News from the CER Advisory Council

By Laura Conkle

Central East Region UUA Logo

Our Central East Region Advisory Council is pausing our ministry. Much has changed since we began our ministry in 2015. And now we must seek a new way forward together.

Over the last six years, 17 Unitarian Universalist volunteers and several UUA Staff folx (listed below), created a ministry of connection. We communicated with lay and professional leaders in our UU congregations and our UUA Regional Staff. Our CER Advisory Council created a bridge during our transition from four districts to one region. And as we transitioned from being separate districts into a fully collaborative region, our Advisory Council, congregational leaders, and regional staff built relationships and shared meaning. Thank you to all who volunteered in this vital ministry!

Our Unitarian Universalism and our world have changed as well. As we continue to learn and adapt during these times of Covid-19, we need each other so very much. We have also learned much from:

  • our work to become a region,
  • our UUA Board of Trustees Commission on Institutional Change report: Widening the Circle of Concern,
  • The 8th Principle Project
  • and our active Article II Study Commission.

Our faith has always been growing and transforming. Our faith holds that revelation is unsealed and that new questions, answers, and experiences are available.

Through all of this change, our Advisory Council volunteers have helped our congregations connect with their primary contacts, our UUA, and each other.

Now, our UUA Central East Region staff hosts monthly check-ins online. In addition to their monthly open meetings, our UUA Board of Trustees holds monthly Town Halls. You have direct relationships or an opportunity to build them with your primary contact and our UUA Board of Trustees.

Maybe you’re already participating in the work of our Article II Study Commission. If not, you can reach them through their website and by attending their online events. As we join together to share our needs and dreams for our principles, purposes, and sources may our relationships be strengthened.

For more than five years, our region has built relationships and tended to our shared Unitarian Universalist faith in part through our Central East Region Advisory Council. We do not know how this valuable ministry of connection and relationship building will change and grow over the coming years. But we do know that we are better together. Now, more than ever, we know we need each other to carry our faith into the future. Our Unitarian Universalist ministries are life saving and life giving. Thank you for all you are.

Please keep reaching out to each other, our UUA Regional Staff, and our UUA Board of Trustees.

Ways to Stay Connected

Thank You

Thank you to all of our Central East Region Advisory Council Volunteers and UUA Staff!

  • Central East Region Advisory Council Volunteers
  • Becky Brooks, Religious Educator and CER Adjunct Consultant (2018-2021)
  • Laura Conkle, former Ohio-Meadville District Board Member & Central East Region Transitions Team (2015-2021)
  • Paula Gribble, Director of Religious Education, UU Church in Cherry Hill, NJ. (2018-2020)
  • Carla Johnson, Joseph Priestley District Board Member (2015-2019)
  • Rev. Kimberly Quinn Johnson, UU Congregation South Fork, NY, Minister, member Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism Organizing Collective Board of Directors (2015-2019)
  • Leah Purcell, Director of Religious Education and Family Ministry, First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany (2018-2019)
  • Melissa C. Jeter, First Unitarian Church of Toledo, Commissioned Lay Ministry candidate (2018-2019)
  • Jay Klemme, UU Fellowship of Wayne County in Wooster, OH, Lay Leader (2018-2019)
  • Nancy Lewin, UU Fellowship of Plattsburgh, Commissioned Lay Ministry candidate (2018)
  • Rev. Jo VonRue, May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Society, NY, Minister (2016-2017)
  • Rev. Hanna Roberts Villnave, formerly Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis, MD, Intern, Currently Unitarian Universalist Church of Cheyenne, WY, Minister (2016-2017)
  • Josh Shae, First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany lay leader (2015-2016)
  • Rev. Jude Geiger, Metro New York Board of Trustees, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Huntington, NY, Minister (2015-2016)
  • Rev. Dr. Kate Walker, Mount Vernon Unitarian Church, VA, Minister (2015-2017)
  • Kabir Kuriyan, Metro New York District, Lay Leader (2015-2016)
  • Rev. Lane Campbell, First Universalist Church of Rochester, NY, Minister (2015-2017)
  • Rev. Craig Hirshberg, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Sumerset Hills, NJ, Minister Emerita (2015-2016)

UUA Staff Folx Who Supported Central East Region Advisory Council

  • Jessica York, UUA Director of Congregational Life (2019-2021)
  • Rev. Megan Foley, Central East Region Lead (2017-2019)
  • Rev. Joan Van Becelaere, Central East Region Lead (2015-2017)

About the Author

Laura Conkle

Like so many folx, Laura Conkle grew up in a trailer on the side of a river. They are disabled, surviving poverty, and living in the forever home of the Osage and Shawnee people, colonized name Pittsburgh, PA. Laura is a lay leader who serves Unitarian Universalism at the local, regional, and...

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