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March 2021 - In This Newsletter
  • Southern Region Staff Blog & UUA Communications - The Path of Leadership Development by Nancy Combs-Morgan, Cameron Young, and Lillian Drab-Braddick; From the UUA President: You Are Held In Care
  • Southern Region Events - Presidents' Gatherings, Toolbox Webinars, The Point 2021
  • News - UUA Disaster Relief Fund and the Recent Winter Storm; Small Congregation Webinar Series; 2021 Guidance for UU Gatherings - Role of Congregational Leaders; Pastoral Care Training for and with Youth; Breaking Covenant - Repair Restore Renew Virtual Workshop; Administration as Leadership Renaissance Module; Faithify Updates; Chalice Lighter Updates; Recent Phishing Scams Targeting UUs; Common Read Discussion Materials Available; Commission on Social Witness Convening; Whole Earth, Whole Church Congregational Climate Convergence; UUA International Office News; Sermon Award Opportunities; and General Assembly Updates
  • Calendar Listing of Events, Occasions, and Connection Opportunities
Southern Region Staff Blog
photo collage_members of southern region staff teamThe Path of Leadership Development
By Nancy Combs-Morgan, Cameron Young, & Lillian Drab-Braddick
 
Based on the work of Natalie Briscoe
 
Let us begin as we mean to continue, which translates into our sharing a core premise that leadership development is critically important to the vitality of our communities.  Even more important is how we approach Unitarian Universalist leadership development. Consider the shift change in thinking when we go from intending to “fill up” our leaders with techniques, and instead serve the potential of every member by providing faith deepening experiences. With that lens it can be said that Leadership Development is Faith Development (which) is Membership Development. There is a connectedness which allows everyone to grow in community and deepen in their faith.  
 
What you’ll find here is framework for approaching leadership development in your congregation. Successful leadership development in the congregation consists of three areas:
  1. Marking the Path
  2. Traveling the Path
  3. Celebrating the Path  
Continue reading
 


From the UUA President: You Are Held In Care 
photo - Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-GrayBy Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray
 
Dear friends,
 
In the last year, we have experienced trauma unprecedented in our lifetimes. The assaults on our democracy, the devastation caused by COVID-19, repeated incidents of deadly police violence, the rise in white supremacist violence, and the impacts of climate disasters continue to take their toll. So many lives and livelihoods have been lost. We are exhausted. We are grieving.
 
To everyone in Texas, we send you our love and care and pray that you and your loved one are safe. To leaders in communities impacted by these deadly winter storms, if your congregation, members of your community, or local partner organizations are in need, the UUA’s Disaster Relief Fund is a resource for financial grants to help in this time. Please be in touch with Lisa Presley at lpresley@uua.org with any questions about applying for grants.
 
Continue reading
Southern Region Events
Save the date for these upcoming Southern Region events!

Plan ahead, as registration deadlines may apply. Be sure to scroll all the way through this newsletter to learn more about additional events offered by clusters, congregations, and other Unitarian Universalist organizations. View our Southern Region events calendar here.
Presidents’ Gatherings 2020-21 
The Southern Region Presidents’ Gatherings are an ONLINE space for Presidents, President-Elects, and Vice Presidents to create a community of learning and collaboration with each other and with Southern Region Staff. For the convenience of our lay leaders, two sessions are offered each month to increase accessibility. This series of gatherings is offered free of charge for APF Honor Congregations and is $100 per congregation for non-Honor Congregations. Download a printable flyer here. Learn more and register here.

Upcoming sessions and topics (offered on Third Wednesdays at 7:00 PM ET and the following Thursdays at 12:00 PM ET):
  • March 17 & 18 - Safer Congregations
  • April 21 & 22 - Odds and Evens
  • May 19 & 20 - Board Transitions
Toolbox Webinars 2020-21
The Southern Region Toolbox Webinars are compact and efficient one-time training sessions, offered monthly, that support congregations and congregational leadership. Toolbox Webinars are offered live, and recordings of these live sessions are sent to all participants who registered for the webinar. Learn more and register here.

