Opportunities for Connection ~ June 2022

Featured Resource: Resources for Boards

cartoon of four humans around a round table, view from above.

Many of you are now electing new officers and board members who will take office over the summer. We want to help you make sure that all your board members, new and returning, are prepared for their work in the upcoming church year. Here are a few resources to help them:

Help your board members, committee chairs and staff stay in the loop. Do update your congregation leadership information at the UUA website (myuua.org). Instructions for updating your Leadership Information can be found at the UUA website . Remember, we get our information from the UUA, so you do need to update there.

For those who have not served on a church board in the past, or need a refresher course, we offer our annual Helpful Board Habits Series. This series will have pre-work on the UU Institute site coupled with in person meetings that includes small group breakouts to discuss what was learned that month. The series meets on Tuesday nights from 6:30-8 pm - August 16, September 20 and October 11. Serving on a church board is not like serving on any other type of board, nonprofit or for profit, and we address some of those differences and challenges.

For those who need assistance in planning and running a board retreat to start out your year on the right foot, please consider attending our online workshop on this topic on Tuesday, August 2 from 6:30-8:30 pm. We encourage anyone who may be running a board retreat or who wants to know more about this process to attend - board officers, staff, and board members. Registration opens soon.

Additional board and leadership trainings are available on the UUA website at LeaderLab. The LeaderLab training is free. UU Institute has two courses, Centered Leadership Part 1 001 and Centered Leadership Part 2 101 that can help any new or experienced leader learn more about their role in the congregation. These have a small charge for them.

Questions? Please reach out to your Primary Contact.

General Assembly 2022 Highlights and Workshops for Small Congregation

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 to 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 of varying shapes and sizes.

Are you in a small congregation? The Small Congregations Task Force, made up of members of the Congregational Life Staff Group, have curated a list of workshop we recommend for small congregations. You can read the full list at our blog post.

Business Mini-Assembly Change - This year, the business mini-assembly will take place before GA begins on Saturday, June 11, 2022 at 4pm ET / 3pm CT / 2pm MT / 1pm PT. Delegates will access the mini-assembly via the delegate platform.

The UUA board is offering two Business Orientation webinars in June. Visit the UUA Board page to see dates, times and registration links.

Program Highlights of GA include the Ware Lecture with Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, Sunday Morning Worship with Rev. Gretchen Haley, the annual Service of the Living Tradition with Pastor Jacqueline Duhart and the annual Synergy Bridging Services. See the full schedule of events on the GA website.

Join us and be a part of this multiplatform event, be a part of important decisions of the association and participate in workshops, worship and more! Registration is open!

Compensation and Staffing Survey: For All Congregations with Paid Staff

A laptop resting on a gray sofa with a bright window in the background. Graphs and data are displayed on the screen.

Greetings from Jan Gartner and Sean Griffin! We're the Compensation Team within the UUA Office of Church Staff Finances. At the beginning of May, we launched a Compensation and Staffing Survey to help us learn how our congregations are staffed and what staff are paid. We’ve publicized it through numerous channels and responses have been rolling in. Has your congregation responded yet? (If you are unable to verify, drop a note to Comp@uua.org and we will check.)

We're eager to begin analyzing the information, but we’ll hold the survey open through June 10 to enable even more congregations to participate. The staff member or lay leader most familiar with staff hours and compensation should complete the survey. We think they will find it quite intuitive, but we advise everyone to start by reading our Compensation and Staffing Survey LeaderLab page, which outlines the information needed, provides a PDF preview, offers tips for completion, and links to the survey itself. Once the necessary information is gathered, it should take just a minute or two to enter your congregational information plus 1-2 minutes per employee.

As we rethink our approach to providing salary recommendations, having "actuals" will help us ensure that our recommendations are useful and realistic. Thank you for sharing your congregation’s information!

General Assembly: $$ for Youth and Young Adults

Youth and Young Adult Travel Reimbursement uua.org/ga-scholarship. Includes GA logo.

In addition to the registration discounts and housing credits available to youth and young adults attending General Assembly (more info on the Financial Aid Information Page), Lifespan Faith Engagement is offering travel reimbursements through the Katie Tyson and Davidoff Funds. Youth and young adults traveling to UUA events can request travel reimbursement by providing anticipated costs or travel receipts. Black, Indigenous, and People of Color youth and young adults can request up to $625, white youth and young adults can request up to $250 by filling out this Travel Reimbursement for UUA Events form .

Sowing Seeds Youth Justice Workshop

Sowing Seeds, August 3-6, Pittsburh PA, Youth, Justice, UU Faith. Image of white lights scattering across a black background.

