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May 2021 - In This Newsletter
  • Staff Blog and UUA Communications, and Congregation Spotlight - Know Your Why Part 2: What Next?, by Natalie Briscoe; From Church Family to “Community of Communities,” by Cameron Young; Notes from the Pandemic Front-line Trenches, Guest Blog by Rev. Jami Yandle; From The UUA President: Planning for Multi-Platform Operations; Recently Updated - UUA Guidance on Gathering In-Person When COVID-19 Subsides
  • Southern Region Events - Presidents' Gatherings, Toolbox Webinars, The Point 2021
  • News - New LeaderLab Resource - Multi-Platform Resources: A Guidebook; Coming Soon! UU World Special Issue: (Re)Building Democracy: A National Reckoning About Race, Justice, and Equity; Network of Hospitality for Bridging Youth; General Assembly Updates
  • Calendar Listing of Events, Occasions, and Connection Opportunities
Staff Blog and UUA Communications

Know Your Why Part 2: What Next?
By Natalie BriscoeNatalie

My last blog was written on March 14th, on the one-year anniversary of our shelter-in-place orders here in Austin, Texas. Today I am writing on April 14th, and it seems like the entire world has changed in one short month. As more and more individuals become vaccinated and the CDC guidance continues to change almost daily, many of us are experiencing something we haven’t felt in a while: hope. We feel hopeful that the pandemic restrictions on gatherings and travel will subside soon enough for us to “get back to normal.”
And yet, what does “normal” look like to you? In reality, we will never return to normal. Our lives have been permanently altered by the pandemic. We will never go back to the way things were.
In the last blog, I noted that reopening is a process, not an event. Here are some parts of that process that can help you determine what “normal” will be in a post-pandemic reality.
First, please take time to review UUA President Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray’s message about “navigating the in-between time” as we begin to think about what reopening means to each of our communities.

Continue reading

From Church Family to “Community of Communities”
By Cameron Young
“We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote: journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.”
These are the words for the proposed 8th Principle of Unitarian Universalism. One need look no further than the report Widening the Circle of Concern from our Commission on Institutional Change to know that we still have ample work to do in achieving that aim of diverse multicultural Beloved Community. Our faith and our institutions have long been characterized as embracing of other belief systems - an embrace of theological pluralism unique to the American religious landscape. That’s something we should be proud of! But if we are to make that lived Unitarian Universalist dream a reality, we must match our embrace of theological pluralism with our embrace of cultural pluralism. We must become, as my colleague, mentor, and architect of the 8th principle project, Paula Cole Jones puts it, a “Community of Communities.”
I will mostly let this lecture speak for itself, but here are a few parts I’d like to highlight:
Continue reading

Notes from the Pandemic Front-line Trenches
photo of rev. jami yandleGuest Blog by Rev. Jami A. Yandle
Recently, a friend asked me how many deaths I had witnessed in my ministry serving as a hospice chaplain on the “front lines” during a pandemic. Though I experience healthcare as largely a corporate and capitalistic environment, my Unitarian Universalist values embolden me to rise above the corruption and greed that is ever-present so that I can serve out of a place of relational, patient-centered care. I hope that my integrity and unwillingness to suffer injustices means that some good is being done in the oppressive systems of which I am part, and because I believe in being honest about the perils of my profound ministry, I told my friend the truth: “I don’t know. I don’t count bodies, I count memories, and I have over a thousand of those.” 
As a hospice chaplain, I have the incredible honor and privilege of journeying with people from the time they are placed on hospice services until the day they take their final breath. Sometimes, I am able to spend months and months with people until they pass. Other times, they are admitted very close to death, so I only get few days with them. And I will let you in on a little secret: in all cases and rather remarkably universally, people always regret the time they did not spend with their loved ones. What people hardly ever talk about is that vacation they never took or the house they drove by for years and never bought. Because in the end, it’s all about the companionship of one another and the wholeness and holiness our communities provide us.

Continue reading

From The UUA President: Planning for Multi-Platform Operationsphoto of Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray
By Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray, April 15, 2021
I write today with guidance from the UUA about planning for safe operations in alignment with our UU values. The significant disruptions to life in our congregations and communities over the past year has been traumatic. There is, understandably, a deep yearning to gather again in person. Unfortunately, we are in an “in-between” transition time that continues to be risky. Our first concern continues to be safeguarding the well-being of our people and the public.
Last May, the UUA recommended that congregations plan for a year of virtual operations. Moving into the coming year, the UUA recommends that congregations plan for multi-platform operations—a flexible combination of in-person and online engagement based on the needs and risks in your community.
Continue reading

In Case You Missed It - UUA Guidance on Gathering In-Person When COVID-19 Subsides was recently updated. View the latest guidance on gathering here.
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):
  • May 19 & 20 - Board Transitions
Registration for Presidents Gatherings 2021-2022 coming soon.
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):
  • May 11 - Governance in the Congregation 
image-The Point logoThe Point 2021
July 23-25, virtual

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. Learn more and register today! 
New LeaderLab Resource - Multi-Platform Resources: A Guidebook
Nurturing a faith community that is intentionally inclusive starts with developing a deep understanding of your people's unique needs, and then finds a way to address those needs with your programs and technology.
These resources include frameworks, starting points, tips and tools to help your congregation serve its mission in today's environment of virtual and in-person connection. (Please note, this guide is a work in progress, so please check back for new resources!) Start exploring these resources today!
Coming Soon! UU World Special Issue: (Re)Building Democracy:
A National Reckoning About Race, Justice, and Equity

We are excited to announce that a special issue of UU World magazine will be arriving in Unitarian Universalists’ mailboxes in early May. Redesigned and including vibrant art and photography, this issue captures this historic moment in (re)building democracy in the United States. Through interviews, essays, images, and reflections, we seek to engage readers in examining how each one of us can help create a truly just, equitable, and anti-racist democracy.
Look for your issue to arrive in your mailbox in early May! Not sure if you’re getting UU World magazine or need to update your subscription information? You can do that here:

Network 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

infographic uua board of trustees eventUUA Board of Trustees
Open House Events

Co-Moderators Meg Riley and Charles Du Mond invite you to come and check in with the UUA Board of Trustees at its upcoming Zoom Open House.
Open house dates and times:
  • Tuesday, May 11, 2021; 4pm Pacific/5pm Mountain/6pm Central/7pm Eastern; Register here
  • Tuesday, June 8, 2021; 4pm Pacific/5pm Mountain/6pm Central/7pm Eastern; Register here
image - uua ga 2021 logoUUA Virtual General Assembly 2021
June 23-27

2021 Ware Lecture: Stacey Abrams and Desmond Meade
The UUA President invites a distinguished guest each year to address the General Assembly as the Ware Lecturer. Please join us Saturday, June 26 at 7:00 p.m. EDT / 6:00 p.m. CDT / 5:00 p.m. MDT / 4:00 p.m. PDT. General Assembly registration is required.
Visit the General Assembly Exhibit Hall
The 2021 Virtual Exhibit Hall is now live on the Whova app and available to GA registrants. Our exhibitors have been adding video and handouts to their virtual spaces and are ready for you to say hello.

GA Pride Drag Show Returns!
Thanks to sponsorship support from UUA Ministries and Faith Development – LGBTQ and Multicultural Programs Team, the Virtual GA Pride Drag Show returns! Register for GA and plan to join Rev. Presha Mann (Rev. Marcus Fogliano), our most fabulous host, for an evening of joy and fun! Attention Queens and Kings: upload a 3-to-5-minute video of your drag performance by Thursday, May 27. Selected videos will premiere Friday evening, June 25 at 5:30 PDT / 6:30 MDT / 7:30 CDT / 8:30 EDT. $50 compensation will be offered per original submission, plus tips via Venmo and CashApp.

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

May 4, Administration as Leadership Renaissance Module
May 11, Southern Region Toolbox Webinar
May 11, Administration as Leadership Renaissance Module
May 11, UUA Board of Trustees Open House
May 18, Administration as Leadership Renaissance Module
May 19, Southern Region Presidents’ Gathering
May 20, Southern Region Presidents’ Gathering
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, Lead,, 512-296-5396
Kathy Charles, Events Coordinator,, 617-948-4293
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 June e-news
to no later than May22nd.

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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