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Better Together

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Central East Regional Group

  • 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....
  • The winter Olympics are in full swing in Sochi. The media report performance times, medal counts, stories of triumph and bitter disappointment. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement, which is a good thing for me, because it turns snow and cold into assets rather than something to struggle...
  • By Joan Van Becelaere
    Sharing is a good thing. My mother taught me that it was my duty as the eldest to share what I had with my two younger sisters. And we often urge our congregations to share with one another. If one or more of our congregations are experiencing some kind of hardship or natural disaster (flood,...
  • By Evin Carvill Ziemer
    It's amazing to watch the effects of the contagion of cooperation that seems to be springing up. When I first was employed by the Ohio Meadville District (as Young Adult Coordinator) from 2006-2009 I saw faint symptoms--a combined leadership school, a monthly phone call between young adult staff and...
  • By Beth Casebolt
    Do you know the history of the Standing on the Side of Love (SSL) Campaign?...
  • Recently I spent the Christmas holiday in Northern California, our home for many years, for some time with my friends, the beach and the redwoods. When I see those majestic trees, so much diminishes in their presence. They have withstood the pressures of the ages, survived the drought and the...
  • It’s January, the month of New Year resolutions and new beginnings. It’s also the month of leaving, with the highest death rate in the US (followed by February, December and March). On December 30 I turned the radio on and caught Diane Rehm interviewing Katy Butler, author of Knocking on...
  • By Joan Van Becelaere
    There seems to be a basic human reaction to change - all change – large or small, good or bad, desired or undesired. That reaction is grief.
  • By Beth Casebolt
    I've heard folks say "but if it is on the internet I can use it". No, you can't. Websites and blogs in particular and social media to some extent must follow the same copyright laws.
  • And we are often caught in the middle of unrealistic expectations, high demands and competing needs. We gather with friends and families to eat and drink too much, and by January, we are exhausted and purge the holiday memories through a new strict diet and exercise regimen.
  • Should we be open to the wisdom of the crowds OR the wisdom of the ages? The answer of course is YES! There is a dynamic tension between roots and wings, navel gazing and star gazing.
  • By Joan Van Becelaere
    There is an old joke – a very old joke – that says the only people who welcome change are babies with wet diapers. And yet we face changes every day. One might think we’d be used to it by now.
  • There are so many open questions about how we can collaborate regionally. One of the ones that's very intriguing to me is how we can work together on social justice. My biggest excitement about this right now is a UUA effort on Reproductive Justice. I know that's not regional, but let me explain why...
  • “Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.” Jonathon Edwards...

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