In an effort to encourage and support growth in Unitarian Universalist congregations, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) is proud to announce the launch of the new Leap of Faith initiative. Still in the early stages of development, this pilot project grew from conversations between UUA President Rev. Peter Morales and ministers of congregations experiencing admirable growth in numbers.
These conversations led to the creation of the program and the selection of a small group of "aspiring congregations" that desire support in taking a big leap forward in growing Unitarian Universalism. The aspiring congregations are being matched with "mentoring congregations" that have experience with particular issues and challenges that the aspiring congregations face.
From the current modest start, Morales hopes to see Leap of Faith succeed and grow over time. To this end, an outside evaluator will help monitor Leap of Faith for effectiveness during these critical early stages, in hopes of expanding the program in the future.
Some core aspects of Leap of Faith are as follows:
- Leap of Faith will create congregation-to-congregation learning communities to share the wisdom inherent in UUA congregations, including mutual mentoring and experiential learning.
- Each aspiring congregation will determine the areas of learning and experience that will help take them forward to sustained numerical growth. These may include new technical skills, adaptive approaches, or culture changes.
- The “first wave” congregational teams will gather in New Orleans in October 2010 for a launch conference, allowing aspiring congregations to develop their congregational narratives and begin to build learning communities with their mentor congregations.
- Going forward, aspiring congregations are committed to sharing what they learn with other congregations through websites, social media, blogging, webinars, and workshops.
The UUA looks forward to sharing more information, ideas and inspiration after the launch conference.
The UUA is deeply grateful for all of the contributions to the “Leap of Faith Growth Initiative” that have been made as part of Association Sunday. Contributions may be made directly to the UUA or through congregations participating in Association Sunday.