Opportunities for Connection ~ August 2021

Primary Contact Staff for the Central East Region

Featured Resource: Primary Contacts

Do you know who your congregation's primary contact is?

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. This is someone with whom you can build a close, working relationship, who will have an intimate knowledge of your congregation's blessings and challenges, and can be proactive in helping you to share those blessings and meet those challenges. Your Primary Contact can help you to navigate all the support and opportunities available to your congregation. Find your primary contact now.

Also, help us help you - 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.

CER Networking Sessions Return this Fall

Central East Region UUA Logo

Our drop-in networking calls for congregational leaders are back for the fall and spring! These calls are for you to talk with your peers from congregations all across the region about your questions, challenges, joys and visions for the community you help lead. Please feel free to drop in on any or all calls that appeal to you. We’re looking forward to continuing these opportunities for connection and support of one another.

We’ve organized them a little differently for this coming church year – by your watershed! Pick a waterway that seems familiar and join the call there, OR just pick one that’s convenient. Each call will have one or more CER staff, a topic for consideration and other leaders to learn from and share your experiences.

All the calls (except the BIPoC calls) will use the same zoom link: https://uua.zoom.us/j/99855844125. You do need a password to access this meeting, please request it from your primary contact. Do note that the link and password have changed from last year.

  • Allegheny/Ohio/New River - 1st Wednesdays at 5pm: September 1, October 6, November 3, December 1
  • Atlantic - 2nd Tuesdays at 5pm: September 14, October 12, November 9, December 14
  • Great Lakes/Hudson Valley - 2nd Thursdays at 1pm: September 9, October 14, November 11, December 9
  • BIPoC - with Rev. Sana Saeed and Paula Cole Jones at 6:30pm. August 9th & 23rd, September 13 & 27, October 25, November 8 & 22, December 13.

If you identify as Black, Indigenous or a person of color (BIPOC), you're invited to join us for the Central East Region's BIPOC gathering happening two Mondays of the month at 6:30pm ET. In our gatherings we are joined by lay folks of color, lay leaders of color and/or religious professionals of color to be in community. Our conversations focus on topics like wellness and resilience and our goal is to center BIPOC experiences and create space to explore our UU experiences. Please email Sana Saeed, ssaeed@uua.org or Paula Cole Jones pcolejones@gmail.com for zoom information.

COMPASS: A Liberatory, Everyday Theology for Changing Times

Save the Date Compass. A Liberatory, Everyday Theology for Changing Times. December 11 & 12, 2021. A national virtual event that will include workshops, networking, worship and more. it's a time to be with other congregational leaders on the journey towards our shared future. Brought to you by your congregational life staff. Dark Background with white lettering, blue compass image


COMPASS: A Liberatory, Everyday Theology for Changing Times

December 11 & 12, 2021

What is Compass?

  • It’s a national virtual event
  • It’s a regional gathering
  • It’s a time to learn together - worship together - share our wisdom
  • It’s a time to be with other congregational leaders on the journey towards our shared future.

More information to come….

Network of Hospitality for Bridging Youth

a graphic of a bridge with text about the Bridging Youth Hospitality Network

The UUA’s Office of Lifespan Faith Engagement—in collaboration with the Mount Vernon Unitarian Church—is happy to announce the piloting of a new network of hospitality for Unitarian Universalist youth who are bridging out of their high school years. Building off of wisdom from previous programs, this network aims to connect bridging youth to the congregation where they will be living. Whether they’re staying in the same place, or moving far away from home, bridging youth may appreciate connection and community in this new life stage.

Congregations sending forth bridging youth are encouraged to share the Bridging Youth Hospitality Network survey with their youth to fill out. That way, bridging youth will identify how they would like to be supported. Congregations receiving these new young adults are encouraged to also fill out the survey, to make the connection. The intensity of the connection can vary and should develop organically from the needs expressed by the young adult. To find additional bridging resources, visit the UUA website.

Questions about this network can be directed to Rev. Stevie Carmody, Emerging Adult Ministry Associate in the Office of Lifespan Faith Engagement of the UUA, by emailing youngadult@uua.org .

Join the Intergenerational Spring Seminar Planning Team for April 2022

Image of UUs marching for climate justice in New York City.

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 (age 14-18) 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.

