Shining Our Light on Universalism


Universalist Convocation

May 29-31, 2015
Jacksonville, FL

($50/weekend; $40/Saturday only)
Registration Form (printable)
Registration Form (fillable pdf)
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Universalist Convocations gather Unitarian Universalists together to learn about, celebrate, and draw from the heritage of Universalist faith and experience. We explore how this heritage informs Unitarian Universalism today and helps to light its way toward the future.

Buckman Bridge Unitarian Universalist Church is located in Northeast Florida, a convenient distance from a number of Jacksonville and St Augustine tourist destinations. We are delighted to share our family-friendly environment with our guests. Our informative and entertaining program, which features outstanding thinkers and speakers, will increase our understanding and feed our souls.

Video Introduction


Friday Welcoming Presentation: Rev. Andrea Greenwood

“The Blue Boat Home: Universalist Adventures on the Sea and Shore”

RevAndreaGreenwoodDid you know that the first person to sail into the Arctic Circle was the runaway son of a Universalist minister? In piecing together this young person’s story, I thought about the irresistible drive to explore we all feel — to find excitement and adventure and escape — and our simultaneous need for safety; for the loving embrace and comfort of home. How can we preserve our tradition and our Universalist legacy while remaining open to the spirit that carries us out to sea? I hope you will join me for a journey through my own New England Universalist identity into some adventures into the surprising places our forebears carried us.

Rev. Andrea Greenwood

Rev. Andrea Greenwood is an Affiliate Minister at First Parish in Watertown, Mass. She earned her M.Div. from Meadville/Lombard/Univ. of Chicago Divinity School.

A born UU, she was ordained in her home church of Reading, MA on Oct. 15, 1989, after interning at the Community Church of New York and spending five months in Calcutta, with members of the Brahmo Samaj, a group of Unitarians arising from a reform movement within Hinduism.

She is the co-author with Mark Harris on An Introduction to the Unitarian and Universalist Traditions. Andrea was a founder and incorporating officer of SEPAC, the Special Education Parent Advisory Committee, and served on Watertown’s Commission on Disability for seven years. In 2013, she delivered a talk on Unitarianism and the creation of children’s literature as part of the Minns Lectures in Boston.

Saturday Morning Worship: Rev. Jack Ford

Rev Jack FordRev. Jack Ford is an award-winning speaker, a long-time member of Buckman Bridge Unitarian Universalist Church (BBUUC), a volunteer chaplain, and a cheerful presence whenever there is work to be done. Besides his regular speaking engagement at BBUUC each month, he also serves as a supply minister for UU congregations in Palatka and St Augustine. Rev. Ford grew up as a Baptist, and began his theological studies at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He currently serves as a Fellowshipped (Preliminary) UU minister. He has continued his studies in a number of different venues, including the Florida State School of Social Work. He pursued his strong interest in Native American spirituality with studies between 1989 and 1991. Jack is currently working towards achieving his Final Fellowship certification with the UUA Ministerial Services Committee. In 2014, he earned the Clarence R. Skinner Award for the best sermon in the Florida District.

Saturday Keynote and Sunday Worship: Rev. Mark Harris

Saturday Keynote Address: “Never Put Your Light Under a Bushel”

Rev Mark Harris
In 1844 when a newspaper in New York, reported on the death of a young Universalist businessman from Jacksonville, it was said that he was among that class of believers who “never put their light under a bushel.” Furthermore, “he was always open and fearless in his profession of faith in the gospel of impartial grace and salvation.” If our Universalist light is going to shine brighter in the 21st century, we have much to learn from those evangelists who went before.

Sunday Sermon: “A Faith for a Few?”

Margaret Fuller, a leading Transcendentalist, once received a letter from her Unitarian father, “Your reluctance to go ‘among strangers’ cannot too soon be overcome; & the way to overcome it, is not to remain at home, but to go among them and resolve to deserve & obtain the love & esteem of those, who have never before known you. With them you have a fair opportunity to begin the world anew. . .”

Our UU theology says this vision to “begin the world anew” must be with all kinds of people, not just with the social class circle we create or like-minded liberals. It must be practiced in an ever-intentional manner and in ever-widening circles if our faith is going to be truly transformational. Perhaps this is how Unitarian Universalism can fulfill its democratic vision, and become more than a faith for a few.”

Rev. Mark Harris

Rev. Mark Harris is a UU historian, author and minister of First Parish in Watertown, Massachusetts. He earned his M.Div. from Starr King School for the Ministry. In 1985, he was the UUA’s Director of Information, the denominational historian and archivist.

Currently, he is an Adjunct Professor in history and congregational polity at Andover Newton Theological School, and Starr King School for the Ministry.

He is the author of many denominational pamphlets, including “Unitarian Universalist Origins Our Historic Faith”, plus several books and historical articles, including Elite: Uncovering Classism in Unitarian Universalist History, The A to Z of Unitarian Universalism, and An Introduction to the Unitarian and Universalist Traditions. His article A Faith for the Few? can be read in the Spring 2011 UU World.


An Introduction to UU Traditions

Universalist History (Rev. Mark Harris)

This will be a small-group question and answer opportunity following Rev. Harris’ keynote.

Visualizing Jesus: How and Why His Artistic Image Changed
(Linda Crawford)

Linda CrawfordParticipants in this workshop will view examples from both early Christian and from Medieval art. We will discuss how, and why, the depiction of Jesus underwent such a radical transformation. The changes in the portrayals of Jesus, particularly in the early Christian era, the high Middle Ages, and the transition into the Renaissance, reflect fundamental changes in the Christian establishment and, at the end of the Middle Ages, in society in general.

Linda Crawford

Linda’s academic background provides a depth of knowledge that is particularly suited to this workshop. She holds a Master’s degree in Gothic and Northern Renaissance art from Tulane University, and is an ABD (all but dissertation) Ph.D. candidate in the same fields from the University of Michigan. Linda and her husband of 42 years, Dale, have been members of Buckman Bridge Unitarian Universalist church for six years. They have two sons.

Starting a UUCF Group in Your Congregation
(Rev. Pat Ray and Alan Stuart-Tilley)

This workshop will include information on resources available to people who are interested in starting a Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship (UUCF) chapter in their home congregations. We include a video feature from the UUCF program “Saving Jesus from the Religious Right.”

Rev. Pat Ray

Linda Crawford
Reverend Patricia (Pat) Ray is an interfaith minister, registered healer with the International Natural Healers Association (INHA), and Reiki Master. She completed her Clinical Pastoral Education at Baptist South Medical Center, and currently serves as volunteer Chaplain and on the CPE Advisory Program Group for Baptist Medical Center. As a Chaplain for BBUUC, Rev. Pat provides spiritual support and pastoral care to members and their families and facilitates BBUUC’s Christian Fellowship.

Alan Stuart-Tilley

Alan Stuart-Tilley Alan Stuart-Tilley is originally from England, and grew up unchurched, but “vaguely Christian”. His grandfather was a free-thinking atheist, one of his heroes, who continues to be a deep influence on Alan’s thought. Alan encountered Unitarian Universalism in Massachusetts nineteen years ago. At that time, he would have described himself as a religious humanist.
Becoming interested in church leadership, he attended Andover Newton Theological School from which he graduated with an M.Div., and while there, threw his lot in with Unitarian Universalist Christianity. He has served Unitarian Universalist congregations in various capacities, including as student intern at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Weymouth, MA. He is currently the organizer of the Christian Spirituality Group at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tallahassee.

Creating Inclusive, Youth-Friendly Communities in Your Congregation


presented by Florida Beacon Youth Group

Youth are not just the future of your congregation; they are the present. There are talented youth who, right now, are capable and willing to contribute to your congregation. Incorporating youth empowerment into your congregation will encourage the growth of the youth, in both number and strength, but will also strengthen your congregation as a whole. Learn how to create a more inclusive community, in which power and responsibility are shared and everyone has an opportunity to make their voice heard, regardless of age.


(Please pre-register to ensure your reservation.)
Friday evening reception: Light hors d’oeuvres (free)
Friday Evening Dinner: $12
Saturday Lunch: $10
Saturday Dinner: $12
Sunday Lunch: Join us for a finger food potluck
Breakfasts: On your own; we will have snacks available for morning breaks

Child Care

Available Friday evening $10, Saturday during daytime events $20. (Please pre-register.)
Uncle Eddie and Robin


Saturday Music Night

Uncle Eddie and Robin headline our Saturday night entertainment. Come and enjoy a musical, magical evening with the BBUUC community.

Black History Tour: Sunday, 2pm

On Sunday afternoon, we have arranged a one-hour trolley tour of nearby historic Saint Augustine, with an emphasis on the rich African-American history in the area. The cost is $20 per person. (Please register in advance so that we can meet our quota of 20 pre-registrants to confirm the tour.)


Special Group Rate for Convocation Visitors

A block of rooms have been reserved at the Best Western on Collins Road. This is the closest hotel to the church (3 blocks). Rooms will be held until April 25th for reservations.
Standard Queen $75 + tax
Double Queen $85 + tax
Double Suite $109 + tax
Includes full hot breakfast, free wifi, fridge/microwave in room, pool, exercise room and business center. (Specify “Universalist Convocation” when you make your reservations!)

Additional Nearby Accommodations

Days Inn
Hilton Garden Inn
NAS JAX (Camping for military and retired military.)
Quality Inn

Local Attractions

Beaches (map)
Zoos and Animal Parks
Family Attractions
Art and Culture
Outlet Shopping
St Augustine Attractions
Red Train Tours


Living the Questions