Be a Voting Delegate at the UUA Assembly!

If you’re planning to attend this year’s UUA General Assembly in Spokane, Washington, please reach out to a Board member if you are interested in being a voting delegate. UUCJ is allotted five delegates (based on the size of the congregation), and each delegate must be certified and submitted by the church. You must be registered to attend, either in person or electronically, in order to be named a delegate. Off-site registration is $160, and allows you access to many of the workshops, all of the worship services and lectures, and the business meetings (where voting occurs.) If you’re interested, please check out the website, at If you’ve never attended a General Assembly, this will be a wonderful experience!

If you choose not to register at all, you can also live stream the worship services, lectures, and the business meetings. The worship services and lectures are awe-inspiring!

The UUCJ Board President, Penny Reid, lived in Spokane for 35 years and can attest to it being a wonderful city – the downtown park (where GA is located – in the convention center) is beautiful, there’s lots of great shopping, and Spokane has countless wonderful restaurants. The convention center is walking distance from the downtown area, and most of the shopping district is connected by an extensive skywalk system.

Pastoral Care

During the past several months several people have asked about the availability of Pastoral Care for UUCJ members. We have reached out to Buckman Bridge UU Church, and they have graciously offered their assistance. They have several chaplains available for rites of passage, including weddings and funerals, as well as a trained Pastoral Care Team available for short-term counseling when needed. If you are in need of assistance or chaplain services, please call Buckman Bridge directly: Call the main church office at (904) 276-3739; or email or call (904) 638-5482. Reverend Patricia Ray, head chaplain for Buckman Bridge, will be in our pulpit on May 5th to talk about their program, including an upcoming training for lay Pastoral Care Team members. (This does not replace or duplicate the wonderful work of the UUCJ Caring Team but provides a different focus and type of service.)

Chancel Table Update

We all love seeing the chancel table decorated each Sunday, and the church has struggled for the past few years to have a sustainable system for responsibility for decorating this table. (In case you’re not familiar, the chancel table is next to the chalice!) The Worship Committee has recently found two generous volunteers within the congregation to take on decorating the chancel table on a regular basis. They will be taking six-week rotations, and likely will leave up a seasonal installation for that length of time. They are investing their own time, talent, and treasure in this work, and we ask that you respect that by not dismantaling or distrubing the chancel table decoration in any way. If you need to use the sanctuary and the table is not appropriate (e.g. wedding, memorial service), please move the table rather than dismantaling the decorations. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Worship Committee Chair Katie Dalbey.

Speaker Bio: Peter Racine

Peter Racine is the Senior Vice President – Jaguars Foundation and Community Impact, overseeing grant making, community outreach and charitable initiatives on behalf of the team and Khan family.

Beginning his nonprofit career as a college volunteer at the Covenant House homeless and runaway youth shelter in New York City, Peter went on to help begin Covenant House shelters in Houston, Texas, Toronto, Canada and Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Peter was featured on Dateline NBC for his work with glue addicts and in Time Magazine for work on behalf of minors exploited by prostitution rings. His work in child abuse prevention in northeast Florida was recognized by former Governor Lawton Chiles.

Peter joined UUCJ in 2000 and has served as President and on various committees including Covenant Groups, Religious Services, Covenant Committee and Stewardship Campaign. He received his B.A. at Rutgers University in New Jersey, and his M.T.S. at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. He and his spouse Kelly reside on the west side of Jacksonville.

UUA General Assembly

General Assembly is the annual meeting of our Unitarian Universalist Association. Attendees worship, witness, learn, connect, and make policy for the Association through democratic process. The 2019 General Assembly will be June 19-23 in Spokane, Washington. Most General Assembly events will be held in the Spokane Convention Center.

The Power of We

What do we want Unitarian Universalism to be? It is a time when we are asking big questions in our faith, and GA 2019 will be focused on digging into those questions together. It is a critical chance for congregational leaders and passionate UUs to set new goals and aspirations for our religious community. Help begin to reshape our Association and our congregations in new and powerful ways.

This year’s theme is about collective power, “The Power of We,” as well as the possibility, the purpose, the struggle and the joy of what it means to be together in faithful community. In the past two years, Unitarian Universalism has recommitted to the work of liberation inside and outside our faith community. The antidote to a time of dangerous dehumanization is a love that connects us to our deeper humanity. Come to Spokane to experience what our shared faith can become when we embrace the Power of We.

Registration and Housing

GA Registration and the GA Housing Reservation System are open at


The Spokane region is the gateway for adventure and exploration in the Intermountain Northwest. Located driving distance from Glacier National Park and Yellowstone, Spokane is nestled in natural beauty. Spokane is located on interstate I-90, 110 miles from the Canadian border and 18 miles from Idaho. It is the largest city between Seattle and Minneapolis.
Spokane International Airport (GEG) is serviced by Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest, and United Airlines. Nonstop service is offered to 17 destinations, including Minneapolis, Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix, and LAX. Spokane is accessible by rail via Amtrak’s Empire Builder route (Chicago – St. Paul/Minneapolis – Spokane – Portland/Seattle). It is also reachable by Greyhound Bus.

