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MidAmerica Messenger

Volume 5 Issue 6     |     January 2018

The MidAmerica Region is where UUs visibly live our faith, create connections, grow our membership, and welcome all persons who share our UU values.

In This Issue

Welcome and Happy New Year
Andrew Zallar Welcome
Courage for Racial Justice, Courage for Collective Liberation
Chalice Lighters Winter Call
Social Justice Webinars
Camp UniStar Summer Jobs
MidAmerica Regional Youth Events
Brilliant Bits from Boston
Jobs in MidAmerica Region
Contact Us

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Welcome and Happy New Year!

Sharon Dittmar, Congregational Life Consultant 

rev sharon dittmar 2016Welcome and Happy New Year! In this new year, our MidAmerica Fieldstaff and Administrative team have continued with a team resolution, to explore systematic racism and white supremacy in greater depth. Why do I/we do this work?  A Baptist colleague of mine recently asked me this question and I immediately responded "Because racism costs me my humanity." I believe this to the core of my being. When I see anyone (including myself) as 'less than" based on some category, and/or ignore the uniqueness of each person, we all lose. I lose the gifts from other people (or myself), and I then live a smaller life.  I know I will be struggling with internalized racism and other "isms" and "obias" for the rest of my life, and I know the struggle is worthy because my humanity is at stake. I love this work and how it leads me towards wholeness.

This year one of the UUA Common Read books is Centering: Navigating Race, Authenticity, and Power in Ministry. Centering, edited by Mitra Rahnema, shares stories, analysis, and insights of UU religious professionals of color. The discussion guide for Centering was written by Aisha Hauser and Gail Forsyth-Vail. Our team read and discussed this book together which led to rich, vital, and unexpected conversations. Perhaps a group from your congregation would like to do so as well in order to deepen relationships, listen to others, and process complex stories and voices?

Our Fieldstaff team also hired a consultant, Reverend Darrick Jackson, to coach us in our work of centering multiple stories and voices, rather than just a dominant voice and story.Here's to a new year that deepens humanity and wholeness.

In Love and Faith,


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Andrew Zallar Welcome

Andrew ZallarIntroducing our New Regional Administrator

It is with great delight that we announce the hiring of our new Regional Administrator, Andrew Zallar. We had a pool of more than 35 candidates, and we ended up interviewing 5 of them. Andrew rose to the top in our considerations. Andrew is very excited to join the MidAmerica Regional team!

Prior to his appointment as MidAmerica Regional Administrator, Andrew served as Congregational Administrator at Second Unitarian Church of Chicago where he oversaw all aspects of administration, financial operations, and facility management. Andrew also previously served as Operations Manager at Chicago Center for Music Education and as Enrollment Coordinator at Merit School of Music.

In addition to his administrative background, Andrew is also an accomplished musician. Raised in Milwaukee, WI, Andrew studied classical percussion and jazz studies at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra and Milwaukee High School of the Arts before moving to Chicago to obtain his Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies from DePaul University. Andrew has performed overseas at the North Sea Jazz Festival, Umbria Jazz Festival and Tuscany Jazz Festival and has also received numerous awards from the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, Berklee College of Music and the Luminarts Cultural Foundation in Jazz Improvisation, Jazz Composition and Jazz Arranging.

Andrew believes that we are here to love one another, serve our community and strive to be the best person we can be every day.Please join us in welcoming Andrew. He can best be reached at


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Courage for Racial Justice, Courage for Collective Liberation


chris crass speaking... 2018, Louisville, KY

A Workshop Offered In Collaboration With UUA MidAmerica and Southern Regions

Adults: $64.00  -  Youth: $24.00

Childcare: available upon request

Unitarian Universalist and social justice facilitator, Chris Crass, will offer a ONE DAY workshop entitled "Courage for Racial Justice, Courage for Collective Liberation." This workshop will begin with brief worship and include small and large group discussions, storytelling, theological reflection, and participatory exercises. Concluding segment will focus on "What are you bringing back to your congregation?" and "How will you be accountable for your plan?" The purpose of this workshop is to help build Social Justice communities and cultures rooted in UU values with the courage to do racial justice work.  Chris encourages activism and leaders, building capacity, and putting Unitarian Universalist congregations in touch with one another.

Register Now!

