! “Tough Stories” in the Bible
The Older Testament is full of stories of people we would hardly want to emulate, people like that prig, Joseph, whom Thomas Mann says anyone with any sense at all would want to through into a pit, or like deceitful Jacob, whom scripture itself calls “a heel.” Then there are the really harsh accounts of human killers like Moses and “good” King David, and of a God far more murderously wrathful than we care to contemplate. Come ready to share how you have dealt with scripture’s tough tales. Carolyn Pressler, Piper Professor of Biblical Interpretation, will share insights from her thirty years of working with ancient Israel’s sometimes twisted, sometimes terrifying, yet also strangely sacred traditions.
Carolyn Pressler is Harry C. Piper Jr. professor of biblical interpretation at United. She is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. Carolyn was appointed to the faculty in 1990.
Storytelling for Social Justice Work
Jesus built a movement which hearkened the Realm of God. One of the most powerful tools he used was storytelling. Through our stories, we connect heart to heart and faith experience to faith experience. Storytelling for Social Justice Work seeks to embody this wisdom.
Drawing on the work of Marshall Ganz and the experience and success of the Welcoming Church Movement, we will practice our “Story of Self,” “Story of Us,” and “Story of Now.” This workshop will be very hands-on and skills-building oriented, helping us connect with peoples’ hearts and faith experiences in order to better do the work of justice as faith-practice. Please come having put some thought into what experiences have shaped you in your justice work and what concrete stories have led you to put your faith into action through justice work.
Rebecca Voelkel ’13 is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ (UCC), serving as director of The Center for Sustainable Justice. Previously, she served as MountainTop Movement building consultant at Auburn Seminary, interim executive director for PFund Foundation, Faith Work director for the National LGBTQ Task Force, interim national coordinator for the UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns, pastor of Spirit of the Lakes UCC, and program staff for the Center for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence. Rebecca is a faith-based relational organizing trainer and workshop presenter on a wide variety of faith-based justice issues. In addition to United, she is a graduate of Earlham College and Yale Divinity School.
Engaging Your Personal Narrative in the Context of Biblical Stories
Where have you found yourself in the Biblical story – and where has the Biblical story found you? How does your personal narrative differ from stories about yourself that you occasionally tell. And how may they connect with the Biblical narrative? The workshop leaders will share stories from their own lives and encounters with the text and invite participants to share their stories. There will be time spent discussing how participants can bring this activity back to their own ministry setting.
Norma Burton ’78 (left) serves as community minister at Linden Hills United Church of Christ in Minneapolis. Prior to seminary, she served as minister of three congregations and was a Christian educator for 30 years. She is one of the editors/writers/teacher-trainers for the curriculum “Whole People of God.” Gretchen Fogo ’79 (right) is a retired United Methodist pastor and eclectic gardener whose passions include aging, spirituality, adventure and learning.
Valerie Tutson graduated from Brown University with a self-designed major, Storytelling as a Communication’s Art, and received a master’s in theatre. She also was bestowed an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Rhode Island College. Since 1991, Tutson has traveled the U.S. and world teaching, gathering, and sharing stories and songs. Her repertoire includes folktales, personal and historical stories with an emphasis on Black traditions, and first-person Bible stories. A lifelong member of the United Church of Christ and an ecumenical storyteller, Valerie has been featured at numerous UCC National Synods and youth events, Conference meetings, churches and retreats across the country, sharing her gifts and helping others to tell the stories of their faith.
A limited number of on-campus apartments are available for $25 a night. These apartments are shared with up to four people of the same gender, and you provide your own linens. If interested, contact Michelle Turnau, 651.255.6117.
If you are interested in being hosted at the home of a local alum at no cost, please contact Emily Geris, 651.255.6166.
Persons interested in receiving a scholarship to United Days, please contact Emily Geris, 651.255.6166.