Opportunities for Connection ~ March 2023

By Central East Region of the UUA

Featured Resource: UUA Presidential Forums

Graphic with UUA logo and list of dates and locations of 2023 UUA Presidential Forums

There will be a series of four presidential candidate forums, starting in March, to allow delegates and members to learn more about Rev. Dr. Sofia Betancourt. Planned in concert with the Election Campaign Practices Committee with support from UUA staff, each forum will offer both on-site and virtual participation. There will also be an additional forum during General Assembly in June.

All Unitarian Universalists are welcomed and encouraged to engage with the presidential candidate forums and the process as a whole, to ensure our next UUA President may establish the foundation for their leadership with broad participation.

General Assembly 2023 - Ware Lecturer and Choir Registration

Faithfully Becoming: General Assembly in Pittsburgh, June 21 - 25, 2023

General Assembly 2023 is coming to Pittsburgh, PA! Join us June 21-25, 2023 in-person or virtually to worship, witness, learn, connect, and make policy for the Association through democratic process.

This year's Ware Lecturer is Imani Perry, the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University and a faculty associate with Gender and Sexuality Studies and Jazz Studies. In the summer of 2023 she will join the faculty at Harvard University as a Radcliffe Professor. Perry is also a contributing writer for The Atlantic and the author of seven books. The Ware Lecture will take place on Saturday, June 24 at 7 pm ET and requires registration to view the live stream or attend in-person.

Choir registration is now open! General Assembly Choir registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. You must be registered for General Assembly to participate in the choir (you may register for choir first). This year, all GA Choir rehearsals will be multi-platform, to allow all choir participants to be included in the process. Details and registration links can be found on the GA Choir Page.

Do note that registration is open for virtual and in-person participation. Rates go up March 1!

Stay tuned for more deadlines and announcements for children's programming, choir registration, delegate workshops, and more in the coming months. All details and information can be found on the UUA GA Webpages.

Jubilee 3 Anti-Racism Training

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. March 24-26, 2023, online. Image of a chalice with a candle surrounded by a rainbow colored scarf.

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! March 24-26, 2023 online. Registration and details at the CER website.

Summer Institute Registration Opens March 1

The call is coming from inside the house: Preemptive radical inclusion and practices for witness, self examination and change. Central East Region 2023 Summer Institute. Image of a rotary dial phone.

Our second year at PennWest University (formerly CalU) is scheduled and we're looking forward to seeing you there! We'll have campers from a larger area this year as folks from UUMAC (Unitarian Universalist Mid-Atlantic Community) join with CERSI (Central East Region Summer Institute). Join us July 9-15, 2023 at PennWest in California, PA.
2023 Theme - The Call is Coming from Inside the House: Preemptive Radical Inclusion and Practices for Witness, Self Examination and Change.

Our Theme Speaker this year is CB Beal (they/them/theirs), a storyteller, educator, and speaker who is known for their humor, insight, ability to use their own foibles and unfortunate life experiments as cautionary tale, and to hold space where people can be braver and safer, facilitating learning experiences where people get to make their next move towards justice. Through stories, reflections, and conversation about practices of preemptive radical inclusion, CB will help us explore our capacity for witness, self examination and change.

Registration opens March 1, Scholarship Deadline is May 31. Learn more today at the CERSI website.

UUA/UUMA Neurodiversity Skill Up

Headshot of Mackenzie MacDade. A woman of color with bleached locs, a black bandana, purple glasses, and dark lipstick speaks into a mic, pointing one finger up

Save the date: March 21 2-4pm ET/11am-1pm PT Introduction to ADHD with Mackenzie MacDade

The sixth in our Supporting Neurodivergence in Our Congregations Skill Up series, we are excited to welcome Mackenzie McDade to explore ADHD with us, including the diversity of ways, even unusual ways, ADHD can show up. Mackenzie MacDade is a 33 year old, queer woman of color, teaching artist, feminist, part time poet and general rabble rouser. She got her start in feminism from a book of feminist nursery rhymes, and her start in pop culture analysis from 9 years of homeschooling (translation: 9 years of TV and movie watching). A firm believer in queering the collective consciousness, she strives to inspire people to redesign their idea of normal and step out their comfort zone. She takes inspiration from Gertrude Stein, Buffy, Angela Davis, Faith and bell hooks. Someone once described her as “The love child of Angela Davis and Ru-Paul” and she thinks that just about sums it up. Details and registration can be found on the UUA website.

Intergenerational Spring Seminar 2023

Promotional image of the UU@UN 2023 Intergenerational Spring Seminar, "Demilitarization & Abolition: Resist Policing and Empire," April 1-3, 2023, featuring photo of keynote presenter Andrea Ritchie and the cover of her co-authored book "No More Police"

The UU Office at the United Nations is excited to announce that the 2023 Intergenerational Spring Seminar will take place April 1-3, 2023, with the theme "Demilitarization & Abolition: Resist Policing and Empire." The event, planned in close partnership with the UU Service Committee & the UU College of Social Justice, will be a multiplatform event, held in-person in Minneapolis, MN and online. More details to follow, registration is open!

