MidAmerica Messenger Volume 5 Issue 9 | April 2018


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In This Issue

  • MidAmerica Region Business Meeting
  • All Are Called: GA 2018
  • Safe Congregations: How Safe are You?
  • Spring 2018 Chalice Lighter Call
  • Youth MidWest Leadership School
  • Honor Congregations
  • Legacy (Endowment) Giving in UU Congregations
  • UU Women's Connection Spring Retreat June 1-3, 2018
  • Brilliant Bits from Boston: UUA Disaster Relief Fund
Nancy Combs-Morgan and Kathleen Holden with pipe organ and stained glass rose in background

Nancy Combs-Morgan, Congregational Life Consultant, with Kathleen Holden


Heart Nourished: This month’s issue has articles to nourish your heart, curiosity, and thirst for more information on engaging opportunities for UU leaders of all ages. I am including a recent photo with Kathleen Holden, a talented leader from the UU Church of Urbana-Champaign, in front of their beautiful Rose Window. On a cold morning in early March, I was nourished there by a moving worship service, and, afterward, by thoughtful conversations in a religious education consultation.

I believe that, as Unitarian Universalists, we are blessed because every week, face to face and virtually, across MidAmerica, and across the country--and for that matter, across the world--dear hearts gather for worship. It is a thoughtful time for people of all ages to ascribe worth to the community encounter; and a time to reflect on the challenges and joys in each person’s life. Perhaps most importantly, these moments become a nourishing deposit to help sustain us for the following week. In deep appreciation, Nancy Combs-Morgan, Faith Development Director

MidAmerica Region Business Meeting at General Assembly: Kansas City

Just in case you missed it, we want to remind you that this year the Annual Meeting of the MidAmerica Region will be held on the opening day of General Assembly in Kansas City, Wednesday, June 20 at 4:30 pm. You don't have to register for GA to come to our meeting, but why don't you? GA is an amazing collection of workshops, worship services, and fascinating conversations about the business of the UUA and where we should be going. Find information about GA about GA! We will be emailing details about our business meeting later this month and in May. Any questions? Contact Lisa Presley, lpresley@uua.org

UUA General Assembly 2018: Kansas City, Missouri

All Are Called: GA 2018

Registration is now open for General Assembly 2018, June 20-24, in Kansas City, Missouri! This year's theme is "All Are Called." Join us in Kansas City as we dive deeply into questions of mission for our Unitarian Universalist Association, for our congregations and communities, and for each of us as individuals.

Safe Congregations: How Safe are You?

Most of our congregations—most of you—have created great safety policies concerning the young people in your congregations. You know that it’s important to have two unrelated adults in each classroom, that there should be windows in the doors, that you follow appropriate procedures when you’re taking your youngest on field trips. This is excellent, and we thank you.

But did you know there’s much more to safety? Are you prepared for natural disasters, such as tornadoes, flooding, power outages? Do you know how to evacuate the building in case of fire, and how to shelter in in case of tornadoes? Do you have escape routes posted? Do you have drills?

And how about your data? In this ever increasingly digital world, are you backing up your office computers, off site? Do you have practices in place to protect your children in your social media and website postings?

Have you checked your insurance coverage recently to make sure you have the appropriate levels of coverage, and that you include things such as directors and officers insurance, malpractice insurance, coverage against sexual harassment, and more?

Are you entering into limited access agreements with any members who have a history of sexual abuse, or other convictions, in order to protect both the congregation and the individual?

Have you prepared for unwanted intruders? Do you have policies in place about who can speak for the congregation in case of disaster?

All of this, and more, is part of the planning we recommend congregations do to help create the safest possible congregation. We can’t stop everything, and we can be prepared for many of the things that happen. You don’t have to do everything at once—take it a bite at a time. And know that we are here to help you. Lisa Presley (lpresley@uua.org) oversees the larger Safe Congregations umbrella for us, and Nancy Combs-Morgan (ncombsmorgan@uua.org) specializes in safety around our faith formation communities. Be in touch with either of us—we’re delighted to help review your plans and needs, and point you to appropriate resources. Together we can help your congregation be the safest it can be.

MidAmerica Region Chalice Lighters logo

Spring 2018 Chalice Lighter Call!

It’s been five years since the Chalice Lighter programs of the former Heartland, Central Midwest, and Prairie Star districts were combined to form the MidAmerica Region Chalice Lighters Program. In that time, congregations from around the region have received thousands of dollars in grants funded by your generosity. The time has come to reassess the program, which we’ll be doing over the next year.

Our goal is to reformulate the program so that congregations can receive even larger grants for starting new congregations, acquiring meeting space, securing a minister, religious educator, or other professional staff, or providing for outreach and public relations. And as part of the selection process, the committee will be looking for proposals that are feasible, sustainable, and accountable. We’ll keep you informed about any changes in the program in future issues of the newsletter.

For the 2018 Spring Call, the MidAmerica Region Chalice Lighter Committee received eight applications—a record number! We are pleased to announce that these three have been chosen for this Chalice Lighter call:

  • The Bismarck Mandan Unitarian Universalist Fellowship & Church in North Dakota will be receiving funds to hire a half-time clergy person to provide ministerial support and guidance with the goal of developing a thriving congregation.
  • The Open Circle Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, will also be receiving funds to assist the fellowship in moving their quarter time minister to half time.
  • And the Second Unitarian Church of Omaha, Nebraska, will receive grant money to build two accessible and gender-neutral bathrooms.

Donate to this year’s Spring Call. Please donate by June 15, 2018. Thanks!

Three young people waving at you

Youth MidWest Leadership School—Truly Multigenerational

Hope you and your congregational leaders take part in this unique and engaging weeklong immersion opportunity for MidAmerica UU youth and adults to be in a multigenerational learning community! Our region’s Youth MidWest Leadership School happens at the same time as the adult MidWest Leadership School. Each day there are multigenerational worship experiences planned by youth and adults from each school.

This year our youth school has added a unique outdoor leadership experience, and we will continue with our day long social justice immersion in the Decorah, IA community. Both schools happen on Luther College’s beautiful campus. Our hope is that you and your congregation will be seek to be truly multigenerational in your leadership development. If you are planning on sending adults to MWLS, we hope that you will ALSO be bringing youth from your congregation to YMWLS.

The schools are happening, July 15 through July 21. Register for YMWLS Now!

And feel free to contact me if you should have any questions at ncombsmorgan@uua.org

Honor Congregations

Our existence as a region, and our ability to help you become the congregations you want to be, is totally dependent upon the financial contributions of you, our congregational members. We have no other source of income other than your generosity—past generosity, current generosity, and future generosity. For this year and in the past, we received your direct donations, as well as a share of the money you sent to the UUA, as well as the UUA’s payment for almost half of our program staff salaries and benefits. Literally, without you, we would not exist.

You should have received a notice from us last month that explained that we’re trying to make things easier for you by moving into a single payment system—that beginning July 1, you will only send your generous donations to the UUA, and we will receive a fixed percentage of the total. This should simplify things for you—no need to remember to send pledge and money to two bodies—and it simplifies things for us as we won’t be duplicating the financial recordkeeping. We’ll be able to do more.

So now, we want to thank you, the Honor Congregations of the MidAmerica Region! Your congregations donated $25 per member to the MidAmerica Region in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2017 and/or fulfilled their UUA Honor Congregation amount. Thank you all—we exist because of you, and for you.

Wake Now Our Vision Legacy Challenge

Legacy (Endowment) Giving in UU Congregations

FREE MONEY to UU Congregations Who Participate in Legacy Programs

Jay Pacitti, UUA Legacy Gifts Officer will present the basics of legacy giving and best practices for building a healthy legacy giving program in your congregation, and Laura Randall, Legacy Campaign Director will discuss the Wake Now Our Vision Legacy Challenge, which can provide congregation with a 10% free return of money on planned legacy gifts for the next two years. To learn more join one of these FREE webinars:

April 21, 2018, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. EDT
May 12, 2018, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. EDT
June 9, 2018, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. EDT

Each workshop will consist of a presentation followed by Q&A. RSVP is not required, but the presentation will be limited to the first 200 participants to join. All are welcome!

Carley Mattimore

UU Women’s Connection Spring Retreat June 1-3, 2018

We’re getting all sorts of excited about our keynote speaker, Carley Mattimore! Carley’s keynote will be “Awakening Shamanic Consciousness: A New Birth.” Our element for the Spring Retreat will be Air and the direction honored will be East. Registration information is found on page 5 of VOW 2018 Spring and at UU Womens Connection!

Carley teaches shamanic breathwork. She is a reiki master. How best to honor our element of Air than with Carley who will share with us her knowledge of becoming an important part of this element.

We are in heightened times of great change amidst great chaos where all we have known seems to be crumbling and dismantling before our eyes. We may feel panic, fear, futility or numbness as the turbulence unfolds around us. Yet there is higher perspective that can support us in trusting the unfolding as we prepare for a new birth of humanity. This perspective is symbolized by the Air cycle of shamanic consciousness; a deeper understanding of how we move through change. Carley Mattimore will guide us in exploring the cycles of change using our breath to support us as we assimilate this death and rebirth in our personal and collective consciousness.

UU Women's Connection logo

SAVE THE DATES: Summer Retreat in Watervliet Michigan – August 3-5, 2018
Fall Retreat in Racine, Wisconsin – October 12-14, 2018

UU Women’s Connection

MidAmerica Region Congregational Life Staff 2017

Brilliant Bits from Boston: UUA Disaster Relief Fund

Friends, the UUA has a Disaster Relief Fund for any UU congregation impacted by natural disasters, including FLOODING. Congregations can apply more than once and applications are rolling. Congregations can apply for themselves, on behalf of members, and even for a community partner need. Funds are currently available.

For more information on how to apply, how funds are disbursed, trauma resources, or to donate to the fund.