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Dear Colleagues in Leadership,
Our MidAmerica Region has come to life! Since the votes last April, our MidAmerica Board and Staff have been busy, and I want to keep you up to date on our progress, and to make sure that you are “in the MidAmerica loop!”

After the vote of our three district assemblies, we incorporated MidAmerica as a not-for-profit corporation in Iowa (May), received recognition of MidAmerica as a component of the UUA from the Louisville General Assembly (June), and completed a merger between the Central Midwest District and MidAmerica (June). Heartland’s consolidation process is under way, and Prairie Star has formed the Camp UniStar Foundation (CUF). When CUF is ready, Prairie Star will turn the camp and its associated resources over to CUF, and then consolidate into MidAmerica.
As you can imagine, our MidAmerica staff team has been busy! This fall, Lisa Presley, Nancy Heege, Ian Evison, Dori Davenport, Phil Lund, and Nancy Combs-Morgan have been “crossing over borders” into each other’s service areas to start getting acquainted with congregations they haven’t worked with previously. Requests for services, consulting, coaching, and leadership development continue to roll in from our
congregations. In just the past few days, they’ve fielded calls about stewardship, about how to keep congregation members informed, about ideas for growth, about moving forward with a capital campaign, about conflict, about youth and young adults, and more.

Their webinars have been fully subscribed with participants from all over the region, and more people have been accessing the archived versions online since then. Planning is well underway for the Regional Assembly in April, being held in four locations across the region, including Ann Arbor, Michigan; Bloomington, Indiana; Topeka, Kansas; and Wausau, Wisconsin.

Our MidAmerica Board has also been active. To date, we have met four times, twice face-to-face. While much of our work has been focused on the creation of a stable institutional foundation through development of appropriate policies and relationships, we have prefaced that work by forming a Board Covenant. We have also engaged in future-oriented conversations with our staff leaders and the Rev. Scott Tayler, the UUA’s Director of Congregational Life. We have begun planning for a robust, technologically supported multi-site Regional business meeting next April, using the best practices of each of our predecessor districts and at General Assembly. We have begun to embody
our commitment, as a Board, to work for justice and to celebrate our region’s multicultural complexities, but we have much, much, more to do.

You can access more detailed descriptions of the work of our Board at the MidAmerica website, http://www.midamericauua.org/governance but please allow me to call your attention to several items that could be of interest to you or your congregation:

Call for Nominations: Our MidAmerica Nominating Committee has begun to meet, and is working to identify strong candidates to serve on
  1. the MidAmerica Board,
  2. the MidAmerica Nominating Committee, and
  3. the Midwest Unitarian Universalist Conference.
If you know of someone who might be a good candidate for any of these roles, please contact the Committee via Tammy Lemmer at nomcom@midamericauua.org !

Call for Regional Assembly Business Items: The Regional Board has approved a policy and procedure by which a MidAmerica congregation in good standing can propose business to be considered at the Annual Business meeting in April. Please visit http://www.midamericauua.org/governance and download “RA Business Meeting Process” under “Governance Resources” for the complete policy and procedure.

Friends of MidAmerica: We are about to kick off this individual contribution program similar to “Friends of the UUA.” While both the Prairie Star and Heartland Districts had programs like this, the concept may be new to some of us from Central Midwest. Please be on the lookout for a communication inviting you to participate in this, and encourage others to become a friend. In this way you can help us strengthen our MidAmerica UU community and extend our programs and services.

Moratorium on Changing the Region’s Name: While we know that some folks – including some of our MidAmerica Board members! – would really like to find a better name for our Region, the Board has adopted a five-year moratorium on consideration of proposed name changes. We’ve done so out of a conviction that the energy of the Region should be focused on strengthening our sense of interdependence, nurturing and sharing innovations, and making an impact on our members, our congregations, and beyond. Our realignment has created a unique opening for change and growth, so let’s take advantage of it while it’s available!

It’s exciting! The opportunities we perceive for MidAmerica are vast! Our ability to address them in ways that move us into that new era for Unitarian Universalism depends on the generous support of our congregations, and we appreciate that support!

On behalf of the Board and Staff of the MidAmerica Region, I thank you and your congregation for making our work possible. Would you do me the favor of conveying our gratitude to the members of your congregation?

As always, I invite you to contact me at board@midamericauua.org if you have any questions or would like any further information!

(signed) Bill Sasso
President, MidAmerica Region, UUA
November 25, 2013

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