by Rev. Lynn Bartlow

The Gathering will be held once more in Tucson in February. This event is the yearly gathering of the clergy of the Desert Southwest Conference who are elders, local pastors, deacons, and all those somewhere in between. It’s for new pastors and retired pastors. It’s for those exhausted from our positions of leadership and those who are excited about the next few months of ministry. It’s for those who know everyone and those who are new to the boundaries of our Conference. Click here to find the event details and registration.

One of the main reasons for The Gathering is for the annual meeting of The Orders. This, by Discipline, is mandatory for all members of one of the orders to attend. This meeting is planned for the first afternoon we gather, before our main speaker’s first presentation. 

This year, the planning committee is pleased to welcome Diana Butler Bass as the main speaker for our workshops. Diana grew up in Phoenix and was confirmed in the Scottsdale UMC. She has spent her career as a public theologian and a historian. She has written nine books and has taught on at least five different college and university campuses. She has been called a “prophetic author, speaker, and commentator,” and “a leading voice in progressive Christianity.” 

Diana speaks at colleges, churches, and conferences across North America. She regularly comments on religion, politics, and culture in the media including USA TodayTimeNewsweekThe Washington Post, CNN, FOX, PBS, and NPR. From 1995 to 2000, she wrote a weekly column on American religion for the New York Times Syndicate. She is a contributing editor for Sojourners Magazine

In addition to the three workshops from Diana, there will be time for conversations around the meal table, time for massages, for hikes, and for yoga classes. There will be time for naps and for sermon preparing. It is a time for connecting with other clergy or for connecting with God. There will be three worship services, morning and evening prayer, and quiet times.

On the last day of The Gathering, Bishop Robert Hoshibata will lead us in conversation that will be influenced by his work in this year’s Holy Huddles. We will end our time with worship and communion before joining one last time at the lunch table. 

How much does it cost?

Resident, single room (meals included) = $285
Resident, shared room (meals included) = $235
Commuter (meals included) = $175
Other participants (no lodging, no meals) = Free

If you have not yet registered for this event, please do so soon. The deadline for registration and securing childcare is February 7. If you have any questions about the event or childcare, please contact Lynn Bartlow at  or (928) 864-7445. Click here to access the event details, agenda, and registration.

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