Welcome New Congregational Presidents!

By Megan Foley

Welcome New Presidents and Board Chairs, Central East Region

Welcome, Class of 21-22 Board Chair/Presidents!

What an exciting time to choose congregational leadership. I mean it!

Our congregations have never meant more to our people and the world around us than they do now. You have more potential to do more good in more ways than you’ve had in many years. And, “thanks” to all the turbulence of last year, you and your congregation have the skills you need to face the ups and down, the joys and sorrows of this coming year. It’s hard to not know what’s around the next corner, but we are in this together. We side with love and we stick together, and with that foundation we can weather whatever is next for our world.

Whether you are old hat at this Board President stuff or brand new, the UUA - through the Central East Region - is here to support you.Did you know you have a primary contact, a staff person assigned to your congregation to partner with you? Your primary contact will be in touch with you this fall, but if you need to reach out before then, you can find who yours is and their contact information on our webpage. Whether you need some advice, some encouragement or some companions, we’re here to help you through your tenure in congregational leadership.

We also have drop in calls for congregational leaders with CER staff several times a month, where you can ask questions, learn from each other and hear the latest from the UUA. The schedule for those calls can be found in our blog post. Our CER calls for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPoC) have been very popular so spread the word about that opportunity to connect and inspire.

Here are a few resources to help with your board work! Be sure to check out Helpful Board Habits now – it begins in just a couple of weeks and covers all the Board basics for you and for your Board, new or experienced, so you’ll start the year ready to begin on the same page. And don’t forget about LeaderLab – tons of searchable resources available with just a few clicks.

More resources in more detail:

  • Helpful Board Habits - Help your board develop good decision-making processes by developing helpful board habits. This 3-part webinar series (starting August 17) will help your board develop shared practices in communication and leadership and a shared understanding of your board in congregational governance.There is about an hour of homework before each session so that we can spend our time together in conversations, both in the large group and in small groups with other board members from similarly sized congregations. Cost: $15.
  • Board Member Training - Use this free 12-Part training to onboard new board members, to use as a monthly board in-service training, or for a quick reference during board meetings.
  • Discernment Circle Training -- Try out discernment circle practices for complex decision-making! This training helps you learn, practice and introduce circles to your congregation. The course is self-paced, with materials available on-demand and live monthly practice sessions with other congregations. Cost $30.
  • Core Leadership Trainings- Every leader needs basic skills such as healthy communication, systems thinking, spiritual grounding and an understanding of the dynamics of conflict. Each of these classes go deeper and deeper to help develop these skills. (“Centered Leadership” 1 & 2 are the equivalent of a week-long leadership school.) Online and on demand.Cost $30/each.
  • LeaderLab - LeaderLab is our comprehensive online library of leadership resources for congregational health and vitality. Need a quick answer? Use our searchablequick-reference library!Take A Video Tour (YouTube 5:05)

In her book Spilling the Light: Meditations on Hope and Resilience, Rev. Terasa Soto writes, "Hope: people strain and struggle for the perfect definition. Is it now? Or future perfect, as in, we will have survived...You could wrestle the words or sensation of hope to the mat. Or you could let this moment be enough, belonging here together to be sufficient." I know that for me, when the future seems uncertain, my hope rests in my work with all of you and in the good we can do together.

Keep in touch, Megan

About the Author

Megan Foley

Rev. Megan Foley serves as Regional Lead for the Central East Region staff. Before joining regional staff she served for six years as the minister of the Sugarloaf Congregation of Unitarian Universalists in Germantown, Maryland....

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