Safety and Outreach

By Sarah Gibb Millspaugh

In these times when so many in our society need communities of meaning, relationship, hope, and love, our Unitarian Universalist congregations have a clear mission of healing and transformation. And in these times of #MeToo and violence, more and more of us are aware of how unsafe our communities can be if we don’t take proactive steps. In this spirit, we offer you two “relentlessly useful” resources for your congregations’ outreach and safety.

First, safety. Many of you have used the UUA’s Safe Congregations materials from the 1997 and 2005 handbooks. The UUA’s Safety Team (of which I am PWR’s representative) has just published a completely revised, online manual, Becoming a Safer Congregation by Kim Sweeney. In it you’ll find checklists and up-to-date guidance on preventing and responding to boundary violations, preparing for disasters, training your ushers for violent intruders, and more. Complementing this manual are our general Safe Congregations resources which we are continually updating. Your congregation’s primary contacts continue to be your best first stops when you need consultation.

Second, outreach. Making a connection with the people who need Unitarian Universalism in their lives is not always so easy. We have a brand-new resource called Congregations Reaching Out to assist you in building relationships with the people who haven’t found us yet. It’s transformative work for the congregation, learning to empathize with potential newcomers and to see your congregation from their perspective. The toolkit includes three guides: choosing an audience, planning events strategically, and using social media strategically. It also includes graphics that you can download and customize for outreach online and at events. You may also enjoy the video of the workshop that Rev. Tandi Rogers and I led at General Assembly last month, Outreach and Inreach: Attracting, Integrating, and Nourishing UUs.

May these resources prove to be relentlessly useful for your congregation, making it an ever-more safe and appealing home for the progressive spirit.

In faith, hope, and love,
Rev. Sarah Gibb Millspaugh
PWR Congregational Life Staff