MidAmerica Messenger Volume 6 Issue 2 | September 2018


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In This Issue

  • Ministerial Transitions
  • RA Workshop Applications
  • Chaplaincy Training
  • Meadville Lombard
  • Youth MWLS
  • Bylaws Review Workgroup Formed
  • Jobs in MidAmerica and Beyond
  • Brilliant Bits from Boston
Rev. Phillip Lund

Phil Lund, Congregational Life Consultant


It’s that time of year again—when the churches and fellowships and societies in the MidAmerica Region start a new year of living out our Unitarian Universalist values through worship, education, fellowship, and social action. It’s also a time when we say “hello” to new ministers who are coming into the region and “farewell” to those ministers who have moved onto the next phase of their careers. In addition to saying “hello” and “farewell,” this issue of the MidAmerica Messenger offers information on upcoming events and deadlines, and a firsthand account of a powerful learning opportunity the region offers to our youth and adults. So check out what’s new in the region! And as always, we are here for you. Please feel free to contact any MidAmerica Region Staff member with your questions and comments.

Rev. Phillip Lund
Congregational Life Consultant

Ministerial Transitions in MidAmerica

Every summer, we in MidAmerica bid farewell to ministers who have completed their service to a congregation, and we also bid welcome to ministers who are taking up new ministries. This year is no exception. Below is a list of those we know who are leaving, and coming.

Thank you for your service to the following departing ministers:

Settled Ministers

Jackie Clement, UU Congregation of Bloomington Normal, IL
Michelle LaGrave, UU Fellowship of Decatur, IL
Leslie Mills, UU Church of Elgin, IL
Bret Lortie, Unitarian Church of Evanston, IL
Lindsay Bates, Unitarian Society of Geneva, IL
Charlie Daniels, UU Congregation of Tippecanoe County, Lafayette, IN
Eva Cameron, Cedar Valley UU Fellowship, Cedar Falls, IA
Steven Protzman, UU Society of Iowa City, Coralville, IA
Jill Jarvis, UU Congregation of Lawrence, KS
Elwood Sturtevant, Thomas Jefferson UU Church, Louisville, KY
Cynthia Landrum, Universalist Unitarian Church of East Liberty, Clarklake, MI
Chris Rothbauer, Keweenaw Unitarian Fellowship, Houghton, MI (left in December 2017)
Kent Saleska, UU Church of Minnetonka, Wayzata, MN
Frank Rivas, First Unitarian Church of Omaha, NE
Michael Schuler, First Unitarian Society, Madison, WI
Tony Larsen, Olympia Brown UU Church, Racine, WI (left in December 2017)

Interim and Contract Ministers

Douglas Wadkins, First UU Congregation, Ann Arbor, MI
Daniel Budd and Patricia Shelden, Birmingham Unitarian Church, Bloomfield Hills, MI
Theresa Soto, UU Congregation of Flint, MI
Shay McKay, White Bear UU Society, Mahtomedi, MN
Benjamin Maucere, First Unitarian Church, Cincinnati, OH
Holly Horn, Miami Valley UU Fellowship, Dayton, OH

Welcome to the following ministers starting new ministries in MidAmerica:

Settled/Hired Ministers:

Sarah Gettie McNeill, Director of Children’s and Community Programs, All Souls Unitarian Church, Indianapolis, IN
Kayla Parker, Minister of Congregational Life, All Souls Unitarian Church, Indianapolis, IN
Manish Mishra-Marzetti, First UU Congregation, Ann Arbor, MI
Mandy Beal, Birmingham Unitarian Church, Bloomfield Hills, MI
Sara Goodman, White Bear UU Society, Mahtomedi, MN
Rita Capezzi, UU Fellowship of Mankato, MN
Connie Simons, First Unitarian Church, Cincinnati, OH
Kellie Kelly, Miami Valley UU Fellowship, Dayton, OH

Interim/Contract Ministers:

