October 22-24 — Cincinnati, Ohio
Theme: “True Grace”
The Christian Universalist Association (CUA) successfully held its third annual conference, with about 40 people attending. Celebration 2010 was an exciting and diverse ecumenical gathering of Christians from across America, coming together from a wide variety of denominational backgrounds to celebrate the uplifting message that God’s grace knows no limits and no one is left behind. Two ministers were ordained in a ceremony of prayer and laying on of hands, having successfully completed the CUA ordination program: Rev. L. Fred Howard and Rev. David Spatz.
The Christian Universalist Celebration 2010 took place at Cincinnati Friends Meeting, a Quaker church in the northeastern part of the city.
FOOD & LODGING:
The following meals were provided on-site to all guests at the conference free of charge (covered by registration fee):
- Saturday continental breakfast
- Saturday lunch
- Saturday dinner
- Sunday lunch (pot luck)
People attending Celebration 2010 were responsible for their own lodging expenses. We recommended staying in one of several hotels in the area.
Friday, October 22:
- 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.: Sign-in for Early Arrivals, Fellowship and Music
Saturday, October 23:
- 8:00 a.m.: Sign-in, Mingling, and Continental Breakfast
- Morning Session:
- 9:00: Welcome and Group-building
- 9:30: Joyous Praise Time with Music Team and Message by Kalen Fristad, CUA Chair
- 10:00: Message by Marquis Hunt
- 10:30: Break
- 10:45: Small Groups
- 11:30: Testimony by Doug Torkelson
- Lunch Session:
- 12:00 p.m.: Lunch and Informal Fellowship
- 1:15: Welcome Message by Donne Hayden, Minister and Public Friend of Cincinnati Friends Meeting
- Afternoon Session:
- 1:30 p.m.: “Transitions” — Message by Rhett Ellis
- 2:00: Small Groups
- 2:45: Break
- 3:00: “If the Church Were Christian” — Message and Workship with Philip Gulley
- 4:30: Free Time
- Dinner and Informal Fellowship (5:30 to 6:15)
- Evening Session:
- 6:15: Vespers Service with Message by Rich Koster
- 7:00: Break
- 7:30: “Universal Salvation” — Keynote Speech by Philip Gulley
- 8:15: Open Forum/Response
- 9:00: Cabaret (music, conversation, and community-building)
Sunday, October 24:
- 8:00 a.m: Color Walk (optional)
- 9:30: Ordination and Closing Ceremony with Message by Eric Stetson, “The Meaning of Ministry”
- 11:00: Joint CUA/CFM Worship Service with Message by Philip Gulley
- 12:30 to 2:00 p.m.: Pot Luck Lunch and Informal Fellowship
Note: Bios of the speakers listed here were current as of the time of the conference. Details about their career, religious affiliation, etc. may have changed since then.
Philip Gulley is the coauthor of a popular 2003 book, If Grace Is True: Why God Will Save Every Person. He also coauthored another book, If God Is Love: Rediscovering Grace in an Ungracious World. His latest book, of which he is the sole author, is If the Church Were Christian: Rediscovering the Values of Jesus. Phil is a liberal Quaker minister and is well known for his advocacy of Christian Universalism.
Donne Hayden is the Minister and Public Friend of the Cincinnati Friends Meeting. She also holds ordination credentials from the Christian Universalist Association. Before becoming a minister, Donne taught secondary English for over twenty years in a variety of places and capacities, including Cuba, New Mexico on the edge of the Navajo Reservation, and chairing the English Department at Escola Graduada, an American school in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Marquis Hunt is the founder and Spiritual Director of the LifeXchange, Center for Truth and Inner Peace, an innovative spiritual initiative fostering disciplines of love, relationship and creativity based in Little Rock, Arkansas. He is a life coach, musician and recording artist, and former church pastor. He has traveled extensively as a conference speaker as well as doing seminars in New Thought Christianity, artistic innovations and prophetic communication. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Christian Universalist Association.
Doug Torkelson is a graduate of Rhema Bible Training Center. Trained as a software engineer, he owns a software development company in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and is married with two children. Doug shares his journey from nondenominational, charismatic fundamentalism to universalism. He discusses the struggles he experienced with friends, family, and his church’s doctrine, and how he came to embrace universalist principles.
Rhett Ellis is the pastor of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Mobile, Alabama. Before becoming a Unitarian Universalist he served Southern Baptist churches for 14 years. He is the author of five spiritual-themed books and owns his own publishing company, Sparkling Bay Books. He has also served as a Christian youth minister, taught at a junior college, and worked as a newspaper reporter.
Kalen Fristad has been a United Methodist minister for over 30 years and currently leads three churches in Iowa. He is the author of a 2003 book, Destined for Salvation: God’s Promise to Save Everyone. He spent three years traveling across America full-time, speaking at numerous churches to share the message of God’s plan of salvation for all people, and continues to do speaking tours part-time. Kalen is the Chair of the Christian Universalist Association.
Rich Koster is the editor-in-chief of The Universalist Herald magazine. He has been a pastor or interim minister for nine churches, both Presbyterian and Disciples of Christ. He received B.D. and Th.M. degrees from Union Theological Seminary in Virginia. He has also worked as a chaplain, teacher, and truck driver. He currently resides in Kentucky. He serves on the Board of Directors of the CUA.
Eric Stetson is the author of a 2008 book, Christian Universalism: God’s Good News For All People. He has served in various capacities at Universalist National Memorial Church in Washington D.C., including as a study group teacher, liturgist, and guest preacher. His spiritual journey has taken him through the Baha’i Faith, the Assemblies of God, the Unity Church, and the Unitarian Universalist Association. He is the founding Executive Director of the CUA.
Here are three speeches recorded at the conference.
Universalism: Just Right
Rev. Kalen Fristad compares three types of Christian belief about salvation — Calvinism, Arminianism, and Universalism — and uses the story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” to conclude that Universalism is “just right.”
The Inner Revelation of Universal Salvation
Rev. Rich Koster shares how the truth of universal salvation is a revelation from God within his heart, something that we can intuitively know without needing to read books to try to prove it.
When Love Calls You Home
Marquis Hunt discusses the power of divine love, forgiveness, and grace, and the implications of these key Christian concepts for our beliefs about salvation.