MidWest Leadership School

Because of the novel coronavirus, we’ve had to reschedule our in-person MidWest Leadership School until 2021. But the need for learning how to be a leader doesn’t take a year off, so we’re moving Leadership Experience training online. 

We will hold four sessions, three weeks apart: August 22, September 12, October 3, and October 24. Sessions will run from 9:00 am Central / 10:00 am Eastern and go for about three hours. Each session will begin with brief worship, then history and theology with Rev. Connie Simon, minister of First Unitarian Church, Cincinnati. The rest of the time (with appropriate breaks) will focus on an area of congregational leadership. Rather than sitting for lectures, students will be given assignments to do before each meeting—readings, videos, etc., that center the day’s topic. We will use our time together for conversation and questions about the materials.  

In addition to these four Saturdays, students will be expected to attend a weekly Credo session—a small group ministry session facilitated by one of our MWLS lay staff. These will be scheduled at a time that works for the group members. 

The Saturday Sessions will focus on the following themes: 

  • Session 1: Identity: Creating the Beloved Community, focusing on questions such as who is “us,” what covenants bind us together, widening our circle of inclusion 

  • Session 2: Mission Vision: Why Do We Bother, exploring the reasons your congregation exists, what your purpose in the world is 

  • Session 3: Systems: How Does it All Fit Together, focusing on congregational DNA, how things work, how to lead from a systemic position 

  • Session 4: Conflict: Being Together Across Differences, exploring how congregations resolve issues, and how to be together while disagreeing 

Each session will look at leadership with deliberate emphasis on two areas: dismantling systemic white supremacy culture, and congregational life in a world with physical distancing.

We encourage teams from congregations to attend: it’s much easier to bring the information back “home” when there is more than one person involved. Change requires consistent application by a dedicated group of people, and so there is strength in numbers. 

Registration will be $150 per person, and registration will be up by the middle of July. We will be offering scholarships of up to 50% off for people from historically marginalized communities. We will be asking for a written recommendation from the leadership of your congregation agreeing to your participation, so start talking with your board leadership about this now. All students will need to agree to a covenant about attendance and behavioral expectations. This school is open to those above the age of 18.

If you have questions, please direct them to Lisa Presley (lpresley [at] uua [dot] org).

For more information contact

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