Mary Moore, UU Congregation of Bloomington Normal, IL
Larry Hutchison, UU Fellowship of Decatur, IL (contract)
Greg Stewart, Unitarian Church of Evanston, IL
Jennifer Innis and Patrick Price, Unitarian Society of Geneva, IL
Kevin DeBeck, Tree of Life Congregation, McHenry, IL (contract, candidate for ministry)
Rosemary Morrison, UU Congregation of Tippecanoe County, Lafayette, IN
Emma Peterson, Cedar Valley UU Fellowship, Cedar Falls, IA (contract, not in Fellowship with the UUA)
Diane Dowgiert, UU Society of Iowa City, Coralville, IA
Aaron Stockwell, UU Congregation of Lawrence, KS
Jeff Liebmann, Thomas Jefferson UU Church, Louisville, KY
Jennifer Gray, Universalist Unitarian Church of East Liberty, Clarklake, MI
Meg Riley, Arif Mamdani, Terri Burnor, UU Church of Minnetonka, Wayzata, MN (contract, Arif is a candidate for ministry)
Michelle LeGrave, First Unitarian Church of Omaha, NE
Douglas Wadkins, First Unitarian Society, Madison, WI
Marlene Walker, Olympia Brown UU Church, Racine, WI (began in January 2018)

MidAmerica Regional Assembly 2019: photos of presenters

Regional Assembly - Save the Date! Workshop Applications Open!

The 2019 MidAmerica Regional Assembly is coming sooner than you think! This year, our RA will be held in St. Louis, Missouri, at the Marriott St Louis, April 5-7, 2019. The theme this year: Intersectionalities. We will be talking about how we live in the known complexity of our world, and exploring the various intersectionalities we encounter—where historically marginalized identities overlap, work in relationship, and how we as congregational communities can work to be as open and present as possible. The keynoter: UUA President Susan Frederick-Gray. RA will include workshops, worship, conversation, music, and more.

In order to make RA as great as it can be, we are inviting people to consider presenting a workshop. We’d love workshops about the theme, Intersectionalities, and also about how to do “church” better. Workshops will be offered in the afternoon of Saturday, April 6, and will run 75 minutes. Workshop presenters will be responsible for paying their own expenses of registration, travel, and accommodations.

Workshop applications will be received from now through October 31. We will inform people whether their workshop has been accepted in late November or early December. Apply to do a workshop here. If you have questions, please reach out to Lisa Presley, lpresley@uua.org.

Chaplaincy/Community of Care Leader Training in Two Locations

High School youth, youth advisors and DRE’s:

This lay pastoral care training is for youth and adults who want to expand their skills for deep listening; covenant minding; small group ministry worship, and ways for groups to embody being a community of care. This training is required for youth and adults who seek to serve as lay pastoral care chaplains at youth ministry events.

Youth and their sponsoring adults are asked to sleep at the church and are welcome to bring air mattresses. If other housing is arranged, please inform the registrar, Kathy Charles, kcharles@uua.org.

Cost per person is $55. If you would like to apply for a scholarship up to $25, please contact Nancy Combs-Morgan, ncombsmorgan@uua.org

UU Church of Indianapolis

Indiana - Leaders are Nancy Combs-Morgan and Nyana Harper.

Fri, Sep 28, 2018, 7:00 PM – Sun, Sep 30, 2018, 9:00 AM EDT

UU Church of Indianapolis 615 W. 43rd Street Indianapolis, IN 46208

Eliot Chapel, Kirkwood MO

Missouri - Leaders are Colleen Lee and Tim Murphy.

Friday, Oct 26, 2018, 7:00 PM – Sun, Oct 28, 2018, 9:00 AM CDT

Eliot Chapel 100 S. Taylor Kirkwood, MO 63122

Meadville Lombard Theological School logo

Meadville Lombard Day of Learning

How Can We Save Our Democracy?

On Saturday, October 6, Meadville Lombard Theological School is taking a day of learning to the Unitarian Church of Evanston. The program, How Can We Save Our Democracy? Religion and Politics in an Uncertain World, will be very relevant to what is going on in our world right now, and the event is open to all who are concerned about survival of our democracy.

Increase of xenophobia and racism, threats to freedom of the press, anti-climate change policies—it is clear that we are living in a radically uncertain world. How can we save our democracy in times like these? Meadville Lombard's core faculty will share concepts and practical skills to build resilient democracy and stronger community.

Dr. Mike Hogue, Professor of Theology, Ethics, and Philosophy of Religion, is the keynote speaker. He will speak from his new book, American Immanence: Democracy for an Uncertain World, which calls for building democratic communities of responsibility, resistance, and resilience. His book will be available for purchase at the event.

Sat, October 6, 2018 from 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM CDT

Unitarian Church of Evanston
1330 Ridge Ave, Evanston, IL 60201

Lunch is included. Please indicate any special dietary needs when registering.

Suggested ticket price is $30 per person to help defray the expenses of this event. But in the spirit of building a strong, resilient community, we ask you to set your own ticket price: if you can give more to help those who cannot at this time, we encourage you to do so. Minimum is $1 to register.

Online registration is required. It closes on Friday, September 28, 2018.

Registration is at MLEvanston.eventbrite.com

This event is co-sponsored by Meadville Lombard and the Unitarian Church of Evanston

Morgan Miller

Youth MidWest Leadership School - Inspiring Hope

The time I spent at leadership school in Decorah, Iowa, was one of the most eye-opening experiences I have ever had the privilege of participating in. It felt less like we were being led and more like we had control over what was going to happen. The week was similar to my overall journey with Unitarian Universalists in that it was filled with both deep reflection of who I am as a person (both good and bad) and what I believe in, but also a constant reminder of how much I have to learn from the amazing people that surround me.

Towards the beginning of the week, I learned of a mistake that I had made, causing me to question my abilities as a leader and my integrity as a person. I felt as if I did not deserve to be at YMWLS, but with the love and support of my peers, I was able to come to terms with my actions and grow and improve as a person and a leader.

One of my favorite activities was the worship planning in which we were purposely teamed with different personality types. Our extraordinarily diverse group of individuals worked together to come up with a service inspiring “hope” which wouldn’t have been complete without our “community orchestra.”

Moving from fun filled activities such as the pool and ropes course to deep discussions with our credo groups and a focus on sustainability, the lessons and information we received will never be forgotten. The friends I have made will forever make an imprint on me and my future and I’m so thankful for this life changing experience. To whom it may concern, I “hope” you don’t pass up this amazing opportunity.

-- Morgan Miller, YMWLS class of 2018

Bylaws Review Workgroup Formed

The MidAmerica Board of Trustees has formed a Bylaws Review Workgroup in response to concerns raised by the Nominating Committee. The workgroup members are Board Secretary Tammy Lemmer, Board Member Kyrie Bock, and Nominating Committee members Bob Lovell, Kay Slama and Kees Dewitt.

The MidAmerica Region Bylaws were first adopted during the Regionalization process that combined the Central Midwest, Prairie Star, and Heartland Districts into one region for governance purposes in 2013. The original bylaws, developed with input from board and Nominating Committee members from all three districts, combined language and concepts from the three districts into one document. Now, five years later, the Nominating Committee has experienced some challenges that could be alleviated by one or more changes to the bylaws.

The primary concern of the Nominating Committee is the difficulty in finding officers to fill vacancies mid-term. Some preliminary ideas have been discussed, including the suggestion to have all Board members elected on an at-large basis with officers then selected from amongst those Board members. Another challenge has been the identification and nomination of officers for the Camp Unistar Foundation Board.

In order to maintain transparency and engage members across the Region, the workgroup wants to gather additional input and ideas before drafting any preliminary language. Individuals are encouraged to send comments and questions by September 21 to a special email address that was set up for that purpose: bylaws@midamericauua.org.

The committee will reconvene in late September to review comments and begin drafting new language. Any suggested revisions will be submitted in time for consideration at the April 2019 Regional Assembly.

On behalf of the Workgroup, thank you in advance for your input.

Tammy Lemmer

Jobs in the MidAmerica Region and Beyond

Did you know that our website, midamericauua.org, has a page dedicated to job openings in the region and beyond? We do!

Postings include positions for administrators, bookkeepers, religious educators, and more. And if you want to know what job openings are available at the UUA or in other regions, visit Job Openings and Career Opporutunities.

Brilliant Bits from Boston: The Wi$dom Path

If you are looking for a way to jumpstart financial conversations in your congregation, how about offering a fall session of The Wi$dom Path? Authored by two UUs (and paid for by your generous donations to the Annual Program Fund), this FREE program offers 12 90-minute workshops for adults, arranged around three themes: Money and Self; Money and Society; and Money, Spirit, and Life. The workshop can be shortened if needed and anyone can serve as facilitator. Complete workshop plans are included!