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July 2021 - In This Newsletter
  • Staff Blog and UUA Communications - Post-Pandemic Southern Region Programming by Natalie Briscoe; Re-enter, Rejoice, and Stay Masked by Rev. Sarah Gibb Millspaugh; and ICYMI sharing
  • Southern Region EventsRE-UUp: Conversations on Re-opening for Religious Education Programs; Toolbox Webinar Series 2021-2022; and Leadership Experience Primer
  • News - Unlocking the Power of Covenant; Recruitment Now Open for UUA Hope for Us Regional Coach (National Team)!; Five Practices of Welcome Renewal; Future Change Framework; Congratulations and Celebrations!; UUA Board of Trustees Open House; Universalist Convocation 2021; Congregation-Based Spiritual Direction; Chalice Lighter Update; Faithify Updates; Updates from UUA International Office; Live Oak UU Church Accepting Grant Proposals; UU Faith Lab for High School Aged Unitarian Universalists; and Transitional Religious Leadership
  • Calendar Listing of Events, Occasions, and Connection Opportunities
Staff Blog and UUA Communications

photo of natalie briscoePost-Pandemic Southern Region Programming
By Natalie Briscoe

Faith Development is all we do.
Unitarian Universalism is the Faith we teach.
The congregation is the curriculum.

Your Southern Region staff is excited to announce our Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 programming which we hope will support your congregation in the post-isolation era. As your partners in co-creating Unitarian Universalism, we have added several offerings which provide opportunities for leadership and membership development in your congregation. We understand that your congregation has endured significant challenges and has undertaken several transitions during the past year and a half. Because of this massive amount of work and the ongoing traumatic effects from the global pandemic, your leadership may be preoccupied with decisions regarding your reopening process, figuring out the puzzles of hybrid offerings, and experiencing decision fatigue and malaise from the last year of isolation. We hope you find these additional offerings supportive, and we look forward to assisting your congregation in its maturational and incarnational growth over the next programming year.

 Continue reading

Re-enter, Rejoice, and Stay Masked
By Rev. Sarah Gibb Millspaugh, PWR Program Staff

Wow, the CDC sure surprised us all in saying that vaccinated people would not need to wear masks in most indoor places! Lots of UUs are wondering about what this means for our congregations as many of us begin holding some in-person group meetings and small events, and as many of us look toward starting in-person worship in the next four to five months.
Here’s the scoop: For the time being, we need to maintain a culture of mask-wearing at our congregations, even for the vaccinated. Why? Because:
  • We are all-ages communities, and not all ages have been able to get vaccinated yet.
  • We are all-abilities communities, and some of us have immune systems that don’t have the ability to tolerate a COVID vaccination or infection.
  • We are all-inclusive communities, and we want to express our UU values by being able to include all, regardless of vaccination status.
Continue reading

In Case You Missed It

From the UUA President: Take a break and find some joy!

From UU World: More than 4,200 UUs ‘Circle ’Round’ virtually for 2021 General Assembly
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.
RE-UUp: Conversations on Re-opening for Religious Education Programs
August 3 or August 6
As many of you undoubtedly have returned or are preparing to return to in-person church (and understandably, others are waiting), we’re pleased to invite you to RE-UUp: Conversations on Re-opening for Religious Education Programs. No matter what your plans or timetable for returning to in-person church may be, this conversation is for anyone invested in Unitarian Universalist Religious Education! Among things discussed will be:
  • Fostering an inclusive environment for children and other unvaccinated individuals
  • Safety protocols
  • Curriculum planning
  • Continuation of multi-platformed RE
  • Managing volunteers in an emerging context
  • Navigating anxiety, conflict, and trauma
  • Come as you are to one or both of these sessions, which will be a combination of informative content and organic conversation.
Please join Cameron Young and Nancy Combs-Morgan for one (or both!) of these sessions! Download a PDF flyer to share hereRSVP today.
Toolbox Webinar Series 2021-2022
Toolbox Webinars are compact and efficient one-time training sessions that support congregations and congregational leadership. Toolbox Webinars are offered live, monthly, on the second Tuesday beginnng in August (with occasional fourth Tuesday sessions), and last up to 90 minutes. Learn more and register here.
  • August 10 - Covenant
  • August 24 - Lifespan Faith Development and Membership Development Framing
Leadership Experience Primer: A NEW Introductory Series for Congregational Leaders
September 11, October 2, and November 6 (multiple sessions, all virtual)
Participants will emerge from this experience equipped with the foundational knowledge needed for congregational leadership. The series presents an overview of the prerequisites for the advanced Extended Leadership Experience (ExLE), with a focus on History, Polity and Theology.
Watch an introductory video here. Register today!
image_book cover Unlocking the Power of CovenantUnlocking the Power of Covenant: Report of the UUA Commission on Appraisal
The 2021 Commission on Appraisal report, Unlocking the Power of Covenant, examines the nature, substance, and structure of covenants within Unitarian Universalism. Through reading, focus groups, interviews, and surveys, the Commission describes and interprets the role that covenants do, can, and should play in the individual lives of Unitarian Universalists, as well as in our relationships with other congregations, other faith traditions, and the Unitarian Universalist Association. With its recommendations and resources, Unlocking the Power of Covenant is a powerful must-read for all looking to tap into a richer, fuller utilization of covenant.
Recruitment Now Open for UUA Hope for Us Regional Coach (National Team)!
Have you or someone you know been dreaming of being on a highly collaborative team of Unitarian Universalists helping congregations engage conflict faithfully with covenant in the center and with the understanding that “all we do is faith formation”? Or perhaps you know someone who is non-anxious, spiritually mature, and deeply compassionate in a way that when things are hard, you’d want this person to be holding the container for difficult conversation. Recruitment is now open!
We encourage applications from members who are committed to the values of justice, integrity and healing, as well as have skills and experience that will prepare them to go deeper in their learning as part of a community of practice in a variety of areas.
These positions are paid, adjunct staff of the UUA (up to 40 hours per year). Monthly meetings with a community of practice and conflict engagement work with congregation in collaboration with UUA Congregational Life staff already in relationship with the congregation(s).
This one way we are widening the circle and deepening our faith. Learn more, including how to apply, here.


Welcoming Congregations: Five Practices of Welcome Renewal
image_uua welcoming congregation logo 
What Is the Welcoming Congregations “Renewal” Program? Many Welcoming Congregations confess to not having updated or reviewed their LGBTQ+ programs and outreach since the 1990s. As such, the UUA unveiled the Welcoming Congregations renewal program in 2015. Our goal was, "To honor your original pledge, it’s essential that new people in the congregation (as well as people who were originally involved in the program) understand your congregation’s commitment to this work and learn about the current needs and concerns of LGBTQ+ people."
To learn how to live the Five Practices of Welcome Renewal at your congregation please attend one of the monthly The Five Practices of Welcome Renewal Zoom Orientation sessions. Register here.

Future Change Framework: Strategic Direction for a Post-Pandemic World
image_future change framework infographicAugust 7
How can we use the recovery from Covid-19 to create real, lasting change? Our congregations have seen dramatic change during the pandemic—but the status quo is often resistant to lasting transformations. The Future Change Framework from the Royal Society for the Arts (RSA) is a way to think about how we respond to crisis and how that can drive positive change. Using the framework helps us to think through what we’ve stopped, what we’ve paused, what we’ve put in place temporarily, and how we’ve innovated. Reflecting on these areas helps us see what’s most valuable for an unknown, ever-changing future and clarify our strategic direction so that we stay relevant.
MidAmerica Region is offering a 3-hour workshop with Ian Burbidge, Associate Director of the RSA Lab, and developer of the Future Change Framework. This workshop is for any congregational leader, lay or ordained, interested in exploring the challenges and opportunities presented to us as we move into a post-pandemic world. Congregational teams are especially welcome! Learn more and register here
image of flowersCongratulations and Celebrations!

Congratulations to these Southern Region congregations for completing the Welcoming Congregation Renewal Program in 2020-2021!
  • Tri-County UUs, Summerfield, FL
  • River of Grass UU Congregation, Sunrise, FL
  • UU Church of Tallahassee, FL
  • Georgia Mountains UU Church, Dahlonega, GA
  • Emerson UU Congregation, Marietta, GA
  • First Unitarian Church of Oklahoma City, OK
  • Unitarian Church in Charleston, SC
  • Clayton Memorial UU Church, Newberry, SC
  • Tennessee Valley UU Church, Knoxville, TN
  • Westside UU Church, Fort Worth, TX
Congratulations to The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center! The old-growth forest surrounding The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center was recently formally inducted into the Old-Growth Forest Network as the organization's 130th forest in the network.
image_UUA logoUUA Board of Trustees Open House
July 27
Co-Moderators Charles Du Mond and Meg Riley invite you to come and check in with the UUA Board of Trustees at its Summer Zoom Open House. Bring your questions and chat about your GA 2021 experience, the Board’s plans for the coming year, what you’re looking forward to in the upcoming church year, your congregation’s engagement with Widening the Circle of Concern, what it means to serve Unitarian Universalism as a volunteer at the national level, and the UU issues that matter most to you.
Date/Time: Tuesday, July 27, 2021 at 4pm Pacific / 5pm Mountain / 6pm Central / 7pm Eastern. Register here.
image_universalist convocation bannerUniversalist Convocation 2021
August 6-7, Sandy Springs, Georgia
All UUs are invited to attend! The 2021 theme is “The Universalist in Me.”
Since 1990, Unitarian Universalists have been celebrating their Universalist heritage at an annual convocation. For the first time, the Universalist Convocation is going to be held at Northwest UU Congregation in Sandy Springs (Atlanta), GA! 

