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August 2021 - In This Newsletter
  • Staff Blog - The Arduous Wisdom of Letting Go, by Natalie Briscoe
  • Southern Region Events - Leadership Experience Primer; RE-UUp: Conversations on Re-opening for Religious Education Programs; Toolbox Webinar Series; and Presidents' Gathering Series
  • News - COMPASS: A Liberatory, Everyday Theology for Changing Times; Network of Hospitality for Bridging Youth; The Article II Study Commission and the 8th Principle; Leadership Updates Reminder for Congregations; Congratulations and Celebrations!; Live Oak UU Church Accepting Grant Proposals; Chalice Lighter Update; Faithify Updates; UUA Publications Update; Recruitment Now Open for UUA Hope for Us Regional Coach (National Team)!; Future Change Framework Workshop; and Updates from UU@UN
  • Calendar Listing of Events, Occasions, and Connection Opportunities
Staff Blog and UUA Communications

photo of natalie briscoeThe Arduous Wisdom of Letting Go
By Natalie Briscoe
“Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on.” - Eckhart Tolle
As a team building exercise for the Congregational Life Leadership Team, we were each tasked with presenting an object that, in one way or another, represented some part of our spiritual journey. I went to my go-to location for questions like this: my old jewelry box. I could have used my grandmother’s rosary, representing my Catholic roots. I could have used my confirmation necklace, created from several family members’ engagement and wedding rings, representing the way in which I am held by my family and their bonds. I could have used any number of chalices stored there, representing many different points on my Unitarian Universalist faith journey, or I could have used the prayer beads I created in my Wellspring group, representing my personal relationship with the Divine. While I was digging around and deciding, I found the perfect piece stashed way in the back, behind the Christmas jewelry and the childhood pieces I can never seem to get rid of: my Blockbuster Video membership card.
I was born in 1980 and grew up in the height of Blockbuster culture. As a child, I couldn’t wait to finish dinner on Friday nights so I could accompany my Grandpa to Blockbuster and pick out our weekend selections. These ritual outings were bonding at its highest: me and my Grandpa, a Master Sergeant in the Air Force tasked with caring for this tiny soft-hearted girl, singing to Hank Williams with the windows rolled down, flying through the neon neighborhoods of our small town. It was on these nights that I learned how I was cared for (“Pick out any candy you want, honey”) and how to care for others (“Be Kind. Rewind” Pay it forward, leave it better for the next person.) I even remember my Grandma’s face going through the selections at the kitchen table upon our return: smiling at Dirty Dancing; rolling her eyes at Stripes; playfully staring at Raiders of the Lost Ark (AGAIN?).

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.
Leadership Experience Primer: A NEW Introductory Series for Emerging Congregational Leaders
November 3 or November 6 (Virtual)
Participants will emerge from this experience equipped with the foundational knowledge needed for congregational leadership. This series focuses on Unitarian Universalist History, Polity, and Theology. This event includes both self-paced video learning and a live, online, group processing session (you choose the live date that works best for you). The cost is $35 per person.

Completing the Leadership Experience (LE) Primer is one option for meeting the required prerequisites for our upcoming LE Essentials, Immersive LE (SUULE), and LE Breakthrough events. (Learn more about Southern Region's complete range of Leadership Development programing here.)

Watch an introductory video here. Register today!
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 - CovenantWith Southern Region Staff Members Rev. Tyler Coles, Lillian Drab-Braddick, and Natalie Briscoe. As we begin to gather again in a post-isolation era, now is the perfect time to examine our covenants - the way we practice Unitarian Universalism together - and make new promises to each other about how we will be when we are finally together again. This practice of covenant will be rooted in our UU Theology and will help to build a trauma-informed congregation.
  • August 24 - Lifespan Faith Development and Membership Development FramingWith Southern Region Lead Natalie Briscoe, with special guest Anna Bethea, Director of Lifespan Faith Engagement. This webinar is an introduction to creating lifespan faith development paths and membership paths which take individuals from guests to leaders in your congregation. A variety of resources will be given, including resources for adult faith formation and leadership development opportunities at the congregational, regional, and national levels.
Presidents' Gathering Series 2021-2022

Southern Region's Presidents' Gatherings are an ONLINE space for congregational Presidents, Presidents-Elect, Vice Presidents, and Past Presidents to create a community of learning and collaboration with each other and with Southern Region Staff. This series runs from September through May (with a break in December).

Cost per congregational team:
  • Complementary for APF Honor Congregations (for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021)
  • $100 for congregations that were not APF Honor in 2020-2021
Learn more and register here
COMPASS: A Liberatory, Everyday Theology for Changing Times

December 11 & 12, Virtual
What is Compass?
It’s an online national event
It’s an online regional gathering
It’s a time to learn together - worship together - share our wisdom
It’s a time to be with other congregational leaders on the journey towards our shared future.
More information to come….

image: bridging youth hospitality network infographicNetwork of Hospitality for Bridging Youth
The UUA’s Office of Lifespan Faith Engagement—in collaboration with the Mount Vernon Unitarian Church—is happy to announce the piloting of a new network of hospitality for Unitarian Universalist youth who are bridging out of their high school years. Building off of wisdom from previous programs, this network aims to connect bridging youth to the congregation where they will be living. Whether they’re staying in the same place, or moving far away from home, bridging youth may appreciate connection and community in this new life stage.
Congregations sending forth bridging youth are encouraged to share the Bridging Youth Hospitality Network survey with their youth to fill out. That way, bridging youth will identify how they would like to be supported. Congregations receiving these new young adults are encouraged to also fill out the survey, to make the connection. The intensity of the connection can vary and should develop organically from the needs expressed by the young adult. To find additional bridging resources, visit
Questions about this network can be directed to Rev. Stevie Carmody, Emerging Adult Ministry Associate in the Office of Lifespan Faith Engagement of the UUA, by emailing

The Article II Study Commission and the 8th Principle
Unitarian Universalism is no stranger to movements that call for racial justice both within and beyond our institutions. Over and over again, pockets of people have worked to say racism is a problem, racism is a problem *for us,* and that we are committed to fighting racism and other oppressions. As a grassroots movement to adopt such a commitment as the 8th Principle of Unitarian Universalism, spreads throughout our congregations, the question has been raised, "how does the 8th Principle Project relate to the current study of Article II: Principles and Purposes, of the UUA Bylaws?"
Check out the latest blog post from the Article II Study Commission, as they reflect on the 8th Principle Project, and how it relates to the work of the Study Commission: The Article II Study Commission and the 8th Principle.

image: To Do List_Pixabay image_by Alexas FotosLeadership Updates Reminder for Congregations
Attention: Administrators, Presidents, and Ministers
As we begin the new church year, this is a friendly reminder to update your congregation’s leadership information in anytime there are changes to staff or lay-leadership in your congregation. This is the primary resource we (and your UUA) use to share important information with congregational leaders and staff. It is particularly important that you include email addresses for all your lay-leaders and staff. We need your help in keeping the information current and complete!
After you've updated, take a look at your website and see if any updates are needed there!
image of flowersCongratulations and Celebrations!

Congratulations to Owen Riedesel (UU Congregation of Asheville, NC), recent recipient of the Marion Barr Stanfield Art Scholarship!
Welcome and congratulations to All Souls UU Congregation (Palatka, FL), recently approved by the UUA Board of Trustees as a new UUA Member Congregation!
Congratulations to Georgia Mountains UU Church (Dahlonega, GA) on their recent groundbreaking for a new sanctuary!
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.
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 logo
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.
New Faithify campaigns:
  • Oak Street Meeting House Project - Help First Universalist Church of Camp Hill, Alabama, reclaim their parsonage as vibrant, useable, and accessible space. The Oak Street Meeting House is a proposed venue for dinner church, social events, an outreach office, and an accessible restroom. Learn more and contribute here.
  •  ALAY: Support and Solidarity with Indigenous Communities - Unitarian Universalists in partnership with Indigenous communities are organizing a mutual aid fundraiser to provide immediate food relief to 500 families in Mindanao, Visayas, and Luzon regions of the Philippines. Indigenous communities have been hard hit by the pandemic lockdowns, experiencing a loss of work, and more extreme hunger. Learn more and contribute here.
Learn more about Faithify and view all active Faithify campaigns here.
UUA Publications Update

The publication update for August 2021 includes an announcement of Skinner House’s new title, Faith on Trial: Religion and the Law in the United States, recommended memoirs for summer reading, and August’s group read for the Justice and Spirit UU Book Club on Goodreads. Read the complete publications update here!

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.
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 (before midnight, August 5, Pacific Time) here.

Updates from Unitarian Universalist Office at the United Nations
For 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.
Take Action to Become a Sixth Principle Congregation
The Unitarian Universalist Office at the United Nations announces an annual award to recognize congregations that show their commitment to our Sixth Principle’s “goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all” and their support of the UU@UN through their actions and financial giving. The Sixth Principle Award is given yearly to congregations that complete at least three engagement activities between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022 (see the categories online!). In recognition for their steadfast dedication to international human rights, Sixth Principle Congregations that qualify and submit a brief report by March 31 will be presented with an award certificate during a reception at UUA General Assembly, formal recognition on the UU@UN website, and a specialized video from UU@UN staff honoring the congregation’s contribution. Find more information about the Sixth Principle Award and how to qualify here.

image_uu@un award infographic

Events, Occasions, and Connection Opportunities
Upcoming Events 

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 9 - UUA Board of Trustees Meeting
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 September e-news
to no later than August 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.

Copyright © 2021 UUA Southern Region, All rights reserved.

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