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2016 CUUPS Convocation - Awakening Our Tribe

First Church Unitarian Universalist - Salem, MA August 26-28, 2016

Awaken the spirit of Pagans, Nature & Earth Centered Unitarian Universalists as we return to roots of our inspiration.

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Scroll down this page for speakers, workshops, and information about the weekend.

Click here to print the program book.

Speakers for the Weekend

How Do You Register?

Register Here! Pay online!
All major credit cards welcome. You can also register onsite with cash, check or credit card.
Weekend Registration:  $125.00 • Saturday Only: $ 65

Vending & Program Advertising

If you are interested in vending at the event or advertising in the program booklet please contact Lynn. Download this insertion order to fill out and send to her after making your payment. No payment, no advertising.

Silent Raffle

We will have a silent raffle of all kinds of items. From books to fun items. If you wish to donate something bring it with you!

CUUPS 2016 Convocation Weekend Schedule
Subject to changes. Workshops and schedule will stick as tightly as possibly to the times listed.)


Self Tour the Witch City & Shopping

Pick-up Meal Contributions
A good time to bring your contributions to the evening’s meal to the kitchen. See the list of area markets and libation locations. Steve's Market and Milk and Honey are both about a block and a half from the church.


Grab Dinner before the Evening Activities

Welcome & Opening Ritual

Presenters Round Table (Subject to be determined) 

JK Hildebrand
Paganism in the Witch City
Learn about the city of Salem, some of its history, and its Pagan community. Why are there so many of us here? When and how did it all come to be? What have been some of the lessons of religion vs. commercialism? How does CUUPS fit in? Bring your questions.

Hang out at the church or gather in groups to grab coffee, a drink, or hang out. Talk. Get to know one another.

Set-Up Evening Activities Out and About the CIty
Go to or Groupon to check out evening tours in the city.


Byron Ballard 
Can You Blessed Be?

We use this phrase as a salutation or exclamation but how would life be different if we thought of it as a dance, like the tango? Imagine going through your daily life dropping a blessing here and there—to the check-out person at the grocery store or the busy neighbor on the other side of the fence. Join Byron Ballard for an exploration of this ancient dance and discover the deeper meaning in your own complicated life.

John Beckett
Daily Spiritual Practice for Pagans
How do we go about living as Pagans on a daily basis in a world that makes ever-increasing demands on our time and whose values are frequently at odds with our own?  It can be done - it just takes practice.  This workshop will discuss universal spiritual practice techniques, how to practice them in a Pagan context, and how to begin or expand a daily spiritual practice of your own.

Stephen Burton & Colleagues
CUUPS & Prison Ministry: A Call to Assist and Heal
In this workshop presentation, information on serving those who are Pagan and incarcerated will be discussed. How is CUUPS serving inmates and those being released? What are some of the statistics and best practices? Why is this sacred work important?

Workshop TBA

Gypsy Ravish
So You Want to Be A Witch?
Come for an informal candlelight discussion about Witchcraft, Wicca and what it is to be a Witch in today's world. We will look at the high standards, integrity and wisdom needed. More than a fashion statement, and cult of personality. A mystery tradition for our inner and outer worlds and the evolution of humanity and our planet.

Nikki LaMothe
Herbal Intention Bundle Workshop
For centuries, herbs have been used for magical purposes and in rituals. In this hands on workshop, you will choose your herbs and craft your own Intention Herbal Bundle for use in your home or magical space. You are invited to bring your bundles to the Community Meal & Ritual on Saturday evening.

Amy Beltaine
Earth-Relating Clergy Round-Table: Authenticity & Identity in the UUMA
A gathering of UU Clergy (and soon-to-be clergy). Come share experiences and provide support for one-another's journeys.

Rev. Shirley Ranck
Reclaiming Our Ancient Heritage of Peace
Pictures and archeological information about peaceful civilizations in the very ancient world; discussion questions concerning the possibilities for peace today.

Byron Ballard
Old Wild Magic of the Motherlands
Byron’s latest research involves tracing her Appalachian folk magic practice to its roots in the British Isles. The charms, spells and talismans that crossed with those ragged immigrants from Scotland, Yorkshire, Cornwall and Cumbria are little known and very interesting. Weather workings, healing charms, curses and blessings--all handed down to us from a by-gone age.

