Opportunities for Connection ~ September 2023

By Central East Region of the UUA

Featured Resource: CER Leadership Skill Ups

CER Leader Skill Up. CER Leadership Skill Ups for changing times monthly calls start with Worship to Center and ground your yeaer. Spetember 7th, 7-9 pm ET

The Central East Region team is excited to announce our monthly Leadership Skill Ups for Changing Times series next year! These are drop-in calls for all congregational leaders where you can learn a new skill - or fine tune an old one - with CER staff and other leaders doing similar work in other congregations. Join us on Thursday, September 7th at 7 pm for our worship service launching the year. Calls alternate monthly between Tuesdays and Thursdays – mark these dates on your calendars and stay tuned for topics as they emerge – and let us know what topics would be helpful to you. All times are 7-9 pm ET.

  • Thursday, September 7, 2023 - Where Is the Ground? A Grounding Worship for A New Year 
    Kicking off our yearlong Leadership Skill Up Series, we begin with a worship experience created just for you, the faithful UU leader. What kind of community are we creating in this time when everything and everyone is new again - forged new out of collective trauma, out of societal shifting, out of emerging needs and hopes for our world. We can find new ground together in ways that you can bring back to your people. Please join us. Led by Central East Region staff.
  • Tuesday, October 3 - Where Do We Get Volunteers? Fun, Meaning, and Connection
  • Thursday, November 9 - Renewing Your Shared Ministry in A Season of Busyness and Rest
  • Tuesday, December 5 - Raising and Protecting Funds for Your Congregation's Mission

Remaining dates: Thursday, February 1st - Tuesday, March 5th - Thursday, April 4th - Tuesday, May 7th.

Contact your primary contact for the link or see your email copy of the newsletter.

Welcome, in this Season of Return

welcome, in this season of return, with the Rev. Dr. Sofia Betancourt. Headshot of Sofia Betancourt.

The Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt, elected UUA President at General Assembly in June 2023, offers a message of welcome at the start of a new congregational year for Unitarian Universalists. Rev. Dr. Betancourt also invites all UUs into a shared ministry together to reimagine the workings and expressions of Unitarian Universalist faith, while holding on to the traditions, theology, and commitments that have made us who we are. View the video on YouTube.

UU Networkpalooza - Chesapeake Area

Diverse group Learning

Have you ever longed for a chance to talk with leaders from other congregations who are doing the same work you are? Do you find yourself at workshops just wishing you could pick the brains of all the other worship leaders/justice seekers/treasurers/Board presidents/membership teams in the room? Are you interested in an opportunity to enhance your work in your congregation by learning what others are doing in theirs?

Networkpalooza is a time to treat yourself to dedicated time to talk to others who are helping their congregations the same way you’re helping yours.

Join us September 23, 2023, online, from 1-4 pm ET. Registration is open.

Sermon of the Month Series Available

2023-2024 Sermon of the month. A program of the Congregational Life Staff of the UUA. White chalice surrounded by words

The Sermon of the Month series is a monthly subscription service providing recorded sermons that congregations can download and use for worship. Along with a transcript of the sermon, each month’s offering will include suggested readings and hymns. Speakers will be members of the Congregational Life staff, other UUA staff groups, or guest preachers from around the country.

For our September sermon, the Rev. Sarah Gibb Millspaugh, from the Pacific Western Region Congregational Life Staff, shares her sermon “Living Into the Living System.” In her sermon, she reflects on what it means to see our congregations as “living systems,” and although living systems are naturally resistant to change, beauty and power can emerge in unexpected places when we tend to our living systems.

The subscription costs $350 for 12 monthly sermons that can be used at any time. Annual Program Fund (APF) Honor Congregation will receive a $50 discount. For more information at the Sermon Series page.

Leading from the Heart

Two Red Heart Flowers in a pot

In this 3-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. Register for sessions on either Wednesdays Sept. 6, Oct. 11, and Nov. 1 from 5-6:30 pm ET or Thursdays Sept 7, Oct. 12, and Nov. 2 from 10-11:30 pm ET. Details and registration on the UUA website.

Caring for Trans Families

Muti colored informational poster

A national 3-part series that will empower congregational leaders to faithfully support our transgender/non-binary community members. In this series, we will examine what multi-faceted support looks like including pastoral support, structural support and resources to help congregations work toward radical inclusivity, and advocacy in the public sphere.

September 18, October 23 and November 20, 2023. Each session will last two hours and start at 6 pm ET. Details and registration at the event page.

Spiritual Deepening through Worship and Small Groups

a drawing of a labyrinth

This four-session course will lead participants through a process of planning a liturgical year that is authentic to their congregation, gathering resources on the year’s seasonal themes, integrating those themes through communal spiritual practice in worship, creating opportunities for spiritual practice in small groups, and inviting participants to engage in individual practices centered on the theme.

The structure of the course will include both on-demand videos and in-person virtual sessions beginning on Saturday, October 28, and continuing through Saturday, November 18, 2023. While the course is open to individuals, congregations are encouraged to have two to four people participate. The registration fee is $125 for one person, $225 for 2 people, $300 for 3 people, and $350 for 4 people.

The course is compatible with a variety of UU Holidays, Holy Days and Worship Themes, including Earth-centered Wheel of the Year celebrations and monthly theme-based subscriptions services like Soul Matters or Touchstones.

This offering from the Congregational Life staff is offered in conjunction with the Center for Congregational Spirituality. Visit their website for more information on Spiritual Deepening through Worship and Small groups.

Fall Right Relationship Team Training is Open for Registration

Two hands holding sparklers in twilight with a heart-shaped filter around the sparks.

Creating beloved community requires intention and practice. Our covenants articulate our intention, but how do we live into the practice? Right Relations Teams (RRT) are lay leaders entrusted to help the congregation practice faithful communication and creative conflict based on values of mutuality and consent.

This training is for congregational teams who will be helping their congregations live into their covenants.

In this facilitated version, you will learn with other congregations during the 6 live practice sessions. The cost of $400/team covers the facilitators and includes a code to access to training materials. Sessions are every other Thursday, 7:30pm-9:30pm ET. October 5 through December 14. Note: The training can also be taken on your own ($30/person). There are instructions for you to facilitate your own practice sessions with your team.

Threats from Without, Care from Within

UUs have long acted for justice and equity in the world. Many times, we have experienced threats from those who do not agree. Even beyond that, we always need to consider how to create safer communities for all who choose to attend.

This daylong conference will explore questions of safety and compassion through practical means. The day will include worship, workshops, panel discussions, and more on building, personal, and communal safety.

Registration fee: $10-$30-$50. Registration fees are on a sliding scale, based on your assessment of your ability to pay. Those who pay at the highest level are making a donation to help those in financial need for this event. Please remember that for a sliding scale to work, we need the same number of people with means to generously pay more to balance the needs of those who can afford less.

Register today! Registration closes on Friday, October 20th.

CERSI Workshop Proposals Now Open

Central East Region Summer Institute Logo

Do you have a great idea for a workshop for Summer Institute? Interested in leading a morning or afternoon workshop at CERSI next year? Please apply and share your proposal. Deadline Oct 30, 2023.

  • Morning seminars are classes designed for adults to learn a new skill, get creative, move and meditate or contemplate a deep topic in the company of others who share a similar interest. Details are on the form. Morning Seminar Proposal
  • Early-afternoon workshops tend to be intergenerational & open to all ages (though adult supervision may be required for younger children). Late-afternoon workshops tend to be age-segregated and usually more adult-oriented, with child-care offered. Details are on the form. Afternoon Workshop Proposal

Exploring Accountability with The UU Common Read: On Repentance and Repair

The cover of the book "On Repentance and Repair: Making Amends in an Unpaologetic World," by Danya Ruttenberg has a beige background with grey lines like cracks in a hard surface, with the title words over this. There is also a medallion that says "National Jewish Book Awards Winner."

On Repentance and Repair: Making Amends in an Unapologetic World is the 2023-24 UU Common Read. In this 2022 Beacon Press book, Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg offers a fresh perspective on how we make ourselves accountable to others.

This UU Common Read offers a glimpse into Judaism, one of Unitarian Universalism’s foundational sources, through the writings of 12th century physician and scholar, Maimonides. The book invites us to explore practices, informed by Jewish tradition, that can lead us toward meaningful atonement in our personal, community, and national lives. Discussion materials for On Repentance and Repair include a two-session workshop for in-person or online groups. While recommended as a two-part series, these discussion materials can also support a half-day workshop.

All resources for the UU Common Read can be found, along with Common Read updates, on the UUA website Look for additional videos and discussion materials in Fall 2023.

UU Common Read gatherings can be facilitated by a UU lay leader or religious professional. A co-facilitator with tech skills is recommended for online or hybrid groups.

The inSpirit Book and Gift Shop offers a 10% discount on bulk orders of On Repentance and Repair.

UU Christian Revival: Singing of Honor and Glory

Singing of Honor and Glory, UU Christian Fellowship Revival. Oct 6-7, 2023, Universalist National Memorial Church, Washington, DC.

All are invited to The Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship for a UU Christian Revival weekend held on Oct 6-7, 2023, at the Universalist National Memorial Church in Washington, DC. This will be a time of f fellowship, dinner, worship, singing, study, conversation, ritual, and celebration! All Elements that can be multiplatform will be available for online participation.

The Theme: Singing of Honor and Glory: "Then l heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea and all that is in them, singing, 'To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!'" - Revelation 5:13. To learn more and to register, please visit the revival website.

Better Together Blog: Reading This Can't Be a Priority

Megan Foley 2021

by Rev. Megan Foley

It’s AUGUST. It’s HOT. Here in Washington DC, the air is like sticky soup. August is when people get out of town or they hibernate in the air conditioning or by the pool. The roads clear out. The sky is white. There’s hardly a breeze. Some leaves just give up, turn brown and fall off their trees. Flowers pant. Everything that’s outside wilts. You know the phrase “slow as molasses”? Molasses comes to mind when you’re in DC in August.

Read the rest of the blog post

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The Central East Region is hiring!!  
If you would like to work with a great team of people, serving our congregations in the state of New York, please consider applying. Find the job description at the UUA website. New England Region is also hiring right now!

News from the UUA

The brand spanking new National Youth Advisor's Discord Channel is up and ready to spark conversations about youth ministry. Come celebrate! Come commiserate! Come case study! It's a space for our volunteers (and YOU) to create a virtual community supporting UU youth ministry. Join today.

The Three C's of Staff Relations Training - Good staff relations are a vital element in supporting healthy and vibrant congregations. Whether you are in a new transitional ministry position or serving a congregation where you are settled, connecting to and building collaborative relationships are of primary importance. The Guild of Interim Religious Educators invites you to explore “The Three C’s of Staff Relations – Covenants, Conflict, and Communities.” , September 28, 2023; 11:00 – 2:00 ET. Congregational professional staff are invited to attend as a team or as an individual.

UUA Legacy Giving Webinar, Saturday, October 14, 2023 | 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET The UUA’s Legacy Gifts Office offers a number of services, including an online workshop to assist congregations and other UU organizations in creating legacy giving programs. The webinar on Saturday, October 14, 2023 covers the basics of legacy giving and aims to equip legacy giving committees with the knowledge they need to start or refresh their program. To register for the webinar or to reach out with a question about legacy giving, email us at legacy@uua.org or call (617) 948-6509.

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 - Announcing the 2023-24 UUA Common Read: On Repentance and Repair: Making Amends in an Unapologetic World by Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg (Beacon Press, 2022). Now available is Authentic Selves: Celebrating Trans and Nonbinary People and Their Families edited by Peggy Gillespie.

The UUA is hiring for several positions. Find job descriptions and application information at their Job Openings webpage. Make sure to check out the positions in Congregational Life for both the New England and Central East Regions.

Calendar Items and News

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

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