Opportunities for Connection ~ October 2020

By Central East Region of the UUA

Featured Resource: Virtual General Assembly 2020 Library

Viritual General Assembly 2020 Image

We are pleased to announce that the 2020 GA On Demand Library is now available to the public on Vimeo. In addition to the major GA worship services, business sessions and reports, the library includes the Ware Lecture, featured speaker presentations, learning stage presentations and huge number of workshops all previously available to GA registrants only. Enjoy and share widely!


Holiday Planning Brainstorming Conversation for Worship Leaders

Holiday Planning Brainstorming Conversation for Worship Leaders, October 7, 2020

Wondering how to handle your congregation's celebration of upcoming holidays this fall and winter? Do you long to brainstorm ideas with creative, invested experts - that is to say, other worship leaders from around the country?

Join this national webinar to share your ideas and plans and see what others are doing to connect their congregants to annual traditions in these challenging times. Break out rooms will be organized by size of congregation.

The event is free but registration is required to receive the connection info. Learn more.

UU Congregation of Binghamton Recipient of the Fall Chalice Lighter Grant

Expansion of the UU Congregation of Binghamton

The CER Chalice Lighter Program Committee is pleased to announce the award of a $40,000 grant to the UU Congregation of Binghamton, NY as a significant contribution to its $1.7 million renovation project. New square footage will include a Children’s Chapel and meditation room, meeting room, and expanded entries and office space. Most of the building is being gutted and repurposed to include: a commercial grade kitchen to use to provide meals for the hungry in the community; gender neutral bathrooms; more private office space for the minister; a larger social hall for meetings and gatherings of the congregation, cluster and outside groups; energy-efficient building systems that will reduce its carbon footprint and serve as a role model for other non-profits; improved accessibility for congregants and visitors; and entrances that are more welcoming and recognizable as a UU congregation in the community. The renovation is mission-driven, allowing for existing and new internal and external programs to flourish in this congregation of 161 members and 38 children. Learn more about this project and donate at the Chalice Lighter's webpage.

Retooling for New Realities

Retooling for New Realities: A Year-Long Learning Community for Congregational Leaders

This is a time of expansive change. Our faith communities are experimenting and collaborating as never before. How might we bring more intention to what congregations are already doing? 
Meeting with other congregational leaders often generates a creative interchange of ideas. Join thought partners from other UU congregations in online cohorts in this year-long program facilitated by experienced lay leaders. Applications are due October 25, 2020. Learn more at the UUA website.

Better Together Blog: The Stories We Carry

Sana Saeed

by Sana Saeed

On March 14th, 2013, I was sitting in my office at the Interfaith Alliance, a non-profit in Washington DC, while watching CNN’s live feed of the Vatican. I was watching the white smoke billowing out of the Sistine Chapel as I waited for the new pope to be introduced, and in that moment, I had decided to check my email and saw that I had a “Congratulations” message waiting from Harvard Divinity School (HDS) at Harvard University. My hand shook as I clicked the email open, and when I read the word “admitted” I cried. A lot. It was the one school and university in my mind that was unattainable. I don’t know if that was just because of my own insecurities or if that was what I was socialized to think.

Read the rest of the article

News from the UUA

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UU the Vote is hosting Phone Banking events throughout October in several battleground states and has a number of other resources for congregations. It's not to late to get involved and help with this year's election. Visit their website to get involved and UU the Vote.

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.

Need resources to help your congregation with the COVID-19 Pandemic and resulting issues? Please check the LeaderLab COVID-19 Resources and the Safe Congregations Team Resources. You can find the UUA Guidance on Gathering In-Person When COVID-19 Subsides on the UUA website.

The Office of Church Staff Finances reminds us this is a time when we have a lot of staff changes is our congregations. Please check out their LeaderLab page on Compensation Standards and Resources which includes their Benefits Workbook to help you make sure you don't miss any deadlines. You'll also want to check out their From Starting to Parting document that provides advice on welcoming new staff, providing ongoing support and ensuring healthy departures.

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 Widening the Circle of Concern: Report of the UUA Commission on Institutional Change, The Stonewall Generation: LGBTQ Elders on Sex, Activism and Aging, and Breaking and Blessing: Meditations by Rev. Sean Parker Dennison. Also available order is Stubborn Grace: Faith, Mental Illness, and Demanding a Blessing by Rev. Kate Landis andHeld: Showing Up for Each Other's Mental Health by Rev. Barbara F. Meyers.

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