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Holiday Greetings
Dori Davenport, Faith Development and Growth Director

evergreen9741096.jpg Season's Greetings to everyone! I think I can speak on behalf of all the CMWD staff in saying that we are grateful at this time of year to be working with so many wonderful Unitarian Universalists in our district. While we are putting final preparations together for the holiday season, we are also looking ahead to many great activities and events that are coming up to help grow and strengthen Unitarian Universalism and our district's congregations.

Right after the holidays - on January 12 - we will have our third gathering of congregational presidents and incoming presidents at Unitarian Universalist Church West in Brookfield, WI. Ian and I look forward to hearing from these important leaders about what is happening in your congregations, and how we in the district can better support the work you all do.

You will note in our December newsletter an article about the Jefferson City, MO congregation. Even though they have been affiliated with the UUA for a while, they have been participating in the emerging congregation workshops we've held in the southern part of our district. They recently purchased their first church home and are making exciting plans to become a stronger presence in the capitol city of Missouri.

Planning for our District Assembly (April 25-27) in St. Louis is well underway, and in addition to Diana Butler Bass, we are also happy to have Rev. Michael Tino join us as part of our main event on Saturday morning. Rev. Tino will lead us in an experiential presentation of creative worship styles, drawing from the contemporary worship conference he organized last year in San Diego. Watch for complete information on District Assembly in early February.

Lastly, please be sure to visit our district web site www.cmwd-uua.org on a regular basis to learn about job offerings in our district congregations (there are currently four posted) and also to stay on top of events and activities that you won't want to miss!

Wishing you all a holiday season filled with friends, family, celebration and peace!


UUA Trustee December 2007
Justine Urbikas

justine07.jpgIt seems every month I have some idea of what my article should be about. This month… I think the haze of vacationing and turning off my brain has taken over. The UUA Board is getting ready for the January meeting. Business is chugging along as usual. My inbox is just as full as it ever is. But it still seems to be at a standstill: As though I’m holding my breath for the New Year.

The first of January marks many things: 2008; my dog and I have a new lease in a swanky apartment; UUA presidential candidates announce their campaign…



APF December 2007

Neil Lichtman

First of all, Happy Holidays to all our Central Midwest District Congregations.

Neil Lichtman, Annual Program Fund ChairIf you’re a regular reader of this column, you’ll likely be relieved to hear this is the last time I’ll write about pledging this Fiscal Year. In January, our UUA will make it’s official Annual Program Fund forecast for the Fiscal Year, so this is my last chance to encourage non-pledgers to make a pledge…not a donation…just a pledge.

Contemplate: Fall Youth Conference
Kimberlee Tomczak


The fall youth conference, hosted by First Unitarian in St. Louis, MO gathered our youth from all over the Central Midwest district early in November to connect, explore community, worship and engage in diverse community social justice work.

After traveling often many hours to the youth conference on Friday evening over 200 participants were rewarded by an enthusiastic group of youth and advisors exploring their weekend home, eating, greeting new and old friends and enjoying fire pits outside in the urban setting. Saturday morning activities included workshops on Buddhism, ultimate, Frisbee, Consensus, yoga, and chalice making.
Condiments: The Spice of Life!
Kimberlee Tomczak

Young adults attending CONdiments

We took the tagline line, Spice of Life, seriously while planning the CMwD young adult fall conference held at UU Congregation of Rockford, IL on November 9-12 2007, we kept asking often how to we make our lives interactive, zesty, fascinating, and fulfilled. The answers came as varied and diverse as the unique the UUs who participated.

Condiments began with shared snacks, music, an interactive orientation, introductions, tour of the church and spirit circle that asking each of us to share our answer to the question: What Sense would you hate to lose the most?


Chalice Lighter Ambassadors new packet
Rev. Jody Whelden

Chalice LightersUnitarian Church North, Mequon, Wisconsin *  Chalicelighter Grant Recipient 2004HOT OFF THE PRESS!!
New Chalice Lighter Ambassador Packet

By January 1, the Chalice Lighter Ambassadors will receive their new informational packets. They are streamlined and designed to help Ambassadors, one in each congregation, in their quest for new Chalicelighters. Through donations of $10.00 to $250.00, 3 times a year, Chalice Lighters help build a fund to enable Central Midwest District (CMwD) congregations grow in staff, building, programs, or, to fund new congregations. During 2007, the fund has given $21,000 to two congregations, and about $10,000 has been added to the emerging congregations fund. Our thanks to the over 50 Ambassadors who pick up a clipboard and take up the Ambassador pen in search of other Unitarian Universalists (UUs) ready to support their UU congregational neighbors.

