Wind will power congregation’s building

A small congregation in Minnesota will soon provide most of its own power with its own wind turbine. The 58-member Nora Unitarian Universalist Church, a rural congregation in southcentral Minnesota, will receive a $20,000 federal grant to help pay for the $94,000-project.

Surplus power will be sold back to the local utility company. The congregation’s social justice committee began exploring alternative energy projects several years ago and settled on wind power. It expects to recover the cost of the project in 11 years.

The turbine will have 31-foot fiberglass blades on a 120-foot tower. Groundbreaking was to be November 21.

How much to ask of young adults

Unsure about how much to ask of young adults in your congregation? Andrew Coate, a young adult in Maine, offers one perspective at his blog “thoughts ON.” Here’s a sampling from a blog entry titled “Dear Church”:

If I offer to hold an adult RE class . . . don’t market it as “for young adults.” My voice deserves to be heard . . . by the entire congregation. . . when you ask my ideas on getting more younger people in the congregation and then I give those ideas, the next step is for you to respond to those ideas in a productive way, even if that productive way happens to be, “right now our church probably can’t swing this, but what if we did X instead?”

Immigration study resources ready

A new study guide, curriculum, and worship resources are now available for the Congregational Study/Action Issue (CSAI): “Immigration as a Moral Issue.”

The guide provides a range of resource materials for congregational and individual study. There is also a curriculum on immigration for a six-week adult education course as well as a worship resource supplement. Topics include: understanding the causes of migration, the history of immigration in the United States, the economics of immigration, security and enforcement, and building a theology of migrant justice. The guide is available at http://tinyurl.com/newstudyguide.

Additional resources, including congregational stories, news and updates, and interfaith and community partners can be found at www.uua.org/immigration.

Here are upcoming social witness deadlines:

• Vote in the Congregational Poll (closes Feb. 1, 2011) to approve placing the Draft Statement of Conscience (SOC) “Ethical Eating: Food & Environmental Justice” on the final agenda for General Assembly 2011.

• Submit comments on the Draft SOC “Ethical Eating: Food and Environmental Justice” (closes Feb. 1, 2010).

• Submit comments on the Draft CSAI “Immigration as a Moral Issue” (closes March 1, 2010).

The comment forms and instructions on voting are at www.uua.org/csw. Also available: “What Are We Voting On?” and a guide for collecting congregational comments.

Books focus on church leadership

From November’s InterConnections feature story, now online at UUA.org:

As congregations head into the challenges of another church year, here are books that can help in areas of leadership and administration. All are available from the UUA Bookstore. Some have been around for several years and others are relatively new.

“These are books that congregational leaders continue to order,” said Bookstore Manager Rose Hanig, “They are among the most useful books we carry on congregational topics.”

Go to the full article.

Films focus on consumerism

Looking for a way to start a conversation at church about consumerism, waste, and other environmental topics? Two short films, The Story of Stuff and The Story of Electronics, are a good place to start.

Each is 15 to 20 minutes. The films are suitable for youth groups, adult education sessions, and other purposes. The Story of Stuff explains that overconsumption is rapidly depleting the world’s resources and that many of the actual costs of production, including environmental hazards for factory workers, aren’t apparent in the prices we pay for things.

The Story of Electronics focuses on what goes into making computers, cell phones, and other electronic goods: from the children in the Congo who dig dangerous metals out of the ground, to planned obsolescence and what happens when we dispose of these products.

The films also describe ways people can work on environmental issues, including advocating for fair and labor practices, creating products that last longer, and requiring more restrictions on toxic components.

Both films, and much more information about consumerism, is at www.storyofstuff.com.

‘Building the World’ curriculum about transformation

Building the World We Dream About is a new UUA curriculum that supports the creation of multicultural congregations. The program seeks to transform how we relate to one another across racial and ethnic differences in our congregations and beyond.

Adult congregants engage in either 13 or 24 two-hour workshops. There are also take-home activities between sessions. The curriculum is available online at no charge as part of the UUA’s Tapestry of Faith curricula. For more information email Janice Marie Johnson, director of the Office of Racial and Ethnic Concerns.