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Retooling for New RealitiesA Year-Long Learning Community for Congregational Leaders

By Renee Ruchotzke

Retooling for New Realities: A Year-Long Learning Community for Congregational Leaders

This is a time of expansive change. Our faith communities are experimenting and collaborating as never before. How might we bring more intention to what congregations are already doing? 

Retooling for New Realities is an opportunity for your congregation to become thought partners with other UU congregations in cohorts organized (as much as possible) by size, regional culture and challenges. Experienced lay leaders, working with UUA staff, will facilitate online gatherings for congregational leaders to learn together and share experiences with one another. From experience (General Assembly, Regional Gatherings, Leadership Schools, etc.) we know that when congregations meet with other congregations, they generate a creative interchange of ideas. 

These times also offer the opportunity to recommit to our intentions and aspirations as faith communities. With the need to socially distance, the urgent pressure for racial justice, and the pending threats of climate change, our communities have the incentive to retool our congregations to help shape and live into a survivable future. 

Our hope is that as innovation and experiment are shared nimbly and effectively among participating congregations though this program, UUA program staff will also be able to draw from what is learned to provide resources for all UU congregations in the spirit of reciprocity.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Sign Up for a Sample Session and Opportunity to Ask Questions

Participating congregations will: 

  • Commit a team of at least 4 trusted leaders likely to bring a diversity of perspective, considering: 

    • Both professional and laypeople 

    • Leaders whose perspectives are often represented in congregational decision-making and leaders whose perspectives are often overlooked  

    • Leaders from both majority and minority demographics 

    • Leaders with both inside and outside perspectives 

  • Pay a fee* of 1.5% of the congregation’s 2020 Annual Program Fund  full share

  • Commit to the full 8 months of the program 

  • Participate covenantally: 

    • be willing to learn, with the spirit of “beginner’s mind” even when we may bring some expertise 

    • be willing to question our assumptions, knowing that different backgrounds and experiences influence our worldviews 

    • gently hold one another accountable to creating a community of faithful practice 

    • be responsible for our own participation and spiritual growth, with integrity and enthusiasm 

    • make space for everyone’s contribution and participation to build a rich learning environment 

    • commit to work with others in our own faith community to use what we learn to help further the mission of the congregation (or other covenantal community) to build a better world 

*The fee will enable us to compensate cohort facilitators, who will be trained and supported throughout the program 

Program will include: 

  • Some “homework” including reading and on-demand webinars on topics including: 

  • Regular cohort meetings with a peer facilitator 

  • Sharing challenges, experiments and experiences with other congregations and with UUA staff 

About the Author

Renee Ruchotzke

Rev. Renee Ruchotzke (ruh-HUT-skee) has served as a Congregational Life Consultant in the Central East Region since September of 2010. As program manager for Leadership Development, she is responsible for providing consultation, programming and training material (including webinars and videos) on...

For more information contact conglife@uua.org.