CER Resources for Multi-site, Partnerships and Microsite Congregations

two old trees and branches

There are a number of different ways that congregations can branch out, join together or share resources. Each of these ways is described and has resources provided on its own page.

The different types of multi-site/partnership and microsite include:

Branch and Trunk Model (also known as Multisite)

Branch and Trunk Model (sometimes called "Satelllite" or "Branch Campus") model is the most common of multisite congregational partnership. These multisites emerge as a congregation establishes and grows another site (branch) or reaches out to an existing congregation to offer support which may result in joining together. A "trunk” congregation (sometimes also called a hub) anchors the network, supporting sister "branches" that extend outreach into new places and with new populations. This creates one church in many places.

Yoked Congregations

Yoked Congregations are bound by shared staff and shared programming. Each congregation retains their own budget, bylaws and church board. By joining forces to create a larger staff team or to achieve a full-time ministry, the mission of each congregation is enhanced.

Joined Congregations

Joined (sometimes called merged) congregations are a form of partnership in which two congregations decided to join their budgets, boards, programs and missions into one organization. Often, in the joining of two congregations of equal or nearly equal size and resources, they will decide to legally come together and create a new joint congregation, with a new name and a new mission in a completely new site.

Emerging and Experimental Partnerships Formats

Experimental Partnerships are not necessarily considered to be multisite, but many UU experimental efforts are in such deep relationship that thinking of them as a form of multisite can be useful.

Experimental partnerships are bound by shared space and/or financial support that often leads to members participating in the life of both partnership communities. There is a spiritual connection that goes far beyond “loaning you our money or space.”

Emerging and Experimental Partnerships include Covenanted Communities, Microsites, Conversation Cafes and Networked Congregations.

Partnership Support Resources

Resources to support partnership efforts.

About the Author

Joan Van Becelaere

Rev. Joan Van Becelaere is the Executive Director of UU Justice Ohio. She served as a Congregational Life Consultant for the Central East Region from 2007-2018. Previously, Rev. Van Becelaere was Vice President for Student Services at Iliff Theological School in Denver, CO where she also taught...

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