Twin Cities church convention excitement

Well, perhaps not excitement. When I reflect on my Unitarian Universalist Association-weighted experience of denominational conventions, I think more of the endless walking and spending more money than I have.

But something’s going on in Minnesota’s Twin Cities.

The General Convention of the New Jerusalem (Swedenborgian Church) holds its 186th General Convention from June 23 to 27 at the University of Saint Thomas, in St. Paul; the ministers are already meeting.

At about the same time in Minneapolis, at the Minnesota Convention Center, the UUA General Assembly meets. Much more about that over the next few days. Remember the hashtag, #uuga (Kinsi: sic’ em, woof, woof, woof.)

Then at the same place even more stoles over street clothes — a look I hate, if anyone cares — with the 219th Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly, from July 3-10.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. Well…I might be able to borrow a friend’s spiked dog collar for the event, but I would probably have trouble getting it passed airport security :D

  2. I’ m with you as regards stoles over street clothes. Bad trend. Tacky, tacky, tacky.

    By the way — even though it’s Presbyterians you’re talking about — when did UU ministers begin wearing stoles? I’ve noticed more and more of this in recent years. I have an old friend, a long-retired UU minister, who told me years ago that he was horrified that his Congregational minister friends had taken up wearing them, because stoles “weren’t in keeping with the Reformed tradition.” Personally, I think he was right. He always wore his Harvard gown and hood.

    What, exactly, is the UU theological justification for wearing a stole? I have a hard enough time finding a Reformed justification for it. If the idea is simply to look pretty and colorful, why not go the whole nine yards and wear the stole with a cassock-alb? There would be no theological, ecclesiological, or liturgical basis for doing so, but hey, at least it would look nice.

  3. I own one, but who know if or when I’ll ever wear it again.

    I know the Universalist ministerial collegium, the Humiliati, wore them, with much the same controversy you describe.

    I suppose it’s because they’re distinctly clerical and decorative (if not always attractive). I’ll stick to gown, hood and bands.

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