The MidAmerica Messenger
Volume 3, Issue 7 | February 2016
MidAmerica Region is building a new era in Unitarian Universalism, where UUs visibly live our faith, create connections, grow our membership, and welcome all persons who share our UU values.
In This Issue
Each month we try to provide you with the latest information about the MidAmerica Region of the UUA, and this month is no exception. If you'd like to know more about what's going on with the wider UU movement, there's the UU Bulletin. Check out the latest edition.
And as always, the latest news about Unitarian Universalism can be found at http://www.uuworld.org. Be sure to check out the article on the two women who have been nominated for the UUA presidency!
As always, we appreciate your comments and suggestions for the newsletter. Send us a message.
Yours in Faith,
Congregational Life Consultant
Registration for the 2016 MidAmerica Regional Assembly is now open! Building on last year's New Era theme, this year's assembly will be looking at WHO we want to be as faith communities in the coming years. Who will we Unitarian Universalists need to be, to be relevant? How will we get there? Who will be accompanying us on this journey?
Join us at the InterContinental Hotel in Saint Paul, Minnesota, April 29 to May 1 for an exciting weekend celebrating the future of Unitarian Universalism in the MidAmerica Region. Register now for the 2016 MidAmerica Regional Assembly and receive the early bird rate.
By Rev. Dr. Lisa Presley, Congregational Life Consultant
The UUA and the Religious Institute are partnering to launch a new initiative to help our congregations reduce the possibilities of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct within their walls. There are several aspects that help congregations do this--have policies in place for staff and volunteer screening and training, education for congregation members of all ages, youth group covenants, effective policies for incorporating persons with history of sexual offenses, and an on-going commitment from the board on down to helping maintain a place of sexual safety. The Religious Institute has developed a comprehensive website to assist congregations in developing and assessing their safety policies, as well as a program where congregations can apply for the Best Practices Seal. For more information or assistance, feel free to contact Lisa Presley, the program manager for this work in the MidAmerica Region, and/or visit the Religious Institute website at www.religiousinstitute.org/safer-congregations. Lisa is helping our Region adapt necessary policies too, and so she knows some of the rewards and challenges first hand.
By Nancy Combs-Morgan, Credentialed Religious Educator-Master Level, Congregational Life Consultant
As you may have already seen, the theme for the MidAmerica Regional Assembly is "The WHO in the New Era of Unitarian Universalism." Part of widening the circle of our faith means affirming that we are a multi-generational community, so we hope that the "WHO" includes our amazing youth leaders.
With that in mind, I am working with the talented leaders of the Minnesota UU Social Justice Alliance (MUUSJA) in providing a special add-on track for leaders of all ages to expand their thinking and skills in faith based activism. Rev. Ashley Horan, the Executive Director of MUUSJA, and I are working to organize a half-day training, on Friday, April 29th, from 12:30-4:00 p.m., at Unity UU Congregation in St. Paul, that will include a youth and adult panel of leaders who will share their firsthand experiences as courageous leaders who are seeking to build a just and loving world.
There will also be break out tracks specifically for youth and religious educators. I will be leading the track for religious educators, with the focus on how to incorporate social justice themes and activities into congregational religious education programming. MUUSJA will be handling the registration for this add-on training, and the event will be posted soon. We hope that the youth and adult leaders who take part in the MUUSJA pre-RA training will also register and participate in our regional assembly.
The Winter 2016 Chalice Lighters call features four MidAmerica Region congregations: the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Mankato, MN: the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northfield, MN; the James Reeb Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Madison, WI; and the UU Fellowship of Decatur, IL. To find out what each congregation hopes to do with funds they'll receive, and to donate online, visit https://midamericauua.org/programs/chalice-lighters/2561-2016-winter-call.
And thank you to everyone who's signed up to participate in the Chalice Lighter Program. Your generous support helps strengthen Unitarian Universalism throughout the region.
By Nancy Heege
D'Ann Prior was an extraordinary person. A member of Michael Servetus Unitarian Society in Fridley, Minnesota since 1994, D'Ann was a devoted Unitarian Universalist who truly lived her values. She was active in a variety of social justice efforts. She helped to start a state-wide network of UUs for advocacy work, the Minnesota UU Social Justice Alliance, and she worked to defeat a proposed constitutional amendment that would have banned same sex marriages in Minnesota. She wore her gold Standing on the Side of Love t-shirt and baseball cap, even after cancer began to slow her down.
After D'Ann's death, the MidAmerica staff were notified that she had left bequests to her congregation, to MidAmerica Region, and to the Unitarian Universalist Association. In this way, her beloved faith communities, and the causes that she cared about, will continue to benefit from her passion and her generosity.
People interested in making a bequest to the MidAmerica Region can contact Lisa Presley at email@example.com for more information.
By Margaret Plett
Consider joining fellow UUs this summer in the Missouri Ozarks at the annual Midwest Unitarian Universalist Summer Assembly (MUUSA). The weeklong camp offers many workshops and activities for families, couples and singles of all ages. This year Reverend Krista Taves will lead the daily Morning Celebration service on this year's theme: "The UU House of Soul."
Come gather with hundreds of other UUs in the beautiful forests and rolling hills of the Missouri Ozarks at YMCA Trout Lodge, where you can connect with old friends, make new ones and participate in a wide variety of activities. Get all the details at www.muusa.org.
By Bill Sasso, on behalf of the Learning Network Covenant Task Force
Last April, MidAmerica Region delegates endorsed the Learning Network Covenant (LNC)-an open and inclusive visioning process intended to help us explore the possibilities that our new region can engage. Here's a quick update to keep you informed about the LNC process.
Our LNC Task Force has met recently to review two draft summaries: a statement of principles and direction, and a compilation of stakeholder groups in our MidAmerica visioning process. We are also developing a set of questions for you and your congregation, to help us understand what resources will be most valuable in MidAmerica, and where they might already be present. We also encourage UU organizations other than congregations to be part of the LNC process. We hope to share these drafts with you soon (perhaps in March), and look forward to receiving your feedback and comments.
For more information, or to share your suggestions and insights concerning the MidAmerica Region Learning Network Covenant process, please email firstname.lastname@example.org! Your questions and/or reflections are always welcome!
By Lisa Presley, Congregational Life Consultant
Friends, please let me extend a deep apology to the many good congregations that should have been included on our list of Fair Share congregations in the last newsletter, and were not. I don't know if you've ever had that kind of day where the document you forward that supposedly contains the right information is not, in fact, that document! Well, I had one of those days, and passed on to our staff team wrong information.
So in this newsletter, we THANK all those who were inadvertently left off the list of generous Fair Share donors in our last newsletter, as well as all those we did include! We can't do our work without you, and we are most grateful. I apologize for any consternation, hurt, dissing or other ill feelings this has created in your congregations. We so appreciate you!
|UU Fellowship of Ames||Ames||IA|
|UU Fellowship at Burlington||Burlington||IA|
|UU Society of Black Hawk County||Cedar Falls||IA|
|UU Fellowship of Clinton||Clinton||IA|
|Northeast Iowa UU Fellowship||Decorah||IA|
|First Unitarian Church of Des Moines||Des Moines||IA|
|UU Fellowship of Dubuque||Dubuque||IA|
|UU Society of Iowa City||Iowa City||IA|
|UU Fellowship of North Central Iowa||Mason City||IA|
|First Uniitarian Church||Sioux City||IA|
|UU Church Normal||Bloomington||IL|
|Beverly Unitarian Church||Chicago||IL|
|Peoples Church of Chicago||Chicago||IL|
|Third Unitarian Church||Chicago||IL|
