At a Spring 2012 Heartland District Ministers’ Chapter meeting, once again I presented information about the planned move from District-based service delivery and governance to Regional-based models. I’ve been talking with the ministers and religious education professionals about this for the past 18 months, and once again I asked “What are your questions?” One of the ministers sent me four specific questions. I’ll be addressing each of them in a separate blog entry.
Here’s the first one: What does a MidAmerica regional identity do for us, that wouldn’t be achieved, for example, by dealing directly with the UUA?
Here’s the heart of the answer: We who live and work here in MidAmerica know the regional variations of this part of our country, and while the “national” staff of the UUA know that there are differences, they don’t live those differences. The products and service delivery from the national staff are designed so that they could be used in any region of the country. We here in MidAmerica lead with a sensitivity to what is unique about the Great Lakes region, Kentucky which is both southern and Midwest (though probably more southern!), the plains states, the northern climes where the cold can settle in, and the difference that our distances and isolation make. If programs and services were delivered from the national staff only, then there would often be the need to translate them to our sometimes more pragmatic approach and language. We know that MidAmerica is not a “one size fits all” region, and we’re attuned to that. The national staff doesn’t always have the luxury of that adaptability. The Heartland sensibility will remain, as will the Central MidWest and Prairie Star sensibilities, and they will be joined together as we are culturally more alike than different, and culturally more in line with each other rather than with the other UUA staff regions.