2019 Speakers

All Together Now!

Rev. Dr. Leon Dunkley

Workshop Leader: FLOWER

Justice in our time will not be defined by our anxiety but by our joy and critical effectiveness.  Wisdom in our time will not only be defined by traditional scholarship but also by spiritual maturity.  There are incredibly large challenges before.  How will we rise to them?  How will we learn to blossom?  Come to FLOWER and find out!!! Video Message about "Flower"
The Rev. Dr. Leon Dunkley is a lifelong Unitarian Universalist. The church of his childhood was the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Monmouth County in Lincroft, New Jersey. From this church and from its minister, Reverend Harold Dean, Leon learned about the sweetness of life. He learned about compassion, peace and possibility. He received his undergraduate degree at Tufts University and his Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Pittsburgh. He was interested in traditional drumming of Ghana and the Republic of Zaire, the Kora tradition of Senegal, the Gamelan traditions of Java and Bali in Indonesia, the African American and jazz tradition(s) in the Americas and, most recently, in Bluegrass and Country Blues.   He sings and plays several instruments— including guitar, piano, conga, gangogwe (West African double bell), didjeridu. He is just getting started on the dobro and octave mandolin. [Continue Reading]

Rev. Dr. Natalie Fenimore

Minister of The Week

Rev. Dr. Natalie M. Fenimore currently serves as the Minister for Lifespan Religious Education at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock. Prior to this, she has served as a Parish Minister at Davies Memorial Unitarian Universalist Church in Camp Springs, MD, and as a Minister for Religious Exploration at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax, VA. In addition to serving on the Board of Starr King, Rev. Dr.  Fenimore also serves on the Board of the Unitarian Universalist Trauma Response Ministry (UUTRM). She is a past-president of the Liberal Religious Educator’s Association (LREDA) and a member of the UU Minister’s Association Professional Guidelines Committee. Rev. Dr. Fenimore holds a M.A. from Hood College and a Master of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary. She is a candidate for a Doctor of Ministry at Wesley Theological Seminary. Rev. Fenimore is a Credentialed Religious Educator, Master’s Level. Rev. Dr. Fenimore is an engaging preacher and worship leader who brings passion to lifespan religious education and faith development. In her own words, “religious education is central to Unitarian Universalism…a process of giving an outline for living. Religious education encompasses all aspects of learning and growing.”  

Family Ministry Training: Leia Durland-Jones,Christina Rivera, Rev. Maria McCabe

The Family Ministry training is designed for shared ministry teams with a goal of helping religious professionals deepen and expand their understanding of and experience with family ministry in service to the whole congregation. Together we’ll unpack the idea of “family” as well as what we mean by “church as family.” We will also discover what ministering to, with and within families might look like. There is no “one size fits all” way to do successful family ministry. Paradigm shifts can take time and systemic change often happens in stages. We will examine the cultures in our own congregations to help us understand where we are and what might be possible. Then we will create a vision for holistic ministry for our UU families and explore how to get there.

Theme Speaker: Katie Covey

Morning Theme Talk: "Embrace Faith Formation for the 21st Century"

Katie has lived and breathed the creative chaos of faith formation since 1984. She has been part of “old school” religious education philosophy. She has now embraced faith formation for the 21st century. She is passionate about placing themed ministry at the center of our service to congregations. Each day, she will share the story of how and why she changed her mind around a particular aspect of congregational life, including worship, home connections, youth programs and child and family ministry. She is the author of "Full Circle; Growing Lifelong Unitarian Universalists" a book published by the Unitarian Universalist Association, which traces 15 common threads which arose in conversations with lifelong Unitarian Universalists. Katie is also an author for Tapestry of Faith as well as self-published works, and knows the diversity of our congregations’ program needs. ​Katie has been an adjunct faculty in UU Religious Education for Iliff School of Theology, Denver, CO and the Methodist Theological Seminary of Ohio.   Katie has coalesced the ways her mind has changed in her current position as Soul Matters Director of Religious Education. She grabs hold of big abstract themes and turns them into laser focused sessions for children, youth and families. Think Eensy-Weensy Spider as the embodiment of “Being a People of Perseverance.” Use Fibonacci’s Number for the theme of “Being a People of Balance” with Youth. Katie Covey is a lifelong Unitarian Universalist. She grew up in congregations in Midland, MI, Claremont, CA, Charleston, W.VA and Devon, PA. She received her Masters from Tufts University in Human Development. She has been an outdoor instructor and spent 60 days in the backcountry of Montana every summer, raising her family in the wilderness for 11 years. She is also a technology lover. She sees a creative path available to us as UU spiritual leaders in both the technical and natural worlds.

