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

Regional Association Sundays strengthen church connections

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

Association Sunday was begun three years ago to provide an opportunity for individual congregations to think about, celebrate, and support their connections with the larger world of Unitarian Universalism and the Unitarian Universalist Association.

More than 500 congregations take part each year, holding a Sunday worship service focused on associational ties. But what do you do if you’re a small congregation and your denominational ties simply aren’t as apparent or as numerous as they might be in larger congregations? Or if you simply want to get to know your UU neighbors better?

For some congregations the answer to those questions is to gather with each other to create a combined Association Sunday event that is bigger than any of them could manage alone.

Go to the full article.

Small Texas congregation finds a way to build

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

For years, the Huntsville, Texas, Unitarian Universalist Church held its services in a local hospital chapel. The congregation has been meeting since the early 1980s, but now, finally, it has its own building.

“We’d talked about a building for years,” says member Lee Stringer, “but it never happened. Finally, in early 2009 we overcame the objections and fears of those who had been opposed and we held a vote. It was 17-3 in favor.” Construction began within weeks.

The congregation held its first service in the building on February 14, 2010. And with the new building came other changes. Immediately there were visitors every week, says Stringer, chair of the Building Committee. “At the chapel we might have had one visitor a quarter. The membership has grown from 28 to 34 members. People in town know we’re here now. This has given us visibility.”

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UU World accepting intern applications

Do you know a young person who is interested in Unitarian Universalism and journalism? UU World is now accepting applications for its summer internship program in Boston. This is a great opportunity to gain valuable experience working on both print and online publications at UUA headquarters.

Ideally a summer intern would be available to start in mid to late May, but dates and hours are negotiable. Read more at uuworld.org or email Assistant Editor Sonja L. Cohen for more information.

Leadership tools come in many forms

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

Leadership development happens in many ways in our congregations. A book makes us think in a new way. A speaker at a workshop gives us an “Aha!” moment. We watch someone flawlessly lead a meeting or execute a project. We’re talked into taking on a task that’s different from anything we’ve done before.

Since most of us can use all of the help we can get in honing our leadership skills, InterConnections asked several staff members of UUA districts to tell us about their favorite leadership development tools. Not all will be right for you, but we hope some will. And sometimes it’s simply useful to see what tools others find helpful.

Go to the full article.

Making worship part of kids’ lives

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

The Rev. Krista Taves believes children belong in worship. With adults. For more than 15 minutes.

And for the past three years that’s what has happened at the 100-member Emerson Unitarian Universalist Chapel in Ellisville, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis. For fully the first half of every service, all children are in attendance. They take part in singing and candle lighting and are there for a prayer, the offertory, and a story before being sung out to their own children’s chapel.

Having children in the service for this long has been nothing short of transformational for Emerson, says Taves. But change didn’t happen without hard work.

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Redesign makes UUA website more usable

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

Finding what you want on UUA.org just got easier. The website, which underwent a comprehensive redesign in early 2007, has been changed again, as the Unitarian Universalist Association’s web staff has developed a better understanding of how people use it.

The changes will occur in phases, and the first phase went live on February 1. The first phase involves two key pages: a new resources page for congregational leaders and active Unitarian Universalists, and a revamped home page, which focuses on the needs of visitors to Unitarian Universalism. More changes will come this summer.

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Worship resources office is more than WorshipWeb

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

A small congregation in Wisconsin reached out to the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Public Information Office earlier this year with a very specific question: Are there any CDs of accompaniment for our hymnals when we don’t have anyone to play on Sunday mornings?

In the past that question might have gotten a short answer—no, unfortunately, there are not. Yet thanks to a three-year grant in 2008 from the Barrett Foundation, there is now an office within the Department of Ministry and Professional Leadership that is dedicated to “discovering, developing, and disseminating the resources needed to deepen the worship experiences in our congregations,” as its mission statement says.

Go to the full article.