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April 2021 - In This Newsletter
  • Staff Blog, UUA Communications, and Congregation SpotlightKnow Your Why: Rebooting Congregations in a Post-Pandemic Reality Natalie Briscoe; Change is the Only Constant by Connie Goodbread; Navigating an In-Between Time by Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray; Congregation Spotlight - Finding a Unicorn in a Pandemic: The Story of the GNOUUnicorns Collaboration by Katie Gelfand, Erica Merchant Lee, and Cynthia Ramirez
  • Southern Region Events - Presidents' Gatherings, Toolbox Webinars, The Point 2021
  • News - Faithify for Religious Professionals!, Breaking Covenant - Repair Restore Renew Virtual Workshop, UUA Board of Trustees Open House Events, Sharing Youth Programming in Smaller Congregations, Administration as Leadership Renaissance Module, Recorded Worship Services Available, Congregational Collaboration Board, New Day Rising Resources, UUA Disaster Relief Fund, General Assembly Updates
  • Calendar Listing of Events, Occasions, and Connection Opportunities
Staff Blog, UUA Communications, and Congregation Spotlight
Know Your Why: Rebooting Congregations in a Post-Pandemic Reality
photo: natalie briscoeBy Natalie Briscoe
On March 13th, 2020, I was hosting a large Friday the 13th themed party at my home. I had just returned from teaching a Southern Region Leadership Experience in Virginia, and I was elated to have dozens of loved ones near me, celebrating family birthdays, eating together, laughing out loud, and hugging. I am fortunate to have so many close friends, family, and friends who are family in my life, and I had no idea that when they walked out of my house that evening, they would not return.
Austin, Texas, where I live, received our shelter-in-place orders at midnight on March 14th, 2020. The realization slowly set in that my children would not be returning to school, I would not be returning to traveling for work, and our lives would not be returning to anything that resembled normal.
I am writing this blog post on March 14th, 2021, one full year into pandemic isolation. We have gone through phases of homeschooling: following the school’s plan, abandoning that plan because we couldn’t keep up with the schedule, trying online school and abandoning that, attempting to create our own lesson plans and abandoning those in favor of reading our favorite books, journaling, practicing math facts, and doing occasional fun classes online, usually about the varied ways animals fart or poop. We have learned so much about ourselves and our loved ones as we reach out, tell stories, write letters, and try to connect without breathing the same air. We are all really, really good at Zoom.

Continue reading

Change is the Only Constant
photo: connie goodbreadBy Connie Goodbread
I have been offered and have accepted the job of Acting Director of HOPE For Us: Conflict Engagement. I am excited about this opportunity and honored to have been asked to serve in this capacity. Rev. Dr. Hope Johnson and I had been working together on the idea of this program for several years. The opportunity to work on that vision is a privilege. 
The HOPE in the name of the program stands both for the Rev. Dr. Hope Johnson as architect and visionary and also for Helpful Open Process Engagement. This process will support Congregational Life Staff as they, in turn, support congregational leaders in difficult times. HOPE For Us will develop a team of trained consultants to serve with Congregational Life staff when congregations need a longer conflict process. HOPE For Us will cross borders. Our goal is for every region to have input to the process and support when they need it.
The Southern Region will now have one Lead - Natalie Briscoe. It has been such a pleasure to work with Natalie as my partner.

Continue reading


From the UUA President: Navigating an In-Between Time
photo - Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-GrayBy Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray, March 25, 2021
Dear friends,
This time last year, as the world was responding to the growing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, our congregations had to immediately pivot to virtual operations. I am proud of how well we responded to a stressful and chaotic situation.
You, as leaders and religious professionals, have been guiding your congregations through this difficult time, even as so many of you have been also caring for children, aging parents and navigating so many complexities and tragedies in our world. It’s reasonable to be exhausted. Give yourself permission to take time off when you need it. A great lesson I learned in seminary is that to take care of others, we must take care of ourselves.
Although there is good news on the horizon, we are not yet able to gather in person. We are in a critical phase of the pandemic where we need to reduce the spread of the virus to combat new variants while vaccine distribution continues.
Continue reading

Finding a Unicorn in a Pandemic: The Story of the GNOUUnicorns Collaboration
image - screen shot of video clipBy Katie Gelfand, Erica Merchant Lee, and Cynthia Ramirez
After the devastation of hurricane Katrina in 2005, the two UU congregations in New Orleans and one in Lacombe, LA formed a cluster known as the Greater New Orleans Unitarian Universalists (GNOUU) to share the work of rebuilding our UU churches and extending outreach into the community.  For about two years prior to the pandemic, the three DREs of the GNOUU churches met for coffee monthly for fellowshipping, support, and collaboration. We advocated for each other, shared resources, and co-produced cluster church offerings, such as OWL and the annual spring retreat.
In March of 2020, we began meeting online bi-weekly, continuing to offer support to each other as we each adapted our individual RE (Religious Exploration) programming to an online format. We continued offering classes through the summer, but we noticed that class sizes were dwindling. Children and their families were growing weary of Zoom, we were drained from teaching classes, as none of us had enough RE teachers to offer weekly programming to our individual congregations. At the end of the summer, we realized that if we combined our RE Zoom classes we would have thrice the number of teachers, thrice the number of participants, and the infinite powers of our collaborative imagination.