Article II Study Commission and the 8th Principle Reflection

Article II Study Commission A Conversation on 8th Principle Square

Unitarian Universalism is no stranger to movements that call for racial justice both within and beyond our institutions. Over and over again, pockets of people have worked to say racism is a problem, racism is a problem *for us,* and that we are committed to fighting racism and other oppressions. As a grassroots movement to adopt such a commitment as the 8th Principle of Unitarian Universalism, spreads throughout our congregations, the question has been raised, "how does the 8th Principle Project relate to the current study of Article II: Principles and Purposes, of the UUA Bylaws?"

Check out the latest blog post from the Article II Study Commission, as they reflect on the 8th Principle Project, and how it relates to the work of the Study Commission: The Article II Study Commission and the 8th Principle.

More Opportunities for Congregational Leaders

RSA Future Change Framework

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.

The Future Change Framework Workshop is for any congregational leader, lay or ordained, interested in exploring the challenges and opportunities presented to us as we move into a post-pandemic world. Congregational teams are especially welcome!

Mid-America Region is offering a 3-hour workshop with Ian Burbidge, Associate Director of the RSA Lab, and developer of the Future Change Framework. 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! Registration deadline is August 5th at Midnight PT.

Side with Love's Summer Organizing School: It Starts with Faith: Organizing School for Teams.

It Starts With Faith: Organizing School for Teams is a 9-week faith organizing training series designed to build faith-rooted organizing teams that are committed to dismantling white supremacy and taking action in with Side With Love's four intersectionality justice priorities (Climate Justice, LGBTQ+ & Gender Justice, Democracy & Voting Rights, Decriminalization). It is open to people of all experience levels and faith affiliation.

Participants will learn foundational organizing skills to build and support teams in racial justice rooted work and take part in the upcoming Side With Love Action Center-a distributed organizing and leadership development program launching this fall. Sessions will take place on Wednesdays, 6:30-8:30 pm ET, August 25-Nov 3. Applications are due August 2.

Congregation-Based Spiritual Direction On-line Certificate

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.

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 programs. 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 .

Better Together Blog: Kintsugi and Covenant

Sana Saeed

by Rev. Sana Saeed

Our conversations around covenant making can be playful, tense, messy, joyful, complicated and all those things are normal. But I find people get stuck on making a perfect covenant or they try to create a covenant where people must live up to this ideal of perfectionism. That is not what covenant making is about. It’s not about wordsmithing. It’s about the deeper promise you are committing to hold yourselves to when things get hard. It’s about deepening the relationships that already exist.

We’re not perfect people. We all have scars that we carry. We carry joys, too, but at the same time...intersecting with that joy can be sorrow, fear, shame, and brokenness. A covenant needs to hold all the complexity we bring as humans into these spaces.

When I think about covenant making, I think of Kintsugi.

Read the rest of the article

News from the UUA

UUA Logo

Does your congregation have staff? Does someone subscribe to the Compensation and Staffing Newsletter from the UUA Office of Church Staff Finances? This newsletter is filled with important updates, guides for completing paperwork and links to valuable resources. Sign up to receive this valuable resource and visit their section of the UUA website for more information.

Take Action to Become a Sixth Principle Congregation. The Unitarian Universalist Office at the United Nations announces an annual award to recognize congregations that show their commitment to our Sixth Principle’s “goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all” and their support of the UU@UN through their actions and financial giving. The Sixth Principle Award is given yearly to congregations that complete at least three engagement activities between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022 (see the categories online!). In recognition for their steadfast dedication to international human rights, Sixth Principle Congregations that qualify and submit a brief report by March 31 will be presented with an award certificate during a reception at UUA General Assembly, formal recognition on the UU@UN website, and a specialized video from UU@UN staff honoring the congregation’s contribution. Find more information about the Sixth Principle Award and how to qualify at the UUA website.

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.

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 out the Virtual Guest in the Pulpit Database to see who is available. 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 pre-order is The Through Line: 200 Years of the Berry Street Essay edited by Kate R. Walker. Now available for order is Unlocking the Power of Covenant, the report from the Commission on Appraisal, The Darkness Divine: A Loving Challenge to My Faith , by Rev. Dr. Kristen L. Harper and Shelter in This Place: Meditations on 2020, edited by Rev. Meg Riley.

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 December 31 will be virtual. For events, webinars and congregation news and events visit the following pages: