General Assembly workshop recordings available

So you’ve come home from General Assembly 2014 in Providence, R.I., filled with the fire of enthusiasm. You’d like to share what you learned in the various workshops. But how? Or maybe you didn’t get to GA, but you heard there was a workshop there that dealt with that thorny issue your membership committee is struggling with. But how to access that workshop?

Here’s how.

Virtually all of the workshops at GA, which cover a wide range of topics about aspects of congregational life, were audio recorded.

Any adult who registered for any part of General Assembly should have received an email (probably on July 10) from Strategic Events Plus with a code that provides free access to the audio content of all of the workshops. For $75 you can buy the workshops loaded onto a flash-drive.

If you didn’t attend GA you can buy downloadable access to all of the workshops for a fee of $150, or you can get them all on a flash-drive for $225.

The business sessions and the worship services from GA can best be viewed by accessing them directly from the GA website, for which there is no charge.  The only content you cannot get are those presentations that include music, which is copyrighted and for which the Unitarian Universalist Association could not get permission to use apart from the original presentation at GA.

If you have not received an email from Strategic Events Plus you may contact the company at support@strategiceventsplus.com or 888-640-4899, extension 104, from 9 to 5 p.m. weekdays. Please check your spam filter for the email before contacting the company, however.

Strategic Events Plus also has GA content back to the 2009 GA.

Best-selling books at General Assembly

The following books were top sellers at General Assembly 2014 held in June in Providence, R.I. All are available at the Unitarian Universalist Association Bookstore.

 

Get more tips in the InterConnections newsletter

The InterConnections Tipsheet is a great place for church leaders to get quick news and ideas, but there is more expanded coverage in our monthly InterConnections email newsletter. Are you getting InterConnections? Do you know a congregational leader you think should be getting InterConnections who isn’t? It’s easy to sign up for a free subscription.

Brochures boost Small Group Ministry

The March/April issue of Covenant Group News, the online newsletter of the UU Small Group Ministry Network, describes a brochure the UU Fellowship of Vero Beach, Fla., created to explain that congregation’s small group ministry program to congregants and to others who enter the building.

Vero Beach member Pete Kersey notes: “We created our brochure when we realized that everything we wanted to pass on to the congregation about covenant groups/small group ministry was too much to swallow in a letter or flyer format. The brochure allowed us to include pictures, graphics, and text in a format that was a page-turner, easy to look at, and full of timely and relevant information, including what the movement was about, when we were recruiting members, and how to join. We have found it to be an effective piece.”

More information is here. The Small Group Ministry Network website invites other congregations to submit their brochures.

Small Group Ministry is a program of intentional lay-led small groups that deepen and expand the ministry of a congregation. The Unitarian Universalist Small Group Ministry Network is a grassroots organization of small group leaders and participants. It publicizes information from many sources and encourages networking to enhance the development of Small Group Ministry. Congregations with small group programs are encouraged to join.

UU email lists, labs promote sharing

Whatever project you’re trying to undertake in your congregation, you’re probably not the first to try something like that. Rather than inventing the wheel, learn from other congregational leaders by connecting with them on some of the 300 email lists sponsored by the UUA, plus the many UU “laboratory” groups on Facebook. On both these venues leaders share ideas and encourage each other.

Among the UUA’s most popular email lists are ones for congregational administration, Church-Admin-UU; software, ChurchMgmtSoftware; communications, Newmedia-L; finance, UU-Money; religious education, Reach-L; general questions, UU-Leaders; and membership, Memb-L. There are also email lists specifically for small and large congregations. All of the lists can be found here.

Worried about getting overwhelmed by emails? You can choose to receive emails from these groups as a daily—or every few days—digest, rather than as individual emails.

There are around twenty UU labs on Facebook where participants discuss specific topics, including social media, growth, and worship practices. Among the most active ones are UU Growth Lab, UU Social Media Lab, UU Young Adult Growth Lab, and UU Media Collaborative. A list of these groups is here.

Welcoming in the Age of Social Media

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

As recently as five or ten years ago, visitors to our congregations showed up full of questions—and brought with them some apprehensions about what Unitarian Universalism might be.

Times have changed. Thanks to the Internet and social media, today’s Sunday guests have a pretty good idea of what they’re getting into by the time they make their first in-person visit.

Peter Bowden, a Unitarian Universalist media consultant who often gives workshops on the relationship of changing culture and social media to ministry, wants congregations to adjust their thinking when it comes to welcoming. 

Go to full article.

 

New curriculum supports ethical eating

Two Unitarian Universalists—Diane Bassett and Jennifer Greene—have created a food-education curriculum designed to support the UUA’s 2011 Statement of Conscience on ethical eating.

Titled, “Demonstrating Our Values Through Eating,” or DOVE, the curriculum has six sessions of one-and-a-half to two hours, which include discussions on food marketing, climate change, food-worker justice, nutrition, food insecurity, and other food-related topics.

Greene said the course can also be used for individual study. It is not just for vegetarians, she noted. “It will be useful for people no matter where they are on the continuum of current food choices.”

The first session is an orientation. The second is a viewing of the documentary Food Stamped, which must be purchased or obtained from a library. Several sessions involve cooking, so a kitchen is needed. The curriculum itself is free online.

A Planning/Publicity Kit includes a timeline for promoting the course and preparing for it. Greene can be reached at jrg123 at optonline.net.

 

Webinars offer expert advice

If you’ve ever needed advice on a congregational issue at odd hours, there are now at least three collections of archived webinars available for anyone to access.

These are mostly one-hour webinars that were created in the past several years, then archived. Most feature a UUA staff member or a congregational leader making a presentation, followed by a period of discussion including the people who participated in the live presentation of the webinar. Topics include nearly all aspects of congregational life––running board meetings, committees on ministry, digital-spiritual literacy, tips for new youth advisors, religious education curricula, volunteer practices, and more.

The UUA’s MidAmerica Region has an archive of webinars, as does the Central East Regional Group (CERG), and the UUA’s Vital Leaders blog, edited by the Rev. Renee Ruchotzke. Check the website of your own district or region, as well. Registration is required to view the CERG webinars.

In addition, there is a list of upcoming webinars on Growing Unitarian Universalism’s Facebook page. Click on the Webinars icon at the top of the page.

Sermon-writing for lay people

New from Skinner House is The Shared Pulpit: A Sermon Seminar for Lay People by the Rev. Erika Hewitt.

The book is described as “a complete workshop to help lay people gain experience writing and preaching a full-length sermon.” It provides a step-by-step lesson plan for eight sessions, including the theory and theology of preaching, and practice sessions in writing and speaking.

The book includes a separate leader’s guide, homework readings, sample sermons, and other exercises “to help first-time preachers polish their preaching craft.” It is $14 from the UUA Bookstore.

Hewitt has an earlier book on worship, Story, Song and Spirit: Fun and Creative Worship Services for All Ages, which is $12 from the bookstore.