Congregational resources profiled on uuworld.org

The following articles, which appeared on uuworld.org in recent months, contain information useful to congregational leaders.

Long Strange Trip, a new video history of Unitarian Universalist history has been created by Ron Cordes, UU history buff from Bedford, Mass. The six DVDs of one hour each are available individually or as a boxed set from the UUA Bookstore. The set has high production values and Cordes presents much of the dialogue from the locations in Europe and elsewhere where significant events in our history occurred. The DVD set will be useful for new-member sessions and for adult education courses. The six hours can easily be divided into half-hour segments followed by discussion. As yet there is no study guide. The full uuworld.org article is here.

An article detailing how several congregations are pursuing social justice initiatives related to the Doctrine of Discovery, appeared on October 14. Delegates at General Assembly 2012 voted to repudiate the doctrine, a centuries-old principle of international law that sanctions and promotes the conquest and exploitation of non-Christian territories and peoples.

An article describing how a Florida UU congregation welcomed Boy Scout troops that had been turned out by a Baptist church after the Boy Scouts of America decided to permit gay youth to join troops, appeared on Sept. 16.

The work of the UU Funding Program, which accepts applications from congregations and others for social justice and other projects, was also highlighted Sept. 16. In 2012 the program gave out more than $1 million in grants ranging from $300 for a voter registration volunteer training, to $20,000 to help organize interfaith support for homeless people in California. Grants Administrator Susan Adams noted that many UUs she meets are still “astonished” that money might be available to support their dreams.

The UUA’s Leap of Faith congregational mentoring program was profiled Sept. 2. Now in its third year, the program brings together congregations that want to learn from each other.

Fourth annual Association Sunday events to begin

The fourth annual Association Sunday fund drive and celebration of Unitarian Universalism begins this fall. Many congregations will hold Association Sunday worship services on October 3, but congregations are free to pick other dates as well, said Katrina Bergmann, director of donor relations and individual giving for the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Stewardship and Development staff group.

Bergmann said more than 520 congregations have signed up to hold events this year, a number consistent with previous years. Funds raised this year will support the UUA’s new Leap of Faith Initiative, a plan that gets underway in November to encourage numerical growth by developing mentoring relationships among congregations. The money will also support events in 2011 in honor of the UUA’s 50th anniversary. The Association Sunday theme is “Celebrating 50 Years and the Future of Our Faith.”

Association Sunday resources, including tips for organizing a service, and promotional materials, are available at the Association Sunday website. Questions may be sent to associationsunday@uua.org. In an effort to conserve resources, information on Association Sunday will not be mailed to congregations this year.

In encouraging congregations to participate, the Rev. Stephan Papa, special assistant to the president for growth funding, said in a letter, “Our fiftieth anniversary is an opportunity to express our gratitude for the religion we have been given and to deepen our faith in its transforming power. The consolidation of the American Unitarian Association and the Universalist Church of America is a success. We have developed the gifts of both traditions and brought them into a balance of head and heart, social action and spirituality, individual freedom and community responsibility. We are coming together this year to honor the past and to grow our faith into the future.”