Post-Pandemic Southern Region Programming

By Natalie Briscoe

Faith Development is all we do.

Unitarian Universalism is the Faith we teach.

The congregation is the curriculum.

Your Southern Region staff is excited to announce our Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 programming which we hope will support your congregation in the post-isolation era. As your partners in co-creating Unitarian Universalism, we have added several offerings which provide opportunities for leadership and membership development in your congregation. We understand that your congregation has endured significant challenges and has undertaken several transitions during the past year and a half. Because of this massive amount of work and the ongoing traumatic effects from the global pandemic, your leadership may be preoccupied with decisions regarding your reopening process, figuring out the puzzles of hybrid offerings, and experiencing decision fatigue and malaise from the last year of isolation. We hope you find these additional offerings supportive, and we look forward to assisting your congregation in its maturational and incarnational growth over the next programming year.

Leadership Development: Primer Events

Offerings in the Primer section are for building your foundation in and connection to Unitarian Universalism. These are for newer members who would like a grounding in our shared Faith and for long-time members who would like to deepen their relationship with our shared Faith as well as gain a fuller understanding of what it means to be an every-day Unitarian Universalist. All ages are welcome for these online offerings, and they are a wonderful augmentation to Coming of Age, Youth, Young Adult, and membership development programs in your congregation.

Requirements: Registration completed online and any applicable fee paid. Congregations are encouraged to support their membership in participating through scholarships. There are no nominations requirements or team requirements for the Primer section; individuals may register on their own.

Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites for attending any programming in the Primer section.

Toolbox Webinars: The Toolbox Webinar series is meant to assist members and leaders in the functioning of your congregation at the practical level. There are currently twelve Toolbox Webinars per program year. Topics include religious education support, volunteer training, stewardship, covenant building, governance, small group ministry, and many others. You do not need to attend the entire series; each Toolbox Webinar stands alone. Registration for the Toolbox Webinar Series is open now.

Leadership Experience Primer: The traditional online Leadership Experience (LE) offered by the Southern Region, which is now called LE Essentials, has prerequisites that can be met in a variety of ways in your congregation. We understand, however, that in the past year you have not been focused on your traditional or established patterns of membership development and may not be prepared to meet these prerequisites this year. In response, your Southern Region staff has added this LE Primer series onto our Leadership Experience options in order to support your congregation in getting the Faith Development it needs to thrive after the Developmental Interruption of the global pandemic.

The LE Primer is a self-paced experience with recorded lectures and supplemental materials. This series spans from August through early November, with one live, online, session in November (November 3rd or November 6th, choose whichever is better for your schedule). The topics for this series are UU Theology, Covenant, and UU History. The cost is $35 per person, and again, congregations are encouraged to support their leadership development with scholarships. Registration for the LE Primer is open now.

One final note: in order to attend both the online LE Essentials AND the full-week immersion Southern UU Leadership Experience scheduled for March of 2022 in Little Rock, Arkansas, participants must meet the prerequisites in some way. If you are new to Southern Region Leadership events the LE Primer series is the easiest way to meet these requirements.

Leadership Development: Essentials Events

Offerings in the Essentials section are for gaining critical skills for holding leadership positions within your congregation. They are for members who would like to increase their competency in congregational theory and management. The Essentials section events are particularly useful for board members, members of the Committee on Ministry or Committee on Shared Ministry, Staff, Religious Professionals, Religious Education Teachers, Youth Advisors, Committee Chairs, and members of your visioning or strategic planning team. All ages are welcome for these online offerings, especially any Youth representatives on your board or on your committees.

Requirements: Registration completed online and any applicable fee paid. Congregations are encouraged to support their membership in participating through scholarships. A Congregational TEAM is required to attend the LE Essentials series.

Prerequisites: The prerequisites for participation in the LE Essentials series are:

  • Participation in the LE Primer, or
  • The following sequence in your home congregation:
  1. The New UU curriculum (a FREE Tapestry of Faith program) or the equivalent, or have completed the Faith Forward program in the first year of their membership
  2. Faith Like A River (A UU History Curriculum, FREE on Tapestry of Faith)
  3. What Moves Us (A UU Theology Curriculum, FREE on Tapestry of Faith)
  4. Resistance and Transformation (A History of our Social Justice Work, FREE on Tapestry of Faith

Presidents Webinars: The Presidents Webinar series is meant to offer ongoing support to your congregational president through ongoing leadership training, a forum for asking questions and exchanging ideas, and fostering deep connection to Southern Region staff and other regional Presidents. There are eight sessions per program year, which last roughly 90 minutes on a Wednesday evening or Thursday afternoon. Topics include governance basics, stewardship, covenants, mission and vision, strategic planning, board succession, and many others. This is a series, so registering for one webinar registers you for the entire year. There is no charge for Annual Program Fund (APF) Honor Congregations and a small charge for non-Honor congregations. Registration for the 2021-22 Presidents' Gathering Series is open now.

Leadership Experience Essentials: The traditional online Leadership Experience offered by the Southern Region, now called LE Essentials, will be offered again this year to support your congregation in its leadership development. LE Essentials is a three-session experience with lectures and supplemental materials and activities between the three sessions. This series spans from November through February, with three live sessions in December, January, and February. The topics for the three sessions are Congregational Foundations, Faith Development, and System Theory. The cost is $75 per person, and again, congregations are encouraged to support their leadership development with scholarships. This event has a nomination process. Information about nominations and registration will be available soon.

Immersive Southern UU Leadership Experience: Our traditional, week-long Southern Region UU Leadership Experience, also called our in-residence program, will return in March of 2022 in Little Rock, Arkansas. We are so excited to be together again in an intentional UU community to learn together! The same prerequisites and nominations apply for this immersive experience, so it is never too early to begin preparing! Information about this event will be emailed to congregational presidents and ministers in fall 2021.

Leadership Development: Breakthrough Events

Offerings in the Breakthrough section are for building momentum, creating sustained cultural change in your congregation, and breaking through the barriers which are preventing your congregation from being a full incarnation of Unitarian Universalism. These are for leaders who have completed our LE Essentials at any time, including DBLE and SUULE graduates of the past. All ages are welcome for these online offerings, and they are a wonderful augmentation to Coming of Age, Youth, Young Adult, and membership development programs in your congregation.

Requirements: Registration completed online and any applicable fee paid. Congregations are encouraged to support their membership in participating through scholarships. There are no nominations requirements, but teams are strongly encouraged.

Prerequisites: Completion of any LE Essentials series at any time, including past DBLE and SUULE events, any Extended Leadership Experience, or any Online Extended Leadership Experience.

Braveheart: Braveheart is our Southern Region small group ministry for leaders who want to deepen their relationship to their Faith in shared spiritual practice and intentional theological reflection with other Unitarian Universalists. Meeting times vary, but Braveheart is a monthly, eight-session small group ministry that lasts for two hours per live session. There are readings and recorded sermons or lectures to watch in between live sessions. Registration for Braveheart will open on July 15. Watch the Southern Region calendar and Facebook page for more information.

Leadership Experience Breakthrough: This NEW leadership development option offered by the Southern Region is meant to help your congregation breakthrough its old patterns and habits and fully incarnate Unitarian Universalism in your Beloved Community. The LE Breakthrough series is a three-session experience with lectures and supplemental materials and activities between the three sessions. This section spans from February through May, with three live sessions in March, April, and May. The topics for the three sessions are Incarnational UU Theology, Covenant Beyond Walls, and Justice is what Love Looks Like in Public. The cost is $75 per person, and again, congregations are encouraged to support their leadership development with scholarships. Registration information will be available soon.