When to Call

By Natalie Briscoe

Just as an individual joins a congregation to amplify their values, so does a congregation join the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). The UUA is the congregations’ association which has a mission to support congregations, equip leaders, and live out our UU Values in the world. However, individual congregations are their own ultimate authority, govern themselves, choose their own ministers, and elect their own leadership. Congregations are the institutional incarnation of Unitarian Universalism in any given area, and the UUA is the manifestation of the covenant between congregations. Your Regional Staff are employees of this UUA, and we are your partners in co-creating Unitarian Universalism. We coach, companion, connect, and challenge congregations – to live into the fullest expression of Unitarian Universalism that they want to and to create Beloved Community in the cities and states in which they practice.

To this end, your staff hears frequently, “We don’t know what the UUA is or why we would call them.” Well, here is a list of when you might call your Regional Staff, and when you might call someone else!

When to call Regional Staff:

  • You would like to discern with other leaders how your congregation can become the best institutional incarnation of Unitarian Universalism it can be
  • Your congregation has a crisis such as a fire, death or incapacitation of a staff member, robbery, damage due to a hurricane, flood, wildfire, or earthquake, significant vandalism, violence or hate crimes, or other illegal activity
  • You feel “stuck” in congregational life
  • You want to renew your congregation’s core values, covenant, mission, or vision
  • You have just become the Congregational President
  • You are a minister who recently moved to the Southern Region
  • You need assistance with crafting a board retreat
  • You need assistance with by-laws, policy, or procedures
  • You need assistance with your organizational chart
  • You need assistance with your committee on ministry or committee on shared ministry
  • You need assistance with your lifespan faith development program, including membership paths, leadership development, youth and young adults, or curriculum mapping and support
  • You need assistance with your small group ministry program
  • You have questions around stewardship or capital campaigns
  • You are embarking on a process of strategic planning or long-range planning
  • You have a new minister or religious educator and need a Start Up
  • You have a multi-staff congregation and would like a staffing start-up, jump start, or covenanting session
  • Your Minister or Religious Educator is going on or has just returned from sabbatical
  • When you have questions about certification
  • You have large-scale conflict in your congregation that cannot be solved with your right relationship/destructive behavior policy

When to call Christine Purcell (CPurcell@UUA.org), Transitions Program Manager for Congregational Life:

  • Your minister or religious educator is leaving
  • You are in discernment about the type of ministry you need, such as contract, call, interim, or developmental
  • You are in ministerial search and need assistance with building a search team or a congregational record
  • You need help understanding how to hire, call, or settle, or search for professional ministry
  • You want to expand your ideas about what ministry is most beneficial for your congregation
  • You want to explore ministerial and staffing options

When to call Jan Gartner (JGartner@uua.org), Compensation and Staffing Practices Manager

  • You are writing or modifying a contract for a staff member or a ministerial agreement
  • You need help understanding the staff compensation guidelines
  • You want to understand how to pay taxes for your minister or other staff
  • You are a minister or a congregation and need assistance with understanding housing and salary allowance
  • You are a minister or a congregation and need to understand the UUA health, dental, vision, or life insurance policies

When to call Ranwa Hammamy, Congregational Justice Organizer, at Side with Love (rhammamy@uua.org)

  • You need assistance with your justice-making efforts
  • You need help discerning how to best engage with local social justice making in your local area
  • You need to be connected to other congregations who are doing similar social justice work
  • You need resources for creating justice in your area
  • You want to know about being involved with or starting a state UU Justice network

When to call the Stewardship and Development Office (apf@uua.org or 617-948-6512)

  • When you have questions about your congregation’s Annual Program Fund (APF) contribution
  • When you have questions about your congregation’s status as an APF Honor Congregation
  • When you have questions about how to give or where to send your APF contributions or other offerings

When to call a UU Minister:*

  • You have questions about your spiritual, religious, or theological journey
  • You have questions about Unitarian Universalism and your place within it
  • You or one of your family members is about to go into the hospital
  • A new child has joined your family
  • You would like to plan a rite of passage ceremony: child dedication, marriage, memorial, new home blessing, or any rite of passage you would like to mark
  • You or a loved one is in permanent in-home care, hospice, or a nursing facility and would like a visit
  • You have a conflict with someone in your congregation, leadership or otherwise, and need help in addressing it
  • You would like to join the congregation and sign the membership book
  • You would like to leave the church and go to another church, or you would like to leave the church and Unitarian Universalism
  • You feel called to offer your gifts of time, talent, and treasure to the church and seek help in finding a way to do so
  • You feel a call to the Unitarian Universalist Ministry
  • You have issues in your personal life or upcoming important choices and would be helped by discussing them
  • You were triggered by something in a Unitarian Universalist setting and you need help regulating
  • You are having a crisis or mental health issue and need pastoral care
  • Something happened at church that either greatly pleased you or greatly displeased you, and you need to talk it out with someone

*If you are in a congregation or community that does not have a minister directly serving you, you can call any minister serving a congregation near you, or you can contact one of the chaplains listed below. As per the UUMA’s scale of fees for professional services, hourly chaplain rates begin at $135 per hour.

UU Chaplains: