Visiting New Orleans – Day 1: Culture, Education and General Assembly!

I’m in New Orleans for my denomination’s General Assembly – I’m a proud member of the Unitarian Universalist Association and the President of the Board of Management for my church, the Unitarian-Universalist (UU) Church of Norwich, CT (

I arrived yesterday – somewhat ahead of the storm that is scheduled to batter the area for a few days. Thankfully, I like to travel early – I absolutely HATE being late for anything! 🙂

I’m staying at a lovely place on Clouet Street in the Bywater district – part of the UU HomeStay program where my rental fee supports a local UU church. I couldn’t be happier – it’s a lovely old place, with room for several people to stay, and has the wonderful charm of older homes.

When I arrived yesterday, I got my bearings and found an essential: a Walgreens! I love that store – they have so much stuff a busy woman like myself needs! So now that I’ve replenished my stock of essentials (water, mostly), I’m ready to get my day rolling!

While here in New Orleans, I’m going to be taking a class…yep, I said a class! I am fortunate to be a student at the Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, California. I’m pursuing a Masters of Divinity degree to become a UU Minister. The class I’m taking is around Congregational Polity.

Congregational what? Well, Congregational Polity is defined in Wikipedia as follow:

Congregationalist polity, or Congregational polity, often known as congregationalism, is a system of church governance (“ecclesiastical polity”) in which every local church congregation is independent, ecclesiastically sovereign, or “autonomous”.
Congregationalist polity – Wikipedia

On the Unitarian Universalist Association’s website, congregational polity is defined as follows:

In our understanding, the term “congregational polity” signifies a network of independent congregations, working for both their individual best interests and the best interests of the Association as a whole.

Congregational polity promotes and supports the idea – indeed the principle – that local congregations don’t have to “go it alone”. The Cambridge Platform accented the community of autonomous churches. The Platform spoke of six ways in which congregational churches exercise their responsibility to and for one another: care, consultation, admonition, participation, recommendation, and relief.

I’m excited to learn more about my denominations history and current practices, and see the ways in which Congregational Polity has helped shape the past, and how it will affect the future.

I’ll be creating posts throughout my time in New Orleans, and I hope you’ll check back often to see my updates. Right now, I’m going to get my rain gear on and head for the convention center to get in on Registration and check out the vendors!

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