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Chalice Lighters Winter Call

The members of the MidAmerica Regional Chalice Lighter Committee are pleased to announce that the applications of two congregations been approved for our Winter 2018 Chalice Lighter Call.beacon uu troy mich

The Beacon UU Congregation in Troy, Michigan is replacing the old, single pane, energy inefficient windows in their historic building. This will save money and conserve energy while making their sanctuary and meeting spaces safer, warmer and more inviting during the cold months in Michigan. This renovation will help to promote and nurture growth and prosperity year round, in a warmer, more comfortable and welcoming space.

cuub brighton mich

The Community UUs in Brighton, Michigan hopes to recruit a full-time professional minister to join their staff in the summer of 2018. Their purpose is to grow in capacity and serve more members and friends. The congregation has a current strategic plan to fund and hire a full-time professional minister and has a ministerial search team in place and ready to go.

You can donate to the Winter 2018 Chalice Lighter call by going to the Chalice Lighter webpage and clicking on the Donate option of your choice.


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Social Justice Webinars

MidAmerica Region is proud to announce a series of social justice webinars that are being done in collaboration with the Minnesota UU Social Justice Alliance and the UU College for Social Justice.

Revs Ashley Horan and Danny Givens

Executive Director Rev. Ashley Horan and Statewide Organizer Pastor Danny Givens will help all our congregations prepare themselves better for social justice work. These 75 minute webinars will be monthly, on the second Tuesday. Make sure to register, as space is limited!

Details of the webinars (along with other MidAmerica webinars) are available at Each starts at 7:45 pm Eastern, 6:45 pm Central, 5:45 pm Mountain times.

If you are unable to attend the live webinars, please note that they will be recorded and available for viewing later.


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Camp UniStar Summer Jobs

Camp UniStar Staff
Camp UniStar is looking for staff to spend the summer of 2018 where memories are made and community is cherished. Ideal candidates are responsible individuals who will work in partnership with campers and staff, and serve as role models in leadership with children and youth.

Camp UniStar offers competitive pay and lifeguard training reimbursement. Room and board included.

Applications open through January 31st at

To learn more about Camp UniStar, which is owned by the Camp UniStar Foundation and affiliated with the MidAmerica Region of the Unitarian Universalist Association, visit, or check out their latest newsletter.

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MidAmerica Regional Youth Events

For more information or registration links go to:

Peoples Church Kalamazoo youth

inCONsistent Senior High Cluster Con - Kalamazoo MI
January 26-28

HAYC Social Justice Con, CONscience - Bloomington, IN
February 23-25

Chaplaincy Training Workshop
Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis
615 West 43rd Street, Indianapolis, IN 46208
February 9-11

OWL Facilitator Training (grades K1/4-6 and grades 7-9/10-12)
Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia, Missouri
January 13-15

OWL Facilitator Training (grades 7-9/10-12)
First United Church of Oak Park, 848 Lake St. Oak Park, IL 60301
January 25-27


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Brilliant Bits from Boston

Kickoff the New Year with More Love!

The UUA/UUSC initiative, Love Resists (, equips congregations and all people committed to resistance to protect their community.  Deepen your understanding of how criminalization is at work in our communities to become a more effective ally in the movement. By intentionally reaching out in our communities, we can strengthen our connections and help organize focused efforts to protect one another. Sign up for more guidance on community building, spiritual resources for inspiration and resilience, and timely calls to action from Love Resists,

Start a Love Resists Team


Begin making or strengthen and grow your connections in your community. Get our newest resources for starting a Love Resists team and get help creating a Love Resists worship service, initiating community conversations, and planning who and how to invite people into relationship.


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Jobs in MidAmerica Region

This page on our website is for listing job openings in our Region's congregations: If you have a job opening to post, please e-mail it to Open positions will be listed for 90 days or until the application deadline. You may also contact our "jobs" administrator at that email address if your listing can be taken down early. Here are a few of the jobs currently listed:


Congregational Administrator, UU Military Ministry at Great Lakes
Congregational Administrator, Second Unitarian Church of Chicago


Membership Coordinator, North Shore Unitarian Church, Deerfield IL


Camp UniStar 2018 - Summer Jobs Open

Religious Educators

Dir of Children and Community Programming - All Souls Unitarian - Indianapolis
DRE - Miami Valley UU Fellowship in Dayton OH

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We are seeking to covenant with each other to find new ways of partnering and standing together on the side of love for the flourishing of our world, our communities, our congregations and our members.