Excellent Programming

GA will offer more than 100 programming selections over the course of five days. This year, in addition to Theme-Based Programming, the schedule will feature Role-Based Track Programming, including time for discussion among attendees, sharing inspiring models and stories, and concrete suggestions for how to further the work or “take it home.” More programming details are available at

Financial Aid Available

The UUA is committed to the goal of making GA accessible to as many attendees as possible. Go to to learn about scholarships to support delegates – particularly those from marginalized groups – and volunteer opportunities (work in exchange for registration).

Speaker Bio: Zenkai Taiun M Elliston, Roshi

Ellison RoshiZenkai Taiun M Elliston, Roshi began his engagement with Zen in 1966, when he met Rev. Soyu Matsuoka-roshi, founder and head teacher of the Chicago Zen Buddhist Temple (CZBT). He contacted Zen through Rev. Soyu Matsuoka-roshi in the mid-sixties, becoming his disciple in short order, and later founded the Atlanta Soto Zen Center(ASZC) in the 1970s, of which he is the current Abbot, and which is one of the largest and most active centers for lay practitioners of Zen in the United States today.

After two years of training under Matsuoka-roshi’s supervision, and at his suggestion, he underwent a combined Initiation and Discipleship ceremony, and was given the dharma name Taiun, meaning “great cloud.” Later he was given a second name Zenkai, which means “whole world.” In the Zen world, his preferred address is, simply “sensei” (teacher).

Matsuoka-roshi registered Taiun with the Soto Shu Shumucho in Japan July 13, 1969 (Priesthood Register No. 164, Soto Zen Headquarters, Tokyo, Japan) and ordained as a Zen Priest March 22, 1970. He continued fulfilling his duties at the Chicago Zen Center until 1970, moving to Atlanta at the same time Matsuoka-roshi moved to Long Beach, leaving his senior dharma-brother, Kongo Rick Langlois-roshi in charge of Chicago.

In the early 1970’s he began offering Zen meditation and teachings, and in 1977 founded the Atlanta Soto Zen Center (ASZC) as a 501c3 NFP corporation under the charter of the State of Georgia. Matsuoka-roshi presented the title of “roshi,” which he called “the P.H.D. of Zen,” to Sensei in an informal transmission ceremony at ASZC on September 20, 1983.

Roshi later completed head student (“Shuso”) training regimen and Precepts ceremony with Seirin Barbara Kohn-sensei of Austin Zen Center (Suzuki lineage); and was given a formal Transmission ceremony by Shohaku Okumura-roshi (Uchiyama lineage) in August of 2007.

In 2010 he and his senior students incorporated the Silent Thunder Order (STO), a network of priests and disciples leading the practice of 20-plus Zen centers and practice groups in the USA and Canada.

Taiun Sensei continues to offer his services as abbot (Hojo), the Founder of STO and its training center ASZC, encouraging the numerous Practice Leaders and Supporting Members to lead a Zen life, and to maintain a harmonious balance with the demands of family and livelihood. As Guiding Teacher, he oversees the training of disciples and priests, as well as ministering to the needs of a growing community (sangha) of Members and Newcomers.

ASZC has operated continuously for 40 years, and its network of affiliates in the US and Canada, organized under the STO, has prospered, owing to the sincerity of Zen practice of its Members, and the shared commitment and support of many qualified trainees and teachers who have adapted Sensei’s ordinary, everyday style of Zen practice and training for lay people.

Sensei was born on a farm outside Centralia, Illinois on March 11, 1941, into a working class family. His father was the leader of a jazz quintet as well as a welder and pipefitter, his brother a professional jazz pianist and teacher of professionals at U of I Champaign Urbana and U of Maryland. His older and younger sisters were also both creative in dance, and his mother was a creative seamstress who made dance costumes and clothing for her children. He grew up in that small town, after his family lived for a brief time in Chicago. Completing high school with honors, he then returned to Chicago, attending the Institute of Design (the “New Bauhaus”) at the Illinois Institute of Technology, receiving a B.S. In 1964, and an M.S. in 1970. From 1966 to 1970 he taught design and art classes at the U of I, Chicago Circle Campus, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is indebted to his many mentors in both Design and Zen.

Speaker Bio: Cheryl Anthony

Cheryl Anthony is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Certified Addiction Counselor, ACEP Certified EFT Advance Practitioner, and a PSYCH-K Facilitator. Currently she is in private practice and teaches QiGong. For the past 34 years she has been on her own journey to wholeness and has worked to helped others as they walk their path of healing.

Calling All Singers

The UUCJ choir is preparing a program to joyously celebrate Earth Day in April.
If you enjoy singing, please come join us. Rehearsals are on Sundays, 12:30 – 1:00 p.m.