The mission of Universalist Convocations is to gather Unitarian Universalists together to learn, explore and celebrate the rich history of the other U in our UU faith tradition.
Guest speakers include Rev. Peter Morales, former UUA President, Rev. Dr. M’ellen Kennedy, Rev. Rhett Baird and Rev. Vernon Chandler, Co-Founder of the Convocation.
Learn more here. Download a printable/shareable program flyer here. Register here.

image_labyrinth clip artCongregation-Based Spiritual Direction: An Online Certificate Program
MidAmerica Region–UUA and the Center for Congregational Spirituality are excited to offer a new online certificate program in Congregation-Based Spiritual Direction. The program is open to clergy, religious professionals (religious educators, music directors, membership professionals, youth advisors, and directors of congregational life), congregational lay leaders, and individuals engaged in innovative ministries beyond congregational walls. Denominational and middle judicatory officials and spiritual directors who share their ministry of presence with a congregation are welcome as well.
Congregation-Based Spiritual Direction: An Online Certificate Program begins with an introductory module on October 19, 2021 and ends with a closing virtual retreat on May 14, 2022. Each session will be built around an intentional pattern of theory, practice, and reflection. Learn more and register here.

image_chalice lighter logoChalice Lighter Update
Applications for our Fall 2021 Chalice Lighter call cycle are now being accepted. The deadline to apply is August 15th. This is a firm deadline. Learn more about the Southern Region Chalice Lighter program here. Submit an application for Chalice Lighter funding here.
Faithify Updates
image_faithify word cloud 
Faithify is a crowdfunding platform for Unitarian Universalist ministry projects. This includes everything from youth work to justice, service, buildings, staff positions, and emerging ministries. Faithify is full of campaigns funding “Faithify-ed” projects through the direct support of others! Faithify itself is not a funder and does not distribute funds. Faithify is simply the platform for projects to generate backers within communities.
Current Faithify campaigns with Southern Region roots:
 Learn more about Faithify and view all active Faithify campaigns here.

Updates from UUA International Office
image_uu@un spring seminar infographicFor UU Youth, Adults, and Climate Justice Enthusiasts
Be part of planning the 2022 Intergenerational Spring Seminar hosted by the Unitarian Universalist Office at the United Nations! Youth Dean applications are due July 7, 2021. Youth and Adult Chaplain and Planning Committee Member applications are due August 9, 2021. The planning team will convene in September to design intergenerational programming that is inclusive, engaging, and inspiring. The 2022 Intergenerational Spring Seminar, expected to take place in NYC April 22-24, 2022, will center around the theme of action for climate justice, with a focus on climate-forced displacement. See for more about the Seminar, this year’s theme, and leadership opportunities.
Resources for United Nations Sunday: October 24
A collection of resources is available online to help congregations plan a worship service and activities surrounding United Nations Day this October 24 on the theme “All In for Climate Justice: Food Equity and Sustainability.” Check out the materials online now at; additional content will be added throughout the summer. 
image_uu@un banner

image_Live Oak UU Church logoLive Oak UU Church Accepting Grant Proposals
Live Oak UU Church is accepting endowment grant applications from June 1 to September 30. The congregation’s endowment was created with the mission of supporting grants that support UU values through congregational growth, as well as social and environmental action initiatives. Learn more, including how to apply, here.

An image comprised of splashes of watercolor, overlaid with text and an astrological mapUU Faith Lab for High School Aged Unitarian Universalists
UU Faith Lab is a chance for UU youth to explore spiritual leadership from wherever they are, and experiment with mystery and wonder in their own context. The FaithLab community will gather just after the summer solstice, meet monthly around the full moons, and reunite on the fall equinox. Small groups will gather in between to delve more deeply into community care. Learn more, request information, and register here.

Transitional Religious Leadership: Theory and Practice
The Guild of Interim Religious Educators now offers a training program focusing on congregational transitions for professional staff serving in religious leadership roles. This program provides you with the tools you and your team need while serving a congregation experiencing a transition. And when you want to imbue your work in the congregation with fresh perspectives, this program will provide you with the skills you need to re-imagine a bright future in your church!
Learn more and register today. Questions? Please send an email to
Events, Occasions, and Connection Opportunities
Upcoming Events 

July 27 - UUA Board of Trustees Open House
August 3 - RE-UUp: Conversations on Re-opening for Religious Education Programs
August 6 - RE-UUp: Conversations on Re-opening for Religious Education Programs
August 6 & 7, Universalist Convocation, Sandy Springs GA
August 7 - MidAmerica Workshop, Future Change Framework
August 10 - SR Toolbox Webinar, Covenant
August 24 - SR Toolbox Webinar, Lifespan Faith Development and Membership Development Framing

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, Lead,, 512-296-5396
Kathy Charles, Events Coordinator,, 617-948-4293
Rev. Tyler Coles,, 804-592-1159
Nancy Combs-Morgan,, 859-494-2424
Jessica Curren, Administrator,, 407-894-2119
Lillian Drab-Braddick,, 617-948-4368
Rev. Nathan Hollister,, 919-923-3398
Kathy McGowan,, 617-948-4295
Cameron Young,, 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 August e-news
to no later than July 22nd.

Please note, announcements should be brief 
and include a link to additional information on your website or blog as applicable.

Any submissions may be edited by SR staff.

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