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The Magic of Cross-Congregation Conversations

By Renee Ruchotzke

Retooling for New Realities: A Year-Long Learning Community for Congregational Leaders

Soon after becoming Moderator of my congregation, I attended a Growth Conference that drew participants from all over our state and beyond. The keynote speaker and workshop presenters had great information, but the best part was hearing the stories and experiences of leaders from other congregations. After I joined the UUA regional staff, the same phenomena showed up in evaluations of our events: People came for the content, but it was the conversations with other leaders that was the best part.

Creativity is exponential. When people play off one another’s ideas and create new programs, they experience the joy of interconnection and purpose. Such synergy is an amazing experience, but it’s not easy to create the conditions to produce that kind of creative interchange.

However, in times of great change such as the times we are living in, there is often opportunity to ride the waves of change, and help shape new ways of being. This inspired and experimental new initiative, Retooling for New Realities. This program is an opportunity for your congregation to become thought partners with other UU congregations in cohorts organized (as much as possible) by size, regional culture and challenges. Experienced lay leaders, working with UUA staff, will facilitate online gatherings for congregational leaders to learn together and share experiences with one another.

Our hope is that as innovation and experiment are shared nimbly and effectively among participating congregations though this program, UUA program staff will also be able to draw from what is learned to provide resources for all UU congregations in the spirit of reciprocity.

I am personally very excited about this initiative and hope your congregation joins in!

If you are interested in being one of our facilitators apply to be a Call for Facilitator.

If you have any questions, email

About the Author

Renee Ruchotzke

Rev. Renee Ruchotzke (ruh-HUT-skee) has served as a Congregational Life Consultant in the Central East Region since September of 2010. As program manager for Leadership Development, she is responsible for providing consultation, programming and training material (including webinars and videos) on...

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