Retooling for New Realities A 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.

What participants are saying:

• It’s great to connect with committed leaders from other congregations!
• We love the circle format – everyone is heard!
• Hearing new ideas is invigorating!
• It’s a nice mix of small and large group conversations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Participating Congregations Requirements

  • We are sorry, but the deadlines for the 2020/2021 church year have passed.

  • 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 Includes

  • 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) is a Congregational Life Consultant and program manager for Leadership Development.

For more information contact .