Pick-up Meal Contributions
A good time to bring your contributions to the evening’s meal to the kitchen. See the list of area markets and libation locations. Steve's Market and Milk and Honey are both about a block and a half from the church.

John Beckett
Mission and Vision: What Your Chapter, Church & Members Can Learn from the 2014 CUUPS Surveys

The 2014 Revisioning surveys gathered data from over 300 CUUPS members, Pagan-friendly UUs, and UU-friendly Pagans. This keynote presentation will discuss some unexpected results and how we can use them to make our chapters more welcoming to potential members, more relevant in our communities, and more meaningful to us all.

Jerrie Hildebrand & Shirley Ranck
Born of the Earth: UU Pagan & Earth Centered Voices
For over a year, Jerrie & Shirley have been working on a book of this name in collaboration with Skinner House Press. We will share that journey and share the breakthrough the book is, how it came together, and the challenges we faced.

Rev. Amy Beltaine
Ministry with Earth-Relating/Pagan Congregants & Community
A look at how to be in right relationship with your CUUPS group, and how your congregation can benefit from the richness of the Earth-Relating and Pagan paths. All who identify as clergy are invited to join the conversation

Debra Gilbert
The Pagan Classroom
Have you ever heard the saying, “when the student is ready, the teacher will come”? This workshop will provide an outline of how to create a successful learning experience in a setting that involves seekers, those new to earth based spirituality and those who are experienced practitioners, all in the same classroom. I will give possible topic selections, tools on how to engage your students and my personal reflections of what has and has not worked. (Hint: the story about my planning session gone wild!). A great workshop for Religious Educators!

Byron Ballard
The Spirit-Haunted Landscape: the Spirits of the Land and of Our Ancestors
Is there a Faery at the bottom of your garden? A djinn in the chicken house? Does the time between the Autumn Equinox and Samhain see your home filled with the discarnate spirits of your too-helpful Ancestors? Byron Ballard will review some techniques for working with these familiar spirits in the Appalachian tradition.

Jim Norris
The Witches Herb Garden, The Legends & Lore of Herbs

Jim Norris has been a member of the Herb Society of America for over 40 years. The study of herbs has been his avocation and for his theme herb garden, he chose the Witches’ Herb Garden, or as his sister called it, His Garden of Deadlies! Jim is a long-time member of the Greater New Bedford Circle, in New Bedford and Cranberry Circle CUUPS in Middleboro, Mass. Over the years, Jim has lectured for many local garden clubs in Southeastern Massachusetts. His last herb lecture was given at the Blarney Castle in Ireland at their Poison Garden in 2015.

Tony Beal
Storytelling as a Spiritual Practice This workshop will consist of a brief lecture on my personal experience of using Storytelling as a means to cope with life's problems, inspire those around us, and even as a conduit for raising energy. We will discuss multiple topics. Bring notebooks

Rev. Shirley Ranck  
Thea/ology of the Chambered Nautilus
A look at one of the beautiful treasures of the ocean and the metaphor it may be for a thea/ology of the 21st century.

A good time to bring your contributions to the evening’s meal to the kitchen. See the list of area markets and libation locations.

Community Meal & Ritual
(Meal will be created and set up together as a ritual)
           - Pasta Bar (Veggie Noodles, Rice Noodles, Plain Noodles)
           - Sauces  (Marinara, Meat, Pesto, Asian)
           - Community Salad (Participants asked to bring something to add to the salad)
           - Breads
           - Assorted Cookies & Fruit
           - Coffee, Ice Tea, Water, Lemonade (Participants invited drinks. Wine and Beer is fine)

Ceili / Bardic Circle - Bring instruments, your voices, songs and chants, stories and poems of your region to share.

Movie & DiscussionWith Love From Salem with Gypsy Ravish, Producers, inspirations & Visionaries Karagan Griffith & Jimahl DiFiosa.      


CUUPS Round Table with the Board 

CUUPS Led Worship Service with Rev. Shirley Ranck & Rev. Jerrie Hildebrand
Theme & Sermon - Walking Together
An ancient prophet once asked, "Can two walk together except they be agreed?"  Some thoughts on how that question still haunts us today, and what we might do about it to welcome diversity in to our worlds.

Fellowship Gathering

Closing Community Ritual & Farewell

Self-Tour the Witch City, Shopping or Head Home