|UU Fellowship of Decatur||Decatur||IL|
|UU Church of Elgin||Elgin||IL|
|UU Society of Geneva||Geneva||IL|
|Prairie Circle UU Congregation||Grayslake||IL|
|UU Congregation of Rock Valley||Rockton||IL|
|Abraham Lincoln UU Congregation||Springfield||IL|
|UU Church of Urbana Champaign||Urbana||IL|
|UU Church of Bloomington||Bloomington||IN|
|UU Congregation of Columbus||Columbus||IN|
|UU Fellowship of Elkhart||Elkhart||IN|
|UU Church of Evansville||Evansville||IN|
|UU Congregation of Fort Wayne||Fort Wayne||IN|
|First Unitarian Church of Hobart||Hobart||IN|
|UU Fellowship of Kokomo||Kokomo||IN|
|UU Church of Muncie||Muncie||IN|
|Oaklandon UU Church||Oaklandon||IN|
|First Unitarian Church of South Bend||South Bend||IN|
|Heartland UU Church||Zionsville||IN|
|Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence||Lawrence||KS|
|UU Fellowship of Manhattan||Manhattan||KS|
|First UU Church of Wichita||Wichita||KS|
|UU Church of Bowling Green||Bowling Green||KY|
|Thomas Jefferson Unitarian Church||Louisville||KY|
|Open Door UU Fellowship||Owensboro||KY|
|UU Fellowship of Madison County||Richmond||KY|
|Community Uus in Brighton||Brighton||MI|
|UU Church of Greater Lansing||East Lansing||MI|
|UU Congregation of Flint||Flint||MI|
|Grosse Pointe Unitarian Church||Grosse Pointe||MI|
|The Marquette UU Congregation||Marquette||MI|
|UU Fellowship of Midland||Midland||MI|
|UU Fellowship of Central Michigan||Mt Pleasant||MI|
|Harbor UU Congregation||Muskegon||MI|
|New Hope Congregation||New Hudson||MI|
|UU Congregation of Petoskey||Petoskey||MI|
|UU Community Church of Southwest Michigan||Portage||MI|
|Northwest UU Church||Southfield||MI|
|Pilgrim House UU Fellowship||Arden Hills||MN|
|Headwaters UU Fellowship||Bemidji||MN|
|Lake Fellowship of U & U||Excelsior||MN|
|Michael Servetus Unitarian Society||Fridley||MN|
|Unitarian Fellowship||Grand Rapids||MN|
|UU Fellowship of Mankato||Mankato||MN|
|UU Fellowship of Northfield||Northfield||MN|
|Northwoods UU Fellowship||Pine River||MN|
|First UU Church||Rochester||MN|
|St Cloud UU Fellowship||St Cloud||MN|
|Unitarian Church of Underwood||Underwood||MN|
|Mesabi UU Church||Virginia||MN|
|UU Church of Minnetonka||Wayzata||MN|
|UU Fellowship of Winona||Winona||MN|
|UU Fellowship of Jefferson City||Jefferson City||MO|
|Gaia Community||Kansas City||MO|
|UU Fellowship of Rolla||Rolla||MO|
|First Unitarian Church of St Louis||St Louis||MO|
|Bismarck Mandan UU Fellowship and Church||Bismarck||ND|
|Grand Forks UU Fellowship||East Grand Forks||ND|
|UU Church of Fargo Moorhead||Fargo||ND|
|Kearney UU Fellowship||Kearney||NE|
|First Unitarian Church||Omaha||NE|
|Second Unitarian Church of Omaha||Omaha||NE|
|First Unitarian Church||Cincinnati||OH|
|Northern Hills Fellowship||Cincinnati||OH|
|St John's UU Church||Cincinnati||OH|
|Miami Valley UU Fellowship||Dayton||OH|
|UU Fellowship of Lima||Lima||OH|
|First Universalist Church||New Madison||OH|
|Hopedale UU Community||Oxford||OH|
|UU Fellowship of Yellow Springs||Yellow Springs||OH|
|Chequamegon UU Fellowship||Ashland||WI|
|UU Church of the Lakes||Elkhorn||WI|
|Open Circle UU Fellowship||Fond du Lac||WI|
|Lake Country UU Church||Hartland||WI|
|Bradford Community Church||Kenosha||WI|
|UU Fellowship of La Crosse||La Crosse||WI|
|Unitarian Fellowship of Milwaukee||Milwaukee||WI|
|Blue Hills UU Fellowship||Rice Lake||WI|
|Prairie Lakes UU Fellowship||Ripon||WI|
|UU Society of River Falls||River Falls||WI|
|Saint Croix UU Fellowship||Saint Croix Falls||WI|
|UU Fellowship of Door County||Sister Bay||WI|
|United UU Congregation||Waukesha||WI|
|First Universalist Unitarian Church of Wausau||Wausau||WI|
|Northwoods UU Fellowship||Woodruff||WI|