Opportunities for Connection ~ November 2019
Featured Resource: 2019-20 UU Common Read
The Common Read Selection Committee is pleased to announce that An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (Beacon Press, 2015) and An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People adapted by Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese (Beacon Press, 2019) are this year's Common Read.
In 2015, Beacon Press published an extraordinary book by Indigenous scholar and activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz that challenged readers to learn US history through a narrative that centers the story, the experiences, and the perspectives of Indigenous peoples. In 2019, Beacon Press published an adaptation for young people by Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese. Upending myths and misinformation that have been promulgated by leaders and media, it asks readers to reconsider the origin story of the United States taught to every US school child.
If you are not familiar at all with this history, we suggest that you read the version for young people. The discussion guide, available in early November, will work for readers of either version. Note: the original version is available as an audio book.
Visit the UU Common Read page for details, to share your congregation's participation and to download the discussion guide when available.
Introducing CER Resource Pages: Smaller Congregations
The Central East Region has a number of resource pages on a variety of topics important to congregational life. These are "top suggested resources" prepared by the program manager for that area. Each month we'll be highlighting one of the pages.
Up this month - Smaller Congregations. This resource page is managed by Rev. Megan Foley.
From the page: Smaller churches are so important to Unitarian Universalism. Two-thirds of all our UU congregations have under 160 members. What’s more, the best features of smaller church are often just what seekers and the religiously curious are looking for these days. Small congregations can not only survive, but thrive and be the best of what Unitarian Universalism offers our world. But to thrive, you may need to think of your small congregation a little bit differently. Learn more at the CER website.
Small Numbers, Infinite Possibilities Expands
Did your congregation miss the registration deadline for this webinar series? Or was it full by the time you registered? The Congregational Life Staff Small Congregation Team are offering an "overflow" opportunity. For a reduced price of $25 per congregation, gain access to the webinar recordings and the March in-person events. Details and registration for this option are now available on the website.
Focus on Youth - Shifting How We Support Youth Leaders
By Shannon Harper
This past summer Central East Region (CER) piloted a new leadership experience for Youth called River Rising. Twice we gathered 10-11 High School age Youth, we called the CRRUU (Community of River Rising Unitarian Universalists), and 6-8 Youth and Adult Guides and spent a week in community, playing, working, caring, cooking, reflecting, singing, praying, writing, and just being with one another. Our hosts were the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Fellowship of Centre County in State College, PA and the UU Society of Schenectady in upstate New York.
Through this experience and other CER Youth programs we’re shifting how we talk about supporting youth who care for their communities, plan worship, comfort friends, do hard things, have a considerable Instagram following, attend rallies and marches, teach songs, lead games, babysit their siblings, start non-profits, learn CPR… in other words Youth Leaders… in other words any given youth at any given time. Our first big shift is recognizing that any youth in our congregations and programs has the capacity to act as a leader. There is a reason the UUA General Assembly 2019’s theme was The Power of We. The strength of a community actually lies in the possibility of all its members moving into and out of leadership as needed, not one or two leaders juggling all the balls.
Better Together Blog: Congregations Working Together
by Rev. Sunshine Wolfe
On November 16th, the UUS of Greater Pittsburgh Cluster will gather for their Annual Assembly. This organization pulls together the energy of eleven congregations from the Pittsburgh area including one congregation from Ohio and one from West Virginia. Each year they invite a guest speaker to come and talk about a topic of importance- often related to social justice. This year’s keynote will be For the Beauty of the Earth: The Intersection of Climate Change and Racial and Socio-Economic Justice by Rev. Renee Ruchotzke. There will be a panel of speakers from area justice organizations in the afternoon. The congregations take a collection at each Assembly to support regional youth programs and trips- this year supporting youth participation in River Rising. The Assembly is an energetic and powerful experience with lots of opportunities for connection.
The “Association” part of our name Unitarian Universalist Association is perhaps the core of how we DO religion. We are empowered by the association of congregations who work together. Continually, I see ways in which our congregations work together to support, learn, connect, and transform. Here are just a few:
News from the UUA
November is Open Enrollment Month! Open Enrollment for the UUA Health and Dental Plans is in November. Enrollment materials will be mailed soon to participating individuals along with all congregations and other UU related employers. Please watch for this important information.
We are happy to announce there is a new WorshipWeb App! There's much to explore on this gorgeous app, which a team of us at the Unitarian Universalist Association have been creating for you for many months. You can find it on the App Store and the Google Play store.
Looking for ideas for holiday gifts? Don't forget InSpirit, the UUA Bookstore. They have a variety of books from a variety of publishers and have gift items such as cards, UU and Side with Love clothing and more.
Defend the Human Rights of Migrants! At a time of deepening crisis for immigrants and asylum seekers, the UU College of Social Justice has organized two immersion experiences specifically for religious professionals. These journeys will help you deepen your understanding of the migration crisis and will support your justice ministry with theological reflection among colleagues. Our Root Causes Journey to El Salvador will be January 19-26, 2020, with UUSC partner Cristosal and lead by UUSC’s Director of Activism and Justice Education Kathleen McTigue. Our spring Border Witness journey to Tucson, AZ, April 13-17, 2020, will be led by UUSC President Mary Katherine Morn. Both journeys offer powerful experiential learning that will help you support your congregations in acting for immigration justice. Generous scholarship aid is available for religious professionals and seminary students.
New publications from the UUA - Now available from Skinner House Books is Scripture Unbound: A Unitarian Universalist Approach by Rev. Jonalu Johnstone and Youth Ministry Advising: A Complete Guide, Second Addition. If you are part of the Goodreads Bookclub, November’s read is An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People adapted by Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese (Beacon Press, 2019).
The UUA is hiring for several positions. Find job descriptions and application information at their Job Openings webpage.
Calendar Items and News
For events, webinars and congregation news and events visit the following pages: