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Better Together

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Central East Regional Group

Better Together

  • Every year at this time of the year we have new staff starting in many of our congregations - new settled ministers, interim ministers, new religious educators, music directors and administrators. The staff of the Central East Region would like to welcome all our new folks to our region and let you...
  • We'll be expanding this blog to posts from all our regional staff and feature the work and unique programs of all congregations and clusters in the region. Next week will be our first regional post at our new home....
  • The board meeting was tense. There was a difficult issue under discussion, and no clear answer was presenting itself. Greg, a young adult and newer board member, mentioned that he had recently been on a web meeting as part of the Healthy Leadership 101 course he was taking, and that a leader from...
  • Rev. Scott Tayler and Rev. Joan VanBecelaere are very please to announce the addition of three new staff to the Central East Region Congregational Life Team as well as several other additions to other regions. Raziq Brown, Rev. Megan Foley and Rev. Hope Johnson will join the team this fall....
  • It is with great sadness we tell you that on July 9th the Rev. Chris Neilson lost her battle with leukemia. She was well known in both the OMD and the SLD....
  • It was a busy week, the week we were at General Assembly. Lots of news to share!...
  • By Evin Carvill Ziemer
    It's that time of year again! Time to sign up for Goldmine. What's Goldmine? It's a week long life changing experience for teenage UU's. It's a chance to practice leadership skills, to explore one's values, to ponder on one's own calling. It's a chance to learn to lead worship and to learn more...
  • By Evin Carvill Ziemer
    Why are all those yellow shirts marching in Cleveland? They're not all UU's, the story is even better than that. And might help you know what to work on in your city.
  • By Evin Carvill Ziemer
    My son is 19 months old and his favorite topic of conversation is what noises animals make. No surprise then, that one of his favorite songs is "Old MacDonald". At our house "Old MacDonald" has a lot of verses. There are every variety of farm animal and usually the babies too. And there are elk,...
  • By Joan Van Becelaere
    Lately, I’ve noticed a lot of wonderful, creative energy in some of our congregations focused on the benefits and opportunities of working in Partnership with other congregations....
  • And Spring arose on the garden fair,...
  • By
    First Unitarian in Rochester NY has made some really exciting changes in how their youth program is structured. While they have a large youth program, the philosophy of these changes is accessible to youth programs of every size. Here's an over view from Sheila Schuh, DRE:...
  • I have had the privilege of being the Director of Religious Education at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Amherst for 4 years now. As any veteran DRE knows, change is something that often needs to be approached delicately, and in small increments. For at least my first 2 years, consistency and a...
  • During the week of June 16-21st, 2014 youth from First UU Columbus alongside a couple of teens from other UU congregations came together to learn about reproductive justice. We learned a lot, challenged each other, affirmed our strong beliefs in human rights, and had a bunch of fun. Our major...
  • By Melissa Carvill-Ziemer
    Selma is now. That is what Common and John Legend had to say at the Oscar’s and what many others have been saying as our nation marks the 50th anniversary of the tragic and transformative events that unfolded there in 1965. The work of Selma isn’t done....
  • UU Justice Ohio had a banner year in 2014
  • We are still running stories of congregational social justice projects because we received so many great stories!...
  • This month we are continuing to run social justice stories we received from congregations.
  • This month we are publishing stories of congregational social justice work as a way we can inspire each other. This month we have two stories of new projects from smaller congregations....
  • We are continuing posts of social justice activities of our congregations this month....
  • Our blog posts this month continue to provide updates on social justice in Ohio Meadville and St. Lawrence Districts. This blog post is an invitation to a scheduled conversation at District Assembly on how we will and are responding to the post-Ferguson movements for racial justice....
  • By Evin Carvill Ziemer
    Each week this month we are featuring social justice stories from various congregations....
  • By Joan Van Becelaere
    A perennial problem with religious organizations is that the professional staff who serve congregations at a district or regional level and those who serve the larger denomination as a whole must be funded somehow, usually through donations from local congregations.
  • As the choir joined voices from neighboring congregations into a rousing rendition of the Turtles’ song “Happy Together,” the cluster of UU churches in the Greater Pittsburgh area joined in their first annual “Cluster Assembly” and voted themselves into being on November 1, 2014.
  • This month we are featuring the innovative ways congregations handle stewardship issues. This was started with the Up Close issue for November where featured three congregations with unique stewardship plans. Last week we featured two more here, today we feature the last along with some quote from...
  • This weekend, the Up Close issue for November featured three congregations with unique stewardship plans. Here are two more we'd like to share. If your congregation has a new way of handling stewardship, please let us know in the comments....