Upcoming sessions and topics (Second Tuesdays at 7:00 PM ET):
  • March 9 - Safe Congregations Policies and Resources
  • April 13  - Pastoral Care and Chaplaincy Resources
  • May 11 - Governance in the Congregation 
image-The Point logoThe Point 2021
July 23-25, virtual

Save the date for Virtual The Point 2021. In a world of COVID-19 we will love and protect one another. For 2021 we will gather to connect and reconnect for a fun and educational weekend. More details soon. 
News
UUA Disaster Relief Fund and the Recent Winter Storm
infographic-uua disaster relief fund
Beginning February 13th, historic winter storms hit the state of Texas, knocking out access to heat, power and clean water for millions of Texans.  The failure of the state’s infrastructure burst pipes in tens of thousands of homes and disrupted food supply chains. As is the case with many disasters, communities of color and low-income communities were impacted most acutely. Scores of Texans died. While power has been restored to most of the state, it will take weeks for clean water to become universally accessible again. It will take months or years to repair the damage that has been done.

The Disaster Relief Fund
The UUA established a Disaster Relief Fund to enable us to respond quickly when disasters strike. Congregations and other UU entities may apply for a grant to provide support for their members or constituents, to request support for itself, or to provide support in the wider community in collaboration without local organizations. Disaster Relief Fund grants regularly serve all these functions, with the majority of the funds being spent in the wider communities congregations serve. The Disaster Relief Fund is a permanent fund, which allows the UUA to make grants before donations come in. Know that your commitment to support the Disaster Relief Fund makes a difference, even if the gift comes in after the most acute need has subsided.
 
Apply for a grant from the Disaster Relief Fund
 
Donate to the Disaster Relief Fund
 
Download a slide congregations may use to use to promote the UUA Disaster Relief Fund in virtual services here.
 
UUA Response to the Texas Disaster
Grant requests have already started coming in from Texas. In response to an urgent request from the Rev. Dr. Colin Bossen at the First UU Church of Houston, TX, the UUA granted $11,000, providing for the mobilization of fifteen pallets of water to the congregation. This congregation in Houston sits next to a historic Black neighborhood. Their plan is to distribute the water among congregants and in the community, deploying established organizing partnerships.
 
Requests for disaster relief funding have been received from other Texas congregations and from Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism (BLUU). These funds will support Unitarian Universalists experiencing hardship, congregations that have been damaged by the disaster, and the broader communities with which our congregations are in relationship. Again, the majority of the funds benefit communities and are deployed through local grassroots organizing networks.
 
UUSC Response to the Texas Disaster
The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) is also providing immediate emergency relief for their partners supporting impacted communities in Texas. So far, UUSC has sent emergency grants to the Carrizo Comecrudo tribe for water, food, and propane. This is a community that is fighting the environmental and health effects of fracking in their community, while also pushing for the reclamation of their ancestral lands. In addition, UUSC provided emergency funding to Living Hope Wheelchair Association in Houston as they are assisting individuals with disabilities and their families to purchase food and water, replace damaged wheelchair and car batteries, and repair homes affected by bursting pipes and flooding. UUSC is supporting their long-term vision to address disaster justice and reform. To support UUSC and their disaster relief and justice work in Texas, visit the UUSC website, here.

image -event clip art - small congregation webinar seriesSmall Congregation Webinar Series
 
Are you in a small congregation of 120 or fewer members? Your Congregational Life Staff are offering a series of Small Congregation Webinars on ways congregations can share programming and services. Each session runs 1.5 hours and they are free! Please join us for one or all: 

cdc_coronavirus image2021 Guidance for UU Gatherings - Role of Congregational Leaders

We know that congregations are considering what their regathering policy will look like. A good COVID-19 regathering policy will refer to scientific data to tell you when it's safe to regather. It's not our feelings or our politicians' attitudes that tell us when we can get together in person again.
 
Find helpful guidance and resources on uua.org, including new videos, here (UUA Guidance on Gathering In-Person When COVID-19 Subsides) and here (Addressing Pandemics in Your Community).
Pastoral Care Training for and with Youth
infographic-uua peer pastoral care training seriesMarch & April, multiple dates

Pastoral care is an essential part of religious community and an essential part of caring for each other as human beings. We each can be present to each other as we go through both the hard and joyful parts of life.
Compassion, witness, listening, and empathy are gifts we can all give each other. To help with this, Pastoral Care Training for and with Youth series are being offered for Youth Advisors, Religious Educators and for middle school youth (grades 7-9). Each training is a three or four part series.


Peer to Peer Pastoral Care for Middle School Youth Series, March 6, 13 and 27, 2021, 12-3p ET/11a-2p CT/10a-1p MT/9a-12n PT
Pastoral Care to and with Youth for Youth Advisors Series, March 3, 17 and 31, 2021, 6-9p ET/5-8p CT/4-7p MT/3-6p PT
Pastoral Care to and with Youth for Religious Educators Series, March 10 & 24, April 7 & 14, 2021, 3-6p ET/2-5p CT/1-4 MT/12-3p PT
Breaking Covenant - Repair Restore Renew Virtual Workshop
April 10, 2021

Every congregation has experienced destructive behavior that has caused upset, tumult, and conflict, from microaggressions to outright aggression, and other forms of inappropriate behavior. In the process, covenant is broken, even when the covenant might not be explicitly stated. The impact of the behavior can baffle leaders, and congregations often don’t know how to repair, restore or renew their community. It is therefore important that every congregation recognize that the holy space between each of us is everyone's responsibility to grow and maintain and when it's broken between any people it's broken between us all. We need to have policies and procedures in place to deal with destructive behavior.
 
Learn more and register here.
Administration as Leadership Renaissance Module
Begins April 20 and runs for 6 weeks, via Zoom

The Administration as Leadership Renaissance Module will be offered in an online format on Tuesdays, April 20, April 27, May 4, May 11, May 18, and May 25, 2-4pm EST. The module will be led by Christina Rivera and Lillian Drab-Braddick.  Registration is limited to 15 participants and the fee is $175.  Complete program details are available here. The registration deadline is April 6. Register here.
logo-uua faithifyFaithify Updates
 
Faithify is a crowdfunding platform where passionate people follow, share, and fund Unitarian Universalist ministries. Faithify's 80% success rate shows that we can build a more powerful faith movement when we support one another.
 
UBarU Camp & Retreat Center (Mountain Home, TX) has a new Faithify campaign to fund youth summer camp scholarships. Learn more and contribute here.
 
Congratulations to UU Congregation of the Lowcountry (Bluffton, SC) for their recently completed successful Student Tech Connect Faithify campaign!


What will you Faithify?
image - chalice lighter logoChalice Lighter Update
 
Proposals for our Spring 2021 Chalice Lighter calls will be accepted until March 15th. Please note, this is a firm deadline. Learn more about the Southern Region Chalice Lighter program here. Submit a proposal for a Chalice Lighter call here. Sign up to become a Chalice Lighter here.
Recent Phishing Scams Targeting Unitarian Universalists
clip art-man using computer with banner stating securityBy Tim Byrne, UUA IT Services
 
We’ve recently seen an uptick in email scams or “phishing” attempts that leverage recipients’ connections to the UUA and we wanted to alert anyone who might encounter them. The latest was an email purporting to come from Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, the UUA president, saying, “I have a request I need you to handle discreetly.” As is common with this type of scam, if you reply to “Susan,” “she” will request that you purchase eBay gift cards as part of a charitable initiative.
 
Luckily, none of the recipients of this latest attempt took the bait. Recently, various religious denominations have seen similar scams deployed where the sender appears to be a trusted pastor and some constituents have been taken in, purchasing gift cards for what they thought was a worthwhile cause. Given that these scams are likely to continue, we’d appreciate you reaching out to your constituents with a message about these threats.
 
