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MidAmerica Messenger

Volume 5 Issue 7     |     February 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

MidWest Leadership School
Chalice Sparx
UU Chaplains Seminar
UU Leadership Institute
Spiritual Leadership Retreat
CANCELLED-Courage for Racial Justice
Brilliant Bits from Boston
Contact Us

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Rev Phil Lund Dec 2016Phil Lund, Congregational Life Consultant 

Gratitude is an important spiritual practice that we on the MidAmerica staff want to share more. And one of the things we are most grateful for is the generosity of our congregations--especially those 99 Honor Congregations that have contributed the full Annual Program Fund amount requested of them by the UUA as well as the full amount requested by the MidAmerica Region. These contributions help us share the promise of our faith by moving our communities and the world toward more love, justice, and peace. To see if your congregation is an Honor Congregation in the MidAmerica Region, visit

For a brief look at how your contributions help sustain the work of our Unitarian Universalist Association, check out Faithful, the 2016-2017 Annual Report of the UUA. In addition to a list of all Honor Congregations in the UUA, the report also indicates congregations that have contributed the full requested amount for 10 to 24 consecutive years and congregations that have contributed the full requested amount for 25 or more consecutive years.

Congregational giving is just one important way we sustain our movement; individuals give generously, too. The Annual Report included a list of individuals who have given to one of the UUA Giving Societies. We are also grateful to those who have given to the work of the MidAmerica Region and its congregations through the Chalice Lighters Program and the Friends of MidAmerica Region. For more information about these opportunities for generosity, feel free to contact any of us on the MidAmerica Regional Staff. For contact information, please visit

In Faith,


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MidWest Leadership School Announces Summer 2018 Dates

Jack Round, Lay Staff Member

MidWest Leadership School (MWLS) will be held from July 15 - MWLS18 rock climbing DSC 109621 on the campus of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

Please mark your calendars and spread the word!

This will be our second year at Luther, and participants said they appreciated the scenic beauty of the location.

mwlsThere is an Adult School and a Youth School, and we are unique among UU leadership schools in that the schools are designed to do several activities together and safely interact.

MWLS creates opportunities to learn about the history of Unitarian Universalism, about yourself as an individual, and your role as a member of a congregation in a larger movement grounded in liberal theology.

MWLS attendees come away from the experience with a better understanding of healthy organizational practices.

YOUTH Leadership School logo17 320wIs MWLS for you or someone you know? Anyone wishing to increase their leadership skills in a church context are encouraged to talk to us. Many incoming board members and presidents find this to be an excellent preparation for their service. Many youth enjoy being with like-minded peers, and the supportive environment enables them to help discern and activate their leadership passions.

Read more about MidWest Leadership School at and follow us on Facebook for updates at

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Chalice Sparx Family Camp & Retreat

chalice sparx groupHiking the trails, singing by the campfire, playing games ... all childhood camp fun. But this camp and retreat is not just for kids - it's for people of all ages. Make connections, build friendships and experience nature together as a family - with other families, youth and adults - in an environment where diverse religious, spiritual and theological perspectives are welcomed and celebrated.

With programs for children drawing upon the natural environment, workshops for adults and youth on spiritual practices, multigenerational worship, and fun group activities such as canoeing, archery, s'mores around a campfire and popcorn popped in a kettle over an open fire -- all with a variety of accommodations from to dormitory-style lodging or hotel-like rooms in the Retreat Center. Tent and RV camping is also available at nearby Amigo Park.

ChaliceSparx logo color topChalice Sparx Family Camp & Retreat

July 12-15, 2018

Sturgis, Michigan

Registration is now open at

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Communities of Care: A Necessity of Thriving UU Congregations

communities that careResearch suggests that healthy, vibrant, inviting congregations are caring communities in which both clergy and lay people provide excellent spiritual care to members. Whether tending to the needs of aging members, young families, or the newly churched, members and visitors have a deep need to know that the congregation will be a caring, empathic presence during a crisis, a personal transition, or a stressful life challenge.

Twin Cities UU Chaplains, LLC, is offering a series of seminars to help congregations be that kind of presence. The seminar program is comprised of four 1½ day retreats (Friday evening and full day Saturday) that take place over four consecutive months. Each retreat will be hosted at a Unitarian Universalist congregation in the Twin Cities metro area; Friday dinner and Saturday lunch and snacks are included in the cost of registration.

Each retreat is thematic, and requires some preparatory work beforehand.

All retreats take place Friday evenings from 5:30-9:00pm, and Saturdays from 8:30am-5:00pm. The first seminar is Friday, February 23 and Saturday, February 24, with additional sessions beginning on Friday, March 23, Friday, April 20, and Friday, May 18.

To ensure a safe, comfortable environment for learning, the group size will be limited to 20 total participants.

The cost of the full program is $750.00/person, payable by online registration. Visit for more information.

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UU Leadership Institute

UU Leadership 
Online Learning for Committed Lay Leaders and Religious Professionals

Healthy boundaries, communication, conflict navigation, covenant, mission, stewardship, building trust, adapting to change... are these concepts that you would like to bring more intentionally into your daily practice of Unitarian Universalism? The UU Leadership Institute offers a way there, with online courses designed for Lay Leaders and Religious Professionals to learn and grow in faith together. Team up with a few friends, board members, or colleagues for the learning to have the most impact.

We offer four Core Courses in Leadership Development (  Complete the lessons at your convenience and hold conversations with your teammates as you advance through the course. This semester we're also offering five courses in specialized topics: compassionate communication, faith formation, safer congregations, and spiritual companioning ( Each course has 8 lessons and costs $30.

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Spiritual Leadership in Communities of Faith: A Contemplative Retreat

gazeboBeing a spiritual leader should be rich and rewarding work-for clergy, religious professionals, and lay leaders. But the continual tectonic shifts in the landscape of religion in America is making it difficult. That's why nurturing your own spirituality is essential. To help you do just that, the Center for Congregational Spirituality is offering a spiritual leadership retreat, July 29 - August 3, 2018, at the Transfiguration Spirituality Center near Cincinnati, Ohio. This one-week contemplative retreat-designed for both lay and ordained spiritual leaders-will explore how the practice and ministry of spiritual direction can help you faithfully attend to the spiritual lives of others in your community of faith while staying grounded in your own relationship to the source of our being.

Co-sponsored by the Central East, MidAmerica, and Southern Regions of the UUA, Spiritual Leadership in Communities of Faith: A Contemplative Retreat is open to clergy and other religious professionals (including religious educators, membership professionals, and directors of congregational life), as well as congregational lay leaders and individuals engaged in innovative ministries beyond congregational walls. Built on the foundation of spiritual direction/guidance/companioning, the retreat will emphasize bringing the benefits of this practice into your personal spiritual life, the life of your faith community, and the wider world. Following an intentional pattern of theory, practice, and reflection, each day will explore a different aspect of spiritual direction, including individual spiritual direction, group spiritual direction, and supervision.

The program is limited to 24 persons. In order to achieve a balance of roles, registration will be capped at 8 clergy, 8 religious professionals, and 8 lay leaders. The tuition is $1750, which includes a single room at the retreat center and all meals. Register before February 28, 2018, and receive an early bird discount of $500-use discount code EARLYBIRD when registering.

For more information, visit, or contact Sue Sinnamon at

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CANCELLED - Courage for Racial Justice with Chris Crass

chris crass speakingDue to low registration and a growing understanding of multiple needs for conversations around white supremacy, the MidAmerica and Southern Regions have decided to postpone this event, scheduled for February 17, 2018, in Louisville, KY. We are exploring ways to improve this event. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions for us about this event and your hopes for it, please reach out to Sharon Dittmar -- MidAmerica Region ( or Dawn Cooley -- Southern Region (

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Brilliant Bits from Boston

And the new name is...


Drumroll everyone, the new name of "Standing on the Side of Love" is, "SIDE WITH LOVE" HUZZAH!

For nine years Side with Love has been our interfaith public advocacy campaign promoting respect for the inherent worth and dignity of every person. Side with Love confronts issues of exclusion, oppression, and violence based on identity. Many of us have worn their yellow shirts and carried their banners. And, for years folks have noted that the phrase "Standing on the Side of Love" excluded people with diverse means of mobility. At GA 2017 a Responsive Resolution was approved to "create a new imagining that better includes and reflects the needs and contributions of disabled people." Many stakeholders worked together to come up with "Side with Love."

And what about all those old T-shirts and banners? Phase them out when you can. To learn more about creating a robust accessibility and inclusion ministry in your congregation check out

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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.