Opportunities for Connection ~ June 2020

Central East Region staff, December 2019 at 24 Farnsworth in Boston

Featured Resource: CER Networking Calls​

We know that the last two months have been difficult for all our congregations. But you have risen to the challenge and your regional staff are amazed at what you have achieved and how you have pulled together to support each other and your members. We are in turn consolidating and enhancing our offerings through the summer to maximize our support of your work. We’re here to help you work through the challenges facing you as you look down the road to the next church year.

June 2-11 we're hosting affinity calls for Board Presidents and Members, Ministers, Religious Educators, Youth Ministry Leaders and Administrators and Membership Professionals. Find out dates and times and register on our website.

And starting June 1 we will be moving to weekly drop in calls for all congregational leaders hosted by one or more of our staff. While we are basing these by geographic cluster, we are open to anyone attending any date/time that works best for you. Branch out and make new friends, or stay local and get to know the neighbors! The schedule is (all times are Eastern):

  • Mondays at 4 pm with Megan Foley (Capital Cluster & Northern VA)
  • Tuesdays at 6:30 pm with Patricia Infante and Paula Cole Jones (Greater Philly & Central PA)
  • Wednesdays at 5 pm with Sunshine Wolfe and Renee Ruchotzke (Ohio & Western PA)
  • Wednesdays at 6 pm with Pat Infante, Paula Cole Jones, Evin Carvill-Ziemer and Hope Johnson (Northeast PA, New Jersey, NYC, LIAC, MetroNorth)
  • Fridays at 1 pm with Evin Carvill-Ziemer and Renee Ruchotzke (Upstate NY)
  • Join by going to https://uua.zoom.us/j/98736004337, do note that this meeting requires a password, please contact any staff member to receive it.
UUA General Assembly, Providence, RI, June 24-28-2020. Rooted, Inspired, & Ready!

Virtual General Assembly 2020 - Rooted, Inspired, Ready

In a time of great challenge and heartbreak in our world, what does our faith ask of us?
At this year’s fully virtual General Assembly (GA), we will explore the power, possibility, purpose, struggle, and joy of finding the path forward together as Unitarian Universalists. During this time of rapid change, the collective practice of our faith evolves and adapts to follow that path. Whether you're a first-time delegate or a long-time attendee, please join us at a pre-GA webinar to learn about some of these changes. Members of the Board of Trustees will provide an overview of some of the changes, along with information for delegates regarding the business sessions. Eight 75-minute webinars are offered between June 5 and June 18. Register Today!

While all plenary sessions and the Sunday morning service will be streamed through the UUA website to the general public, most other events require that one be registered for General Assembly. You must be registered to be a voting delegate. To see the full schedule including featured speakers, workshops and other offerings and to learn how to register, visit the General Assembly pages on the UUA website.

An image of the COVID-19 virus.

Resources for Congregations for Dealing with the Pandemic

UU Congregations shut down in March due to COVID-19 and at that time, the UUA staff created a lot of resources to help congregations with everything from worship planning, technology assistance, annual meeting planning, pastoral care and more. Recently the Safe Congregations Team put out Guidance on Gathering in Person that includes a list of questions congregations should discuss and consider before determining if it is time to re-open in your area. The recommendation from the UUA is to plan to be virtual through May of 2021.

Where to find information:

The UUA has created a response fund for those who want to donate funds to help in the current COVID-19 situation. Please donate if you can. Visit the UUA website for details on donations and guidelines for how the funds will be distributed.

Shannon Harper

Better Together Blog: Youth and Young Adult Programming for Summer

by Shannon Harper

This blog post was supposed to be about UU Youth and Young Adult opportunities for this summer. But as the UUA and the camps, conferences and campuses we work alongside begin to cancel all summer in-person events, we’re left in a weird time of knowing and not knowing. For many programs it’s obvious that they will offer some kind of virtual experience for young people this summer, but they are in the midst of getting it put together. For others it’s clear that the magic and energy of the in-person experiences they offered cannot be replicated virtually with integrity and they have opted to pause and dream of a future where we can gather in-person again. And still others find themselves in a limbo that feels all too familiar lately for event planners and facilitators. Should we do a thing? Will it be worthwhile? What is actually needed? Do our people have the bandwidth to attend? What are we competing with for their time? How long do we have to plan this way? Are we actually offering something people want or just checking off boxes based on a pre-pandemic plan? And most importantly, does not doing a thing mean we have failed? Failed the mission, failed our people, failed ourselves?

Read the rest of the article

Tapestry of Faith, Signs of Our Faith, Session 12

News from the UUA

The Living Legacy Project is offering a series of virtual programs focused on voting rights, past, present and future on the last Tuesday of every month between May 26, 2020 and Election Day. These are free and open to everyone. Learn more and register at their website.

The UUA has created a response fund for those who want to donate funds to help in the current COVID-19 situation. Please donate if you can. Visit the UUA website for details on donations and guidelines for how the funds will be distributed. The Disaster Relief Fund continues to support congregations affected by tornadoes, fires, hurricanes, flooding and other natural disasters as well. To learn more about the work of the Disaster Relief Fund visit their webpage. We are Better Together.

Looking for speakers for your virtual services? The reality is that you can choose anyone regardless of geography. Many community-based religious professionals have developed a list to make it easier to find speakers. You can find it here. Also, don't forget to check out the CER Guest in Your Pulpit program, which is both lay and professional worship leaders.

Do you know about UUAMP - The UU Association of Membership Professionals? They have resources and other help on their website and through their networks. Check the UUAMP website for details on all things membership related.

New publications from the UUA - Available for pre-order is The Stonewall Generation: LGBTQ Elders on Sex, Activism, and Aging by Jane Fleishman and Breaking and Blessing: Meditations by Rev. Sean Parker Dennison. Now available for purchase is Conversations with the Sacred: A Collection of Prayers by Rev. Manish Mishra-Marzetti and Rev. Jennifer Kelleher.

The UUA is hiring for several positions. Find job descriptions and application information at their Job Openings webpage.

Calendar Items and News

Do note that all CER in-person events through August 31 have been cancelled, postponed or moved to a virtual option. For events, webinars and congregation news and events visit the following pages:

Upcoming Events

  • UU Mid-Atlantic Community 2021


    From Central East Regional Group
  • Congregational Leaders Check-In July 28


    From MidAmerica Events
    We will respond directly to the challenges that congregations are encountering during this time of finding new ways to be in religious community.
  • UU Theology Renaissance Module


    Develop a sense of the broad scope of Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist theology in this online learning experience!
  • International Day of Friendship


    From International Programs of the UUA
    Learn more about International Day of Friendship, occurring every year on July 30, and how to mark this holiday by building bridges between communities.
  • Curriculum Development Renaissance Module


    Clarify and expand your understanding of curriculum, religious education, and faith development with this online learning experience!

Copy the Google (ICS) or Outlook (ICS) link address to subscribe to this calendar (or download the file to import current events) in a program which supports the iCal format.

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Learn about the CER Primary Contact Program

By Central East Region of the UUA

From Central East Regional Group

The Central East Regional (CER) has a primary contact staff system to ensure our congregations know who to reach out to for assistance. Every CER congregation and community has a UUA Staff Member who serves as your Primary Contact for all services of the region and the UUA.

Primary Contact Program

The Stonewall Generation LGBTQ Elders on Sex, Activism, and Aging

From Skinner House Books

InThe Stonewall Generation, sexuality researcher Jane Fleishman shares the stories of fearless elders in the LGBTQ community who came of age around the time of the Stonewall Riots.

Buy Now

Breaking and Blessing Meditations

By Sean Parker Dennison

From Skinner House Books

In the 2020 volume of the inSpirit Series, Rev. Sean Parker Dennison imagines letters from angels, draws on the natural world, and reflects on love and calling.

Buy Now

Conversations with the Sacred A Collection of Prayers

By Manish Mishra-Marzetti, Jennifer Kelleher

From Skinner House Books

Bringing alive the heartfelt words and artwork contributed by creators diverse in spiritual perspective and identity, Conversations with the Sacred is a moving testimony to the power of prayer.

Buy Now

Breathe A Letter to My Sons

By Imani Perry

From Beacon Press

Explores the terror, grace, and beauty of coming of age as a Black person in contemporary America and what it means to parent our children in a persistently unjust world

Buy Now