Workshop Leader: Katie Covey

Themed Ministry and Soul Matters RE Sharing Circle In this workshop, we will discover ways to play with the parts of 21st C. faith formation and reduce the silos of music, social action, worship and RE by offering themes across the whole congregation. We will explore Katie’s “Three S’s: Silence, Sunshine and Service.” Whether or not you are a Soul Matters partner, come learn about the “promises and perils” of theme ministry in RE. The Soul Matters Sharing Circle is a network of Unitarian Universalist congregations who follow the same monthly themes so we can more easily share RE material, as well as worship, sermon, music and small group resources. We are a web of support and connection; companions traveling a new journey together each month. We recognize a deep hunger for experiential engagement. In order to satisfy that deep hunger we ask the question, “What does it mean to be a people of the theme?” i.e.  “What does it mean to be a people of vision, of possibility, or of trust?” Soul Matters Religious Education engages children, youth and families in the development of spiritual practices. Each theme has a practice that is interwoven, i.e. The themes and practices for 2018/19: Vision: The practice of intentional imagination Sanctuary: The practice of finding sacred space within & ensuring welcoming space for all Memory: The practice of honest remembrance & honoring the shoulders on which we stand Mystery: The practice of embracing life with humility and awe Possibility: The practice of personal unfolding and prophetic vision   Trust: The practice of commitment and faith in a love that won’t let us go   Journey: The practice of pilgrimage, courageous growth and patient change Wholeness: The practice of repairing what is broken and knowing we are enough Curiosity: The practice of moving from fear to open-heartedness Beauty: The practice of savoring life’s gifts  

Cynthia Roberts: Yoga and Chanting

Cynthia Roberts will lead Aquarian Chanting each morning from 5:30-6:30 AM in Brookfield.
The chants are beautiful songs that uplift those who participate, raise group consciousness, and bring healing to the whole planet. If you would like to start off your day in bliss, this is something for you!

Workshop Leader: Jennie MulQueen

Holding Gladness: A Vocational Workshop for Parents The theologian Frederick Buechner tells us "The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." Naming parenting as a vocation, this workshop is designed to be a time out for parents to reconnect with and tenderly hold their deepest sense of playful delight in a faith community of parents. Our time together this year will include silence and meditation with a special focus on self care, as well as the spiritual practice lectio divina, singing, journaling, and creating gladness mandalas. When we live courageously caring for our full selves while consciously connected to our divine spark, we can share it with our children and our communities in powerful ways. We might even begin to transform the world.

Porch Chats and Resource Room with Cathy Seggel


THE RESOURCE ROOM: Your FD conference Library
Please visit the Resource Room at the end of the Oceanic Porch to browse or explore curricula and
resources. The room is open most of the time and staffed before and after “Porch Chats.” I am happy to
consult with religious educators about our professional organization, Liberal Religious Educators
Association and how it serves our faith.

I look forward to being with you, Cathy Seggel

PORCH CHATS 2-3pm ~ All interested conferees are welcome and encouraged to ”chat”
Come to the circle of rocking chairs outside of the Resource Room at 2pm each afternoon and join
these facilitated conversations. The chats are relevant to all conferees who are Youth, Volunteer
Teachers, DREs, Parents, Committee members, Musicians, Ministers and everyone. Facilitators will be
a variety of leadership, including the minister of the week, Natalie Fenimore, LREDA and UUA leaders,
Rev., Gail Forsyth-Vail & Kirsten Hunter and others.

Cathy Seggel has been coming to Star Island LRE Week for many years, serving in a variety of roles
from Executive Dean to leading workshops. Cathy is a warm and reassuring presence to all who meet
her and an expert resource around UU faith development for children, youth and adults and shared
ministry. Cathy has served as the religious educator at First Unitarian Providence RI for over 20 years.
A graduate of the University of Connecticut with a BS in Nursing, she earned her Master of Theology
degree from Harvard Divinity School. She is immediate past president of the Liberal Religious
Educators Association, the professional organization for UU religious educators. Cathy lives in
Providence with her husband, Norm. They have three children and four grandchildren.

Past Speakers

Growing Unitarian Universalists in a Changing World

Laura Beth Brown

Director of Family Ministries

Matt Meyer

National Worship Leader

Rev. Daniel Gregoire

Minister Unitarian Universalist Society of Grafton and Upton

Jessica York

Faith Development Office Director

Michele Townsend Grove

Religious Education Professional

Rev. Renee Ruchotzke

Program Manager for Leadership Development