Unitarian Church North, Mequon, Wisconsin
Chalice Lighter Grant Recipient 2004


Caring Congregations Training
Bob Skrocki

Rev. Barbara Meyers The Caring Congregations Training for congregations in our district interested in initiating programming in their church related to mental and emotional disorders was held at DuPage Unitarian Universalist Church Nov 9 –11, 2007. Rev. Barbara Meyers, community minister at Mission Peak Unitarian Universalist Church in Fremont, CA., facilitated the training.

Thirteen people attended the full weekend training, representing efforts of faith communities in Wisconsin and Illinois to understand and appropriately address the needs of congregants with mental and emotional problems and their care-giving families.


New Building Means New Enthusiasm
Michelle Richards

UU Fellowship of Jefferson City, MO The Unitarian Universalist congregation in Jefferson City, MO is undergoing a revitalization after acquiring a new building and a new focus upon serving an important need in the local community. Despite being formed only as recently as 1991 and suffering from what some members characterized as an "early plateau," a new effort has been underway to establish better lines of communication, learning to appreciate diversity, and a focus upon social justice. These efforts have resulted in a new building which has created yet more opportunities for growth.



Get Ready for Visitors
Michelle Richards

Time Magazine ad from UUAIf you haven't had a chance to see the Unitiarian Universalist Association (UUA)'s new marketing campaign with ads in Time Magazine and a series of videos on the web, then you might want to take a look. The UUA has created this marketing campaign to "get out the good news about Unitarian Universalism" according to UUA President Bill Sinkford. To reach all those people who "are Unitarian Universalists but just don't know it," the marketing campaign seeks to communicate the values of our liberal religious faith. But are our congregations ready for all the newcomers this campaign may bring to our doors?



Meadville Lombard Winter Institute
Tina Porter, Meadville-Lombard

Winter Institute - February 8 - 10, 2008: Can We Build the Beloved Community through Political Action?

Explore the potential and the limitations of democratic processes for creating the beloved community. During two days of lecture and discussion, consider the kinds of political activities effective in building community and how this political work is connected with the institutional life of the church.

Minister as Fundraiser

Effective ministry demands theologically-sound fundraising practices. Whether leading a congregation or another type of not-for-profit, the minister has an appropriate and theologically-supported role in the institution’s overall fundraising program.

Civil Rights Bus Tour
Tina Porter, Meadville-Lombard

Civil Rights Bus Tour: March 22 - 30, 2008

Join Rev. Dr. Gordon and Judy Gibson as they take you on a tour of significant sites of the Southern Civil Rights Movement, offering a journey of experiential learning where you will encounter the sites, sounds, and especially the people who worked to create change during this revolutionary time in our country's history.


Please send us brief articles on the happenings in your congregation so we can share your good news with all the UUs in our district.

DuPage Unitarian Church Launches Capital Campaign
Theresa Szeto

Minister Emmy Lou Belcher expressed the Congregation’s hope for the future and the impact of the new sanctuary in her addresses to the Congregation, stating “What we are truly building is not bricks and mortar. We are building a symbol.”


Workshops at Unity Temple
Toni Maddi

Be a part of our denomination’s movement toward welcoming persons with mental disorders into our congregations, as well as supporting families who have members with mental disorders. Unity Temple will be conducting three workshops on January 27th, February 3rd and February 10th. The sessions will stand alone and we’d love to see you at as many as you can make it to. The first workshop will be Mental Disorders and their Consequences. This session will include the effects upon not only those with mental disorders, but also their family members and friends. It is designed to help us better understand and be empathetic to those who suffer from mental disorders and those who love them.


Don't Be A Blanket Hog
David Breeden, Eliot Chapel Intern Minister

Eliot Unitarian Chapel 's Social Action Committee and Religious Education program are teaming up to participate in the fourth annual Blanket St. Louis campaign sponsored by EnergyCare, which provides energy services and information for the low-income elderly, ill, disabled and young children in St. Louis County and St. Louis City.



WomanSpirit Registration Open
Karin Janowski

Dancing on the Threshold of Balance: 20 Years of WomanSpirit

CMwD women will gather again at North Shore Unitarian Church in Deerfield, Illinois, February 22-24, 2008.

Keynote speaker will be the Rev. Shirley Ranck, PhD, author of the ground-breaking adult religious education curriculum "Cakes for the Queen of Heaven."


Groundwork Registration Open
Kimberlee Tomczak

Jan. 18-19, 2008 at Countryside Church UU Palatine, IL
CMWD will be offering a Youth & Young Adult
By discussing different types of oppression and how they are both linked and divided this training will focus on developing a stronger anti-oppression analysis. By using race and racism as a powerful example we will look at our own multiple identities and how we interact with society.