MidAmerica UUA Region: Consider Our Future Together
Why are you writing this blog?
The boards of the Prairie Star, Heartland, and Central Midwest districts voted unanimously last Fall (2011) to propose to our districts that we move from district governance to regional governance. We will discuss this at our District Assemblies this Spring (2012). We will vote at the DAs of 2013.
We advise congregations to prepare their congregations for important decisions by communicating proactively and encouraging full discussion. The staff of the region, with invited guest bloggers including our district presidents, aim to do this with this blog. We need your wisdom to create our future together.
This is more than a conversation about district and regional structures. We are all learning to minister in a very different emerging world. We need to figure out how to do this together. We invite you into a conversation about these things.
As I prepare to begin my sabbatical, I have been mulling over the many possibilities for this time. For eight weeks, from Monday, January 6th and extending until Sunday, March 2nd, I will be fully immersed in my Religious Education Credentialing process and studies. The RE Credentialing program is structured for deeper concentration in areas where I seek to build core competencies. My passion remains in faith development, especially in understanding further the interconnection of human development and faith development. I look forward to taking an online course through the spring/summer in Human Development and Learning Theories.
2014 marks my 16th year as a professional Unitarian Universalist religious educator, and I find each year that there is always more to learn, and that each year brings a greater love and devotion to our faith. This will be my first sabbatical as a UU religious professional, and I am poised and ready for whatever the experience may bring.
I deeply appreciate that our MidAmerica team is fully supporting my sabbatical.
For questions to do with Youth Midwest Leadership School, youth and young adult ministries, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am asked this question quite frequently, and I'm sure the other MidAmerica Field Staff are getting it, too. I know it's coming from a place of concern or perhaps a place of curiosity. "How are you holding up in the midst of all this change? How will it be for you once this is over? How do you really feel about regionalization?"
I have to say that I'm feeling fine. And we're feeling fine. And we want to encourage delegates to our District Assemblies to vote in favor of the change in governance that's being proposed. We've worked hard to support our three District Boards in their discernment process, and we hereby endorse the proposal to create the MidAmerica Region.
A good question came to me recently: “Why is it that when I go to register for the Prairie Star District Annual Conference, it takes me to the MidAmerica web site to register? I thought we weren’t voting on regionalization until April. Does this mean that it’s a done deal, that my vote won’t matter?”
Short answer: “Your vote does matter.” The proposal to be voted on by congregational delegates to all three district meetings in April is to change from three districts’ governance to a regional governance structure, to go from having three district boards to one regional board. All three district boards have endorsed this proposal and are prepared to move forward on a regional governance structure, beginning July 1, 2013.
For the last 16 months regional youth, young adults, and adults have been invited and encouraged to share their dreams, direct needs, and goals for their work in youth/young adult ministry. Dori Davenport Thexton, Phil Lund, and Nancy Combs-Morgan, the MidAmerica staff, have listened closely to our leaders and we are thrilled to report that we have many congregations who endeavor to realize and maintain robust and sustainable youth and young adult ministry.
Some of you may have taken part in our series of virtual and face to face visioning experiences, which we framed, “Thoughtful Conversations.” There were 5 virtual conversations in November and December 2012, and at 5 youth conferences and trainings we had focus group conversations and workshops asking the same questions. The questions, in essence, directed leaders to reflect on what their needs were to create and sustain youth and young adult ministries that are transformative, multicultural, which provide a deepening of spiritual practices and growth in our faith.
Here is what we have heard thus far: