UUA seeks compensation consultants

The UUA is seeking volunteers to serve as Compensation Consultants. Individuals with experience in UU leadership, human resources, accounting, employment law, church administration, tax law, mediation, and the like are invited to volunteer their time and skills working with the UUA Office of Church Staff Finances (OCSF).

Consultants help congregations address issues involving compensation, benefits, hiring, performance evaluation, taxes, and bookkeeping. Experience is helpful but not necessary because the OCSF will provide training. Email Betsy Gabriel, Compensation Programs manager, by July 1 to express interest or request information.

UUA moderator candidate forum June 6 online

Delegates to this year’s General Assembly in Louisville, Ky., will be electing a new UUA moderator to serve a six-year term as the Association’s chief governance officer. The two candidates are Jim Key and Tamara Payne-Alex. So that UUs can learn more about the candidates and the issues, the UUA is sponsoring an online moderator candidates’ forum on Thursday, June 6 at 7:30 p.m. EST. The forum will be moderated by the Rev. Ken Sawyer, minister emeritus of First Parish in Wayland, Mass., and chair of the UUA’s Election Campaign Practices Committee.

You are invited to view the forum at forum2013.uua.org. Each candidate will present an opening statement and then respond to questions presented by Sawyer. If you would like to submit questions to be considered for use in the forum, please send them to forum2013@uua.org. The deadline for submitting proposed questions is 12 p.m. EST on Monday, June 3.

Following the live forum, the video will be posted as soon as possible on UUA.org.

Sign up for health-care alerts

The UUA Office of Church Staff Finances has begun sending out monthly emails to keep congregational leaders informed about the federal Affordable Care Act,  which will be nearly fully implemented in January 2014.

Emails are being sent to board presidents and/or board chairs who have a my.uua.org account. Others may also receive the emails by sending their name, congregation name, job title, and email address to Patti Angelina, Insurance Plans coordinator.

You do not need to have employees enrolled in the UUA Health Plan to receive these emails. Previous monthly email alerts will be archived on UUA.org. Linda Rose, of the Church Staff Finances office, advises, “It is the responsibility of all employers, including congregations, to learn about the ACA and to fully prepare themselves to make thoughtful decisions regarding employee benefits, including health insurance.”

Summer 2013 youth social justice experiences

High school youth are invited to participate this summer in three social justice experiences through the Unitarian Universalist College of Social Justice.

The first is the Civil Rights Pilgrimage, a trip through civil rights sites in the South, July 6-13. Second is the Boston Youth Justice Training, June 30-July 21. Third is the New Orleans Youth Justice Training, at the Center for Ethical Living and Justice Renewal, August 3-10. The pilgrimage is $975, the Boston training is $3,300, and the New Orleans training is $800. Fee reductions are available. Application deadline for all events is April 15.

The Rev. Kathleen McTigue, director of the College of Social Justice, said the programs are designed for youth who are “newly inspired to take action against the injustices of our world and for seasoned social justice youth leaders.”

UUA offers grants for Doctrine of Discovery projects

Grants of $500 to $1,000 are available from the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Resource Development office for congregations interested in pursuing projects that teach about, repudiate, and mitigate the current effects of the Doctrine of Discovery.

The Doctrine of Discovery is the premise that European Christian explorers who “discovered” other lands had the authority to claim those lands and subdue, and even enslave, the people of those lands simply because they were not Christian. The Doctrine was introduced to UU congregations at General Assembly 2012 in Phoenix and through a uuworld.org article last spring. The doctrine continues to be the basis for many contemporary laws that serve to oppress indigenous peoples.

UUA Adult Programs Director Gail Forsyth-Vail said that projects can include “education, reflection, and action,” and should also include outreach to partners in indigenous and/or interfaith communities and demonstrate the prospects for broad or long-range impact.

Information about why the Doctrine continues to be problematic, and what congregations can do about it in their own communities is here. Information on the grant process is here. The application deadline is April 15. Applications and questions should be sent to religiouseducation@uua.org. Recipients will be notified May 1.

Forsyth-Vail said, “We’ve already had some inquiries about the grants and there has been some tentative work on projects. I’m excited about the possibilities.” She noted that the Doctrine of Discovery touches many social justice areas. “Working to undo colonization can mean doing something as simple as working with a local group on a land rights issue or an environmental justice project. Every congregation could do something.”



Youth social justice training in Boston

High school-age youth interested in social justice are invited to apply to attend a three-week training program this summer in Boston. The National Youth Justice Training program will be June 30–July 21, sponsored by the new Unitarian Universalist College of Social Justice. The program offers a tiered funding structure, ranging from $500 to $3,300 per person. Application deadline is April 15.  More information is included in a NYJT brochure.

In addition to time spent together learning about social justice leadership skills and UU social justice history, participants will intern at various sites in the Boston area. The trip leader is the Rev. Elizabeth Nguyen, who is also the social justice educator at Boston Mobilization, which trains people for grassroots campaigns for peace, economic justice, and democracy.

This will be the second year for the youth training.

Ministerial mentoring survey participants sought

Three groups focused on ministerial development are inviting all members of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association to complete a brief survey, which is designed to improve the chances for successful ministries, especially for members of historically marginalized communities, and bolster the culture of ministerial mentoring.

The seven-question survey about mentoring can be found here. It is sponsored by the UUA’s Professional Development and Credentialing Offices; the UUMA’s Committee on Ministry for Antiracism, Antioppression, and Multiculturalism; and the UUA’s Diversity of Ministry Team. Information about the UUA’s Diversity of Ministry Initiative is here.

Ministerial Fellowship Committee solicits feedback

The Ministerial Fellowship Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Association is beginning a review of the competencies required of candidates seeking fellowship as UU ministers. This review follows several years of study by the UUA Board of Trustees and the UUA administration as part of the Excellence in Ministry initiative begun by the Board.

In the first stage of the review the MFC will be seeking the advice of the many parties and organizations that have a stake in ministerial excellence. They include the UUA Board, the administration, professional ministry organizations, seminaries, candidates themselves, and various other UU groups. The Rev. Wayne Arnason, chair of the MFC, also invites comments from individual members of congregations about areas of ministerial competency that are important to them. The MFC can be reached at mfccoordinator@uua.org.

Season’s greetings from InterConnections. Our offices will be closed for the holidays December 24 to January 2. The InterConnections TipSheet will return on January 4. See you next year!

Dental plan deadline December 14

Friday, December 14 is the deadline for Dental Open Enrollment for congregational employees. This is the first time in two years that the dental plan has had an Open opportunity for those who did not elect to enroll when they were hired.

Eligible employees are those working a minimum of 750 hours annually. The maximum annual benefit has been increased from $1,500 to $1,750 per person. Beginning January 1, 2013, monthly dental premiums will be $49.75 per month for an employee, $99.50 for an employee plus one dependent, and $120.75 for a family. Full details are on the UUA Dental Plan page of UUA.org. Employees already participating in the dental plan are not required to re-enroll.


UUA Health Plan enrollment open to November 30

Enrollment is open until November 30 for the Unitarian Universalist Association Health Plan. The plan is available to staff of congregations and UUA staff working 750 or more hours annually. More than 300 UU congregations participate in the plan. The plan becomes effective January 1.

Changes being made in the 2013 plan include: a lower office visit co-pay, lower co-pay for generic drugs, and an increase in the emergency room co-pay. There will also be increases in individual and family deductible and out-of-pocket payments, the first increases since 2007 in those categories.

Complete information is here. Questions can be directed to Jim Sargent, UUA Health Plan director.