General Assembly Hair

Wella, wella, wella uh-huh! My dear colleague Meg just posted on her Facebook page that we should all be getting our GA haircuts NOW because it takes a couple of weeks for the style to settle in and we gather in Portland, Oregon on June 24.

Such good timing for this reminder, and if I don’t make my air travel reservations ASAP I’ll be WALKING to Oregon, which will definitely mess up my hair.

Preaching Folders

Hi Cookies!! How have you been?
I have been doing a lot of nothing that I SHOULD be doing, but that’s the curse of vacation, isn’t it? I’d originally also intended to watch Hamilton in NYC but I pulled out my bucket list and decided to sojourn, in a whim. You think, “Oh, I have all this blessed time to organize my study and think Big Thoughts, and pray every day like a Desert Father, and walk for an hour a day,” and you wind up eating popcorn and watching “Vicious” on PBS and cackling like a nasty little child at the delicious spectacle of two of England’s best actors dish each other, and you hardly walk the dog at all because he is suddenly aggressive with other pooches, and you do not even step FOOT in your study.

Being a semi-Calvinist type, the guilt is just CONSUMING me today, so before I go to the beach I decided to pop out this blog post for you, since it’s a perfect time of year to start thinking about back to school supplies. And this is one you need.

Let’s talk about FOLIOS, darlings. Let me tell you a funny story, which I don’t think the Rev. Peter Morales will mind if I share, because it was very cute.

Back in June, I attended our Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly, where among other things, I applied make-up and/or did hair for some of our preachers. ‘Tis a scary thing to know you’re going up on the JUMBOTRON, and it’s a very wise idea to think about appearance well in advance so as to help steady the nerves, and it helps to have PeaceBang, your own devoted Clergy Stage Mother, ready willing and able to powder your face or volumize your hair or give you some eyebrows or consult on lipstick.

I said “ready, willing and able” but the truth is, PeaceBang is only apparently ready and able after 9:00 AM. Those leading worship before 9:00 AM must powder their own bald pates, and I owe certain dear colleagues an apology for promising to do that for them but failing to arise early enough. Mea maxima culpa, bald and reverend darlings.

I had consulted with the radiant, gifted Rev. Rebekah Montgomery about make-up for the Service Of the Living Tradition, which is the biggest service at GA, and the one during which we honor our ministers at every phase of their service to the movement: preliminary fellowship, final fellowship, retirement, and in memoriam. It is a very emotional service and the sermon is very important. Rebekah would be giving the sermon.

I promised her that I would get to the arena in time for “last looks,” which is a Hollywood term for the make-up and hair people on the set to duck in past the camera and arrange locks of hair just so, dab the star’s face with a bit of powder or lip gloss, and then scram so the director can start filming again. As the hour approached, I ran to the convention hall, careened down hallways and pounded down staircases to the bowels of the facility. It was kind of like that scene in “Spinal Tap” where the band gets lost in the corridors of the concert venue and never makes it to the stage at all. “HELLO, CLEVELAND!”

Just in time, I found the clergy speakers lined up and ready to process in to the opening hymn. I’m sure I looked like a harridan out of hell as I ran to Rebekah for last looks, stepping back to regard her through slitted eyes. All she needed was a touch of blush and powder, which I quickly applied. The president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, the Rev. Peter Morales, jokingly said, “How about me? Am I good?”


Because what have I always told you? I want ALL my babies to be stars!
Did my president and colleague need a “last look?” I scanned him through PeaceBang’s assessing gaze. YES! He did! He was holding his papers in a paper folder with the pricetag showing. We only had SECONDS before mon capitan had to process into the convention hall, so I barked, “I don’t want to see that price tag!” And we all laughed a quick burst as the game Rev. Morales quickly flipped the folder to hide the offending tag. His expression was hilarious.

Details, my angels. When you’re giving the prayer over the dead, we do not want to see the price tag on your folder! And what are you doing carrying paper folders in the first place? Don’t you know that you’re supposed to ask for this for Christmas?

Red would suit him best, I think (he’s at the far left):



As for myself, I’d like one in cobalt, please. I’ve been using the same leather folio for (no kidding), 28 years and I set it down on a candle flame last winter and put an ugly burn in it. I think my new one should have a monogram, too. VAW. Not PB. Although that would certainly be adorable.

BTFM at General Assembly: A Round-Up

Things I did for the physical beautification of the ministry at our General Assembly, in no particular order:

Applied make-up and did hair for worship leaders.
(Laid hands on same and prayed for them)

Consulted on the purchase of stoles and robes in the Exhibit Hall on a walk-by basis (“There’s PeaceBang! Hey, how do you think this looks?”).

Advised on two hairstyle changes under consideration by seminarians who are moving into new professional roles soon.

Admired many pedicures and manicures. My opinion: don’t do two wildly contrasting colors for hands and feet. If you’re doing a bright color on the nails, keep the toes neutral, and vice versa. It’s too much distracting/clashing color pop. Similarly, glittery toenails are vacation. No gittery toenails on display in worship, please. It’s too juvenile. My own blue nails need to go away today as I am doing a funeral on Wednesday.

Squeed over the fabulous Mac lipstick rocked by a recent seminary grad (to be featured soon).

Did a bra consultation in a bathroom stall of the Centro restaurant at the Providence Omni Hotel. More on that later.

Scared a lot of close friends by posting a Facebook photo of myself in a short summer skirt, T-shirt and Tevas and said I was going to worship dressed like that. The fact that so many of them freaked out means that I am teaching them well! Gratified.

I confess that I did promise to powder the bald head of two colleagues who were leading early morning worship services and that I did sleep in and fail to mattify their pates as promised. Mea culpa, mea maxima Max Factor culpa.

It was absolutely fantabulous to meet so many of you in real time. You are beautiful. And Mama PB is tired. Since this is the first year in my ministry that I am not heading straight into vacation time, I bid you a fond adieu for now to get in gear for a day at the office.

Photo on 2014-06-29 at 10.41 #4


Oh my, my, we have got plaid, gingham and madras GALORE going on here at the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly. LOOK at all these minister men rocking the plaids! My apologies for the cloudy photos taken on my phone.

The Rev. Adam Tierney-Eliot and the Rev. Scott Wells (who is cracking me up with his International Male Model posing)


The Rev. Duane Fickeison, The Rev. Keith Kron and the Rev. Ian White Maher

And the Halo of Praise For Best Plaid goes to the Rev. Jude Geiger, impeccably turned out from head to (argyle sock-clad) toe!


They all look very cute and it also just so happens that I love every single one of these guys a whole lot.

Packing List Addendums: Conference Edition

Things I’m already glad I packed for General Assembly:

A wooden foot roller.
A special envelope for receipts.
A teasing comb.
Monistat Soothing Care Chafing Relief Powder Gel, which is GENIUS on your feet for avoiding blisters. It is GENIUS.


Wristlet so I can leave my bag at the hotel while I go sing karaoke.

Something I Did That Really Helped The Packing Process:

In the weeks leading up to GA, I snapped selfies of myself wearing various outfits to work. When it was time to pack, I scrolled through the camera, chose the outfits that were color coordinated and packed those garments and accessories. Voila. Done in ten minutes.

Things I wish I brought:

A pashmina (how could I have forgotten? Oh yea, because I don’t have air conditioner at home! But I have sweaters and jackets galore).

A spare contact lens, as I just discovered a notch in one of mine.
My Tarte BB cream, which I left on my vanity table, darn it.

Here I am advising the preacher for the biggest worship service of our conference on hair and make-up. Impromptu PeaceBang Consult! Readers, the lovely Rev. Rebekah Montgomery: