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Southern Region News Archive
Southern Region News Archive
  • 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
  • Beyond the Balcony and the Dance Floor

    It's been quite a while since I last joined a mosh pit. No, I am not speaking metaphorically (yet). For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, a mosh pit is an area, usually near the stage at a live concert, where people engage in some pretty full-contact dancing – bodies...
    By Dawn Skjei Cooley | 5/2/2017
  • Lovers of Leaving!

    Hey, all you “Lovers of Leaving!” Yeah, you. You know I’m talking to you. We’ve all done it. Maybe we’ve done it a few times. And if we haven’t actually DONE it, then we’ve all certainly THOUGHT about it. Leaving, I mean. When things get rough, we tend to split. Check-out. Take...
    By Natalie Briscoe, Connie Goodbread | 4/19/2017
  • Vulnerability and Belonging

    “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness.” ― Dr. Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead After the presidential...
    By Christine Purcell | 3/14/2017
  • We Are Grieving

    I have come to realize in the last few weeks that, in many ways, we as a nation are grieving. As liberal religious people, we are grieving. We are seeing many of our values and the ideals of our democracy challenged in ways we might never have imagined happening in our lifetime...
    By Kathy McGowan | 3/6/2017
  • The Power of Language

    For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places . —Ephesians 6:12 Through thinning ozone, Waves fall on wrinkled...
    By Carlton Elliott Smith | 2/16/2017
  • Sustaining Ourselves

    The other day, when thanking my spouse for handling some mundane household chore, I burst into tears. Out of nowhere. Today, I find myself unable to focus – my attention is being demanded by one crisis after another. Friends, I am tired. I am tired, and I am scared. I am angry...
    By Dawn Skjei Cooley | 2/2/2017
  • Bearing Witness — Unitarian Universalists Go Forward

    “We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. … Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. … This may well be mankind’s (sic) last chance to choose between chaos or community.” ---...
    By Kenneth Hurto | 1/18/2017
  • At the Edge

    If we start fighting amongst ourselves, we are doomed. - Remus Lupin (Order of the Phoenix, JK Rowling) I will add that if we keep fighting amongst ourselves, we are doomed. If we cannot get clear on the big picture and stop fighting over the irrelevant and the petty, we are...
    By Connie Goodbread | 1/5/2017
  • When Hope is Hard to Find

    The mission of the Southern Region Field Staff is, “More Hope, More Love, More Courage, More Justice, More Joy. Now.” In every program, consultation, and coaching call we have with a congregation or emerging ministry, your staff judges its work upon that standard: does this...
    By Natalie Briscoe | 12/19/2016
  • What Congregations Can Learn from Pantsuit Nation

    A week or so before the presidential election, an elder of our faith added me to Pantsuit Nation, a secret Facebook group with 3.8 million members, most of whom supported Secretary Clinton for President. What a resource! The stories! The hope! I can’t estimate how much time I’ve...
    By Christine Purcell | 11/30/2016
  • Equity and Justice for ALL

    For the last couple of years, I have been going around the Southern Region talking about culture. As I work with congregations which are doing mission and vision work or are in transition with their professional staff, I explain that before you can think about the future, it is...
    By Kathy McGowan | 11/17/2016


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