About the Author
Sonja L. Cohen
Sonja L. Cohen is managing editor of InterConnections and senior editor of UU World magazine.

UU church offers music ministry internships

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

Jefferson Unitarian Church in Golden, CO, has had a number of ministerial interns over the years. It’s also gone a step further, hiring three music ministry interns.

The first was in 2004, the second in 2009, and the third arrives in July. “With all of the conversation happening now about excellence in ministry, having music ministry interns is an interesting part of that discussion,” says Keith Arnold, Jefferson’s minister of music.

“It raises the question: Where do we find new religious professionals? Do we wait for them to show up, or do we recruit and train them?” He adds that many music schools don’t provide training on how to offer music in church settings.

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Changes at UUA benefit congregations

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

The Unitarian Universalist Association will implement changes this summer designed to help UUA staff communicate with and support congregations more effectively.

Among the changes will be the creation of an Office of Strategic Growth, which will develop strategies for congregational growth; FORTH, a new multiyear stewardship development program; a full-time staff member for the UUA’s environmental programs; and more.

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Now available: Skinner House eBooks

Big news! The UUA Bookstore and Skinner House Books have announced the launch of Skinner House eBooks. Sixteen titles are now available through Google eBooks, with more to come shortly. For a complete list of Skinner House eBooks and purchasing links, visit the UUA Bookstore website and click on the big red eBooks logo on the right side of the page.

Customers who buy Skinner House titles from Google will be able to read them on any eBook reader except the Kindle. The same titles will be available soon through the Amazon Kindle store as well.

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.”

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Welcome to new lay leaders

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

If you’re a new member of your congregation’s governing board, welcome to InterConnections, the Unitarian Universalist Association’s free online newsletter for lay and professional leaders of all our congregations.

For 13 years InterConnections has been creating and publishing articles designed to meet the practical needs of congregational leaders. InterConnections searches out congregations that have had extraordinary success with particular issues and tells you how they did it and what other resources are available on that topic.

Whatever issue you’re struggling with, chances are we’ve written about it––from being more welcoming to how to talk about money to how to develop a caring committee.

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Immigration book suggested as congregational ‘Common Read’

From a special InterConnections feature story, now online at UUA.org:

Congregations are being invited this fall to engage in a “Common Read” of the new Beacon Press book on immigration issues, The Death of Josseline: Immigration Stories from the Arizona-Mexico Borderlands.

Gail Forsyth-Vail, the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Adult Programs director, says the hope is that all types of small groups within congregations—lifespan education programs, small group ministry groups, book groups, etc.—will read the book and discuss it between now and next spring.

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Add innovation to Sunday worship

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

Is it worth the risk to try something new on Sunday morning?

Absolutely, says the Rev. Erika Hewitt. So do the Rev. Mark Belletini and the Rev. Wayne Arnason. Hewitt, Belletini, and Arnason shared worship experiences at two workshops at General Assembly 2010 in June, and InterConnections. All three talked about ways to introduce change to worship to bring it more depth and meaning.

For starters, it’s important to do rituals properly, says Belletini, minister of the First Unitarian Universalist (UU) Church of Columbus, Ohio. Take the annual water service, which will be coming up this fall in many congregations. How do you make it meaningful when it can easily veer off into “Look where we went”?

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Technology expands learning opportunities

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

Technology is changing the way congregations acquire information. There was a time not so long ago when a congregation interested in learning how to do a better annual stewardship drive or develop its leadership might invite a consultant in for a day or a weekend.

That can still be the best way to go, but more and more—because our lives are busier and because the economy has shrunk our resources—congregations are gathering information through online “webinars” and other electronic learning formats.

Take the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada in Reno. When it wanted to update its mission and vision statements last winter it knew that an outside consultant would be helpful in that process. It also knew that its budget probably wouldn’t stand the strain of bringing one in for a face-to-face workshop.

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Watch General Assembly events live

From a special pre-GA InterConnections story, now online at UUA.org:

Video from fourteen major events at General Assembly, the Unitarian Universalist Association’s annual gathering of congregations June 23–27 in Minneapolis, will be streamed as they occur. Congregations are encouraged to gather and view these events online as they actually occur or watch video of the events later.

Go to the full article.