I just checked into my hotel here in swelteringly hot Charlotte. I swear that the temperature rose 20 degrees as I crossed the border from Virginia into North Carolina. The drive was thankfully uneventful, although I find myself taking more breaks than in my youth. Ah, the delights of growing older!
I stopped at a couple of antique malls on the way down and spotted a few more that I will catch on the return trip. Otherwise, it was a gorgeous drive with one tree-covered mountain after another. There was a stretch in Virginia where the view was breathtaking. Even in the slightly overcast sky, I imagined that I could see at least 20 miles into the distance. There was an ominous looking mountain rising up from the plain, which (being the geek that I am) reminded me of Mount Doom rising from the dark lands of Mordor. I suppose had it been nighttime, I might have seen the eye of Sauron watching for me.
Official activities do not begin until tomorrow afternoon, as Ministry Days begin for the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association. The UUMA events precede the opening of General Assembly each year, and offer a great opportunity to put faces to names and meet new colleagues.
General Assembly is intended to be a business meeting and an opportunity for learning and interaction. But, for me (and this is my 10th GA), this week has always been about remembering that we are not just individual churches located here and there – a blip on the religious radar of America. GA reminds me that we are a significant religious movement, a denomination with a storied history and the potential to impact our society still today.
I always return from General Assembly invigorated and loaded with ideas. As the week progresses, I hope to check in with all of you. I especially recommend that you check out the live streaming events throughout the week here. If you can’t be here in person, these broadcasts are the next best thing.