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January 2023 - In This Newsletter
  • Southern Region and Guest BlogWhat If I’m Not Ready?, By Natalie Briscoe; Where Are the Children and Families?, By Rev. Evin Carvill Ziemer
  • Southern Region Events - System Theory Renaissance Module, Breakthrough Leadership Experience; Toolbox Webinar Series 2022-23; Presidents' Gathering Series 2022-23 
  • News - Pastoral Care Training for Religious Educators; 30 Days of Love 2023; Annual Certification of Membership; OWL Facilitator Training-New Bern NC; UUA Common Read Discussion Guide Now Available!; EqUUal Access Carolyn Cartland Sermon Contest; Spring Right Relationship Team Training; Legacy Giving Webinar for Congregations; 2023 Intergenerational Spring Seminar; Taproot; Cornerstones of Effective Stewardship for Our Congregations; Faithify Updates; UUA/UUMA Neurodiversity Skill-Up; Training Opportunity with The Management Center; Alabama Living Legacy Pilgrimage; Florida UU Women's Retreat; Clergy Grants available to attend Star Island Conferences in 2023; UUA Presidential Forums; General Assembly 2023 Updates
  • Calendar Listing of Events, Occasions, and Connection Opportunities
  • Connections - UU Camp, Conference, and Retreat Centers in SR; Quick Links; Southern Region Staff
Staff Blog

photo of natalie briscoeWhat If I’m Not Ready?
By Natalie Briscoe
Welcome to 2023! Honestly, I just can’t believe it’s already a new year; I am still reeling from 2020! I’ve read so many articles on the collective exhaustion and burnout that we feel at this turn of the year, and I certainly have felt it in the past several months. It seems as if there is so much pressure to “get back to normal” and “make up for the lost time” of the past two and a half years without taking into account the fact that we are still experiencing serious trauma and grief. I know the anxiety we feel pushes us to “get on with it,” but the ways in which we used to operate aren’t going to work for us anymore. I need more time to gather resources before forging ahead; sometimes I want to cry out, “I’m not ready!”
Unitarian Universalists have often relied upon traditional community-building methods to strengthen bonds and grow membership. These traditional community building methods include building friendships and social networks, planning for a shared future, and working collaboratively to improve our communities. Each of these strategies has been markedly affected by the last three years and the trauma of the global pandemic.

Continue reading

brand design image_UUA color stripe

photo_rev. evin carvill ziemerWhere Are the Children and Families?
By Rev. Evin Carvill Ziemer

It’s a common question I hear from congregational leaders right now. It’s not just your congregation! There are far fewer children attending our congregations right now. Between 2020 and 2022 certified RE enrollment dropped by about 39% nationally and in our region. Adult membership dropped only 6-7% in the same period. This precipitous decline follows a long steady decline in both RE enrollment. (2018-2022 <1% decline among adults and 17% for children and youth. For a discussion of the demographics leading to this decline please read The Death of Sunday School (PDF).)

Why? What does it mean?

The pandemic has been deeply disruptive and traumatizing for many and this is continuing for families with children. Right now the resurgence of RSV, flu, and other illnesses along with COVID-19 continues to disrupt life including keeping kids home from daycare and school and leading to challenges with employers and fears about full pediatric ICU's. We are so so tired. What families really need is a break!

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.
infographic with wording "rnaissance module" and including uua chalice logo and color stripeOnline Renaissance Modules