Continue reading
image of book cover-breathe by imani perry2020–2021 Common Read Discussion Materials Available
 
A Common Read invites participants to read and discuss the same book in a given period of time. The UUA Common Read can build community in our congregations and our movement by giving diverse people a shared experience, shared language, and a basis for deep, meaningful conversations. The 2020–2021 UUA Common Read is Breathe: A Letter to My Sons by Imani Perry, published by Beacon Press.
 
Discussion materials for this Common Read offer two plans: one for use by a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) UU group, the other for any congregational group. Both plans invite groups to choose a one- or three-session program. With online gathering now a norm, readers need not live near one another to form a group.

Learn more and download the discussion guides here.
Witness, Connect, Act! A Commission on Social Witness Convening
infographic-uua commission on social witnessMarch 24, 7-9 pm ET/4-6 pm PT
 
While many of us celebrate the promise of a new administration in the White House, things we care about — advocating for racial justice, countering white supremacy, protecting our democratic freedoms — are still at risk. By the thousands, Unitarian Universalists made their voices heard through the UU the Vote campaign. UU the Vote showed us all how vital and powerful we are acting together. Inspired to grow more connections for collective social witness action for a wide range of values at risk, the UUA Commission on Social Witness invites all UUs to Witness, Connect, Act! A social witness convening to share and connect UUs doing similar work for inspiration and ideas.
 
The spring Convening will take place Wednesday, March 24, 7-9 pm ET/4-6 pm PT to bring together those focused on the most recent collective social witness statements. Commissioners will also review how to make new statements at GA 2021, and provide an opportunity to connect and plan in advance of GA.
 
Learn more here. Register here.
Whole Earth, Whole Church Congregational Climate Convergence
infographic-uu spring for change eventMarch 20, 2021

Calling all congregations committed to climate justice! This program, offered by the UUA Green Sanctuary Program & UU Ministry for Earth, is designed for congregational leaders to attend together to inspire and support congregational climate action. Ministers, religious educators, and lay leaders are encouraged to attend in teams of two to five people.

The Whole Earth, Whole Church Congregational Climate Convergence will include inspirational grounding, and plenary and breakout sessions focusing on tools for congregations to build capacity for climate action and justice, grounded in UU values. It will also include an introduction to the new UUA Green Sanctuary 2030: Mobilizing for Climate Justice, A Roadmap for Congregations to Rise to the Crisis.

Learn more and register here.
UUA International Office News
 
clip art-All In for Climate Justice: Food Equity and SustainabilityClimate & Food Justice – get grounded, connected, & equipped for action!
This year’s Intergenerational Spring Seminar, co-hosted by the UUA Office at the United Nations (UU@UN) and UU Ministry for Earth, is open to all ages (14+) and will take place all virtually April 9-11! Come learn alongside change-makers across the generations about how to take spiritually-grounded action to advance climate justice through equitable and sustainable food systems (and have fun as well!). Registration is open through March 18 and offers a flexible fee scale for equity and accessibility. Learn more and register here.

Sixth Principle Award for Congregations
The UUA Office at the United Nations (UU@UN) announces a new annual award to recognize congregations that show their support of the UU@UN and their commitment to our Sixth Principle’s “goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all” through their actions and financial giving. Detailed information about the Sixth Principle Award and how to qualify is available here. Qualify by March 31st. Email UU@UN with any questions about how your congregation can get more deeply involved.
 
Learn the R.A.C.E. Method of Dialogue for Dismantling Racism
Join the Canadian Unitarian Council on two Saturdays in March (March 6 & 13, 2pm-4pm EST) for a dynamic 2-part workshop with Dr. David Wiley Campt that will prepare you to engage in transformative conversations around issues of systemic racism. Be ready for a hands-on and practical training that will help you feel confident moving forward. No prior skills or expertise required. All are welcome. Learn more and register here.
Sermon Award Opportunities
 
UU Women's Federation Sermon Award
UU Women's Federation invites UU religious professionals and lay people of all identities and genders to share your voice, responding to the world around us by addressing a topic related to an intersectional, inclusive, anti-racist approach to women’s liberation. The sermon must have been written by the entrant and delivered before a UU congregation prior to the UU General Assembly in 2021. Entries are due March 22. Learn more here.
 
EqUUal Access Carolyn Cartland Sermon Contest
EqUUal Access is holding their Carolyn Cartland Sermon Contest! This annual contest highlights disability-related themes and topics. A cash prize of $500 goes to the chosen applicant. The award will be presented during a virtual EqUUal Access celebration. Time permitting, the winner may be invited to present an excerpt of their sermon at the event. Learn more here. Entries, including the required cover page, should be emailed to info@EqUUalAccess.org. Entries are due by May 1, 2021.
image - uua ga 2021 logoUUA Virtual General Assembly 2021
June 23-27
 
Register Soon!
If you haven't registered for Virtual GA 2021 already, there is no better time to register than right now! Registered attendees are among the first to hear program announcements, including featured speakers and the Ware Lecturer and only registered attendees will have access to the new GA app (coming soon!) So, register early to join online discussions, familiarize yourself with the GA schedule, and find your place in our community of communities. Register now!

Stay up to date on all General Assembly information by visiting the GA website!
Events, Occasions, and Connection Opportunities
Upcoming Events 

Online Events & Webinars
March 3 - Generosity Lab Series
March 3, Pastoral Care to and with Youth for Youth Advisors
March 6 -  Peer to Peer Pastoral Care for Middle School Youth Series
March 9 - SR Toolbox Webinar
March 10, Pastoral Care to and with Youth for Religious Educators Series
March 13 - SR Online Leadership Experience - Winter 2020
March 13, Peer to Peer Pastoral Care for Middle School Youth Series
March 17 - SR Presidents' Webinar
March 17, Pastoral Care to and with Youth for Youth Advisors Series
March 18 - SR Presidents' Webinar
March 18 - Sharing Staff in Smaller Congregations Webinar
March 20 - Whole Earth, Whole Church Congregational Climate Convergence
March 24 - Witness, Connect, Act! A Commission on Social Witness Convening
March 24, Pastoral Care to and with Youth for Religious Educators Series
March 27, Peer to Peer Pastoral Care for Middle School Youth Series
March 31, Pastoral Care to and with Youth for Youth Advisors Series
May 22, Ordination of Byron "Tyler" Coles
May 23, Ordination of Randy Partain, Tapestry-Houston

Stay up to date on all currently scheduled events by visiting our calendar here.
Camp, Conference, and Retreat Centers within the Southern Region
The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center, Highlands, NC
UBarU Camp and Retreat Center, Mountain Home, TX
Shelter Neck UU Camp, Burgaw, NC
Serving the Southern Region

Natalie Briscoe, Co-Lead, nbriscoe@uua.org, 512-296-5396
Kathy Charles, Events Coordinator, kcharles@uua.org, 617-948-4293
Tyler Coles, tcoles@uua.org, 804-592-1159
Nancy Combs-Morgan, ncombsmorgan@uua.org, 859-494-2424
Jessica Curren, Administrator,  jcurren@uua.org, 407-894-2119
Lillian Drab-Braddick, ldrab-braddick@uua.org, 617-948-4368
Connie Goodbread, Co-Lead, cgoodbread@uua.org, 727-772-3508
Rev. Nathan Hollister, nhollister@uua.org, 919-923-3398
Kathy McGowan, kmcgowan@uua.org, 617-948-4295
Cameron Young, cyoung@uua.org, 972-383-9197

Learn about our staff and work on our staff page!

Contributions from member congregations and individual donors make the missional work of the UUA possible. Together we amplify the voice of Unitarian Universalism and bring more hope, love, justice, courage, and joy into the world. 

Please send items to be considered for our April e-news
to SRnewsletter@uua.org no later than March 22nd.

Please note, announcements should be brief (a single paragraph, no more than 300 words)
and include a link to additional information on your website or blog as applicable.

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