Rev. Scott Tayler and Rev. Joan VanBecelaere are very please to announce the addition of three new staff to the Central East Region Congregational Life Team as well as several other additions to other regions. Raziq Brown, Rev. Megan Foley and Rev. Hope Johnson will join the team this fall.
The Ohio Meadville District wants to help your congregation send delegates to our 2016 General Assembly to be held in Columbus, Ohio!
We have money available for matching grants to Congregations in the Ohio-Meadville District who can demonstrate a budgetary commitment to send congregational delegates to General Assembly 2016.
We are in an unprecedented situation with regards to the interim ministerial search this year, one that has not occurred in the recent history of Unitarian Universalism. In the broadest description, the issue is that there are significantly more congregations this year looking for interim ministries than there are ministers available to fulfill those interim ministries. Not Interim Ministers… ministers. There are significantly more congregations looking for an interim ministry this year than there are experienced or Accredited Interim Ministers available… and even the number of available ministers without interim experience is smaller than normal.
Sometimes a challenge can offer an opportunity to try something new.
In the Ohio Meadville and St. Lawrence Districts of the Unitarian Universalist Association, the sudden illness and extended medical leave of St. Lawrence Congregational Life Consultant, the Rev. Chris Neilson, resulted in an all-hands-on-deck response from the district boards and from district, regional and national UUA staff.
The governing boards of the four districts that make up the Central East Regional Group have been in discussion about moving to a "Primary Contact" model where each congregation has a "go-to" person. The Primary Contact partners with the congregations’ leaders to connect them to helpful resources within the UUA (and beyond) and to strengthen relationships within clusters. The model provides an improved Primary Contact staff-to-congregation ratio in OMD and SLD (1 to 25-30 congregations). Staff will also continue to offer depth with their own portfolio "specialties" for the four districts in the region and connect congregations to specialists as needed.
The Rev. Joan VanBecelaere (lead of the Central East Regional Group) and the Rev. Scott Tayler (director of Congregational Life for the UUA) saw the challenge of the medical leave as an opportunity to pilot this primary contact program. They devised a plan to redeploy existing staff from the districts and region for the duration of the medical leave.
The geographic boundaries of our districts are shifting. New ways of district and regional collaborating are being explored. The District Administrators in St. Lawrence and Ohio-Meadville, Sue Tabone and Beth Casebolt, have been working together on our joint District Assembly preparation for the last two years. Karen LoBracco, Program Consultant for Lifespan Faith Development, has been jointly employed with both districts to assist all 79 congregations. St. Lawrence district's Congregational Life Consultant, Rev. Chris Neilson, also serves the four districts in our region, the Central East Regional Group (CERG), as Stewardship Consultant. And Rev. Joan Van Becelaere serves CERG as Regional Lead and Congregational Life Consultant in Ohio-Meadville.
From the Rev. Susan Karlson, CERG Disaster Response Coordinator
As the one year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy approaches on October 29th, many of us yearn for some way to commemorate what a difficult year this has been for many suffering after Hurricane Sandy hit our shores. Here are some worship resources I compiled with permission from each author to post them on the Central East Regional Group (CERG) Sandy Recovery facebook page and on the CERG website. Here is a link to those materials ( https://www.facebook.com/CergUUSandyRelief/posts/607184235993847) or you can go directly to https://www.facebook.com/CergUUSandyRelief and check out the facebook site for Sandy Recovery information which is updated frequently.
The North UU Congregation in Lewis Center, OH and the North Hills UU Church in Pittsburgh, PA are among the six congregations selected for the Central East Regional Group (CERG) Threshold Congregation program. They join the nine congregations selected last year and the nine congregations selected in 2011. Other OMD Congregations participating in the program include First Unitarian Church, Pittsburgh, PA (2011), UU Church of Akron, OH (2012) and UU Fellowship of Wayne County, Wooster, OH (2012). Read the full article on the CERG website; or learn more about the Threshold program.
Did you know that the UUA Bookstore has discounts and other ways to assist congregations have great booksales?
Assessing Sexual Health: An Online Guide for Unitarian Universalist Association Congregations
Is your congregation sexually healthy and responsible? Rev. Debra W. Haffner, President of Religious Institute, Inc. and an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, has created an assessment guide for congregations on their sexual health policies and procedures. Designed for clergy and lay leaders, the guide consists of 9 check lists known as building blocks. A church could use all or part of the building blocks depending on their size and capabilities and where they are in the Safe Congregation Process.
A new "Congregations and Beyond Discussion Guide" has just been published at http://www.uua.org/documents/congservices/beyond/discussion_guide.pdf
It gives a framework for congregations to discuss the UUA's set of initiatives, new technologies and congregational stories of new methods of reaching out to spiritual seekers. Please join the conversations on Facebook on the page "Unitarian Universalists Exploring Congregations and Beyond" and post your thoughts!