  • This blog kicks off a three week series on Stewardship connected to our November Up Close issue....
  • This is a post from the Con's senior co-dean Lilly Kahris, information on bringing some of the programming to your congregation is at the end of this post....
  • By Beth Casebolt
    At General Assembly in June an exciting new program rolled out. Called Faithify, it is a UU specific crowdfunding program. Faithify is a new way for those of us with exciting new projects that need funding to reach those who might want to fund them. Watch the video below to learn more....
  • By Evin Carvill Ziemer
    Between the evening of Friday October 10 and the morning of Monday October 13, sixty youth and twenty-two adults from across the Central East Regional Group gathered at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County in State College PA. The second annual CERG youth con was a chance to...
  • By Joan Van Becelaere
    Past blogs in CERGing Forward and some in Better Together have outlined a number of the reasons that factor into our discussions about regionalization: a desire to live our theology of interdependence, our covenant responsibilities within the tradition of the Cambridge Platform, a desire to...
  • By Beth Casebolt
    Lately you've been hearing a lot about clusters, especially in relationship with regionalization. I've had folks ask, "So is clusters just a cheaper way to provide services?" Well, in some ways, yes, clearly it is less time consuming for staff to provide the same workshop once to a cluster than to...
  • By Joan Van Becelaere
    What is our core business – as congregations; as a faith community? There is a lot riding on how we answer that question.
  • By Renee Ruchotzke
    One of the most significant changes in the life of a congregation is a change in professional ministry. It can be a time of grief, possibility, confusion, anxiety or some combination of emotions....
  • By Joan Van Becelaere
    What do events in Ferguson have to do with the sense of purpose at the core of our congregations?...
  • By Joan Van Becelaere
    A few years ago, organizational consultant Margaret Wheatley asked a great question that I think we can use is assessing our own efforts to change the world: “Is what I’m about to do strengthening the web of connections, or it weakening it?”...
  • By Beth Casebolt
    Debuting at General Assembly this year is a UU specific crowd funding program called Faithify. You can find it at www.faithify.org...
  • By Beth Casebolt
    GA - or General Assembly which is coming up June 25-29 in Providence, RI - is a great event for UUs to attend. It's even better when you attend with someone else from your congregation or cluster and share the experience.
  • The Summer 2014 issue of UU World recently arrived in my mailbox. And although I get a lot of news and commentary online, there is real comfort in leafing through color glossy pages.
  • By Evin Carvill Ziemer
    I often get questions from congregations who know there are UU young adults near them that they never see wondering what they're doing wrong...and just as often I get questions from young adults wondering where they should go to get their UU fix!...
  • I recently had the pleasure of participating in an online earth day meditation presented by The Master Shift. The group’s purpose is to unite the world through global meditation and positive living. In the earth day meditation, the soothing voice of Julian Lennon guides you through an amazingly...
  • By Beth Casebolt
    We all think we live our lives independent of everything around us. And for the most part we do. Until something totally unexpected happens. Then, I can tell you, we are very grateful for the village that's there to help us out....
  • A common question posed in religious education programs to older children and youth is “If being a Unitarian Universalist was against the law, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” In the Tapestry of Faith curriculum for 2nd-3rd graders Signs of Our Faith, the characteristics mentioned...
  • This past week I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia and will be admitted on Monday for several days of chemotherapy followed by weeks of recovery from the effects of the medicine. It’s a scary time, and I’ve barely had a chance to catch my breath. I face an uncertain future, and a...
  • By Evin Carvill Ziemer
    In 1991 Jaco Ten Hove and others in the Pacific Northwest started a grand experiment, adapting the idea of a week long leadership school into a leadership school for youth. I first encountered Goldmine trained youth leaders as co-leaders of training I was leading in 2005, and Wow! They were...
  • In adaptive leadership training we often talk about the “view from the balcony,” and the view from the “dance floor.” The balcony view allows you to take a step back, observe the dance floor and the immediate things going on. It also allows you to take the long view, absorbing the...
  • Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’m wearing green – how about you? And after a winter such as we have had, that green is a precious promise of spring. A promise of fresh green grass, new lettuce and peas in the pod. This is also the season of pledge campaigns, a plea and a hope for plentiful funds...
  • By Joan Van Becelaere
    “Although churches be distinct, and….equal and therefore have not dominion one over another; yet all the churches ought to preserve church communion one with another…The communion of churches is exercised in sundry ways. ( 1). By way of mutual care, in taking thought for one another’s...
  • By Evin Carvill Ziemer
    The first ever regional con happened this year in CERG!
  • People often ask me, “How can we attract more young adults and families? The key to answering that question lies in understanding the Millennial generation. They are children born to the post WWII boomers, between 1989 and 2000, also called the Gen Y generation....