We have some amazing workshops selected for you!

Session A:

The Spiritual Discipline of Followership: UUs and #BlackLivesMatter: Rev. Ashley Horan, Lena K. Gardner and Kenny Wiley

What is the role of UUs in supporting Black-led struggles for liberation? Through case studies, theological reflection, and tales from the front lines, we ask, ”How can we nurture the spiritual lives of Black UUs among us, and show up as effective, accountable allies to Black communities beyond our walls?”

Rev. Ashley Horan is the Executive Director of Minnesota UU Justice Alliance, and Lena K. Gardner is the Development Director for Church of the Larger Fellowship; both are actively involved in the Black Lives Matter movement in Minneapolis. Kenny Wiley is UU World senior editor and director of faith formation at Prairie UU Church in Parker, Colorado.

Circle of Belonging - Corie Jason, and Tina Lewis

In this workshop, members of the UU Association of Membership Professionals will help attendees explore the circle of belonging in a congregation. We will present information on how to welcome a newcomer, engage a regular attendee, and nurture a long-term member throughout their journey in the circle of belonging. We will bring some best practices from the Association of Membership Professional, and leave ample time for questions and discussion about your congregation's particular journey in the circle of belonging.

Corie Jason is Connections Coordinator at UU Congregation of Greater Lansing, Michigan, and Tina Lewis is Membership Director of Unity Temple, Oak Park. They are both members of UU Association of Membership Professionals.

Congregational Chaplains - Rev. Karen Hutt

Does your congregation have a spiritual care giving team? Would you like to develop one? What training is needed? What skills should we develop? Who should be a caregiver? This workshop will provide a theoretical context for care and process for congregations to develop the practical tools needed to resource and maintain a healthy community of caregivers.

Rev. Karen Hutt is a Board Certified Chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains and a Clinical Pastoral Educator at University of Minnesota Medical Center. She is editor of a soon to be released Skinner House book, UU Chaplains: Theory and Practice.

Escalating Inequality: Our Current Congregational Study-Action Issue and an Election Year Issue - Bruce Wiggins, et al.

Escalating Inequality is the current UUA Congregational Study Action Issue and it is becoming an important issue in the 2016 elections. We will discuss this problem and explore what congregations are doing along with ideas for future actions.

Bruce Wiggins, Escalating Inequality Action Group co-chair, First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee  *  Ann Heidkamp, Social Action Council Chair, Unitarian Universalist Church West, Brookfield, WI  *  Carl Etter, Facilitator Escalating Inequality Team, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Duluth  *  Sue Dailey, Escalating Inequality Team UU Congregation of Duluth and Board member Minnesota UU Social Justice Alliance

Generosity and Wi$dom - Rev. Mary Katherine Morn

Generosity and Wi$dom will be an overview of stewardship as a spiritual practice with emphasis on tools that congregational leaders can use to improve annual giving and special fundraising.

Mary Katherine Morn is the Director of Stewardship and Development and Special Advisor to the President of the UUA.

Global Interfaith Connection: The Parliament of the World’s Religions - Rev. Michael Brown and Rev. Lynnda White

Learn about a cutting edge global interfaith movement and Unitarian involvement in its beginning. We will give you a taste of the 2015 Parliament in Salt Lake City and the latest news on the 2017 Parliament coming soon.

Michael Brown is the minister of the Universalist Unitarian Church in Peoria, IL, and Lynnda White is a minister member of the same congregation.

Heresy in the Heartland: Humanism in the Second Century - Rev. David Breeden

There is little doubt that the US religious landscape is changing. Atheists, agnostics, and nones now make up 23% of the population. In order to be relevant in a post-religious future, Unitarian Universalism must appeal to this group. As a religion-neutral zone, Humanist liturgy is ideally suited.

David Breeden is minister of the First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis.

Planned Giving 201: Stepping Up From the Basics - Rev. Laura Randall

Many congregations have a basic planned giving program and wonder how they might improve it. Come to this workshop and find out from fellow congregants and professionals how to make your program sing!

Laura Randall is the UUA Legacy Gifts Manager.

Transforming the UUA - MidAmerica Board

MidAmerica Board Members present information about how other regions/districts are organizing and reorganizing, and what that means for MidAmerica.

MidAmerica Board members are members of MA congregations, and volunteer their time to serve on the Board.

UU Adult Faith Development: Enhancing Spiritual Growth - Nancy Combs-Morgan, CRE-ML and Rev. Phillip B. Lund

We often overlook the importance of Adult Faith Development in our congregations, and then we wonder why there remains a critical need for engaged adult leaders.  The focus of this workshop will include: 10 good ideas for Adult Faith Development; practices to enhance spiritual deepening; new helpful resources on AFD, and practical ways to sustain RE teacher's spiritual development.

Nancy and Phil are MidAmerica Congregational Life Consultants.

Walking Together into MidAmerica’s New Era of Unitarian Universalism - Rev. Bill Sasso and Members of the Learning Network Covenant Task Force

How will our congregations partner together to envision a New Era for Unitarian Universalism? MidAmerica stands upon the legacy of an innovative, bold past. What legacy are we building today? In 2015, the Learning Network Covenant Task Force was charged with creating a process to articulate this vision. Join us to discuss this vital work and bring stories from your communities.

Bill Sasso is the Past President of the MidAmerica Region, and a member of Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship; he is joined by members of the Task Force.

