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Changes at UUA Benefit Congregations
The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) will implement changes this summer designed to help UUA staff communicate with and support congregations more effectively.
One of the key parts of the changes will be the creation of an Office of Strategic Growth, which will develop strategies for congregational growth. The office will be headed by the Rev. Stefan Jonasson, whose title will be director of Strategic Growth and Large Congregation Support. He will be responsible for the development of new strategies for growth by congregations. Jonasson is currently the UUA’s director for Large Congregations, and he will continue his work with those congregations in his new position. Tandi Rogers will become the Strategic Growth specialist, working part-time in that capacity. She is currently the UUA’s part-time Interim Youth and Young Adult Ministries director. She also works part-time as program specialist with the Pacific Northwest District, and she will continue in that role.
A new stewardship resource is also available this year. The UUA’s Congregational Stewardship office has completed a three-year demonstration of FORTH (Forward Through the Ages), a multiyear stewardship development program, and is making it available to all congregations.
The UUA’s environmental programs, including Green Sanctuary, get a full-time staff member this year. Robin Nelson, who is program manager for Congregational Stewardship Services, will become Environmental Stewardship manager, where she will help develop resources for congregations and support them in the work that they do.
Nelson noted that the number of congregations participating in the Green Sanctuary program has gone from 214 to 270 in the past two years.
These changes, except for FORTH, which is available now, take effect July 1.
Also this year the UUA’s 19 districts will continue their move toward regionalization in an effort to work and communicate more effectively. District staff is increasingly working across district lines, in regions, and that trend will continue, said the Rev. Dr. Terasa Cooley, the UUA’s director for Congregational Life.
Districts have been grouped into five regions and a lead staff person has been named for each one. In the Central East Regional Group the lead person is the Rev. Joan Van Becelaere; Halleluujah region, the Rev. Kenn Hurto; MidAmerica, the Rev. Ian Evison; Pacific Western, the Rev. Nancy Bowen; New England, the Rev. Sue Phillips. All of the lead persons currently head UUA districts within their respective regions. All will be in place by July 1 as regional lead staff.
Cooley said the lead staff people will have responsibility for creating regional staff team structures. She emphasized that congregations will continue to be served by the staff in their district and now, increasingly, by staff in their region as well.