Opportunities for Connection ~ February 2022

By Central East Region of the UUA

Featured Resource: Faithify.org

image: Four hands holding sidewalk chalk draw a lightbulb symbol on a blue concrete background. text reads, "Faithify, crowdfunding Unitarian Universalist projects."

Do you Faithify? Faithify is a crowdfunding site where people fund Unitarian Universalist Ministries. We envision a people with renewed faith and a Unitarian Universalism that is more connected, relevant, and vibrant.

The Unitarian Universalist Association launched Faithify in 2014 to offer a bridge from analog stewardship methods to online direct fundraising. Any leader can learn and use the digital platform to connect to supporters and funders, leverage social networks to get the word out about their ideas, and get the support they need.

Faithify.org has become Unitarian Universalism’s crowdfunding site, where passionate individuals can invest directly in ministries that excite them. The 84% success rate shows how we embrace and are transformed by the challenge of our time. The only question we have for you is… What Will You Faithify?

Faithify can benefit your congregation's project, by reaching people who are passionate about the same things you are but aren't in your neighborhood. Faithify can spread the word of the good work you are doing and inspire others to be innovative as well. And Faithify can help us create connected communities.

Faithify has launched their newly updated site with many upgrades. Learn more about Faithify and all it offers UUs, UU ministries and UU congregations at Faithify.org.

Shift in COVID-19 Prevention Strategies from the UUA

An image of the COVID-19 virus.

The UUA recognizes that, even after the Omicron surge subsides, dealing with the COVID-19 virus will be an ongoing challenge for congregations. We are making some shifts in our COVID-19 guidance for congregations away from specific guidance based on metrics and instead offering strategies for risk reduction. Many congregations have set metrics about when it is safe to gather in person, or online-only, based on infection rate in the community. This Omicron surge, the availability of at-home tests, and the advent of vaccinations for ages five and up have made such metrics less relevant than before. The best decision-making regarding in-person gathering will need to be made by each congregation’s leaders in their local contexts. While the UUA will continue to suggest data you might track locally, our strategies are geared towards general best “risk reduction” practices as we move toward an endemic situation. For more details about the reasons for the UUA’s change in approach, visit our January update to COVID guidance.

General Assembly 2022

UUA General Assembly 2022 Porland, Oregon

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. In Person Registration and the Housing Reservation system is now open. Find out about all the plans at the UUA website.

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

A Second Slice of Pie: A Small Conference for Small Congregations, Saturday, March 12, 2022, 3-5 pm ET/12-2p PT. An opportunity for connecting, learning and sharing, A grey background with a piece of pumpkin pie and a torn piece of notebook paper next to it with words on it.

Are you in a small congregation of 120 members or fewer? Want to connect with others who are doing church the way you do – or the way you hope to? We have just the thing for you! Join us for A Second Slice of Pi: A Small Conference for Smaller Congregations. This is an opportunity for networking, connecting, sharing and learning with others, all from similar sized congregations to yours.

What will be happening? We’ll have on demand, easy to access resources housed at UU Institute plus a live, virtual 2 hour networking conference with a variety of conversational topics on March 12, 2022 from 3p-5p ET/12p-2p PT. Registration is on a sliding scale from $5-25 to fit your budget and is open now. Learn more.

Learning Opportunities for Members and Congregational Teams

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.

Widening the Welcome: A Virtual Workshop for Your Congregation's Greeting Team - February 12
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.
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.

From Reactivity to Resilience: Doing Our Inner Work in Congregations - March 5 & 26

Part I - March 5, 2022 - 2:00 to 4:00 PM (ET)
Part II - March 26, 2022 - 2:00 to 4:00 PM (ET)

This webinar series focuses on the Spiritual Leadership practice of “doing our inner work.” It is rooted in an awareness of the human tendency to fight, freeze, or flee when we are activated. It rests in a belief that congregations are called to create a container in which everyone can learn, hone and use tools that bring us through activation into resilience.
Fee per person is $25 or pay-what-you-can using our coupon codes. Learn more and register here. From the New England Region.

Jubilee 3 Online Anti-Racism Training - April 1-3
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.

The UU Institute is Expanding

Screen shot of UU Institute website with Leadership Course offerings

The UUA’s online learning website has been redesigned to help you find trainings that interest you! You’ll find faith development trainings under “learners” and leadership development under “leaders.” Training materials are divided into modules, available “on demand” as pre-recorded presentations with additional reading materials, discussion questions and other resources.

You’ll find leadership trainings for board members, stewardship teams, membership teams, and lay pastoral care teams.

You can take them individually, or sign up as a team. Course fees range from free to $30.

Summer Institute is back and ready to welcome you to Cal U!

Central East Region Summer Institute Logo

We have a new home in Pittsburgh for this year's Summer Institute. Join us at an upcoming live presentation and Q&A session to find out why hundreds of your fellow UU's like to gather for a week each summer and how you can join them.

  • Take a virtual tour of the Cal U campus
  • Discuss child, adult and intergenerational programming, worship services and both scheduled and free time activities
  • Review housing and dining options
  • Talk about costs and scholarships available to make it affordable

Sign up to attend one of multiple live presentations with a Q&A period or to get a recording of one of the sessions after it happens! Wednesday 2/23 @ 7pm, Thursday 2/24 @ 1pm, Saturday 2/26 @ 10am.

SI 2022 - Question the Unquestionable and Answer the Unanswerable
Help us answer the question of "what will the logo be for Summer Institute 2022?" The theme is all about questions and answers and we're looking for a creative design to use in print, online and on T-shirts. Break out the colored pencils or digital pen and share your ideas with us at chair@cersiuu.org by February 28, 2022.

Get Involved with the Article II Study Commission

Article II Study Resources Square

The Article II Study Commission is connecting with Unitarian Universalists throughout the Association to hear from you about what—if any—changes to Article II might lead us boldly into the future. What’s Article II? It’s the section of the UUA bylaws that serves as the home of our Principles and Sources, the UUA’s Purposes, our Inclusion clause, and Freedom of Belief Statement.

As a living faith, we must regularly revisit the documents that guide us to be sure they match our values and commitments. You are invited to utilize new resources developed by the Study Commission to engage your community in this study and share back your reflections through the Article II Individual Survey (Google Form) . Check out the new resources and scheduled opportunities to engage with the Article Study Commission in the latest communication from the Commissioners.

Better Together Blog: Telling Our Stories to Cope with COVID

Evin Carvill-Ziemer holding a door open wearing a robe and stole

by Evin Carvill-Ziemer

As the omicron surge–tsunami–hits the United States I am grateful for the protection of vaccination and yet I am braced against less deadly, but still deep impact. The impact of a form of trauma called “moral injury” or “moral distress”. I’m worried for all of us.

“Moral injury” was first described by Jonathan Shay to describe the impacts on military and veteran patients. It includes the traumas caused when we act against our morals, fail to act for our morals, witness others betray our morals, and in particular, when those in power betray what’s right. It’s similar, but somewhat different to the idea of “moral distress” first described among health care workers: when we know what’s ethically right, but are not allowed or cannot do what’s right whether caused by inadequate staffing, two conflicting values, or conflicts on the team.

Read the rest of the article

You may also want to read: A Time to Simplify by Revs. Megan Foley and Evin Carvill-Ziemer.

News from the UUA

Congregations: Host a Local Gathering for April Climate Justice Seminar!
Give your congregants a chance to connect global context with local action – and build relationships within and beyond your community. The 2022 Intergenerational Spring Seminar hosted by the UUA Office at the UN in partnership with UU Ministry for Earth and UUSC will take place online April 22 – May 1, 2022. In addition to the virtual programming, it includes an opportunity for congregations to host local gatherings, allowing Seminar attendees to connect in person with others who live nearby. Addressing the theme “Displacement and Human Rights: All In for Climate Justice,” this event aims to instill in UU youth and adults a commitment to global engagement and the skills to take action locally for climate and migration justice. Be part of the excitement! Would your congregation consider hosting a local gathering? Learn more about the 2022 Seminar and the local gatherings at the UUA website. Registration is open through April 3!

Meet & Eat Series for Religious Educators - Bring your lunch and come meet & eat with colleagues! The New England Region invites New England and Central East religious educators to a quarterly series of targeted conversations via Zoom. Bring your lunch and come meet & eat with colleagues! All sessions will be held from 12:00 noon - 2:00 p.m. eastern time. Each session will have some content provided and the opportunity to delve into questions and conversations with colleagues in small breakout groups. The first in the series on February 22, 2022 will focus on Strong and Healthy Professional Boundaries. Registration is free, and required. Please use this link to register and find out more.

Pacific Western Region (PWR) is offering a webinar 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 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

For events, webinars and congregation news and events visit the following pages: