Help With Theme-Based Ministry
Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Themes
Access a list of the themes tagged in the UUA’s Tapestry of Faith programs and Worship Web
How to Videos
Even before the “how-to”, explore the “WHY-to” consider theme based ministry with this webinar from Rev. Renee Ruchotzke called “Beyond the Potluck: Offering Programming that Sticks to Your Ribs”. The webinar was designed for members of the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Association of Membership Professionals (UUAMP) and talks about how theme based ministry provides “spiritual hospitality” as well as supports the path to membership. This webinar would be ideal to share among staff teams, lay leadership such as a program council, and with nearby UU congregations; opportunities for shared ministry abound! View the webinar slides.
Theme Based Ministry and Full Week Faith presentation at Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA) Fall Conference 2015 with Scott Tayler, Sheila Schuh, Karen Bellavance-Grace, Eric Bliss, and Pat Kahn.
The staff of the Washington Ethical Society: Rev. Amanda Poppei (minister), Robyn Kravitz (Coming of Age and Teen Coordinator), Melissa Sinclair (Director of Lifelong Learning) and Bailey Whiteman (Chorus Director) shared the story of how they moved from theme-based worship to using themes throughout the life of the congregation.
- Opening Worship (33:26)
- Theme Talk: Connection, Depth, Efficiency: Being a Themed Congregation (14:08)
- Afternoon Workshop Part 1 (55:28)
- Afternoon Workshop Part 2 (40:11)
General Assembly (GA) 2014 workshop "Deepening Our Faith through Theme-Based Ministry":
- Video Part 1: The Thread that Ties the Whole Congregation Together—Rev. Jan Taddeo of the UU Congregation of Gwinnett, GA
- Video Part 2: Pursing A Holistic Vision—Kathy Smith DRE of the UU Community of Plano, TX
- Video Part 3 Theme Based Ministry (TBM) Ministry Top Ten—Shelia Schul, DRE of the First Unitarian Church of Rochester, NY
- Video Part 4 Part four of the GA Workshop Video—from clicks to community—Rev Matt Johnson of the UU Church of Rockford, IL
Theme Based Church webinar on the Central East Region On Demand Learning Center (you must register to use this site, but registration is free). How Theme Based Church is different from Theme Based Worship and how you can move your congregation to Theme Based Church as well.
Blogs and Articles
- Read “The Remedy of Connection: Theme-Based Church” by Rev. Kaaren Anderson (from the Skinner House book Turning Point edited by Fredric Muir)
- Read Central East Regional Group (CERG) blog post Congregational Collaboration by Rev. Matt Alspaugh
- Read the Call and Response blog post Deepening in Faith Together, Through Theme-Based Ministry which contains links to a recording of the GA 2014 workshop by the same name.
- Read this article from the Faith Formation Learning Exchange: A New Way to Approach Faith Formation (PDF) by Jolene Roehlkepartain
- Read this 2011 UU World article Monthly Themes at All Souls, Tulsa, Help Congregants Go Deeper
- Learn how one congregation is incorporating theme based ministry in religious education using the Workshop Rotation model: Theme-Based Church and the RE Workshop Rotation Model: Putting it Together by Rev. Matthew Johnson (Rockford IL). (For context, this synopsis describes workshop rotation and other models of religious education)
Networks and Sharing Circles
- The Soul Matters Sharing Circle is made up of numerous Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations that follow the same monthly worship themes and share small group packets, sermons, worship ideas and children’s religious education curriculum around that monthly theme. Members of the circle also have access to 6 years’ worth of archived material.
- The Touchstones journal provides worship and discussion resources for monthly themes, following the theme-based ministry of the First Universalist Church of Denver (Colorado).
- Created by UU religious educator Becky Brooks, Common Converse is a collection of thematic modules that focus on big ideas each month; the materials can be used in both religious and non-religious settings. More about Common Converse: Despite the constant stream of information flowing through our lives (or maybe because of it) it can be difficult to find easily accessible ways to explore big ideas. Even as we are continually faced with the moral and ethical dilemmas of everyday life, many of us feel powerless to do much more than click "like" or retweet. Common Converse is place where individuals and groups can access tools they’ll love to do the fun and inspiring work of digging deeper.
- Small Group Ministry Network:
- UU Musician’s Network:
- Your UUA staff is available to help!
- The Faith Development Office is glad to talk to you about theme-based ministry and Congregational Life staff can help in discerning what model might work for you and helping you implement it.
- Contact: themebasedministry [at] uua [dot] org