Opportunities for Connection ~ October 2021

By Central East Region of the UUA

Featured Resource: Compass Gathering

Compass Logo-Navigating the Paths to Liberation Together

Navigating the Paths to Liberation Together
With so much uncertainty in the wider world, sometimes it can be hard to find one’s bearings.

Join us to find our collective “compass” as we explore interdependence as a path to wholeness.

This event is for: lay leaders, religious professionals, adults, youth, members of congregations, and anyone else who is interested in diving into an exploration of interdependence in UU theology and practice.

Compass will be held online December 11 and 12, 2021 beginning at 10am PT/11am MT/12pm CT/ 1pm ET. The weekend will include worship, speakers, identity caucus space and more. Registration will open on October 1.

Compass will be hosted on the Whova Platform, available in desktop form or on your mobile device via the Apple and Android app stores. This is the same platform used for General Assembly and New Day Rising. If you already have the app downloaded, you can simply open your app and tap “My Events” to find Compass. The app will be launched for use starting December 1.

Taproot: A National BIPOC Space

Taproot: A National BIPOC space. Image of a tree root on a yellow background and the UUA logo

The work of spiritual community is complicated in the 21st century. The need for faithful leadership that is grounded and resilient is imperative. This is all the more true for leaders within our communities and congregations who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPoC). All too aware of this need, Congregational Life is excited to explore and co-create a network with congregational leaders that support them in this time in emergent ways through Taproot: A National BIPOC Space. BIPoC Leaders rooted in the Unitarian Universalist congregations are invited to take part in this monthly, virtual gathering.

Second Thursday of the month, starting October 14th at 9p ET/8p CT/7p MT/6p PT. Details and registration at the UUA website.

Announcing JUUst Breathe Live for Youth and Young Adults!

JUUst Breathe Live, a UU Youth Experience. Join us LIVE on the 2nd Sunday of the month for  NEW episode of JUUst Breathre Live. Next episode is on October 10th, 8 pm ET. Tune in Live or catch on on past episodes.

JUUst Breathe Live is a YouTube live stream where youth ministry has a say! Hosts Shannon Harper and Eric Bliss interview youth and adult bad asses who hold a vision of liberal religious youth ministry that is both lifesaving and spirit lifting.

Come join us via the chat for real time conversations where your ideas matter and your questions get answered. Explore faith, spirituality, and life purpose as never before. And above all, bring your authentic self and...JUUst Breathe.

Live on our JUUst Breathe Live YouTube Channel

Join us October 10th at 5p PT/6p MT/ 7p CT/8p ET for a thought-provoking discussion.

Widening the Welcome Workshop

Widen Your Congregation's Welcome: A Virtual Workshop for Your Congregation's Greeting Team Build the Beloved Community by Being Inclusive of All Brought to you by the Central East Region, Nov 6, 10-12, 2-4 pm ET, image of faces in a circle on a purple background

A Virtual Workshop for Your Congregation's Greeting Team
Build the Beloved Community by Being Inclusive of All

This is an online webinar on November 6, 2021, which will have two sessions from 10a-12p and 2-4 pm ET, including presentations and practice opportunities. Please plan to attend both sessions. Attendees from other regions are welcome.

We have a cap of 200 participants for this event to allow us to have adequate breakout spaces, so register early!

Cost: $25 for individuals. If you are attending as part of a congregational team, the cost is $5 per person. Details and registration at the CER Website.

Summer Institute Workshops

Central East Region Summer Institute Logo

Do you have a creative idea for ways that the community can play, explore, or learn together? We want to see your proposals for morning seminars and afternoon workshops! Morning seminars are intended to be attended by the same people all five mornings (supporting a curriculum that builds upon itself each day) and are chosen with an effort toward providing a variety of options to the community (i.e. spiritual, intellectual, physical, hands-on, etc.). Afternoon workshops tend to be more casual than morning seminars and should be designed to be attended just one or multiple days. These are often sports, games, and crafts but are not limited to these options, so share your ideas!

We hope to have an online presence this year as well as being in person at California University of Pennsylvania. Please consider how your workshop can work with online attendees. Some workshops or seminars won't work online but others can be streamed live or recorded. The standard budget for workshops and seminars is $50. If your proposal is accepted, you will receive a "campership" discount of $300 off your registration (two or more leaders will share the discount). Learn more about CERSI at their website.

Deadline is October 30, 2021; applicants will be notified no later than January 2022. Send your questions to workshops@cersiuu.org and apply online at:

UUA Board Open Houses & Meetings

UUA Logo

The UUA board will hold open houses on the 2nd Tuesday of every month for this year. Dates and times for the next three months are below, please register for each date using the link provided:

  • Tuesday, October 12, 2021; 4pm PT / 5pm MT / 6pm CT / 7pm ET. Pre-register
  • Tuesday, November 9, 2021; 4pm PT / 5pm MT / 6pm CT / 7pm ET. Pre-register
  • Tuesday, December 14, 2021; 4pm PT / 5pm MT / 6pm CT / 7pm ET. Pre-register
  • Tuesday, January 11, 2022; 4pm PT / 5pm MT / 6pm CT / 7pm ET. Pre-register
  • Tuesday, February 8, 2022; 4pm PT / 5pm MT / 6pm CT / 7pm ET. Pre-register
  • Tuesday, March 8, 2022; 4pm PT / 5pm MT / 6pm CT / 7pm ET. Pre-register
  • Tuesday, April 12, 2022; 4pm PT / 5pm MT / 6pm CT / 7pm ET. Pre-register
  • Tuesday, May 10, 2022; 4pm PT / 5pm MT / 6pm CT / 7pm ET. Pre-register
  • Tuesday, June 14, 2022; 4pm PT / 5pm MT / 6pm CT / 7pm ET. Pre-register

The UUA Board also meets monthly and meetings are open to the public. Please note that a registration link for the meetings will be available on at the UUA website in advance of each meeting.

  • Thursday, October 14—Saturday, October 16, 2021; Schedule TBD
  • Monday, November 8, 2021; 4:00pm PT / 5:00pm MT / 6:00pm CT / 7:00pm ET
  • Monday, December 13, 2021; 4:00pm PT / 5:00pm MT / 6:00pm CT / 7:00pm ET
  • Friday, January 21—Saturday, January 22, 2022; Schedule TBD
  • Monday, February 14, 2022; 4:00pm PT / 5:00pm MT / 6:00pm CT / 7:00pm ET
  • Monday, March 14, 2022; 4:00pm PT / 5:00pm MT / 6:00pm CT / 7:00pm ET
  • Friday, April 22—Saturday, April 23, 2022; Schedule TBD
  • Monday, May 9, 2022; 4:00pm PT / 5:00pm MT / 6:00pm CT / 7:00pm ET

Youth Reboot Program Delayed

Remember June? Things felt so hopeful. Vaccines were happening; businesses were opening; so many things seemed perched on the brink of possible. It was in those hopeful days that three of us started talking about offering a national two-part webinar series on emergent youth ministry. How we might collectively shape the next generation of youth ministry, post pandemic? How might we rethink youth ministry through the lens of all we’ve learned in the last 18 months?

To paraphrase an old Yiddish proverb, We planned; Covid 19 laughed.

Friends, we are not post-pandemic; we are still very much in the middle of it. This is not the time to shape new models of youth ministry or glean wisdom from the lessons we aren’t done living through yet.

We are hearing from many religious professionals and lay partners in youth ministry that this is a time for connection - and reconnection. We have been apart too long. It’s time for using trauma-informed ministry to acknowledge the grief we are all experiencing - for lost friends or family members; for lost time; for lost experiences that cannot be recaptured. This is time for somatic care - for grounding our minds, emotions, and spirits in the bodies we care for. inhale, exhale, repeat. It’s time to drink water, get through another pandemic-impacted fall, and simplify. We heard you.

Youth Ministry is about a lot of things, and sometimes that involves modeling healthy practices for the people we are serving - even when that wasn’t our plan. So we are following the same advice we’ve been sharing with congregations. We are using our trauma-informed lens to postpone our webinar series. It’s not time for rethinking and reshaping new models - not yet.

For now we will share with you a few resources we think will be helpful in this moment.

  • We invite you to consider the Youth Ministry Toolbox Webinar.
  • Check out this article that describes what many people feel as losing their “Surge Capacity.” Listen to this Brene Brown podcast on pandemic flux syndrome.
  • Watch Rev. Sunshine Wolfe’s brief video on recognizing low level trauma responses (YouTube)in ministry.
  • Reach out to your colleagues in Youth Ministry. Connect with your youth - safely - and remind them we will get through this, and they are beloved. Check in with your regional staff for more ideas, support, and connection.

We will invite you to dream with us about the next shape of Unitarian Universalist Youth Ministry.

Just not today.
Stay tuned. And take care of yourselves.

Better Together Blog: The Blessing We Didn't Want

Megan Foley Image

by Rev. Megan Foley

I don’t blame you for being fed up with this fall’s church planning.

We had about a minute in, when, June? when we in congregations thought we were on the path to pandemic freedom. I don’t know about you but I definitely was imagining A Return To Normal Church. And even though we were talking about planning for multi-platform and asking each other for hugging consent and figuring out what to do with unvaccinated kids, if you’re like me you may have been thinking that was just “preparation”, which somehow wasn’t the same as The Real Future.

Read the rest of the article

News from the UUA

UUA Logo

Gather, Inspire, Launch! Two-part Fall Social Witness Convening of the Commission on Social Witness 10/6 and 10/13. At the UUA General Assembly this past June, the delegates voted to affirm three bold statements for healing action. The delegates also adopted a formal UUA Statement of Conscience on Undoing Systemic White Supremacy. Join these two meetings to find out what UU leaders around the country are doing, what you can do, and who you can partner with to carry forward these bold actions full of inspiring possibilities. Gather, inspire, and launch your social witness action! The Commission on Social Witness invites you to the Fall Social Witness Convening in two parts. Attend both sessions to find out about all the statements and actions! All UUs are invited to these meetings, and no prior experience or knowledge is necessary. Please check the UUA website for registration links and additional details.

Recovering from Covid’s Second Wave in India. India is now emerging from Covid’s devastating second wave. After months of frantic searches for oxygen and overflowing hospitals, infections are declining. But the trauma of so much loss still cuts deep. As the UUA Holdeen India Program learns more of what happened on the ground, one thing is clear: Without the massive relief operations carried out by grassroots organizations across India, countless more would have lost their lives. UU support for our community partners in India was pivotal to relief efforts. UUHIP is deeply grateful to the UU faith community for so much solidarity at the height of the crisis. Now, we need your support to continue this transformational work. For many social justice organizations, charitable contributions come in a flood during crises—and then a trickle as media coverage fades. Yet our work in a crisis is only possible because we sustain long-term partnerships on the ground. If your congregation routinely holds special collections, please consider the Holdeen India Program as a regular recipient. Read this in-depth update from the Holdeen India Program.

Celebrate United Nations Day on October 24! Coming up on October 24, the world celebrates United Nations Day. Many Unitarian Universalist congregations will be marking this holiday by hosting a United Nations Sunday service, focusing on the 2021-2022 UN Sunday theme “All In for Climate Justice: Food Equity and Sustainability.” The UUA Office at the United Nations (UU@UN) is grateful for the support of congregations who dedicate their collection on UN Sunday to fund their important advocacy for UU values at the UN. A special video message from the UU@UN is available for congregations hosting UN Sunday services to introduce the offering. Find this and additional UN Sunday resources at the UN Sunday webpage. A congregation that holds a UN Sunday service with a collection for the UU@UN is close to qualifying for the Sixth Principle Congregation Award! Learn more at their website.

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.

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 is Faith on Trial: Religion and the Law in the United States by Mark J. T Caggiano. Looking for congregational resources? The UUA bookstore recommends: Centering: Navigating Race, Authenticity, and Power in Ministry, edited by Rev. Mitra Rahnema, Do Better: Spiritual Activism for Fighting and Healing from White Supremacy by Rachel Ricketts, Mistakes and Miracles: Congregations on the Road to Multiculturalism by Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones and Karin Lin, Serving with Grace: Lay Leadership as a Spiritual Practice by Rev. Erik Walker Wikstrom, The Spirit That Moves: Readings and Rituals for Times of Change and Transition, edited by Rev. Barbara Child, and Unlocking the Power of Covenant, The 2021 Commission on Appraisal report.

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: