HFMSG Conference November 10-13, 2019

Update August 2019


- Third notice, much the same as the second, with some new details about the program-


It’s time to register and get it on your calendar!


WHEN: Sunday evening Nov. 10th  to noon Wednesday November 13th 

Note: Veteran's Day is that Monday, which may make participation easier for community ministers.



The Claggett Conference Center near Frederick, MD

Near hiking, golf, shops, and eateries


THEME: “Ministry with a Sense of Place”


How does a ”sense of place” inform our ministries?

  . . . . . .   whether urban, suburban, rural or resort area?  


A “sense of place” may be shaped by factors such as: 

-- a location’s geology and ecology

-- its people-history over time:  native peoples, immigrants, settlers, enslavers, enslaved and then free people, major migrations, and population shifts in age, class, race, ethnicity, LGBTQ visibility

-- its regional culture/s- food, music or dance originated or enjoyed there

-- its major industries/employers

-- and the existing or impending impacts of development and climate change there.


Any one or more of these factors may have had a role in the founding of your congregation or community ministry setting, its evolution, its resiliency (or lack thereof), and its future potential. 


Consider how the “sense of place” in a 20th-century “planned community” like Columbia, MD might differ from rural Lancaster County, PA or coastal Lewes, DE, or the nation’s capital and its VA suburbs...



In alternate years, HFMSG features an expert to lead our program as we did in 2018 with UU musician Dr. Glen Thomas Rideout. The other years, like 2019, we are each other’s experts. We “hear each other into speech” as thealogian Nelle Morton says. We speak from our experience, ponder questions, go as deep as we dare share. Every year, we also offer each other gifts of worship, cabaret talents, conversations over meals and walks, and space for solitude. In 2019, Phyllis Hubble and John Manwell will jointly share their Odyssey, and we will have more free time and fewer worships than in 2018, by popular request!  


For 2019, participants are asked to write a short (5-15 minutes) reflection on “sense of place” in your current or a previous ministry setting. You might focus on one factor such as (but not limited to) those  listed above, or a combination, whatever seems most salient to you, or useful for you to ponder. Perhaps it will be about an aspect of your current or past ministry setting that puzzles or surprises or delights you, overtly (or covertly) shaping your ministry. Maybe you will reflect on demographics, as in who in the wider community is/was missing in your congregation or community ministry setting and why? Or maybe you wonder about the emotional undercurrents among your people caused by climate change predictions for your setting, or the racial and class tensions there? 


The program blocks will be organized around these factors as themes, during which we will all hear each other’s reflections, with time for discussion. 


Mere suggestions, no requirements, for your reading: 

  • Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” for her vivid descriptions of DC and specifically the White House, but also of places she’s travelled. The author reads it aloud in the audio version!

  • This blog piece on “topophilia” (love of place) may help you in writing your reflection- copy this into your browser: http://www.placeness.com/topophilia-and-topophils/. 

  • Glance over the suggestions crowd-sourced from the UUMAColleagues FB page, newly posted on the HFMSG website

REGISTER HERE: copy into your browser if the link isn’t live:  http://www.hfmsg.org/ then go to Log In, to either create an account or log in.  


REGISTER NOW: Scholarships available!


With excitement, 


Richard Speck (Chair), Terry Ellen,

Diane Teichert, Valerie Wills, and Carol Taylor

Questions, suggestions, comments? Our contact info is on the HFMSG website.