Opportunities for Connection - July 2024

Featured Resource: CER Chalice Lighter Program


Are you a chalice lighter? Are you one of the more than 1100 members who give a small amount three times a year to support regional congregational projects? Helping neighboring congregations to realize their dreams is a splendid way to cooperatively grow the faith. Their successes spur us all on to greater learning and innovation.
Chalice Lighters fund grants that help make these dreams a reality for our congregations:

  • Stretch to make their dreams into program realities.
  • Support new congregations in their fledgling stages.
  • Purchase a new congregational home, or expand or repair a current building.
  • Add or expand staff positions.

Our current call benefits the UU Congregation of the Wyoming Valley in making their building more accessible to serve their members and the greater community. Learn more about this project.

If you think your congregation has a project that one of these grants can help fund, please check out the Grants FAQ page. The next Intent to Apply deadline is August 1 for grants to be given out in November.

If you would like to support congregations that are growing and doing outreach, please sign up to be a Chalice Lighter!

CER is Hiring!

The Central East Region is hiring a Congregational Life Staff member who will be replacing Rev. Sunshine Wolfe. The congregational assignments will be in the Western PA and Northern Ohio area (the purple markers on the map).

Questions? Please contact Rev. Megan Foley, Regional Lead. Read the full job description and how to apply (PDF).

Please Update Your Leadership Data!

Central East Region UUA Logo

It’s that time of year again, when many congregations are electing new leaders and appointing new committee chairs in preparation for the new church year.

Please remember that, in order to keep us and the UUA up-to-date with these changes, your congregation needs to login to your UUA account at my.uua.org and update your leadership. This is the same place you update your UU World subscriptions. You can find full instructions on the UUA website.

Please note that if you do not include emails addresses for leaders, they will not receive important notifications from either the UUA or the region.

Do note that when you make updates at the UUA it can take up to a month for those updates to filter down to our database and email lists. Please be patient. Also please note that if you reach out to us to make these changes we can do it for our database, but not for the UUA - the information only flows in one direction at this point.

In-Person Our Whole Lives Trainings: Two Locations!

A black-and-white image that is abstract.

Our Whole Lives Facilitator Training for Elementary Levels, August 2-4, 2024, Wilmington, DE

Our Whole Lives Facilitator Training for Secondary Levels, August 2-4, 2024, Pittsburgh, PA

Do check our calendar often for updates.

Our Whole Lives (OWL) is an excellent, comprehensive sexuality education program that offers participants the opportunity to explore their values and 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.

Please Share Your Pledge Data

a light green box with a large question mark made out of dollar signs

(So We Can Track Trends In Giving)
Data is essential to all of us, but we need your help in supplying it! Please participate in the survey put out by the UUA’s partner Stewardship for Us.

Learn more and take the survey.

TEAM - The Emerging Adult (EA) Ministry for UUs - is looking for new members

orange hexagon with an open door center with a chalice in it. Reads NEAT Est 2023. National Emerging Adult Task Force

The leadership body for this group is called NEAT - The National Emerging Adult Taskforce and we are always looking for new team members. Highlights of our work this year include nationalizing our pastoral care network, partnering with YARN (Young Adult Revival Network) on newsletters, worship, and small group ministry, as well as sharing resources directly supporting EAs (18-24 years old), and fashioning a forthcoming GA workshop. If you think you know an emerging adult leader who might want to join this spectacular group from all over the nation, please have them submit a quick, easy application here.

Two Timely Topics From the UUA Office of Church Staff Finances

Office of Church Staff Finances Logo (OCSF)

Staffing Sustainably and Faithfully
Many congregations are revisiting their staffing structure and/or struggling to maintain their current level of staffing. If your congregation is among them, check out our new page in LeaderLab: Staffing Sustainably and Faithfully. You’ll find history and context, important reminders and practices, and a variety of strategies to consider.

Exempt Salary Threshold Increase July 1
For nearly a century, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has been protecting workers from exploitation through a minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping requirements, and youth employment restrictions. Employers have the option of exempting certain employees from the FLSA provisions if they meet specific requirements. Are any of your staff classified as exempt under the FLSA? The exemptions have a minimum salary requirement, and that threshold increased on July 1 from $684/week to $844/week; it is scheduled to rise further on January 1, 2025. If an exempt staff member does not meet the new threshold, you’ll need to reclassify them as nonexempt or raise their salary.

Important Note: Some staff, including your ministers, may be exempt under the “ministerial exception,” which has no salary requirement. This change has no impact on these employees.

Check out the Exempt or Nonexempt section of our Worker Classification page in LeaderLab – and reach out to Comp@uua.org with questions.

Check out our Congregational Salary Program and sign up here for Compensation and Staffing News, our monthly newsletter.

Mosaic Fall Conference - Save the Date!

Multicolored M

Save The Date! Join Unitarian Universalists from across the Association between October 18 - 20, 2024 at Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Bethesda, MD for the Mosaic Fall Conference. As part of the ongoing work to dismantle racism and oppression, this will be a multi-platform time of skill-building and resource sharing, spiritual grounding and transformation. Registration will open on Thursday, August 1, 2024.

Announcing the UUA's Mosaic Lifespan Anti-Racism Curriculum Series Launch

Random and colorful pieces of glazed tile cemented into a mosaic.

The Mosaic Hub, the UUA's online central location for anti-racism resources, is proud to announce this week's launch of the Mosaic Lifespan Anti-Racism Curriculum Series! This series provides K-adult with a multi-media approach to age-appropriate lessons in understanding racism and how we can work together to dismantle the systems and institutions that uphold it.

On June 22nd, the first three lessons of all curricula (K-1st, 2nd-3rd, 4th-5th, Middle School, High School, Emerging Adult, BIPOC adult, and General Adult) are available to those who complete the free self-paced facilitator training. Go to our website for more information and a link to the UU Institute training course, Facilitating for Transformation.

Side with Love Good Trouble Check-in

July 16 at 5pm PT / 8pm ET
Join our bi-monthly (every other month) check-ins to review your congregation’s progress, talk through any challenges and provide peer support. Please send at least one member of your Good Trouble Team to this meeting.
Register Here

Reimagine Together: From An Extractive Age To A New Era UU Climate Justice Revival

Image of two heads with flowers on them. Rads: Reimagine Together: From An Extractive Age to A New Era

September 28-29, 2024
UUs are coming together to inspire, reawaken, and transform our churches through climate justice. Bring your justice teams, problem solvers, and dreamers. The planning team will provide everything needed: facilitation toolkits, training, music, projects, coordinated justice action, and more. No matter your congregation’s size or resources, you can join and together we will enter a new era of climate action. Let's go—appoint two volunteer facilitators who will be trained to participate. Register Here

Better Together Blog: CER Changes in 2024

photo of Rev. Sunshine Jeremiah Wolfe in black shirt and rainbow stole, using a microphone, giving the closing at Ohio Pride

by Rev. Sunshine Wolfe

Rev. Sunshine Jeremiah Wolfe is announcing that they will be leaving the Central East Region on July 1 to move to the Pacific Western Region as their Regional Lead. Hear what they have to say about this move.

Read the rest of the article

You may also be interested in Introducing Ember Kelley - Youth and Emerging Adult Ministry Central East liaison from Lifespan Faith Engagement, to learn more about this new staff relationship.

Please note that the Better Together blog will be taking a break for the month of July. We'll have a post on July 1 and then be back on August 12.

Sign up for our weekly email!

News from the UUA

The Renaissance and Music Leadership Professional Development Programs provide Unitarian Universalist Religious Professionals learning communities within which they can easily access applicable skills and tools for religious leadership. Courses are also open to interested lay leaders. Check out the lists of classes, these are great resources!

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.

New publications from the UUA - Now available as an ebook, Love at the Center by Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt. Available for pre-order is Blessing It All: Rituals for Transition and Transformation edited by Heather Concannon and Allison Palm. Check out the UUA bookstore for all Beacon Press and Skinner House books.

The UUA is hiring for several positions, including several positions in other regions. 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: