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November 2021 - In This Newsletter
  • Staff Blog & UUA Communications - Dear Congregations by Natalie Briscoe; ICYMI - Clergy Appreciation Day message from Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray
  • Southern Region Events - Essentials Leadership Experience, Toolbox Webinar Series; Presidents' Gathering Series
  • News - COMPASS: Navigating the Paths to Liberation Together; UUA Common Read 2021-22; Last Call! Watch & Host a Community Screening of The Condor & The EagleFaithify Updates; Chalice Lighter Update; JUUst Breathe Live; Taproot: A National BIPOC Space; UUA Board of Trustees Meetings and Monthly Open House Events
  • Calendar Listing of Events, Occasions, and Connection Opportunities
Staff Blog & UUA Communications

photo_natalie briscoeDear Congregations
Dear Congregations,
There are a couple of things that have been on my heart lately. I’ve been saying them to each of you in every phone call, every board retreat, every staff start up I’ve been doing, but I feel the need to say it broadly, to all of you. Here are the truths I wish to give you right now: 

  1. This sucks. Flat-out. We are dealing with a situation we didn’t sign up for. We are forced to solve problems that no one prepared us for. We live in a constant state of unease and disruption. It’s terrible. The last time we felt optimistic about the possibility of gathering again, our hopes were dashed with rising rates. As cases are on the decline once again, it is very natural to feel apprehension. That is the trauma surfacing in our bodies, and it’s going to keep us on edge for a long while. I just want to take a moment to recognize how much it all
  2. There is nothing wrong with you. I know it feels like everything is wrong with you, but I assure you, it isn’t YOU who is wrong, it is the world. You are not fundamentally broken, and we are all stumbling our way through each day. Everyone is having a hard time right now, and no one is doing it better than you are. We need to stop behaving as if everything is normal and we should be able to go about our functioning as if everything is fine. 

Continue reading

ICYMI - Clergy Appreciation Day

UUA President Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray shared a message of love and gratitude to all of the clergy serving with courage and commitment across our Unitarian Universalist Association. Watch the video here.

screenshot_rev susan frederick-gray video for clergy appreciation day

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.
Essentials Leadership Experience
logo - sr essentials leadership experienceNovember 2021 - February 2022

The Southern Region Essentials Leadership Experience (Essentials LE) is an online experience with self-paced lectures and supplemental materials and includes live processing sessions. This series spans from November through February, with three live sessions in December, January, and February. The topics for the three sessions are Congregational Foundations, Faith Development, and System Theory. The cost is $75 per person. Please note: there are prerequisites for participating in this event. Additionally, we ask that at least one other person from your congregation participate in this event with you. Your registration certifies that you have or will meet these requirements. 

Download the Essentials LE Handbook to learn more. Register here.
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 beginning in August (with occasional fourth Tuesday sessions), and last up to 90 minutes. Learn more and register here.
  • November 9: Dismantling White Supremacy Culture within the CongregationWith Southern Region Staff Members Rev. Nathan Hollister and Cameron Young. This Toolbox Webinar is an introduction to dismantling white supremacy culture in your congregation, including the theological basis for this work. Congregational, Regional, and National resources will be given.
  • November 23: Dismantling White Supremacy Culture with your Covenant With Southern Region Staff Members Cameron Young, Lillian Drab-Braddick, and Lead Natalie Briscoe, with special guest Christine Purcell, Congregational Life Transitions Manager. As seen at the New Day Rising Conference in February, this workshop helps congregations uproot the white supremacy culture inherent in their covenants and their covenant -building processes. Practical tools will be given for creating covenants that dismantle rather than uphold white supremacy culture.
  • January 11: Shared Ministry - With Southern Region Staff Members Lillian Drab-Braddick and Rev. Tyler Coles. Shared 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 shared ministry in our congregations.
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). Please note we have dropped the Thursday day time session of this series due to very low participation.

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
Upcoming sessions and topics (Third Wednesdays at 7:00 PM ET)
  • November 17, Stewardship
  • January 19. Shared Ministry
Learn more and register here
COMPASS: Navigating the Paths to Liberation Together
December 11 & 12, Virtual

Compass: Navigating the Paths to Liberation Together is a multi-day virtual gathering on December 11-12, 2021. Come, as member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association reflect on the theme of “interdependence” and how it guides us in our individual and communal lives. The weekend will include invigorating worship, special musical guests, and thought-provoking presentations and much more.

Registration is now open. We hope you will join us! Learn more about Compass and register here.

infographic_uua compass event december 11 & 12 2021
photo_book cover_Defund FearUUA Common Read 2021-2022
The 2021–2022 UU Common Read is Defund Fear: Safety Without Policing, Prisons, and Punishment by Zach Norris, published by Beacon Press. The Common Read builds community in our congregations and our movement by giving diverse people a shared platform for reflection and a shared focus for action. Further, a Common Read can take us on a powerful faith journey as we explore—individually and together—what it means to be human and accountable in a pain-filled world.
In Defund Fear, Community leader and lawyer Zach Norris shifts the conversation about public safety away from fear and punishment and toward growth and support systems for our families and communities. Norris explores what has gone wrong, why, and who has been most impacted by repressive and racist policing systems. He offers a blueprint for public safety that holds people accountable while still holding them in community. As Unitarian Universalists, the matters raised in Defund Fear invite us to respond to public safety in the U.S. today through a lens of faith. We urge you to grapple theologically with big, tough questions about who we are and the meaning and purposes of our lives. For your care, for your growth, and for the care and growth of others in your community with whom you will discuss Defund Fear, it is strongly recommended that you enter this book with this series of questions by your side.
We expect by the end of this calendar year we’ll be ready to announce a menu of resources so that congregations can start scheduling their Common Reads. You may find, based on the identities and social location that you hold, that a community other than your UU congregation may better support your faithful exploration of Defund Fear and what it asks of you. With online gathering now a norm, readers need not live near one another to form a group. Anticipate a range of resources geared toward identity-based groups and geographically dispersed cohorts as well as a traditional discussion guide for a Common Read session that any UU faith community can use. For more information visit:
Last Call! Watch & Host a Community Screening of The Condor & The Eagle
NOW through November 30, 2021
For the past three years, UU Ministry for Earth has partnered with the creators of the award-winning documentary, The Condor & The Eagle, as an executive producer, and host of over twenty community screenings, raising over $40,000 to support Indigenous-led Climate Justice efforts. UUMFE is now finalizing this chapter of its work with one last big community screening partnership.
NOW through November 30th, you can stream the film online and share the film with your community as a congregational/organizational co-host! A pre-recorded panel discussion will play immediately after the film credits, and co-hosts are welcome to organize their own community discussions to pair with the film as well. Details at
Faithify Updates
Safe Playground Needed in Birmingham!
When young Unitarian Universalists play, they are putting our principles in action. Let's make sure the kids of Unitarian Universalist Church of Birmingham have a safe and stable space for this important faith work!
Faithify is a crowdfunding site where passionate people inspire, unite, and fund Unitarian Universalist ministries. Check out all the current Faithify campaigns here and watch for an updated Faithify platform in mid-January 2022!
chalice lighter logoSouthern Region Chalice Lighters Update
We are now accepting applications for our annual Region-wide Chalice Lighter call. Does your congregation, cluster, or affiliated Unitarian Universalist organization have a new or ongoing outward facing justice project? If so, please consider applying for Chalice Lighter funding! Find the application here. Applications for this annual region-wide call will be accepted until November 15, 2020. (This is a firm deadline.)
Learn more about our Chalice Lighter program here. Sign up to be a Chalice Lighter here.
JUUst Breathe Live
November 14th

JUUst Breathe Live is a YouTube live stream where youth ministry has a say! Hosts Shannon Harper and Eric Bliss interview youth and adult guests who hold a vision of liberal religious youth ministry that is both lifesaving and spirit lifting.
Come join us on November 14th, via the chat for real time conversations where your ideas matter and your questions get answered. Explore faith, spirituality, and life purpose as never before. And above all, bring your authentic self and... JUUst Breathe. (Be sure to click "Subscribe" on the JUUst Breathe Live YouTube channel for all the details on future JUUst Breathe Live episodes.)

infographic - text "taproot a national bipoc space," image of tree roots, and uua logoTaproot: A National BIPOC Space
November 11

The work of spiritual community is complicated in the 21st century. 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. BIPoC Leaders rooted in the Unitarian Universalist congregations are invited to take part in this monthly, virtual gathering. Learn more and register here.

uua logo, with text "unitarian universalist association"UUA Board of Trustees - Meetings and Monthly Open Houses
Connect with your UUA Board of Trustees, and the leaders from around our Association who serve as Trustees, to discuss issues and topics of importance across our Association. Upcoming open houses:
  • November 9
  • December 14
Pre-registration is required. Register to attend Board open houses here.
You are also invited to join the Board, as it meets monthly, to discuss and make decisions about all facets of Unitarian Universalism. Upcoming meetings:
  • November 8
  • Dececmber 13
Registration information for Board meetings is available here prior to each Board meeting.
Events, Occasions, and Connection Opportunities
November 3, SR Primer LE Processing Session
November 6, SR Primer LE Processing Session
November 8, UUA Board of Trustees Meeting
November 9, SR Toolbox Webinar
November 9, UUA Board of Trustees Open House
November 11, Taproot: A National BIPOC Space
November 14, JUUst Breathe Live
November 17, SR Presidents' Gathering
November 23 SR Toolbox Webinar
December 4, SR Essentials LE Processing Session
December 11-12, COMPASS: Navigating the Paths to Liberation Together
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,  currently on sabbatical
Lillian Drab-Braddick,, 617-948-4368
Rev. Nathan Hollister,, 919-923-3398
Kathy McGowan, currently on sabbatical
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 December e-news
to no later than November 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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