“The Southern Region team of the UUA is committed to offering essential tools to aid leaders to go deeper with a unique understanding of how people grow in their UU faith, with the original work of Natalie Briscoe and the Dimensions of Faith Development. The next core understanding is how everything is connected as a system. System Theory is a core competency in understanding how people connect with self and others.
There are offerings of our Dimensions of Faith Development Renaissance Module and System Theory Renaissance Module coming up in January and February of 2023. If you would like to explore going deeper in your understanding of how to help grow sustained UU faith connections, consider taking part. These offerings are created explicitly for leaders and religious professionals who are serving in UU faith development.” Excerpt of a blog post by Nancy Combs-Morgan. 
Leadership Experience Track for 2022-23
clip art_chalice art with text "leadership experiences" on dark red background 
The Southern Region Leadership Experience (LE) is a three-part, nine-month, online course designed to support leaders at all levels. The sections of the Leadership Experience must be taken in sequential order. Learn more about our Leadership Experience track here.
Primer LE - a self-paced experience with recorded lectures, supplemental materials, and one live processing session. The topics covered in the Primer LE are UU Theology, Covenant, and UU History. The next live processing session for the Primer LE will be February 8th.  Register for the Primer LE here
Essentials LE - this section is in process now. We plan to offer this again in fall 2023.
Breakthrough LE - a three-session experience with recorded lectures, supplemental materials, and activities between three live processing sessions. The topics covered in the Breakthrough section are Incarnational UU Theology, Covenant Beyond Walls, and Justice is what Love Looks Like in Public. The Breakthrough LE will run from February to May 2023 (please note schedule change, by one month). Completion of the Essentials LE track is a prerequisite for participation. Please note: in order to proceed with this event we must have a minimum of 20 participants registered no later than January 16th. Register for the Breakthrough LE here.
clipart_red toolbox filled with colorful toolsToolbox Webinar Series 2022-23
Toolbox Webinars are compact and efficient one-time training sessions that support congregational leaders and staff. Toolbox Webinars are offered live, monthly, beginning in August, and last up to 90 minutes (most are on second Tuesdays). Learn more and register here.
  • January 10 - Practicing Collaborative Ministry, with Kathy McGowan and Lillian Drab-Braddick. Collaborative Ministry is the ways in which the church leadership - professional and lay, volunteer and paid - work together to co-create Unitarian Universalism with the congregation and move the community into its missional priorities. This Toolbox Webinar will explore the relationships and responsibilities that we must build to have successful collaborative ministry in our congregations.
  • February 21 - Leadership Resources and Paths, with Natalie Briscoe. This Toolbox session will assist you in creating your own leadership development path, including methods of recruitment, content for leadership training, and recognition of volunteer leaders.
photo_large metal chalice with candle, water backgroundPresidents' Gathering Series 2022-23
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 is offered from September through May, on third Thursday evenings (with a break in December).
Cost per congregational team:
  • Complementary for APF Honor Congregations (for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022)
  • $100 for congregations that were not APF Honor in 2021-22
Upcoming sessions and topics (Third Thursdays at 6:00 PM CT/7:00 PM ET):
  • January 19 - Organizational Charts and Committees
  • February 16 - Committees on Ministry/Committees on Shared Ministry
Learn more and register here.
colorful hand in the shape of a heart on a yellow background reading "Pastoral care training for REs"Pastoral Care Training for Religious Educators
January 18 to April 26
Led by: Rev. Sunshine Wolf and Annie Scott, CRE
Many parents and teens turn first to their Religious Educators for pastoral care, being prepared to receive those conversations is the focus of this series. The class will be based on the Spiritual Leadership program in LeaderLab created by the New England regional staff. There will be pre-work prior to the first class and each session, and you must get an *endorsement from the minister you serve with or your Board to sign up for the course.
Schedule: Every 2 weeks on Wednesdays January 18 - April 26.  
Staring at: 7:00pm ET/6:00 pm CT/5:00pm MT/4:00pm PT/3:00 pm Alaska/2:00 pm Hawaii. Find out more and register. The registration deadline is January 11th.
banner_logo heart and words "side with love"Side with Love - 30 Days of Love 2023
Side With Love is thrilled to announce 30 Days of Love 2023! Our annual month of spiritual nourishment, political grounding, and shared practices of faith and justice, 30 Days of Love will go from Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (January 16) through Valentine’s Day (February 14).
This year’s 30 Days of Love is a gift to our whole community: a love letter, a warm hug, a spiritual balm for all of the individuals, families, religious professionals, partners and communities that embody our values and work for justice and liberation year round. Learn more at
uua chalice logo with text "unitarian universalist association"Annual Certification of Membership
Attention: Presidents, Ministers, and Administrators

All UUA member congregations must submit their Annual Certification of Membership by 5:00 pm, Pacific Time, on Wednesday, February 1, 2023. An email containing a secure link will be sent to your congregation's data administrator. Alternatively, authorized individuals may log into the congregation's Data Services account to complete the certification process. Please note, it will take you some time to gather all the necessary information required to complete certification. Please do not wait until the deadline to start this process! View Frequently Asked Questions here. Please direct questions about certification to
logo_our whole livesOWL Facilitator Training
February 24-26, New Bern NC
Our Whole Lives Facilitator Training for Junior/Senior High Ages will be offered at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of New Bern (308 Meadows Street, New Bern, NC, on February 24-26, 2023, IN PERSON. A portion of this training may be held at nearby Unitarian Coastal Fellowship in Morehead City, NC. While the trainers will set the exact schedule for this training and provide that to you closer to the event date, expect to be in training between 3:00 pm and 9:30 pm on Friday, 8:00 am and 9:00 pm on Saturday, and 8:00 am and 4:00 pm on Sunday. Meals will be provided Friday evening, all day Saturday, and lunch on Sunday. To be certified as an Our Whole Lives Facilitator, one must attend the entire training.
The deadline for registration is January 31, 2023. Learn more and register today!
photo_"mistakes and miracles" booksUUA Common Read Discussion Guide Now Available!
The UUA Common Read for 2022-23 is Mistakes and Miracles: Congregations on the Road to Multiculturalism (Skinner House Books, 2019). In this book, co-authors Nancy Palmer Jones and Karin Lin—a white minister and a lay person of color—explore five UU congregations' journeys toward Beloved Community and share the joy, disappointment, and growth these congregations found.
Today, UU congregations are grappling with a charge to dismantle white supremacy in ourselves, our communities, and our world. As we enter a Common Read of this book, we find ourselves receiving its report with a changed spirit and an urgent need for multiculturalism and antiracism work in our congregations and our movement.
The discussion guide for Mistakes and Miracles invites Unitarian Universalist congregations and groups to engage deeply with the stories of others who have chosen a faithful path and struggled along the way. If you would like to facilitate this Common Read and/or promote it in your faith community, please start with the section, "Using This Guide."
logo_equual accessEqUUal Access Carolyn Cartland Sermon Contest
Since 2016, EqUUal Access has sponsored an annual contest for sermons related to disability.  It is named after Carolyn Cartland, an early president of EqUUal Access. This annual contest highlights disability-related themes and topics. Entry deadline: May 1. One cash prize of $500. When feasible, the winner may be invited to present their sermon at an EqUUal Access event during UUA General Assembly. Travel costs to GA cannot be supported.
  • The sermon must be an original work on a disability theme or topic
  • The sermon must be preached between May 1, 2022 and April 30, 2023.
  • Entries (sermon text and entry cover information) must be submitted before midnight on May 1st, 2023.
  • This sermon contest is open to all lay or religious professional Unitarian Universalists.
 For more information, please visit Information for Submitting a Sermon on the EqUUal Access website.
Two hands holding sparklers in twilight with a heart-shaped filter around the sparksSpring Right Relationship Team Training is Open for Registration!
Creating beloved community requires intention and practice. Our covenants articulate our intention, but how do we live into the practice? Right Relations Teams (RRT) are lay leaders entrusted to help the congregation practice faithful communication and creative conflict based on values of mutuality and consent.  
This training is for congregational teams who will be helping their congregations live into their covenants.
In this facilitated version, you will learn with other congregations during the 6 live practice sessions. The cost of $400/team covers the facilitators and includes a code to access to training materials.
Note: The training can also be taken on your own ($30/person) There are instructions for you to facilitate your own practice sessions.
Legacy Giving Webinar for Congregations
February 11, noon to 2:00 Central/1:00 to 3:00 pm Eastern
The UUA’s Legacy Gifts Office offers a number of services, including an online workshop to assist congregations in creating legacy giving programs. The webinar on Saturday, February 11, 2023 covers the basics of legacy giving and how to set up a legacy giving program in your congregation. We aim to equip congregations with the knowledge they need to start a legacy program. To register for the webinar, email us at or call (617) 948-6509.
Advertisement for the UU@UN 2023 Intergenerational Spring Seminar, April 1-3, 2023 in Minneapolis and online, with the theme "Demilitarization & Abolition: Resisting Police and Empire," featuring a stylizing drawing of three women from behind making peace symbols with their fingersSave the Date! 2023 Intergenerational Spring Seminar
The UU Office at the United Nations is excited to announce that the 2023 Intergenerational Spring Seminar will take place April 1-3, 2023, with the theme "Demilitarization & Abolition: Resist Policing and Empire." The event, planned in close partnership with the UU Service Committee & the UU College of Social Justice, will be a multiplatform event, held in-person in Minneapolis, MN and online. More details to follow, registration opens soon, put it on your calendars now!
Taproot: A National BIPOC space. Image of a tree root on a yellow background and the UUA logoTaproot: A National BIPOC Space
January 12
The work of the spiritual community is complicated in the 21st century. From busy schedules to the ever pressing tension brought on by systemic injustice, the need for faithful leadership that is grounded and resilient is imperative. This is all the more true for leaders within our communities and congregations who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPoC). All too aware of this need, Congregational Life is excited to explore and co-create a network with congregational leaders that support them in this time in emergent ways through Taproot: A National BIPOC Space.
Find out more and register.
profile of people made out of construction paper- Stewardship for us event Winter 2023Cornerstones of Effective Stewardship for Our Congregations Webinar Series
January 24, January 31, and February 7 (all 7:00PM to 8:30 PM Eastern Time)
UUA Congregational Life and Stewardship for Us announce a 3-part national webinar series in early 2023: Cornerstones of Effective Stewardship for our Congregations.
  • TUESDAYS, 7:00 - 8:30 PM ET, 6:00-7:30 CT, 5:00-6:30 MT, 4:00-5:30 PT
  • Part 1: January 24th: The Multiplatform Context, Part 2: January 31st: The Multicultural/Multiracial World, and Part 3: February 7th: The Changing Multigenerational Demographics
Registration fee is $30 per webinar or register for all three at the discounted rate of $75. Learn more and register by January 19th.
logo_faithify uu crowdfundingFaithify Updates
Tap into the power of Faithify today! UU Crowdfunding projects with passion are waiting for you. Check out these current Faithify campaigns created by Southern Region Unitarian Universalists:
Learn more about Faithify and view all current campaigns here:
photo_Rev. Leela SinhaUUA/UUMA Neurodiversity Skill-Up
January 24, 1-3pm ET/10am-12pm PT, with the Rev. Leela Sinha

