Staff Offerings for Congregations and Clusters

Central East Region Staff, October 2021

Central East Region staff.

These workshops have been created by the staff of the Central East Region to present for congregations or groups of congregations. If you see a workshop you would like offered in your area, please reach out to your primary contact to start the conversation. If you are interested in a topic that isn't listed here, then your primary contact can work with you to see if we can create something or find something else that fits your needs. To find out how to reach your primary contact, visit the primary contact page.

If you are looking for youth conferences, chaplain training or River Rising Leadership School please check our Youth Programs section and if you are looking for Our Whole Lives Trainings, Renaissance Modules, or other RE trainings, please check our RE Trainings page.

Not finding what you want below? Check the UUA LeaderLab for blog posts, recordings of webinars and other resources.

Congregational Racism Assessment

Central East Regional staff can meet with eligible congregations or groups of congregational representatives to work through a congregational racism assessment that Paula Cole Jones developed in 2019. This assessment can be a good way for a congregation to be more deliberate with their thinking and documentation of work to advance our institutional goals of dismantling racism and white supremacy.

Ministerial & Staff Start Ups

Ministerial start ups are typically offered in the first year of a new minister’s ministry or for the start of a new staff member like DREs. The workshop may involve an array of lay leaders and congregants, including past and present members of the Board, Committee on Ministry, search committee, and others. While there are common parts to many start ups, there is not a standard outline, because each congregation and minister have slightly different needs and the workshop is tailored for that. Start ups are also tailored for the type of ministry such as settled, part-time, contract or even a congregation moving to being lay-led. Congregations have common needs at the start of a new ministry, whatever the form that ministry might take. Learn more about start ups and how to request one.

Board Basics

Why train your Board of Trustees about core leadership principles in house, or do without training at all? Send them to this one day event where they’ll learn the basics of what they need to be healthy and effective leaders in a congregation. Featuring: Governance Overview, Role of the Board Member, How to Manage Dissent, Attributes of Good Board Leaders, Plus: Time to Connect with Area Leaders.

Building Authentic Diversity: Skill Building

Practice buildings relationships effectively across difference - including ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, gender, and more. Using the frame of intercultural competency this workshop builds concrete skills for intercultural communication.

Building Authentic Diversity: Analytic Framework

Intercultural competency provides a strong framework for transforming our communities so we are able to build relationships effectively across all differences. Leave understanding how to advance your own development and your community’s.

Healthy Communication Practices

“He said, she said, they said, and now we have a conflict!”
“I don’t remember what we fought about, but I do remember how I felt when you yelled at me.”
“When I hit the ‘send’ key, I didn’t expect this reaction!”
“Now that we are in the parking lot, let me tell you what I really think…”
With so many ways to mis-communicate and mis-understand in our congregations, we need to develop healthy communication habits and norms. This workshop will give you the tools for healthy, direct and compassionate communication among your leaders, members and friends.

How to Be a Strategic Board

Every congregational Governing Board is challenged by the way the operational details of their religious community pulls them away from focusing on the Mission, Vision, and Future of the congregation. This workshop, designed to be attended by either individual congregational leaders, or by Board teams together, will equip congregational Board Members and Leaders to center the work of the Governing Board in the Religious Leadership our congregations need, while effectively delegating the operational responsibilities of congregational life.

Lay Pastoral Care

Providing Pastoral Care is a skill that takes time and intention to develop. This skill-building workshop for Lay-Pastoral Care providers and teams is designed to develop skills in focused listening, pastoral presence and communication, and emotional intelligence. It also explores the nature of both lay and professional pastoral care, and the roles and boundaries of each.

Leadership Development Day

Congregational leaders learn the fundamentals of good leadership, including systems thinking, healthy communication, leading in alignment with mission and vision, understanding emotional triggers, and finding their own center as a leader.

Leadership 21st Century Reset

UU Congregational life is changing at lightning speed and how we recruit, train and support leaders requires new thinking and new practices. This program focuses on topics such as, how to recognize and equip emerging leaders, practices to support and nurture existing leaders, creating a “path to leadership,” and ideas for creating clear leadership succession plans. Strategies for congregations of all sizes will be included and congregations are encouraged to attend a team of leaders for maximum impact.

Membership, Leadership & Outreach in Smaller Congregations

Smaller congregations often have questions that have to do with their people. How do you let outsiders know your faith community exists? How do you welcome visitors warmly and compellingly? How do you encourage greater commitment to the congregation? And how do you keep your leaders inspired and energized? All these questions hearken back to a common question about how you relate to the people who make up your congregation - or may come to you soon. In this workshop, you'll get some ideas and frameworks that may help you proceed more confidently on all of these fronts. Plus, you'll get the opportunity to learn from the real experts - leaders of other small congregations. This workshop is intended to be offered to several congregations at a time, and is most helpful when attended by congregational teams.

Multicultural Welcome

Do you welcome? Want to know how to better welcome people of various identities to our UU communities? Learn tips and practice ways to be welcoming to all people coming to your door. Especially good for greeting teams, but useful for everyone. Includes a “mock coffee hour” for practice.

Path to Membership

Congregational growth is most easily measured in numbers – a tangible representation of how many of us there are and how we are supporting the mission and vision of the congregation. In some congregations, the decision to become a “member” is a milestone representing an individual or family passage from “visitor” to finding a more permanent place in the community. As our understanding of membership as an indicator of growth changes, many congregations are redefining membership as more of a continuing journey than a single endpoint. Congregations are finding success by creating a path that helps newcomers deepen their faith, connect relationally and grow their leadership capacity. This workshop will introduce a process to create a path that will guide individuals and families from their first visit to greater connection and engagement within the community.

Religious Education Vision Workshop

As new models and new ways of engagement emerge, the need to reassess and revision the faith development ministry of congregations is a high priority. This workshop will include an introduction to the values and vision behind Tapestry of Faith, a set of UU curricula for all ages as well as models such as Spirit Play, MakerSpace and Way Cool Sunday School for the 21st Century. Congregations are encouraged to attend as teams, including both professional and lay leaders, and each group will leave with a draft version of a vision for their own program.

Restorative Practices

Covenant is the silk that joins UU congregations, communities, and individuals together in a web of interconnection. The practice of promising to walk together is the precious core of our creedless faith. But what do we do when covenants are broken? Restorative practices, which involve the skilled use of Circles, provide an opportunity to identify and address harms, restore relationships and mend community. This training will give an overview of restorative practices, skills and will include hands-on Circle exercises to use what you’ve learned. We especially encourage Youth Leaders, Committees on Ministry and Church Boards to attend.

Revitalizing the Smaller Congregation

Running a small church always comes with some challenges, but maybe things have been on a downward swing for your congregation for a while. Money is getting tighter, your pool of volunteers is getting smaller, your visitors and new members are getting fewer and the way things have worked before don’t feel like they’re working now. This program takes a look at national trends in religions that may be at play, examines some dynamics that may be at work in your congregation, and prepares your congregation to take an important big picture look at how your congregation is organized with an eye to focusing your sense of purpose and your activity for a new age. You can also get this information by taking Rev. Megan's online course at the UU Institute. This workshop is most helpful when taken congregational teams.

Shared Ministry Day

A day of dynamic creative interchange as we co-create our vision for shared ministry. Invite anyone involved or interested in programs or ministries (worship, pastoral care, social justice, faith development, social events, hospitality, etc.). Practice fun and effective ways of working and learning together, then use what we’ve learned to activate ministries and programs! Working together in trust and mutuality makes space for creativity and joy. The structure of the day will be be based on principles of circle leadership, such as we practice in covenant groups and restorative practices. Circles are based on the values of consent and mutuality in service of the mission. Each ministry operates as connected fractal circles (similar to Peace Circles or Covenant Groups) that enable organic communication and coordination.

Stewardship in the 21st Century

As revenues decrease and expenses increase (particularly the cost of benefits for staff), congregations must re-imagine how they engage in honest dialogue about money and how they can shift the attitudes and culture away from one rooted in scarcity to one of abundance. Taking into consideration the demographic profile of our congregations, changes in tax law, and the changing economic landscape, congregational teams will assess their stewardship activities in the current context. What is no longer working for us? What needs to change in our conversations about money and resources to support the ministries that feed our spirit and bring love and justice to the world? Congregational teams will look more deeply into the “why” of their stewardship vision, beyond the dollar and cents. Resources and updated practices for annual and capital campaigns, legacy gift programs and stewardship education will be part of the workshop.