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Opportunities for Connection ~ February 2021

By Central East Region of the UUA

Featured Resource: Circle Round for Justice - Healing - Courage - Virtual General Assembly 2021

Virtual UUA General Assembly, June 23-27-2021, Circle 'Round for Justice, Healing, Courage.

General Assembly (GA) is the annual gathering of Unitarian Universalists, where we conduct business of the Association, explore the theological underpinnings of our faith, and lean fully into our mission and principles. The UUA Board of Trustees has passed a resolution making the 2021 UUA General Assembly a 100% virtual event. All details can be found at the UUA GA website.

Circle 'Round for Justice ● Healing ● Courage is the theme for General Assembly 2021. General Assembly is a time to circle ‘round in community. We circle ‘round in care and healing; for liberation and justice; and for love and courage. We share stories of the work happening at our Association. and in our congregations. We study ways to implement and live into our mission. UUA GA 2021 will incorporate recommendations from the Commission on Institution Change report, “Widening the Circle of Concern” and dialogue with the Article II Commission about our Principles and Purposes.

If your congregation wants to send delegates to General Assembly, then you must be certified by February 17 (note this deadline has been extended). Not sure what certification means? The UUA Certification Page explains and links to resources to help your congregation complete this important step.

New Day Rising National Coming February 27

New Day Rising National Conference. Identifying Your Congregation’s Next Faithful Steps in Changing White Supremacy Culture. Worship, Workshops, Caucsing

Is your congregation ready to take a new step in racial justice work? Want to learn what your fellow congregations are working on, and how you might apply it at home?Join a continent of UUs as we explore next steps in creating Beloved UU Communities.

On Your Own:Watch compelling video TED-talk style testimonials from selected congregations around the continent sharing their learnings, hopes and next steps in their quest for racial equity in their congregations

Together:Worship·Workshops·Caucusing.With plenty of breaks on Saturday, February 27th, 12n-9p ET.

Registration is open! Fees are on a sliding scale of $20-$50 per person, congregations sending a team should pay $20 each. Learn more and register. Brought to you by the Unitarian Universalist Association

Stewardship Webinar Options For Congregations

Stewardship for Us logo with three leaves

Two Stewardship opportunities for congregations in partnership with Stewardship For Us for help with pledge drives.

Registration closes February 5 for both webinars.

Small Congregation Webinar Series on Sharing

Small Congregation Webinar Series - Sharing Worship, Sharing Staff, Sharing Youth Programming

Are you in a congregation of 120 or fewer members? Are you interested in learning how congregations are sharing different aspects of congregational life? The Small Congregations Task Force is offering a free 3 part series to help:

Discernment Circle Training for Teams and Committees

Graphic of humans of different colors in a circle

Is your congregation rethinking aspects of congregational life that reinforce systems of oppression that prevent us from becoming welcoming and diverse communities of communities?

Many congregations are exploring Dynamic Governance (also known as Sociocracy) as an existing model that offers a way to be inclusive while still being effective. Many intentional communities and progressive organizations have adopted Sociocracy as a governance model. Instead of recommending that a congregation adopt Sociocracy as a top-down governance change, we are suggesting that congregations start by trying out the circle practices in their committees and teams.

This 3-part training is offered to congregational teams of 2 so that they can--in turn--introduce circles to their congregations. Participants must commit to doing prework for each session so that the live sessions can focus on practicing the concepts. Because of the interactive nature of this training, space is limited.

Online sessions are February 10, 17 and 24. Visit the CER website for details and registration.

Better Together Blog: A Time to Find What's Next

Megan Foley

by Rev. Megan Foley

Happy New Year, everyone!

In an end-of-the-year meditation over the holidays, the teacher suggested that we students take what we were grateful for and what we had learned and what had made us stronger in 2020 and bring all of that into 2021, leaving the rest behind.

I think that’s pretty good advice for our congregations, too.

Read the rest of the article

News from the UUA

Are you joining us for 30 Days of Love? Thirty Days of Love is our annual celebration that runs approximately from Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January through Valentine’s Day in February. It is an opportunity to lift up the ways Unitarian Universalists and many of our partner organizations are building and organizing by taking bold, courageous action for intersectional racial justice. In 2021, 30 Days of Love will focus on four themes from a recently published report called Widening the Circle of Concern, which was developed by the Commission on Institutional Change, a UUA Board commissioned group charged with researching, reporting, and making recommendations for transforming white supremacy and other oppressions in the institutional history and practices of the UUA and its 1,000-plus congregations and covenanted communities. Each week offers a variety activities to engage in - choose your own adventure! Learn more at the Side with Love website.

The UUA Office at the United Nations invites you to submit a sermon to the 2020-2021 Dana McLean Greeley Sermon Competition. This year’s competition theme is “All In for Climate Justice: People, Power, Planet.” Beyond an analysis of the dangers of the climate crisis, sermons should address what it means for people of faith to be all in for climate justice, looking toward the ways power can be leveraged to help people and planet achieve justice and liberation. Submissions that draw on the work of the UN and our UUA Office at the UN will receive priority consideration. The selected winner will receive a $500 honorarium prize and a video of their sermon will be featured on the UU@UN website. Please send submissions to unitednations@uua.orgby February 23, 2021 and learn more about submission requirements at www.uua.org/greeleysermon.

Support from the UUA Office of Church Staff Finances. Much about this year has been difficult and filing all the appropriate forms in January will continue to make it so. Please check out the OCSF Publications page where you can review past issues of Compensation and Staffing News to find guides and tips for doing this work. December's issue has a box by box guide to W2s, January's issues reviews the UUA Compensation Standards and re-caps pandemic resources.

EqUUal Access is holding their Carolyn Cartland Sermon Contest. This annual contest highlights disability-related themes and topics. Entries are due by May 1, 2021 with a cash prize of $500.00 going to the chosen applicant. The award will be presented at the virtual EA Celebration. Time permitting, the winner may be asked to give an excerpt at the event.For more information, please visit their website. All entries, including the cover page found on this link should be emailed to info@EqUUalAccess.org

The UUA has updated the Guidance on Gathering In-Person When COVID-19 Subsides.The recommendations have not substantially changed but it does address some issues in line with current questions and situations. It also provides sample plans for what data to evaluate for reopening.Looking for other Pandemic Resources?Please check the LeaderLab COVID-19 Resources and the Safe Congregations Team Resources.

The UUA has a Disaster Relief Fund for those who want to make a donation to help congregations who have faced losses due to tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires and more. Please donate if you can.To learn more about the work of the Disaster Relief Fund visit their webpage. If your congregation needs assistance, you can apply for a grant on that webpage. We are Better Together.

Virtual Guest in Your Pulpit! The UUMA has taken over maintaining the list of speakers started by Rev. Kimberley Debus. Check it out to see who is available! You can find it here. Also, don't forget to check out the CER Guest in Your Pulpit program, which includes both lay and professional worship leaders.

New publications from the UUA - Available now for ordering is This Day in Recovery: 365 Meditations, edited by Lane Campbell and Katie Kandarian-Morris, Widening the Circle of Concern: Report of the UUA Commission on Institutional Change, and this year's Common Read, Breathe: A Letter to My Sons by Imani Perry.

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 June 30 have been cancelled, postponed or moved to a virtual option. For events, webinars and congregation news and events visit the following pages: