HOPE for Us Coaches

Hope for Us: Conflict Engagement Team is the culmination of many things: 

  • the vision of the late Rev. Dr. Hope Johnson
  • years of training in different processes for conflict management and restorative practices 
  • developing and practicing a variety of district and regional models for conflict engagement
  • the iterative process of comparing and improving those practices
  • this time of change and opportunity 
  • the maturational growth of Unitarian Universalism 

Many of us close to congregations have seen the need for processes that could help congregational leaders regain and recommit to covenant with the goal of community vitality.  The Widening the Circle of Concern report includes a call for the development of a conflict team (p 119-120).

It is no accident that this conflict engagement team is led by religious educators, because conflict engagement is faith development at its core. Team Director Connie Goodbread, former Co-Lead of the Southern Region, gave us the mantra, “Faith Development is all we do.  Unitarian Universalism is the faith we teach. The congregation is the curriculum.”  Rev. Tandi Rogers, who cut her religious leadership teeth in youth ministry, is notorious for saying any time a covenant was challenged or community relationship was broken, “Ooh! Faith formation is about to happen!” as the community worked to right itself through faithful process. The third member of the team is Dr. Janice Marie Johnson, also a religious educator, whose dissertation work is in conflict engagement and multi-faith ministry. Janice Marie has served Unitarian Universalism in many leadership roles and is now the Co-Director of Ministries and Faith Development.

Core to the design is a paid nation-wide team of specialized coaches to help congregations engage conflict, covenant, and re-covenant, love boldly and faithfully. These team members come from UU congregations and gather in service of Unitarian Universalism, a strong embodiment of our interconnected polity.

David Lauth from the James Reeb UU Congregation in Madison, WI

Evan McGinness from the First UU Society of Burlington, VT

Rev. Jami Yandle from the Austin, TX, area

Rev. Jude Geiger from the Community Church in New York City, NY

Rev. Liz Weber from First Parish Concord, MA

Margie Manning from the UUs in Clearwater, FL

Jess Hunt from the central Florida area

Rev. Dr. Qiyamah Rahman in St. Croix, Virgin Islands

Rev. Dr. Samantha Wilson from the Mount Vista UU Congregation in Tucson, AZ

Dear siblings in faith, we are building the world we dream about, starting with ourselves and our congregations. This is the only place we can begin that work. Beloved Community starts in our communities centered in love and justice.

How will you be able to access Hope for Us: Conflict Engagement Team? Through your UUA Congregational Life regional staff. They are always your first call. 

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UUA Congregational Life Staff Group

The regional Congregational Life staff are congregations' local connection to the UUA. All of the program Congregational Life staff have expertise in most aspects of congregational life and each also has a few program areas of expertise. See the...

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