Opportunities for Connection ~ July 2021

Featured Resource: Board Training Opportunities

Helpful Board Habits, 3 part webinar series, Aug 17, Sep 21, Oct 19, 2021, 6:30-8:00 pm. Image of a raft in the rapids with crew working together

It's that time of the year for most of our congregations. Your board membership is changing. In some cases your committee chairs and other leadership positions may also be changing.

Being a congregational board member isn't like serving on any other type of board, even most non-profits. Members who serve in leadership at congregations can greatly benefit from training even if they have served before.

We have two different opportunities for congregations to get this training for their board members.

Helpful Board Habits is a 3 part webinar series on Aug 17, Sept 21 and Oct 19 that will help your board develop shared practices in communication and leadership and a shared understanding of your board in congregational governance. Cost is $15 per person and you should attend all three dates. 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. Details at the CER event page.

Can't attend this series or want a different option? LeaderLab has a 12 part Congregational Board Training series that is free you can access through their website. Use this 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.

Have questions about these trainings or other offerings? Please reach out to your primary contact for assistance and advice.

Please Update Your Congregational Information!

Laptop with rainbow wave graphic flowing through the screen

It's that time of the year again. Your congregation has held its annual meeting and elected new officers, or it's on your schedule. You have new committee chairs appointed to lead your work for next year. But have you told anyone outside the congregation about these changes?

To help the UUA and the Central East Region stay in touch with the leaders of your congregation we need YOU to update your leadership information on myuua.org. This is the same place you update your UU World lists. Need help? Let us know or check out the webpage with the details. Please note that you can make these updates at any time. Many congregations hold elections in the spring or late fall, but appoint new committee chairs in summer or early fall. Each event should prompt a review of what is listed in myuua.org to ensure it is up to date. Staffing changes should also be listed in this location.

2021 Summer Reconnection Small Group Ministry

a circle of smoothed beach rocks sits in a circle on the sand

As we move into the summer of 2021, our congregations have lived through a time of connecting differently and are moving towards a time when many of us will be in person again. Our volunteers and staff are exhausted. Many are out of creativity and inspiration and just need a break.

And yet, we do need to reconnect. We may be awkward. We may feel uncomfortable. Large groups of people may feel like “too much” for many of us.

Your UUA staff are working on a series of six trauma-informed small group ministry sessions for use as we re-emerge from the pandemic. These could even be used in place of Sunday morning services. Sessions will be available beginning the week of July 6. To learn more and sign up for updates, visit the UUA LeaderLab.

UUA Board Hosts Open House

UUA Logo

Co-Moderators Charles Du Mond and Meg Riley invite you to come and check in with the UUA Board of Trustees at its Summer Zoom Open House.

Bring your questions and chat about your GA 2021 experience, the Board’s plans for the coming year, what you’re looking forward to in the upcoming church year, your congregation’s engagement with Widening the Circle of Concern, what it means to serve Unitarian Universalism as a volunteer at the national level, and the UU issues that matter most to you.

Date/Time: Tuesday, July 27, 2021 at 4pm Pacific / 5pm Mountain / 6pm Central / 7pm Eastern
Register Now.

Future Change Framework: Strategic Direction for a Post-Pandemic World

How can we use the recovery from Covid-19 to create real, lasting change? Our congregations have seen dramatic change during the pandemic—but the status quo is often resistant to lasting transformations. The Future Change Framework from the Royal Society for the Arts (RSA) is a way to think about how we respond to crisis and how that can drive positive change. Using the framework helps us to think through what we’ve stopped, what we’ve paused, what we’ve put in place temporarily, and how we’ve innovated. Reflecting on these areas helps us see what’s most valuable for an unknown, ever-changing future and clarify our strategic direction so that we stay relevant.

On August 7, MidAmerica Region will once again offer a 3-hour workshop with Ian Burbidge, Associate Director of the RSA Lab, and developer of the Future Change Framework. Ian will work collaboratively with participants to surface challenges and opportunities they are experiencing/exploring via the RSA’s Future Change Framework.

When: Saturday, August 7, 2021, 12 pm to 3 pm Eastern / 11 am to 1 pm Central / 10 am to 1 pm Mountain / 9 am to 12 pm Pacific, Cost: $20 per person (sliding scale).
Register now!

Congregation-Based Spiritual Direction

Chalice with tea light candles on altar.

The MidAmerica Region–UUA and the Center for Congregational Spirituality are excited to offer a new online certificate program in Congregation-Based Spiritual Direction. The program is open to clergy, religious professionals (religious educators, music directors, membership professionals, youth advisors, and directors of congregational life), congregational lay leaders, and individuals engaged in innovative ministries beyond congregational walls. Denominational and middle judicatory officials and spiritual directors who share their ministry of presence with a congregation are welcome as well.

Congregation-Based Spiritual Direction: An Online Certificate Program begins with an introductory module on October 19, 2021 and ends with a closing virtual retreat on May 14, 2022. Each session will be built around an intentional pattern of theory, practice, and reflection.
The dates for the three sessions are Fall Session: October 26-November 13, 2021; Winter Session: February 8-26, 2022; and Spring Session: April 26-May 14, 2022. Each session will consist of three asynchronous learning modules (requiring 2 to 4 hours of content to work on your own); two 2½ hour group spiritual direction sessions (led by trained spiritual directors); and a single 6-hour online retreat.

The Congregation-Based Spiritual Direction Online Certificate Program tuition is $1250. An early bird discount of $250 is currently available through August 31, 2021, bringing the cost to $1000. An additional discount of $250 is available for UU seminarians and religious professionals enrolled in one of the UUA’s credentialing program.

Register for the Congregation-Based Spiritual Direction program. Learn more about the program at the Center for Congregational Spirituality website, or contact Phillip Lund at plund@uua.org.

Spring Chalice Lighter Call Benefits UU Congregation of Monmouth County

CER Chalice Lighter Logo

Have you contributed to the spring Chalice Lighter Call? Your donations this spring will make it possible to provide a grant of $40,000 to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County, Lincroft, New Jersey, to help with their upgrades to their building, beginning with a replacement of their unsafe, inefficient HVAC system. As our congregations prepare to think about how they will do and be church when we are able to safely reopen, Chalice Lighter grants, particularly those for innovative projects, will play an important role in sustaining and enhancing the vitality of our congregations.
Want to make a donation or learn more about the program? Visit the Chalice Lighter Pages on the CER website.

Better Together Blog: Reconnecting in Our Congregations

by Beth Casebolt

Beth Casebolt

Starting in 1999, each June my family of four would load up our van with a tent, sleeping bags, camp stove, dishes, food and more and head out for wherever that year's General Assembly was being held. We would plan these trips for months - pouring over maps to figure out the best routes, reading guide books to find places we wanted to visit along the route, and talking about the best places to stop. Each person got to select 2-3 places to stop, making their case to the rest of the family. Then early in June we'd set out.

Read the rest of the article

News from the UUA

UUA Logo

For UU Youth, Adults, and Climate Justice Enthusiasts. Be part of planning the 2022 Intergenerational Spring Seminar hosted by the Unitarian Universalist Office at the United Nations! Youth Dean applications are due July 7, 2021. Youth and Adult Chaplain and Planning Committee Member applications are due August 9, 2021. The planning team will convene in September to design intergenerational programming that is inclusive, engaging, and inspiring. The 2022 Intergenerational Spring Seminar, expected to take place in NYC April 22-24, 2022, will center around the theme of action for climate justice, with a focus on climate-forced displacement. See the UUA website for more about the Seminar, this year’s theme, and leadership opportunities.

Resources for United Nations Sunday: October 24, 2021. A collection of resources is available online to help congregations plan a worship service and activities surrounding United Nations Day this October 24 on the theme “All In for Climate Justice: Food Equity and Sustainability.” Check out the materials online now at the UUA website; additional content will be added throughout the summer.

Support COVID-19 Response in India. The UU Holdeen India Program’s partners have been working around the clock during the COVID-19 crisis. A second surge of infections since April 2021 has led to severe shortages in oxygen, medical supplies, and hospital beds. The raging virus has not spared any part of the country – small towns, villages, and big cities have all been hit hard. The road to recovery will be long and challenging. HIP's partners across the country are working closely with the authorities to ensure relief reaches all those in need. If your congregation is planning to take up a special collection to support crisis relief in India, please consider the Holdeen Fund as a beneficiary. Donations to UUHIP can be made online or by texting HOLDEEN to 51555. Contact holdeen@uua.org if you’d like more information or a short video to introduce the special collection.

The Guild of Interim Religious Educators (GIRE) now offers a training program focusing on congregational transitions for professional staff serving in religious leadership roles. This program provides you with the tools you and your team need while serving a congregation experiencing a transition. And when you want to imbue your work in the congregation with fresh perspectives, this program will provide you with the skills you need to re-imagine a bright future in your church! This program is the first of TWO seminars, providing leaders with the skills and perspectives they need on a variety of topics. Dates are Thursdays: July 29, August 5, 12, 19 at 1 pm ET, each class runs for 2 hours. Registration deadline is July 15, Cost is $200, GIRE members $160. Details and registration at their website.

The UUA has updated the Guidance on Gathering In-Person When COVID-19 Subsides including new recommendations on how to plan for multi-platform congregational life and how to address appropriate inclusion of children and youth. Also new guidance on singing together.

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: