Opportunities for Connection ~ December 2021

By Central East Region of the UUA

Featured Resource: Livestreaming & Copyright Resources

Graphic with icons of people, computer, tablet and phone over a double-circle background

Some congregations have figured out their technology for multiplatform worship. If you haven’t, or are just trying to use what you have already, you may find the recent updates to our Multiplatform Guide Book helpful. These resources include frameworks, starting points, tips and tools to help your congregation serve its mission in today's environment of virtual and in-person connection.

There’s a page on live-streaming basics with local expert Warren Brown, and a page on integrating Zoom participants and in person participants whether you want to have online participants share a sermon or participate in joys and concerns. There’s also a great video by Rev. Jim Keats, Digital Minister at Riverside Church in NY City, on tips for hybrid worship. He’s starting a YouTube channel, which is good for all of us since few of us are experts at leading worship in this era. All this and more can be found in the Multiplatform Guide Book, which is a part of LeaderLab.

Also, need help with copyright? UUA Publications, in collaboration with the UUA’s legal counsel and staff from Congregational Life, Faith Development, and WorshipWeb, is glad to announce a new resource on copyright and permissions that we hope will make it easier for congregations to determine quickly whether they need permission to use copyrighted material and obtain permission when it is needed. The new page consolidates information that was previously on separate pages and uses 5 questions to lead users to the information that is most relevant to their own circumstances. The Copyright Primer for Congregations includes information about the religious exemption in copyright law and what it does and does not cover, how copyright law applies to the online environment, permissions that some copyright holders have already granted to Unitarian Universalist congregations, how to request permissions from the UUA and other publishers when needed, and the answers to many other common questions. Please send questions and feedback to Mary Bernard, Publications Director at mbernard@uua.org.

COMPASS: Navigating the Paths to Liberation Together

Words: Compass, Navigating the paths to liberation together. December 11-12, 2021. Program Highlights: Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Rising Appalachia (Trio), Worship, Article II Study Commission, Caucus Gatherings, Panel Discussions. Black background with green half a compass rose on top, green background on bottom.

Compass: Navigating the Paths to Liberation Together is a virtual convening where we will navigate our interdependent journeys to wholeness on December 11-12, 2021. Program highlights include presentations from the Article II Study Commission, a concert from Rising Appalachia (Trio), life-giving worship, caucus gatherings, and conversations with prophetic leaders including Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs. Will join us as we continue on in our paths to liberation together?

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 using the Whova app, December 11 and 12, 2021 beginning at 10am PT/11am MT/12pm CT/ 1pm ET. Registration is open.

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.

Remember Pi Day, March 14, 2020 (3.14) when we were going to have synchronized conferences across the country for smaller congregations? There was going to be a theme of pie for everyone and lots of connecting? And...the pandemic happened instead.

Join us online at the UU Leadership Institute (UULI) on Saturday, March 12th, 2022 from 3 to 5 pm ET for A Second Slice - an updated, pandemic safe conference for smaller congregations! What will 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.

Has your small (<120 members) congregation done something interesting lately? A new partnership? A unique social justice project? A new way of connecting you 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.

News from Our Whole Lives & Parents & Caregivers Curriculum

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Workshops Added to Parents and Caregivers Curriculum
Unintended Pregnancy and Ethical Non-monogamy are the newest topics added to the free “Parents and Caregivers as Sexuality Educators” curriculum published by the UUA’s Lifespan Faith Engagement Office.

The entire program consists of 12 sessions ranging from Communication skills to Re: Hopes and Concerns for Kids’ Sexual Health, Communication, Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, Relationships, Sexual Health, Decision Making, Consent, Social Media, Pornography, Unintended Pregnancy, and Ethical Non-monogamy.

The small group ministry format is suitable for use in person or online, and individuals may also use it for self-study. The curriculum is free and can be downloaded on the UUA RE webpage.

Online OWL Facilitator Trainings Start in January
Registration opened Nov. 8 for four online Our Whole Lives facilitator trainings in January and March. These trainings are for the Grades 7-9/10-12 levels only; other training levels will become available by the end of summer 2021.

The number of in-person trainings should increase as COVID-related health statistics improve around the country. The training calendar and registration links are shared on the UUA OWL Webpage.

CERSI Job Applications Now Being Accepted!

Central East Region Summer Institute Logo

Why would someone “work” at CERSI (Summer Institute)? Folks apply for service positions/jobs for many reasons. Some enjoy the work itself, whether driving a golf cart, directing the choir or being part of the religious education program. Some find that the campership (financial assistance)that comes along with a service position helps make SI more affordable. Some find that they enjoy themselves more when they have a “job” to do. And some want to do their part to make the SI magic happen for others. Service applications are being accepted until January 3rd. Click here to see this year's jobs and how to apply. Questions? Contact Carolyn Stevens at sichair@cersiuu.org

CERSI will be held at CalU in California PA (30 miles south of Pittsburgh) during the week of July 10-16, 2022. There will be an online component for those not attending in person. Find out more information at the CERSI website&.

New Faithify Projects Just in Time for Giving Tuesday

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Faithify has several new projects out this month, including one from the Central East Region. A great idea for Giving Tuesday on November 30!

News from the CER Advisory Council

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Our Central East Region Advisory Council is pausing our ministry. Much has changed since we began our ministry in 2015. And now we must seek a new way forward together.

Over the last six years, 17 Unitarian Universalist volunteers and several UUA Staff folx (listed below), created a ministry of connection. We communicated with lay and professional leaders in our UU congregations and our UUA Regional Staff. Our CER Advisory Council created a bridge during our transition from four districts to one region. And as we transitioned from being separate districts into a fully collaborative region, our Advisory Council, congregational leaders, and regional staff built relationships and shared meaning. Thank you to all who volunteered in this vital ministry!

Learn about the changes to this program.

Better Together Blog: Are You Tired?

Beth Casebolt

by Beth Casebolt

I am tired. Are you tired? I'm tired and cranky and just want all of this craziness to stop.

I'm worried. Are you worried too? Worried about family members who are at higher risk from this virus. Worried about the impact of the uneven recovery from the pandemic on the congregations I work with, my family, my local community. Just worried.

Read the rest of the article

News from the UUA

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 GA webpage.

Human Rights Day in December: Resources for Reflection . The UUA’s International Office has created a resource for congregations to reflect on cross-cultural engagement and the role of identity in organizing for justice. The resource includes stories from our work with justice partners in India, provoking congregants to reflect on themes like identity and privilege, trust, cultural difference, relationship-building, and human rights. This guide for a 75-minute online discussion would work well as an Adult Religious Education program or even an opportunity for a congregation’s Religious Education program to partner with their Social Justice leaders to hold a reflective and inspiring online discussion. Human Rights Day is coming up on December 10! This month presents a great opportunity to hold such a conversation in your congregation.

Have you checked out JUUst Breathe Live? JUUst Breathe Live (YouTube page) is a YouTube live stream where youth ministry has a say! December 14 at 8pm is our next livestream featuring Martha Durkee Neuman talking about Resonance Organizing. In this session, we will explore the practice of listening for resonance. We will have opportunities to share stories with each other and find our points of resonance as a strategy for empathy and organizing. And starting in January we'll be with you twice a month - Mark January 9 and 23 at 8 pm ET on your calendars 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 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.The Goodreads Book Club will be reading Conversations with the Sacred: A Collection of Prayers<, edited by Manish Mishra-Marzetti and Jennifer Kelleher for the month of December.

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: