Opportunities for Connection ~ January 2022

By Central East Region of the UUA

Featured Resource: Disaster Relief Fund

Four photos illustrating climate change-caused disasters: aftermath of a hurricane showing destroyed houses in top left, trees burning in a forest fire in top right, houses and trees almost submerged by flooding in bottom right, and crops bent and destroyed by drought in bottom left.

On December 10th a series of deadly tornadoes swept across Kentucky and other parts of the southeast and midwest. As of now we know that none of our congregations were directly hit, but members of the Bowling Green, KY congregation have damaged homes and the community around the church has been severely affected. Additional severe weather has affected the west and midwest since.

One of the most effective ways you can help is to support the Disaster Relief Fund of the UUA. Our Disaster Relief Fund is part of our covenant—a covenant between the UUA and congregations, between congregations who give generously and those in need, and with our community partners. Through aiding our congregations, their members and their community partners, we are able to embody our faith and values.

We anticipate requests to come into the fund from congregations in the areas that were affected as the clean up continues and insurance estimates are completed. Donations to the fund will support those requests and others like it in the future and allow the UUA to respond to emergency situations as they arise.

To learn more, make a donation or apply for a grant, visit the Disaster Relief Fund Website.

Music Recordings for Worship

A woman's hands cradle a ukelele

Freshly updated is the Music for Online Worship page on Worship Web. This page highlights new guidelines for the use of pre-recorded music in your livestreamed and recorded services. Beginning in December 2021, all Unitarian Universalist congregations and worship leaders are asked to review our new WorshipWeb guidelines, developed in collaboration with the Association for UU Music Ministries (AUUMM). These new guidelines honor our relationships with the very generous musicians who provided us with music videos at the beginning of the pandemic, many free of charge. But as we continue forward, we need to honor that generosity and be mindful of the labor involved.

Please read the full guidelines on the webpage and look at the full list of hymn copyright and permissions for every hymn in the UUA hymnals. Visit the Music for Online Worship page on WorshipWeb for details and links. If you have questions please reach out to Rev. Erika Hewitt at worship@uua.org.

General Assembly 2022

The General Assembly logo, featuring the theme arranged in a circle. The theme is: “Meet the moment: Reimagining radical faith community”. Pink letters GA are in the center, with a white web decoration the represent the World Wide Web connecting our multi platform event. In front of GA, there is a purple silhouette of eight people holding hands. The persons depicted are of varying age, shapes and sizes.

General Assembly 2022! In 2022, we will have the option of meeting online or in-person! For those who enjoyed the convenience and accessibility of remote participation, General Assembly will continue to offer a virtual experience with robust programming and enhanced delegate discussion tools. For those who miss the in-person experience, GA 2022 offers opportunities to re-connect with friends old and new, local site attractions, and more! Join us June 22 - 26, 2022 online or in-person in Portland, Oregon. Program Proposals are being accepted through January 14. In Person Registration is now open. Find out about all the plans at the UUA website.

A Second Slice of Pi: An Online Conference for Smaller Congregations

Image of a slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream on a pale orange background. Words say: A Second Slice of PI: A Small Conference for Smaller Congregations. An opportunity for networking, connecting, sharing, learning. Online gathering on Sat, March 12, 2022, 3-5 pm ET. On demand resources available on UU Institute February 12. SLiding Scale, $5-25. Brought to you by the UUA and the UU Leadership Institute.

Join us online at the UU Institute (UUI) on Saturday, March 12th, 2022 from 3 to 5 pm ET for A Second Slice of Pi - an updated, pandemic safe conference for smaller congregations and covenanting communities! What will we be doing? Easy on demand resources for small congregations, opportunities to connect with leaders of other small congregations, and a chance to share your story. Registration is open!

Has your small (<120 members) congregation done something interesting lately? A new partnership? A unique social justice project? A new way of connecting your members? Would you like to share your success with others? A Second Slice of Pi is looking for stories to share with participants at the conference via a short video (we can help!). Contact your regional staff to let them know you’re interested or submit your idea with this form. Deadline for material submissions is February 1.

Widening the Welcome

A cartoon of people of all types in a circle with heads towards the center, with a center purple circle that says: Widening the Welcome, A virtual Workshop for your congregation's greeting team. Saturday, Feb 12th, 10 am - 12 pm, & 2-4 pm. Bild the Beloved commuity by being inclusive of all, brought to you by the Central East Region.

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

This is an online webinar on February 12, 2022, 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.

Jubilee 3 Online Anti-Racism Training

grey background with small chalice and rainbow scarf around it. Words say: Jubilee 3 Anti-racism Training,“If you have come to help me you are wasting your time. But if you recognize that your liberation and mine are bound up together, we can walk together.” – Lila Watson, January 14-16, 2022, online.

You Are Invited to Participate in Jubilee Three Anti-Racism Training: Learning Together About Systemic Racism, January 14-16, 2022, online.

Do you wish to deepen your understanding of how race and ethnicity play out in our institutions and our daily lives? Are you ready to take a leading role to nurture a multicultural future in the face of opposing cultural currents? Come Join Us for this Life-Changing Weekend!

Weekend Activities: The training includes presentations, discussions, videos, exercises, and small group work. This 2 ½ day workshop is open to anyone who wants to journey toward making a stand against racism. Church members and church leaders of any faith, as well as non-church members are all welcome! Registration and details at the CER website.

Winter Institute Returns!

Mountain stream in winter, snow upon ice.

Winter Institute (WI) is a long held tradition of gathering over President’s Day week-end for a mid-winter retreat at Salt Fork State Park in Cambridge, Ohio. This retreat was the brainchild of a group of Summer Institute (SI) attendees who wisely determined that a year between SI gatherings is just TOO LONG to wait to gather with extended Beloved UU Community! Last year, thanks to a pandemic-related hiatus regarding in-person programming, the committee provided a virtual WI “sampler,” an evening of creating the WI community spirit on Zoom. This was a fun opportunity to connect with old and new friends and get a booster shot of WI magic to hold us over for another year. We are delighted to invite you, once again, to join us in-person for Winter Institute at Salt Fork. Join us on February 18-21, 2022. Registration is open!

Better Together Blog: Chant for the Seasons

Renee Ruchotzke

by Renee Ruchotze

One of the reasons that I am a Unitarian Universalist is that I get the freedom to engage and reengage with deep questions of ultimacy, interconnection, and meaning. I can also find or create spiritual practices with as much authenticity as I am able to bring to them (while being careful to avoid engaging in cultural misappropriation). Many of these questions and practices involve the relationship between humans and the rest of the world around us. What does it mean to be in right relationship, in mutual relationship, in sacred relationship with the earth?

Read the rest of the article

News from the UUA

Have you checked out JUUst Breathe Live? JUUst Breathe Live (YouTube) is a live stream where youth ministry has a say! Bonus Episode January 9th at 8p ET, Interview and music with Rising Appalachia. Chloe Smith and Leah Song join Eric and Shannon to discuss music, love and community. Regular Monthly episode will be January 23rd at 8p ET on Climate Justice. Noella Prescod and Zoe Johnston will be joining Eric and Shannon to talk about this important topic.

Pacific Western Region (PWR) is offering a webinar early next year called Ministry WITH Emerging Adults. It will be Tuesday, February 22, 2022 at 7 pm PT / 10 pm ET. Presented by the PWR Emerging Adult (EA) Task Force. Resources, Tips, and Insights from EA's themselves to help you up your game when it comes to supporting and ministering WITH this keystone cohort in your congregation. Not to be missed!

The New York State Convention of Universalists' Grants and Loans Program.
For years, the New York State Convention of Universalists (NYSCU) has awarded grants and three-year zero-interest loans to UU congregations and other groups, to fund worthwhile programs. Applications are now being received - the deadline for receiving them is 31 January 2022. The NYSCU Board evaluates each of the applications and decides on the recipients and the amounts based on the merits of the applications and compliance with our policies and criteria.
 - Do you have an innovative idea to strengthen your congregation?
 - Are you working to preserve Universalist history?
 - Can you envision new ways to grow Unitarian Universalism?
For more information, see the NYSCU website.

This UU Common Read invites us to ask ourselves, “Why is it important for UUs to Defund Fear?”Plan to gather for a deep dive into Zach Norris’s Defund Fear: Safety without Policing, Prisons, and Punishment (Beacon Press, 2021) in Spring 2022. While Zach Norris’s book is secular, the issues it confronts and the solutions he offers raise core theological questions for Unitarian Universalists. Groups can meet for one 90-minute session or adapt the discussion materials to go deeper together with multiple meetings. Three different, parallel discussion tracks will support any UU group, an exclusively BIPOC group, or an activist group to explore personal connections to America’s public safety story and bring UU theologies to bear. Video materials, including conversations with author Zach Norris, will be available starting in April, 2022 to support our exploration.

Get started now:

Save the Date: Intergenerational Spring Seminar April 22-24, 2022. The UUA Office at the UN is hosting its Intergenerational Spring Seminar in partnership with UU Ministry for Earth and UUSC, focusing on climate justice, forced displacement, and human rights. The Seminar is for everyone age 14+ and is expected to take place online with opportunities to participate in New York City too! Registration will open in December. Find more details at the UUA spring seminar page.

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 (ebook is now available) is BLUU Notes: An Anthology of Love, Justice, and Liberation, edited by Takiyah Nur Amin and Mykal Slack and Beyond Welcome: Building Communities of Love edited by Linnea Nelson. New! Digital Pamphlet collections - choose from the =We Are Unitarian Universalists= set or the You Are Not Alone set.

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: