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Opportunities for Connection ~ November 2020

By Central East Region of the UUA

Widening the Circle of Concern: Report of the UUA Commission on Institutional Change, June 2020 (cover)

Featured Resource: Widening the Circle Study Guide

We’re excited to announce the release of a Study/Action Guide to the Widening the Circle of Concern report! Many of you are looking for ways to bring the hard work and findings of the COIC into the life of your congregation or UU community. This new guide provides 11 session outlines for a group or task force in your congregation to break down the various components and recommendations of the original report.

More than a discussion guide, this Study/Action provides framing and helpful hints on how your community can actively participate in transformative liberation. Widening the Circle is joyful change work that’s deeply rooted in our shared UU theology. We hope that engaging this guide offers your community an opportunity for meaningful connection during this time of isolation. The UUA offers many thanks to the commissioners and professional group leaders who came together quickly to develop this additional resource.

Sign up to receive the study guide and additional emails, put your congregation's group on the map and find other resources that can help you in this work at the UUA Widening the Circle of Concern page. You can also read Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray's statement on the release of the study guide.

Claiming Our Spiritual Leadership promo

Claiming Our Spiritual Leadership Class Offered by UU Leadership Institute

Claiming Our Spiritual Leadership, originally developed as a popular in-person workshop by the New England Region staff, is now accessible nationwide as an online training through the UU Leadership Institute!

Consider taking this training if you and your congregation are looking for ways for congregational life to be more about:

  • soulful engagement with your faith;
  • finding energy and meaning in the gifts already present in your congregation; and
  • the transformative power of communities living their values in ways that challenge dominant culture — both within and beyond the congregation.
Retooling for New Realities: A Year-Long Learning Community for Congregational Leaders

Retooling for New Realities - Register for the Second Cohort

Did you miss the deadline in October? We're accepting applications for a second round!

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 November 29, 2020. Learn more at the Retooling for New Realities Page.

Laptop with rainbow wave graphic flowing through the screen

Did You Miss This?

There have been a number of programs that have come and gone over the past two months that we're hearing afterwards, "Oh no, how did I miss that!" Do know that most of our events are recorded and made available after the fact. Most can be found posted in the LeaderLab Library. Here are links to the most recent programs we have offered:

Hope Johnson

Better Together Blog: DARKNESS and LIGHT: Updated Personal Perspectives

by Rev. Dr. Hope Johnson

I’ve been thinking a lot about how tired I am of hearing words that include black, dark, and more, used in a negative way even as we proclaim that Black Lives Matter. How much time and effort do we give to contextualizing our use of those words that have the power to turn them into phrases that truly spread the words into only negative ones?

Let’s look at the word “Dark”

Read the rest of the article

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News from the UUA

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 withcurrent 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.
November is Open Enrollment month for the UUA Health Plan, as well as the Dental Plan we offer through Guardian. November 1-30 will be eligible employees’ chance to join the plans, upgrade coverage, or add dependents not previously on the plans. (Outside of Open Enrollment, adds and changes are only allowed in the case of a qualifying event.) Participating congregations and staff should watch for a November 1 mailing.

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.

The Office of Church Staff Finances has update the UUA Salary Recommendations for 2021-22. Given the stresses and uncertainties of this moment, they are choosing to hold salary recommendations at 2020-21 levels for another program year. Make no mistake –theyare not suggesting that salaries should be held steady. The webpage also provides updated Geo Index Listings, a cost of living adjustment factor and a process guide.

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, and this year's Common Read, Breathe: A Letter to My Sons by Imani Perry.The Goodreads Book Club pick for November is Darkening the Doorways: Black Trailblazers and Missed Opportunities in Unitarian Universalism by Mark D. Morrison-Reed.

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 February 28 have been cancelled, postponed or moved to a virtual option. For events, webinars and congregation news and events visit the following pages: