The proposal to merge three districts in the geographic center of the U.S. (Central Midwest, Heartland, and Prairie Star) into one MidAmerica Region has raised one central concern – how do we stay connected to other UU congregations, to other UUs, and to UU staff?
As the regionalization conversation has unfolded, the intention to stay connected has been the North Star in developing governance and staffing models. We have sought ways to ensure that congregations will continue to have opportunities to make their voices heard. As an example, 26 different gatherings to discuss regionalization, either in person or via Skype (an online visual/audio tool) have taken place in Central Midwest, Heartland, and Prairie Star congregations. All congregations have received print materials to provide information early enough to prompt conversations. Early on, the UU Ministers’ Association chapters in each district voted in support of regionalization. The support of ministers has been a step toward interactions with congregational boards, small gatherings of congregants interested in understanding the efficiencies of regionalization, and pulpit presentations to congregations where invited.
Relationships always take active participation, and in the new era of UUism our local congregations will continue to be invited to participate with each other in collaborative work, in sharing information, in meeting with one another locally and in gatherings that cover larger areas of the region. We will experience some new ways of connecting in addition to ways we already know to be effective. Most of all, if our delegates vote to regionalize, we will step through the discomfort of newness and change to enter together our new house, right-sized to become our new home.
Linchpin*, the transition committee to keep UUs in the loop regarding Regionalization
* Central Midwest: Suzie DeBeers, Vera Dowell;
* Heartland: Susan French, Kathy Silver;
* Prairie Star: Graham Kreicker, Charlotte Preston, Vicki Pratt