Welcome to the 2022-2023 Congregational Year!

By Natalie Briscoe

As the wheel turns, there are so many changes in these seasons of congregational life. There are things to mourn and things to celebrate. And some things are both.

It is with both joy and sadness that this year, we will say “best wishes” and “happy retirement” to our long-serving Events Coordinator, Kathy Charles. Not many people know this, but Kathy Charles was one of my youth advisors at camps and rallies in my teen years. I remember thinking how cool she was and how I wished we could spend more time together. I’m so glad that wish came true, as we got to work together for a decade, through many changes both to the UUA and our own lives. It’s time for one more change as Kathy transitions into being a wonderful Grandma, a single-funder of many-a-craft store, and an RV Road Warrior. Kathy’s last day with our staff is August 15, 2022, but she will still be around the UU world and welcomes catch-up coffee dates.

Another exciting staff transition for our region involves two other familiar faces: As of August, Nancy Combs-Morgan and Cameron Young will both be welcomed to the Southern Region Staff full time. Previously, both Cameron and Nancy, along with Kathy Charles, had worked also with the MidAmerica Region. As we streamline processes, standardize across regions, and welcome new congregational life staff nationwide, I am so excited that we now have the opportunity to work with Nancy and Cameron on a full-time basis.

We are also so thrilled to share meaningful partnership with you this year through multiple opportunities for guidance and leadership development in our Southern Region programming. Most notably:

  • Our three-part Southern Region Leadership Experience will be offered again this year. The Primer, which is for everyone, is accessible at any time, with processing sessions on September 14, 2022 and February 8, 2023. The Essentials Leadership Experience is open for registration now, with processing dates on October 8, November 5, and December 3, 2022. The last portion of our Leadership Experience, the Breakthrough, will be held February 4, March 4, and April 8, 2023. You can learn more about Leadership Experiences and find registration links here: Southern Region Leadership Experiences.
  • The Toolbox Webinar Series is BACK! Toolbox Webinars are a series of online gatherings designed for unitarian Universalists at all points in their membership journey to learn more about the basics of congregational life. Our webinar series is meant to provide you with a “toolbox” for navigating all aspects of your church at a foundational level. Toolbox Webinars are always offered at no cost and are a great opportunity to plan and collaborate with Southern Region staff and other congregational leaders. You can find more information about our toolbox webinar series and sign up for one or all of them here: Southern Region Toolbox Webinars.
  • The Southern Region offers Presidents’ Gatherings on most third Thursdays of each month. These gatherings are a time to support the unique role of presidents in each congregation. This year, the programming for these gatherings will be condensed to allow more time for cross-congregational collaboration, and the material that is presented will be completely different from the Toolbox Series to help you focus more on the creativity and care required of you at this time. This series is offered at no cost for congregations that were APF Honor for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022. A small fee is charged for congregations that were not APF Honor. You can learn more about the Presidents’ Gatherings and sign up for them here: Southern Region Presidents' Gatherings.

To stay connected to the Southern Region, we would like to take this opportunity to remind you of a few things and to encourage you to consider some others:

  • Subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter if you haven’t already.
  • Make sure your congregation’s roster of lay leaders and staff is up to date in the my.uua.org online data system. Both your Southern Region and your UUA rely on this congregationally reported data to keep you informed of important information!
  • Keep up-to-date with Southern Region happenings by liking our Facebook page “Southern Region UUA” and joining our Facebook group, “Southern Region Unitarian Universalists.”
  • Let us know about your upcoming major milestones — anniversaries, building dedications and minister ordinations/installations. We will be happy to include them in our monthly e-news and on our Facebook page where appropriate. To share this information, send an email to sr@uua.org.
  • Plan for upcoming events by visiting the Southern Region calendar.
  • Learn more about the latest going on with our UUA and related organization efforts to justice initiatives — including countering white supremacy — through Side with Love, Black Lives of UU, Love Resists, UU the Vote, and UUWorld .

And of course, each member of the Southern Region Staff is here to be your partner as we co-create a Unitarian Universalism that is bold, relevant, and life-changing. Together, we can build Beloved Community, one relationship at a time. To that end, please remember that you can contact the staff at any time through our Partnership Activation Request, which assures that the next call or email you receive is the person who can answer your particular inquiry. You can watch a short video about the Partnership Activation Request or contact us now!

Joy and woe are, indeed, woven fine at this time, and together, we can create spaces of becoming and belonging. We look forward to creating with you very, very, soon.

Your Southern Region Team:

Natalie Briscoe, Lead

Kathy Charles

Jessica Curren

Kathy McGowan

Cameron Young

Nancy Combs-Morgan

Lillian Drab-Braddick

Rev. Tyler Coles