All In-Person and Youth registration closes March 15; Adult Online Registration closes March 30.

Leadership Development: Leading from the Heart Registration Now Open!

Two Red Heart Flowers in a pot

In this three-part series for budding and experienced leaders, participating will ground you in your own spiritual soil, acknowledge roots, discern flowers, find abundance, and preserve seeds to keep the harvest going.

Topics will include: UU and ancestral theology, the synergy of passion and mission, living out of conviction

When: March through May, participants will spend about 4 hours a month in a variety of solo work, small group discussion (once per month on group’s time frame) and a full group monthly meeting.
Full Group Sessions: 4th Tuesdays-March 28, April 25 & May 23, 5-6:30 pm Eastern / 4-5:30 pm Central / 3-4:30 pm Mountain / 2-3:30 pm Pacific / 1-2:30 pm Alaska / 12-1:30 pm Hawaii

Who: Lay leaders in different areas of ministry (not limited to board). Congregational teams are encouraged but not required. Whether you have years of committee experience or are thinking about getting involved for the first time, this program is for you! Registration will close at Noon Pacific Time on March 21.

Fee: $60 per person, sliding scale, sliding scale based on your assessment of your ability to pay. Details and registration on the event webpage!

Anti-Racism Resource Spotlight: Beloved Conversations Course at Meadville Lombard

Megan Foley 2021

by Rev. Megan Foley, from the Better Together Blog.

One way for UUs to deepen their personal antiracism work is to take the Meadville Lombard course, Beloved Conversations. Even better is when a group or a whole congregation take it together! Congregations report that their antiracism efforts deepen and broaden when Beloved Conversations work is widespread. And now that Beloved Conversations is online, everyone can participate!

Read the rest of the blog post

Better Together Blog: Looking Back on Seventeen Years

Patricia Hall Infante

by Patricia Infante

As I prepare to retire from the Central East staff, it seems like the right time to do a little looking back at where we’ve been together. When I began my service to our wider denomination in 2006, we had yet to embrace or even consider how dominant technology would become as a tool for learning and building capacity. WOW, we’ve come a long way in that regard! Imagine if you will: no webinars, no zoom meetings, limited internet access (remember ethernet cables?), and not even an inkling of what was to come in the way of multiplatform services and asynchronous learning. I feel grateful and proud of the way that our Congregational Life staff has built learning platforms such as the UU Leadership Institute, LeaderLab and other incredible resources to help our congregations thrive, along with incredibly successful national initiatives such as UU the Vote, Side with Love and Widening the Circle of Concern. Paired with the resourcefulness and willingness of congregations to adapt, the way we “do church” has been transformed in a remarkably short period of time.

Read the rest of the article

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News from the UUA

Scholarships for Seminarians. Are you a lay leader in Unitarian Universalism who will be entering your first year of seminary in 2023, or are undertaking undergraduate work to prepare for seminary? Or do you know someone who fits this description? Each year the Rev. Chuck and Nancy Thomas Scholarship supports a student in the first year of seminary or in preparatory academic work for seminary training. The UUA’s Thomas Scholarship was founded in 1998 to honor Rev. Chuck Thomas’ career in the Unitarian Universalist ministry and his family’s long-standing commitment to lay leadership. Thomas Scholars qualify for this award by demonstrating their outstanding commitment to Unitarian Universalism as lay leaders. To apply, applicants must email a completed application along with two letters of recommendation, a resume, and a two to three page essay that describes their path to seminary, highlighting their work as a lay leader in their congregation and in the larger community. For more information and to find the application for this scholarship and other ministerial scholarships available from the UUA, please visit the UUA Ministry webpage. Applications open on February 15 and must be submitted no later than April 14, 2023.

EqUUal Access Carolyn Cartland Sermon Contest
Since 2016, EqUUal Access has sponsored an annual contest for sermons related to disability. It is named after Carolyn Cartland, an early president of EqUUal Access. This annual contest highlights disability-related themes and topics. Entry deadline: May 1. One cash prize of $500. When feasible, the winner may be invited to present their sermon at an EqUUal Access event during UUA General Assembly. Travel costs to GA cannot be supported. For specific requirements and more information, go to: Information for Submitting a Sermon

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. Learn more about the work of the Disaster Relief Fund. 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 a list of virtual speakers, check it out to see who is available! Visit 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 rder is The Rough Side of the Mountain: Black Women's Ministries in Unitarian Universalism , edited by Rev. Dr. Qiyamah Rahman. Now available for purchase is Why Can't I Fix it? The Questions We Ask When We Love Someone with Addiction by Rev. Nation Detering. The Discussion Guide for the 2022-23 Common Read: Mistakes and Miracles: Congregations on the Road to Multiculturalism by Nancy Palmer Jones and Karin Lin.

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: