Bridging keeps younger UUs connected

Now is a good time for directors of religious education, youth advisers, and other congregational leaders to encourage high school graduates to fill out a Bridge Connections Form. Having this information before young adults head off to college, jobs, or the military allows the UUA’s Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries to stay in connection with them. The form can be filled out online, or the office can mail forms to congregations that request them.

This fall the office will also send that information to congregations and campus ministry groups in communities where the young adults take up the next phase of their lives. They’ll get invited to local events, and they’ll have local UUs to reach out to if they need them.

Read the Youth and Young Adult office’s Top Ten Tips for Supporting Newly Bridged Young Adults for more ideas on how to welcome and/or maintain connections with post-bridging young adults.

 

CLF offers new online worship service

Congregants of “conventional” UU congregations who are unable to attend Sunday services because of work schedules, disabilities, or other reasons, have an alternative now in the new twice-weekly online worship service of the Church of the Larger Fellowship.

The CLF, a congregation that serves the needs of many isolated UUs through the Internet and by mail, is conducting online worship at 7 p.m. on Sundays and 1:30 p.m. on Mondays. Both are Eastern Daylight Time. The Monday service is a repeat of Sunday’s. For information go to QuestForMeaning.org, click on “Reflecting” and then on “Worship.”

New immigration study resources available

New resources are available from the UUA to help congregations prepare for the “Justice General Assembly,” June 20–24 in Phoenix, and to engage with immigration justice work in their home communities.

  • United States Immigration: Theological Reflection and Discussion is a collection of twenty-two brief excerpts from sermons and writings about the topic of immigration offered for UU congregations. Each excerpt is followed by questions for discussion. Download a copy of the resource, and find out more about it by listening to reflection authors Susan Karlson, Michael Tino, and Colin Bossen on The Journey Toward Phoenix, an internet-based radio blog hosted by the Rev. Carlton Elliot Smith of the UU Church of Arlington, Va.

For more information, contact Gail Forsyth-Vail, Adult Programs director, Ministries and Faith Development, Unitarian Universalist Association.

Metro NY District forms Environmental Justice Council

The Metro New York District of the Unitarian Universalist Association recently started an Environmental Justice Council for the purpose of educating UU leaders about global, regional, and local environmental justice issues. Participants and congregations hope to have more impact on these issues by working together.

For more information about how such a council operates, contact the Rev. Peggy Clarke at pclarke at uuma.org. Clarke is creating a list of other UUs doing similar work.

Evaluation a constant process

The Rev. Renee Ruchotzke, writing on the website of the Central East Regional Group of the Unitarian Universalist Association, encourages congregational leaders to constantly evaluate programs by asking, “Are we serving our core purpose (by doing this program)? Is it relevant to people’s lives?”

In her blog post, Ruchotzke, who is Regional Leadership Development Consultant for CERG, writes,

Our congregations can get stuck in . . . patterns with events or traditions but we don’t always notice when a committee or a program has outlasted its relevance . . .  In systems, any change within the system elicits one of two reactions.  The first and strongest reaction is push-back:  the system wants to return to its previous “comfortable” state.  The other reaction is for the system to change and establish a new equilibrium of the parts, and a new homeostasis. It’s the role of the leaders to help the system to respond to change based on the congregation’s core purpose rather than to react based on habit and individual desire for comfort.

New UU Pocket Guide published

A new edition of the Unitarian Universalist Pocket Guide is available from the UUA Bookstore. This fifth edition was edited by the Rev. Peter Morales and has a forward by Melissa Harris-Perry, MSNBC host, presenter of the Ware Lecture at General Assembly in 2009, and a lifelong UU.

The guide is a complete introduction to Unitarian Universalism, covering ministry, worship, religious education, social justice, and history. It includes essays by the Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt, UUA Executive Vice President Kathleen Montgomery, Rev. John T. Crestwell Jr., Rev. Gail R. Geisenhainer, Rev. Jane Ranney Rzepka, Rev. Mark Belletini, Judith A. Frediani, Rev. Rebecca Ann Parker, and Dan McKanan.

The previous edition of the Pocket Guide was published in 2004. The guide is $7 from the Bookstore. Orders of ten or more are 20 percent off. The guide is also available as an e-book.

Congregational leadership articles on blogs

Here are two useful congregational leadership articles posted recently on blogs:

Church Leaders Need to Be the Grown-ups, says church consultant Margaret Marcuson. She recommends not taking other people’s anxiety personally and paying more attention to your goals for yourself rather than your goals for the congregation.

• Shane Raynor, on the Ministry Matters blog, gives reasons for Losing the Offering Plate. They include: many people don’t use cash and checks anymore, it reinforces negative stereotypes about churches and money, and it gives the impression a dollar or two is enough. He suggests other ways of giving—a credit card kiosk in the foyer and an online giving option. He adds, “Even if you choose to retain the collection plate, pushing alternative ways of donating gives people who don’t use the plate permission to be more comfortable in your church.”

Washington office collecting reproductive justice stories

Jessica Halperin, Women’s Issues advocate in the UUA’s Washington office, is collecting stories about Unitarian Universalists who worked for reproductive justice in the years before abortion became legal. Halperin is inviting ministers and lay people to contribute their own stories and to interview those in their congregations who hosted clinics, drove women across borders, argued before the Supreme Court, etc. Examples of such stories are here.

Halperin will publish the stories on UUA.org, and they will also be used and archived in various other ways and places that are still being determined. She says, “Ask people in your congregation how they worked for reproductive justice before Roe v. Wade. Ask the ministers you know, ask someone of an older or younger generation than you. Help write down their stories so that more people will know the legacy and capacity that we as Unitarian Universalists have to work for reproductive justice.”

Halperin can be reached at jhalperin@uua.org, by phone 202-393-2255, and by ground mail at UUA Washington Center, 1100 G Street NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20005.

Author sought for theology curriculum

The Resource Development Office of the UUA’s Ministries and Faith Development staff group is seeking authors who can help develop a religious education training module specifically for online learning. Until now, all the UUA’s Renaissance Modules­—fifteen-hour trainings for religious educators—have required in-person meetings. The new module, on UU theology, would be used online to reach leaders unable to attend in-person sessions.

Inquiries should go to Pat Kahn, children and families program director. She is seeking authors with instructional design expertise and familiarity with software options, as well as a grounding in Unitarian Universalist theology.

More information, including how to apply, is here. The deadline for application is June 15.