Rev. Leela Sinha (ze/zim/zir) is a brown, queer, genderqueer, entrepreneurial community minister with a theology of pleasure and a habit of transformative mischief. In zir work, ze offers leadership coaching, training, and keynotes, working with leaders and organizations to develop and delight in the power and intensity we have, and to use that power for good. Zir book, "You're Not Too Much" came out in 2016.  Ze has been a UU all zir life, and lives and works in the Bay Area. Check out zir’s work with zir Sinha Intensive/Expansive Framework, work supporting teams and individuals working together, and podcast The Intensives Institute. We’re excited to welcome Leela because zir’s framework of supporting individuals and teams in embracing their strengths and working together even with different brains does not depend on medical diagnosis. Find out if you’re an intensive or expansive! Register for this session of the Neurodivergent Skill Up series.
Find past presentations including the November Supporting Children and Youth on the UUMA store.
Training Opportunity with The Management Center
We’re happy to announce that The Unitarian Universalist Association is partnering with The Management Center to provide practical, interculturally informed management skills training designed for UU religious professionals who supervise staff in congregations.
The Management Center will lead two separate two-day online Managing to Change the World trainings (January 19-20 and February 6-7), facilitated by JK Nelson. We have space for 40 people in each session, and we’d like to invite you and your colleagues to apply!
Please consider applying if:
  • You directly supervise staff in a UU congregation or related organization
  • You’re eager to learn new tools, frameworks, and practices to support your management
  • You’re open to thinking critically and newly about your individual and organizational
  • practices on managing with an equity and inclusion lens
  • You are committed to an ethos of shared ministry
 Learn more about this training opportunity, including the cost and how to apply, by downloading the invitation/information packet (PDF).
Alabama Living Legacy Pilgrimage: Alabama Moments that Reverberated Throughout the World
logo_living legacy project with colorful flame drawing​March 12 - 16, 2023
A series of events took place in Alabama and throughout the South in the 1950s and 60s that culminated in the ultimate passage of the 1964 National Civil Rights Act and the 1965 National Voting Rights Act. On this five-day, four-night pilgrimage, you'll learn how each event, from the day in 1955 when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery to the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March, moved the arc of the universe a little closer to justice.
To find out more  more about this powerful Pilgrimage, visit: 2023 Alabama Civil Rights Pilgrimage - Living Legacy Project on the Living Legacy Project's website.
Florida UU Women's Retreat
March 31 - April 2, 2023, Parrish, FL

UU women are invited to join in for an enriching and memorable weekend featuring Shelley Graff facilitating Singing in Sacred Circle. This retreat will be held at DaySpring Conference Center.  
Learn more, including how to register, here.
Clergy Grants available to attend Star Island Conferences in 2023
The Isles of Shoals Association Unitarian Universalist (ISAUU) in partnership with the Star Island Beloved Community Project is pleased to present the Clergy Grants Program for the 2023 season of conferences on Star Island.
Grants are available from the ISAUU to partially subsidize Unitarian Universalist ministers and their families to spend a week on Star Island at a conference of their choice. The intent is to introduce UU clergy to Star Island conferences, to support personal and professional relaxation and rejuvenation, and to promote Star Island with UU clergy and their congregations.
More information and the application can be found on the ISAUU website. For additional information please contact Miriam Coe,
UUA Presidential Forums

The UUA Presidential Forums are coming in early 2023! You’ll be able to attend in person or online to meet the next presidential nominee(s). Want to know when/where they’ll be held? We'll share schedule information as it becomes available in this monthly e-newsletter (subscribe here) and on our Southern Region Facebook page.
logo_uua general assembly 2023General Assembly 2023 Updates
June 21-25, Pittsburgh PA and Online
The theme for General Assembly 2023 is "Faithfully Becoming." We are at a threshold moment for our faith and will choose the next path in our journey. We will consider new articulations of Article II (including our Principles and Purpose) and elect a new President to lead our Association. These are decisions that will shape who we are and how we respond to and grow through these times. These changes offer us possibilities for becoming more connected, courageous, inclusive, generous, and continuing our ongoing journey of becoming Beloved Community.
Registration is now open!
Register early to secure the lowest rates. Volunteer opportunities and financial support are available.
Call for Morning Worship Proposals
Proposals can be for a live worship (in-person or virtual) or for a fully pre-recorded video presentation. The worship proposal deadline is January 13. Learn more and propose a worship service here.
Call for GA Program Proposals
The program proposal deadline is January 13. Learn more about the "focus areas" and propose a program here.
Events, Occasions, and Connection Opportunities
clipart_calendar pageUpcoming Events

January 7, SR Essentials LE Processing Session 3
January 10, Dimensions of Faith Renaissance Module
January 10, SR Toolbox Webinar
January 10, UUA Board of Trustees Open House
January 12, Taproot: A National BIPOC Gathering
January 17, Dimensions of Faith Renaissance Module
January 18, Pastoral Care Training for Religious Educators
January 19, SR Presidents’ Gathering
January 19 to 21, UUA Board of Trustees Meeting
January 24, Dimensions of Faith Renaissance Module
January 24, Neurodivergent Skill Up
January 24, Cornerstones of Effective Stewardship for our Congregations
January 31, Cornerstones of Effective Stewardship for our Congregations

View our complete events 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,, 617-742-2100 ext. 8197
Rev. Tyler Coles,, 804-592-1159
Nancy Combs-Morgan,, 859-494-2424
Jessica Curren, Administrator,, 407-894-2119
Lillian Drab-Braddick,, 617-948-4368
Kathy McGowan,, 617-948-4295
Cameron Young,, 972-383-9197

Please use our Partnership Activation Request to access support from the Southern Region.

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 February e-news
to no later than January 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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