Southern Region News Archive
Southern Region News Archive
  • We See You

    Thank you to all the Board Presidents, Ministers and other congregational leaders who took our call or got back to us when we reached out to you during our COVID-19 check-ins early in the spring.
    By Carlton Elliott Smith | 6/15/2020
  • My Heart’s Song

    Yesterday someone said to me – “well - what will this all look like when it’s over?” The question was in earnest. I looked at them. I smiled, they needed something from me that I did not have - an answer. I have never been here before, I don’t know - but they needed something to...
    By Connie Goodbread | 6/13/2020
  • Commencement

    I’m writing to share with you a recent development in my professional life. As of June 15, I will begin my new position as Lead for the Pacific Western Region (PWR) of our Unitarian Universalist Association.
    By Carlton Elliott Smith | 5/28/2020
  • Pastoral Care During This Pandemic

    The Covid-19 pandemic has caused us to radically rethink the ways in which we do congregational life as Unitarian Universalists.
    By Carlton Elliott Smith | 5/8/2020
  • Being Held in Love

    Remember what is at the heart of Unitarian Universalism. Remember those values that will sustain you as we move deeper into this time of unknowing and solitude. For me I come back over and over to the love that holds me and that I am accountable to.
    By Connie Goodbread | 4/30/2020
  • All Life Is a Gift

    Like everyone else, we, your Southern Region UUA Staff, continue to adjust to the emerging reality that is the COVID-19 pandemic. As individuals, we have taken on hygiene, healthy distancing and wiping down surfaces with appropriate fervor.
    By Carlton Elliott Smith | 4/9/2020
  • Coronavirus Planning and Southern Region Events

    As we move forward into this anxious time, how we do what we do will make all the difference in helping to control the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
    By Natalie Briscoe, Connie Goodbread | 3/13/2020
  • Building Beloved Community with “Our Whole Lives”

    In appreciation of the tremendous community outreach of many of our Southern Region religious educators, who go the extra mile to extend much needed comprehensive sexuality education with “Our Whole Lives,” I felt compelled to ask Sarah White, the Director of Religious Education...
    By Nancy Combs-Morgan | 3/3/2020
  • The Youth Empowerment Dilemma

    Because of the permanent and long-term damage climate chaos stands to inflict on our planet, it’s only fitting that the climate justice movement be represented by people from the generations that stand to be most impacted by it.
    By Cameron Young | 2/8/2020
  • Let It Be A Dance: Reflections from your Southern Region Staff Team

    I began ballet lessons when I was 3 years old. I remember begging my grandparents to allow me to stop playing softball - where the shirts were always polyester, the sun was always hot, and the dust was always in my mouth - in favor of the beautiful tutus, pointe shoes, and air...
    By Natalie Briscoe, Connie Goodbread, Kathy McGowan, Nancy Combs-Morgan | 12/8/2019
  • Voting and Thanksgiving

    This week was a difficult one for me and many of my fellow Unitarian Universalists in Mississippi. On Election Day, we saw the affirmation of the existing power structure by voters who elected and re-elected individuals who oppose
    By Carlton Elliott Smith | 11/8/2019
  • Welcome to the 2019-2020 Congregational Year!

    As the summer days wind down and school bells start to ring, we on the Southern Region Team are excited for the months that lie between now and the beginning of next summer.
    By Natalie Briscoe | 9/27/2019
  • Let Our Neighbors Go! Mississippi Unitarian Universalists Respond to the recent ICE Raids

    August 7 marked the beginning of the academic year across much of Mississippi. In the midst of many happy first-day-of-school pictures, we started seeing very different and awful images of children not knowing where their parents were.
    By Gail Stratton | 9/5/2019
  • Covenant/Relationship Centered Unitarian Universalist Faith Development

    I continue to be inspired by colleagues, particularly in the Southern Region, who for years, have been asking all Unitarian Universalists to consider that everything we do is faith development.
    By Nancy Combs-Morgan | 8/30/2019
  • LeaderLab: Tips, Tools, and Trainings for Congregational Leaders

    As Susan Frederick-Gray mentioned during her president’s report at General Assembly in June, LeaderLab is a tremendous resource for congregational leaders. Check it out at: .
    By Kathy McGowan, Jonipher Kūpono Kwong, Renee Ruchotzke | 8/29/2019
  • Small Numbers, Infinite Possibilities

    We know that small congregations are sharing the Love and Grace of Unitarian Universalism with their people and their communities every day. We also know that small churches can be faced with big challenges. Together we can help small congregations reach toward their greatest...
    By UUA Congregational Life Staff Group | 8/26/2019
  • Message of Care and Support

    We live in frightening times. We are, on a daily basis, made aware of the fact that horrendous events happen moment by moment. In those instances, we can be re-traumatized and/or challenged in ways that we try to come to grips with, and not shy away from.
    By Connie Goodbread, Hope Johnson | 8/8/2019
  • Away for a Little While: A Short Q&A

    Greetings and love to everyone! As of June 16, I’m on leave from my work with the UUA Southern Region! Since the beginning of the year, I have been a candidate for Mississippi’s 10th State Senate District, representing two counties in the northwest part of the state: Marshall,...
    By Carlton Elliott Smith | 7/1/2019
  • Hope for the Best but Prepare for the Worst

    By the time of my first settled ministry (in Louisville, KY), I had served in a leadership capacity of some kind in a number of different UU congregations in multiple states. So when the congregational leadership told me it was time to schedule the annual fire drill service, I...
    By Dawn Skjei Cooley | 6/3/2019
  • Mother’s Day without Mother

    This Sunday will be my first Mother’s Day without my mom, Luberta Elliott Smith. She died peacefully a week ago at the age of 84 after many years of declining health and multiple medical issues. I was there at her bedside in those final moments, as was my older brother Edwin.
    By Carlton Elliott Smith | 5/6/2019
  • Todos Somos Migrantes: Journeying Toward Collective Salvation

    El Paso, TX; the U.S.-Mexico Border; the line between two different worlds which begin to blend the closer in proximity they become. If it were an abstract painting, the U.S. and Mexico would show up on the canvas in radically different colors and textures,
    By Cameron Young | 5/2/2019
  • Staying Connected: Virtual Faith Development Support

    Twenty three years ago I began a journey of service as a Unitarian Universalist religious educator. I soon discovered the Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA). With clusters of religious educators, and my LREDA chapter, I found nurture, encouragement, and many...
    By Nancy Combs-Morgan | 4/4/2019
  • Walls and Windows

    “Walls and Windows” by Judy Small and Pat Humphries is one of my favorite songs. The lyrics include: “Did you sing your children lullabies to calm their fears at night? Did you hold them gently 'til they went to sleep? Did you plant in them the seeds of hope for new and better...
    By Hope Johnson | 3/5/2019
  • Love, History and Wealth

    In this moment, my heart is overflowing. I received a call this evening from a beloved relative who had isolated themselves from their dearest friends and our family in recent months. Their personal circumstances had changed in ways they feared others would not understand nor...
    By Carlton Elliott Smith | 2/1/2019
  • Southern Region: What’s Happening in 2019

    Greetings of the New Year to All! And what a year it will be. Here are some of the exciting developments coming your way over the course of the next 12 months as we make our Unitarian Universalist values real in the Southern Region and beyond.
    By Carlton Elliott Smith | 1/9/2019
  • Your Southern Region Team Looks Back at the Year That Was

    In this season of generosity, gratitude and reflection, we, your Southern Region staff, took some time to look back. We were surprised at all that had been accomplished over the year including:
    By Southern Region of the UUA | 12/20/2018
  • Darkest Before Dawn

    Over the past several months, many Mississippi Unitarian Universalists joined in the effort to elect the first Black US Senator from the state since the Reconstruction Era. I was one of those Unitarian Universalists, knocking on doors, posting on social media, attending rallies...
    By Carlton Elliott Smith | 12/1/2018
  • Beyond Red and Blue, Waves and Splashes

    This Sunday will be the first time many of us will gather together with our fellow Unitarian Universalists after the mid-term elections. As your Southern Region team, we know of the diversity that exists in our congregations, across the South and across the continent.
    By Carlton Elliott Smith | 11/9/2018
  • Change is Coming: Serving Faith Development Leaders

    Building on the Southern Region’s guiding paradigm of a regional curriculum map, this new project partnership with the MidAmerica Region will provide support for the enhancement of faith development by providing coaching/companioning support for religious educators.
    By Nancy Combs-Morgan | 10/4/2018
  • New Ministers and New Covenants in the Southern Region

    We want to welcome these ministers who are serving in new ministries in the Southern Region, including some who have relocated within our region:
    By Carlton Elliott Smith | 10/4/2018
  • Spotlight on a New Church Year

    Every fall congregations begin to look at the challenges and needs they might be facing in the coming year. Please remember that the Southern Region Congregational Life Staff Team is your team. There are many ways that we can partner with you as you begin your new church year.
    By Connie Goodbread, Natalie Briscoe | 10/4/2018
  • A New Congregational Year Begins

    Welcome to the 2018-2019 Congregational Year! As the summer days wind down and school bells start to ring, we on the Southern Region Team are excited for the months that lie between now and the beginning of next summer.
    By Carlton Elliott Smith | 8/31/2018
  • Remembering Charlottesville

    On August 12, we will mark one year since the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, when hundreds of white supremacists gathered in Emancipation Park around the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. That day, Heather Heyer lost her life when one supremacist...
    By Carlton Elliott Smith | 8/3/2018
  • Welcome to The Point!

    What is The Point ? The Point is a customizable Unitarian Universalist retreat for all. At The Point we worship, sing, play, explore, question, eat, laugh and learn while living in a covenantal community. In late July 2018 at Lake Murray State Park, Oklahoma, our new home for...
    By Kathy Charles | 8/2/2018
  • A Time to Dream Big!

    Most of your Southern Region staff are fresh from our Unitarian Universalist Association’s General Assembly, held this year in Kansas City, Missouri, June 20-24. You can read about the highlights in UU World Magazine . In the midst of our familiar rituals and procedures such as...
    By Kathy McGowan, Carlton Elliott Smith | 7/5/2018
  • A Paradigm Shift

    "If you don’t believe that your enemy can be redeemed you will become what you hate.” - Rev. Dr. William Barber II “I learn from my enemies,” Killmonger retorts. “ You have become them,” T'Challa responds. I have said this so many times in the past year that it rings in my head...
    By Connie Goodbread | 4/23/2018
  • Long Committee Meetings and Why Few People Are Willing to Attend Them

    So you are a leader in your congregation and you are having a difficult time finding volunteers for the XYZ committee. You feel like you’ve tried everything – advertising in the newsletter, asking people directly, but still, it is the same few folks who say “Yes” and they are...
    By Dawn Skjei Cooley | 3/14/2018
  • Our New Co-Leads!

    We are delighted to be writing this blog as the Southern Region’s new Co-Leads. Wait - what? Four years ago the four District Boards that made up the Southern Region voted to regionalize. In other words, they chose to break down District boundaries, pool resources, and combine...
    By Natalie Briscoe, Connie Goodbread | 1/16/2018
  • Seeking Justice and Balance in 2018

    Last Tuesday night, I felt a tremendous wave of relief move through my body when I saw online that Doug Jones had been declared the winner of the Alabama Senate race . It had boggled my mind: The idea that the other candidate, Roy Moore, a person with a history of overt racism,...
    By Carlton Elliott Smith | 12/19/2017
  • Can You Explain the Logic?

    He asked, “Can you explain the logic behind having Dwight Brown Leadership Experience in May in Arkansas?” “Why, yes I can.” I replied. The Southern Region staff routinely hears from congregational leaders and staff members who are concerned about the cost, timing, location, and...
    By Connie Goodbread, Christine Purcell | 11/8/2017
  • Crisis

    We in the UUA Southern Region are not strangers to violence and disruptions in our churches. This weekend's massacre at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, reminds many of us of that Sunday in July 2008 when the UU Church of Knoxville was visited by an(other)...
    By Southern Region of the UUA | 11/8/2017
  • My Swan Song

    “New occasions teach new duties.” — James Russell Lowell, The Present Crisis, 1844 Beloved Companions, There is an ancient Greek myth that relates an otherwise mute swan trumpeting just before its death. From that tale we get the phrase “swan song” to denote the closing notes of...
    By Kenneth Hurto | 9/22/2017
  • Beyond Disaster Relief

    This is written for those of us on the sidelines of Harvey, not those of you struggling with the effects. To those of you struggling, we send love and support. The devastating flooding in Texas and Louisiana has sparked a lot of conversation and speculation from those not...
    By Dawn Skjei Cooley | 9/5/2017
  • We Are All Charlottesville

    The violent events coming out of the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville two weekends ago have the country on edge. The dangerous rise of white supremacy was on full display as men with tiki torches marched on the campus the night of August 11 and clashed with anti-fascist...
    By Carlton Elliott Smith | 8/22/2017
  • Awakening and Clarity

    Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it. - Buddha Siddhartha had been raised in privilege and opulence. He had been pampered and protected from the horrors of the world. When he found himself in the real world, where there was death,...
    By Connie Goodbread | 8/1/2017
  • But What if I Say The Wrong Thing?

    At General Assembly this past year in New Orleans, I was very honored to be asked by Dr. Mark A. Hicks, the Director of the Fahs Collaborative at Meadville Lombard Theological School to be a part of a their experiential workshop on Beloved Conversations. Several of us were asked...
    By Natalie Briscoe | 7/18/2017
  • A Home That Is Good to Us

    I love getting emails from the Church of the Larger Fellowship. They start off with “Our faith alive in the world!” That phrase makes me smile every time I see it. I’ve been concerned about the health and life of our faith and Association in the last few months. Since the US...
    By Christine Purcell | 7/5/2017
  • Sparking [R]Evolution

    "Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.” — John Lennon According to evolutionary theory, life, as we know it, is the result of unfathomable numbers of small changes taking place over eons of time. An intriguing element of the theory is that if you...
    By Kenneth Hurto | 6/16/2017
  • Change is the Constant

    “The only thing that is constant is change” Heraclitus My, my, my, but have we been surrounded with change?! If change is truly the only constant, then we had better get comfortable with it. We are swirling around in it. It is so, that currently, if someone asks me how I am...
    By Kathy McGowan | 6/6/2017
  • Taking the Longer View

    Several years ago, while I was living in Boston, my primary care physician recommended I begin taking a daily pill to counteract hypertension. While it wasn't dangerously high, it was elevated enough to cause concern. I resisted for a while, but then after a few more visits with...
    By Carlton Elliott Smith | 5/16/2017


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