Session B:

The End-of-Life Conversation: Rev. Janne Eller-Isaacs

Participants will be invited to take part in small group conversations reflecting the model that Unity has explored; a congregational based effort to engage people in end-of-life choices about death and dying.

Janne Eller-Isaacs is co-minister of Unity Church-Unitarian in St. Paul, MN.

Everyday Theology: UU Wellspring as Multifaith Work within Congregations - Rev. Laura Smidzik and Rev. Jen Crow

How do we go beyond the humanist vs theist debate to experience broader theological diversity within our congregations? UU Wellspring, a 10-month adult program, offers one way: we become more intentionally UU. This workshop describes the new Wellspring Sources program and how it deepens UU identity and strengthens congregational connections.

Laura Smidzik is Minister of Membership at White Bear UU Church, Mahtomedi, MN, and Jen Crow is Executive Minister at First Universalist Society, Minneapolis.

Fruitful Governance Practices for a New Era - Laura Park

What role does governance play in congregations looking for vibrant answers to the question, “Who are we as a faith community?” This workshop explores the governance practices that enable congregations to find their powerful, relevant mission and then liberate and empower leadership to fulfill it.

Laura Park is Managing Partner of Unity Consulting, associated with Unity Church-Unitarian in St. Paul, MN.

 The MidWest Leadership School Experience and Registration - MWLS Staff Tony Sweazy and Trena Winans

MidWest Leadership School (MWLS) develops lay leaders in the Unitarian Universalist community. The week-long intense program includes leadership, group and system dynamics, UU history and theology, and elements of worship. The program is designed to provide insights, confidence, and enrichment for each participant’s congregation, work, and personal life.

Tony Sweazy from Thomas Jefferson Unitarian Church, Louisville, KY, and Trena Winans from UU Fellowship of Midland, MI, are MWLS alums and volunteer staff for MWLS.

Navigating the Theist-Humanist Gap with Creativity and Grace - Patricia D’Auria

This workshop will focus on the often challenging issue of finding shared identity in UU fellowships and congregations.  We celebrate diversity, and draw on an abundance of riches in our discernment of private beliefs.  Yet, when we attempt to establish clear statements of purpose, as in Mission and Vision, we may find that members of our faith community are deeply at odds with one another.  Finding our way to true acceptance and inclusiveness is not an easy journey.  We'll embark together on this bumpy road.

Patricia D’Auria is a member of UU Church West, in Brookfield, WI, and is one of MidAmerica’s adjunct consultants.

Positioning Small Congregations for the New Era and Millennials - Ellen Germann

With the majority of our congregations having under 150 members, this workshop will directly address strengths and challenges our small congregations face in adapting to the New Era of Unitarian Universalism and attracting the younger generations.  The workshop will explore some recommended ideas that bring younger people through your doors.  There will also be considerable opportunity to share ideas with each other through small group dialogue.  A resource list will be made available.

Ellen Germann is an expert in small congregations, having worked with them for years as consultant and former UUA staff person. She is a member of UU Church of Tippecanoe County.

Resilient Youth - Jill Schwendeman and White Bear UU Youth

A sea-change has occurred in our understanding of what young people need to thrive. Learn what it means to leave behind the framework of pathology/risk. Hear how youth and adults work together to help young people navigate their world and lead with growing nuance, spirit, and skill.

Jill Schwendeman is the Director of Youth Programs at White Bear UU Church in Mahtomedi, MN, and she is joined by youth from the congregation.

A Reverence for Diversity: Group Spiritual Direction in Congregations - Rev. Phillip B. Lund and Sarah Cledwyn

By creating spaces where individuals can regularly share their faith journeys, group spiritual direction takes full advantage of the theological and spiritual diversity that is a hallmark of our faith. Come experience how this process is transforming the way we listen to and learn from one another in our congregations.

Rev. Phillip Lund is a MidAmerica Region Congregational Life Consultant. Sarah Cledwyn is the spiritual director at Unity Church Unitarian.

Taking Regional Assembly Back to Your Congregation - MidAmerica Board

Sometimes the hardest part of Regional Assembly or General Assembly is going back to your congregation with the excitement and energy that you've gained from the experience. You want to keep that sense of connection to the denomination going, and you're faced with trying to translate it to the people in your church who didn't go. This workshop will give you tools and concrete actions to help you do that.

Eric Huffer, a member of UU Church of Lexington, KY, is President of the MidAmerica Board.

Who is Your Congregation On the Web? - Gretchen Ohmann

People are finding UU congregations primarily online. A congregation's presence on the web can be enhanced with a good looking and well-functioning website. To this end, a team from the UUA has developed a WordPress theme and functions for UU congregations. We'll go through it and answer questions on how to implement the theme for your congregation.

Gretchen Ohmann is the Technical Director for the MidAmerica Region.

Class Stories: Sharing Our Whole Selves - Kellie Kelly, Rev. Elizabeth Nguyen and Suzanne Zilber, Ph.D.

This interactive workshop explores how classism limits your congregation’s ability to thrive. Together we will identify new ways to address classism and create a more inclusive and cohesive social-justice focused faith community that uses and celebrates the gifts of all its members.

Kellie C. Kelly is a theological student and a member of the Steering Committee of UU Class Conversations; Rev. Elizabeth Nguyen is the Leadership Development Associate for Youth and Young Adults of Color at the UUA.  Suzanne Zilber developed the free curriculum, Class Conscious: Class and Classism in UU Life.