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):
  • April 21 & 22 - Odds and Evens
  • 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):
  • April 13  - Pastoral Care and Chaplaincy Resources
  • 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! 
Faithify infographicFaithify for Religious Professionals!
New for Religious Professionals: "All-or-Nothing" threshold removed for all your education, credentialing, and professional development fundraising campaigns on Faithify!
Most fundraisers on Faithify need to reach a set goal before any of the donations will be processed (All-or-Nothing funding). However, some projects are best served if funds are immediately processed, so Faithify has categories of fundraisers that are exempt from the All-or-Nothing goal: UUA General Assembly expenses and Disaster Relief. Now, for April 2021, we are adding a third threshold exempt category of campaigns, UU Religious Professional Credentialing and Development.
Seminarians, Religious Educators, Community Ministers, Musicians, Ordained Ministers, Membership Professionals, Administrators - you asked for this and we listened. Seminary courses, professional development workshops, clinical pastoral education, and costs related to attend/complete these and similar experiences (including travel, childcare, and books) add up. Too many Unitarian Universalist religious professionals are burdened with excessive student loans or do not have adequate professional development budgets to cover their expenses to attend vital trainings. Let Faithify and your network of care help! This change allows you to keep every dollar you raise for your formation and continuing development as a verified UU Religious Professional.
Learn more about this new threshold exempt category and how it works on, the Unitarian Universalist crowdfunding website from the Unitarian Universalist Association.
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. Join members of UUA Congregational Life staff on Saturday, April 10 to learn more about the need to have policies and procedures in place to deal with destructive behavior.

Learn more and register (by April 7th!) here.
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. Bring your questions and chat about:
  • What the Board has planned leading up to General Assembly
  • General Assembly 2021
  • Serving Unitarian Universalism as a volunteer at the national level
  • The progress of the Article II Study Commission
  • Your congregation’s engagement with Widening the Circle of Concern
  • The UU issues that matter to you
We look forward to seeing you!  Open house dates and times:
  • Tuesday, April 13, 2021; 4pm Pacific/5pm Mountain/6pm Central/7pm Eastern; Register here
  • 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

Webinar info graphicSharing Youth Programming in Smaller Congregations
The last webinar of the Small Congregation Sharing Series on Sharing Youth Programming in Smaller Congregations will be offered April 22, 2021 at 7p ET/6p CT/5p MT/4p PT. Registration is open! Join Shannon Harper and Eric Bliss to learn about ways to enhance your youth programming by joining with other congregations. Registration is open. If you missed the first two webinars on Worship and Staff Sharing, you can find recordings of both of them in the UUA LeaderLab Library.

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.
Recorded Worship Services Available!
Loved into Being: A Stewardship Worship Service
Faith in Unitarian Universalism isn't just an intellectual exercise: it's "heart" work. This full-length worship experience features a sermon by UUA President Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, as well as vibrant music, storytelling, and other worship elements that will help us to grow in spirit, in courage, and in generosity. Learn more and download this worship service here.
 Loved into being graphic

Side with Love Sunday Worship Service
What if to "side with love" meant making bold, faith-full choices? What if it were even a little bit scary? This worship service brings together worship leaders and musicians from across the country to offer hopeful, moving, challenging reminders about what we, as Unitarian Universalists, are called to do, and BE, in the world. Learn more and download this worship service here.

side with love graphic
Congregational Collaboration Board
Are you intrigued by the possibilities of sharing staff? Wondering how you might connect with a congregation that is offering or seeking staff? Browse our Congregational Collaboration Board, a new section of the UUA Jobs Board. To view basic information, no login is required. Create a MinistrySearch login to gain access to the contact information that accompanies the listings. When logged in, key congregational leaders can post new listings.
See our Sharing Staff page in LeaderLab for more on expanding work opportunities and enhancing programs through collaborative staffing.
New Day Rising Resources
 New Day Rising Graphic
Did you miss the New Day Rising training in February? More than 1200 participants shared and learned about ways to work against white supremacy culture during this daylong event. You can access all the workshop recordings and resources at the UU Leadership Institute. Cost is $30. You will need to create an account on the site to access the files.
UUA Disaster Relief Fund 

infographic-uua disaster relief fundYour generous donations to the UUA's Disaster Relief Fund have been put to meaningful use meeting critical needs of UUs and their local partners recovering from severe winter storms in Texas. Thank you to all those who contributed.
The Disaster Relief Fund exists to support UUs and their communities when they are facing serious and unexpected hardship. As we know these events cannot be predicted well, and looking to the upcoming hurricane season, we hope you'll continue to support this fund as a concrete expression of our covenant with one another.
If your congregation wishes to take up a special collection to support the Disaster Relief Fund, please feel free to incorporate the UUA’s text-to-give prompts in worship slides: “To make a gift, text DISASTER to 51555.” Contributions may also be made online here.

Learn more about the Disaster Relief Fund
Apply for a grant from the Disaster Relief Fund
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!
Choir Registration Now Open - For many, singing in the choir is a key part of coming together as UUs at General Assembly. This year, instead of joining our voices in person, let’s join our voices in a virtual choir! Each singer will record a video of themselves singing, and those individual videos will be edited into one glorious combined video to be premiered during GA. Advance registration is required and space is limited.
GA Banner Parade - The banner parade is a GA institution, and this year we are excited to bring this tradition into a virtual format. Submit your banner photo by Friday, April 30. Learn more here.
New GA App Now Available!

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

April 3 - Ordination of Holly Brown
April 9 to 11 - UU@UN Intergenerational Spring Seminar
April 10 - Breaking Covenant: Repair Restore Renew Workshop
April 13 - SR Toolbox Webinar
April 13 - UUA Board of Trustees Open House
April 20 - Administration as Leadership Renaissance Module
April 21 - SR Presidents' Gathering
April 22 - SR Presidents' Gathering
April 22 - Sharing Youth Programming in Smaller Congregations
April 27 - Administration as Leadership Renaissance Module
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,, 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
Connie Goodbread, Co-Lead,, 727-772-3508
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 May e-news
to no later than April 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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