August 3-6, 2022, Pittsburgh, PA

Save the Date! Registration opens June 1st for Sowing Seeds, a UU Youth justice focused, in-person, immersive workshop. August 3-6 Abby Crum, Sara Dendy-Green, Gina Collignon, Shann Harper and more staff tba, will be gathering with high school age youth to build community, dig into the local Pittsburgh social movement scene and explore what seeds we’re called to plant and nurture in the world.

This is a collaborative project between the UU College of Social Justice and the Unitarian Universalist Association. It’s roots connect to the Grounded and Resilient Organizing Workshop (GROW) for UU Young Adults and UUCSJ Activate programs. The cost to attend this workshop is free and travel will be reimbursed thanks to the generous funding from UUCSJ.

Please share with UU high schoolers! This event is for anyone in the US and Canada.

Our Whole Lives Facilitator Trainings in Person Return!

OWL Image

Our Whole Lives Facilitator Trainings in person are back! Thus far we have two trainings on the books, check back for updates:

Our Whole Lives Facilitator Training for K-1/4-6, Bethesda, MD, July 15-17, 2022

Our Whole Lives Facilitator Training for Adult Levels, Columbia, MD, Sept 30-Oct 2

Our Whole Lives (OWL) is an excellent, comprehensive sexuality education program that offers our young people the opportunity to explore their values, gain accurate information about topics that are often not easily accessible. The overall goal of the Our Whole Lives program is to help participants gain the knowledge, values, and skills they need to lead sexually healthy, responsible lives. The goals of this workshop are to prepare the participants to implement the curriculum as well as the Sexuality and Our Faith component. Through a varied program including practice and participation activities, the trainers will cover implementation techniques, curricula details, and technical information. You can see all trainings at the UUA Our Whole Lives Facilitator Page.

Summer Institute 2022 - In Person and On Line!

Central East Region Summer Institute Logo

Join us at CERSI July 10-16 in person or online. Yes that’s right for the first time we are doing a multi-platform model Summer Institute in the Central East Region. The link to register for Online CERSI can be found at the bottom of the CERSI Registration page . Online Registration is now open and is $100. In person registration is still available.

So join us in person or online the week of July 10-16, 2022 for a week of fellowship and fun as we build a beloved community as we Question the Unquestionable and Answer the Unanswerable with Kazim Ali.

Better Together Blog: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Beth Casebolt

by Beth Casebolt

The other day I was watching my grandsons play. As is typical for their ages, their activities are made up on the spot and the rules are always difficult to figure out to anyone not in the midst of the game, but somehow, some way, they both know what is happening. Usually these games are imaginary space flights, or car races, or something similar. On this day, one said, "Oh we're crashing!" And the other responded immediately with, "No, I have the emergency booster rockets ready here (sound effect of rockets firing)." And all was right in their world.

If only the real world could be like that. We've spent a lot of time over the past two years dealing with those unexpected twists and turns in our lives. Every time we think we have things figured out a new variant emerges, we have new vaccine information, or case counts rise once more. Masks are on, and then off, and then on again (depending on where you live). It's the old adage two steps forward, one step back - every time we think we're making progress back to "life as it was" something happens to push us back into that waiting zone.

Read the rest of the article

News from the UUA

The Unitarian Universalist Association's (UUA) Presidential Search Committee has start their work for the 2023 UUA Election. The Presidential Search page, you'll find the official job description for UUA President, the portion of the UUA Bylaws that describe the nomination process, the application deadline, how to apply, and who to contact for more information. You can learn more from the UU World Article on the process. Do note that applications are now being accepted through July 15, 2022.

JUUst Breathe Live is now a podcast! Find us at any place you get your podcasts, or still on YouTube. Be sure to like and subscribe our YouTube Channel, and follow us on Instagram - JuustbreathePod … spread the word! And JUUst Breathe. Also they will be broadcasting from General Assembly!

Does your congregation have staff? You need the Benefits Tune Workbook, now in a new format. Our popular Benefits Tune-up Workbook, now in its 5th edition, will help you understand key documents, eligibility criteria, enrollment windows, and more while providing a path to putting sound systems in place to ensure compliance with Plan rules. We urge all congregations participating in any UUA benefit plans to complete the Workbook annually - as well as whenever a new congregational leader becomes a responsible party. Make it a team effort among a small group of staff and lay leaders who have benefits administration responsibilities.

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 - The UUA Common Read is Defund Fear: Safety Without Policing, Prisons, and Punishment by Zach Norris. Various resources and materials for the Common Read are being posted at the UUA Common Read page. Available now for order is Swinging on the Garden Gate: A Memoir of Bisexuality and Spirit by Elizabeth Jarret Andrew.

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: