Brian_CovellAnnual Report 2011

Dear Friends:

Greetings of the occasion of our District Assembly!  I join the clergy and lay leadership of the Bloomington-Normal congregation in welcoming you to this annual event, which offers much in the way of inspiration, challenge, and leadership development opportunities.  Since our last District Assembly in Wheeling, IL, your district board has worked, diligently in my view, on refining our policies and by-laws with a view toward facilitating the transition to a potential regional partnership with our neighboring districts.  Indeed, the "Statement on Regional Cooperation" below offers specifics on what the board wishes to achieve through this partnership. 

The board has suggested several by-law changes which we believe will lead to greater fiscal accountability and transparency, and a higher level of participation in our democratic decision-making process.  Please take a moment to review these changes as outlined in your Annual Report packet.

Let me also recognize those individuals who conclude their service on our board this April: Justine Urbikas, our District Trustee to the UUA Board, Meredith E. S. Beckman, our board vice-president, and the Reverend Emmy Lou Belcher, Ministerial Trustee to the board.  Justine, Meredith and Emmy Lou, individually and collectively, have made significant contributions in advancing the work of our governance, and we are in their debt.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with your questions, concerns, hopes and aspirations for our religion, as we work together in the geographical center of our country to realize the Reverend Morales' vision, as noted below, to make Unitarian Universalism "the religion of our time."

Statement on Co-Employment and Regional Cooperation

The Board of Trustees of the Central Midwest District of the UUA

April, 2011

In a spirit of shared enterprise with our sister districts and with our denominational headquarters, the Central Midwest District Board of Trustees supports all efforts to streamline governance and to enhance the effectiveness of our staff toward growing liberal religion across the globe. Over the past few years, collaboration on programs across districts to benefit local congregations has already happened to good effect.  These initiatives have been led by our staff, but they have been no less strongly embraced by a rising number of lay leaders as well. To that end, the CMwD Board has decided, as elected representatives of the district:

 1. To follow those district boards who have agreed to end the present co-employment status of staff between the UUA and the district. As of July 1, 2011, the UUA will assume responsibility for all normal employer managerial roles for those now co-employed, including hiring and supervision. N.B.: this change will have no material effect on the Board-approved FY 2012 budget, but will likely have an effect in district or regional budget processes in succeeding years;

 2. To set aside our own district "ends" statements in favor of those adopted by the UUA Board of Trustees, in part since the "ends" of our district do not contradict UUA "ends";

 3. To continue a period of collaborative research and assessment with our partner districts -- Heartland to the east, and Prairie Star to the west -- as we discern whether, or when, our present administrative and program collaboration should be deepened to include shared governance. This would eliminate our current district governance structure, perhaps in favor of a regional board.

It is the hope of this governing board that these actions and others that follow will result in improved service delivery to local congregations while reducing the significant cost, in time and resources, of district governance. In this time of transition and experiment, we know there are few easy, and no final, answers. We are not proposing a formula for every district or every region. But we want to use the best information we have at the moment to take measured steps, along with our friends in Heartland and Prairie Star, toward the possible formation of a "Mid-America" region.

Our denominational President, the Reverend Peter Morales, frequently refers to Unitarian Universalism as "the religion of our time." We believe the time for constructive change, and the time for growth, is now. The CMwD Board joins all those who, once inspired by the liberating message of our democratic faith, will lead others in building strong congregations and in the holy and necessary work of healing our broken world.

Warmly, in the Spirit,

The Reverend Brian H. Covell

President, Central Midwest District of the UUA

Central Midwest District,UUA

Budget 2011-12

Board Approved

February 2011

ORIGINAL 2010-11 Budget

2010-11 Projected Final

Proposed 2011-12 Budget


4000 District Contributions




4010 UUA APF Share




4020 MUUC/MUUF District Share




Total Income





5000 Staff Compensation & Benefits

Total 5010 Congregational Services Director




5040 Cong Services Dir Professional Expenses




Total 5020 Faith Dev & Growth Director




5050 Faith Dev & Growth Dir Professional Expenses




Total 5030 District Administrator




5060 DistAdmin Prof Exp




Total 5070 Writer & Event Planner




5075 Writer & Event Planner Prof Exp




Total 5080 Youth/YA Coordinator




5085 Youth/Young Adult Prof Exp




Total 5090 Communications Coordinator




5095 Comm Coord Prof Exp




5099 Organization-Paid Payroll Taxes




Total 5000 Staff Compensation & Benefits




5100 District Office

5105 Supplies/Office Expense




Total 5110 Office/Storage Space




5115 Telephone




5120 Office Postage / Mailing Services




5140 Accounting Services




Total 5150 Temporary Help / Office Assistant




5160 District Liability Insurance




5180 Business License/Annual Report to State




5165 Other Expense




Total 5100 District Office




5200 Programs & Services

5220 Website




5225 Telecommunications




Total 5240 MWLS Program




5250 Women & Religion Program




Total 5200 Programs & Services




5300 Board & Committees

Total 5301 District President




Total 5305 District Board




5325 Board Discretionary Fund




5335 District UUA Trustee




5340 Nominating




5350 Annual Program Fund Chair




5355 Dist. Compensation Consultant




5358 Ministerial Settlement Rep (PT)




Total 5365 Congregational Resources




5380 Religious Education Support & Resources




5385 Young Adult Steering Committee - YASC




5390 District Youth Steering Committee - DYSC




5395 Women & Religion Committee


5405 New Initiatives




Total 5300 Board & Committees




Total Expenses




Net Income




gretchen-da2010Annual Report 2011

Our CMwD Media Team did quite a nice job this year at District Assembly. Several volunteers kept their keen eyes on photo ops and our video camera on major events. You can hear the Sermon Contest winner on our Podcasts page and view the Photo Album(s) on our Facebook page. Writer Pat Goller from ALUUC in Springfield also posted a DA report on her Blog.

Online workshops continued to grow in popularity. Collaborating with Phil Lund from Prairie Star District and Lisa Presley from Heartland District, we moved all of the online workshop recordings from the three Districts to one central location, There you'll find not only the latest recorded webinars with their PowerPoint presentations and handouts, but the main calendar for the upcoming workshops.

Facebook has been something we've just dipped our toes into over the past year or so. We update it on a more casual basis than the website, but it does have extra goodies. We have set up a listing there of the CMwD congregations who have Facebook pages. Let me know if you start up a page for your congregation and be sure to "Like" the CMwD page!

Tech tweaks and improvements were the mainstay of our website work this year. Since introducing online event registrations, we've been able to implement and refine automatic report spreadsheets for the event organizers. Midwest Leadership School online registration was set up with these same tools.

Some of the news feeds have been improved, and you can now find a specific listing of upcoming online workshops right below our regular Upcoming Events. For the serious techies, you might be interested to know that we accomplished that by feeding the WordPress calendar events from Midwest UU Leadership directly to the CMwD site using Google's Feedburner.

Behind the scenes we made more consistent use of automatic backups and program upgrades, both of which add to the security of our site data. Thanks to Prairie Star's Phil Lund, we've learned more about WordPress in addition to our favorite Joomla Content Management System. We've consulted a bit with congregation webweavers and networked with our neighboring Districts.

We concentrated mightily on reviewing and revising the way we populate our e-mail lists, with the big change being a switch to using the UUA data rather than publishing our own directory. They have improved their data gathering system. Now you can Find a Congregation through the UUA website. To update your congregation's leadership information, you can go directly to Is your congregation's data up-to-date with the UUA?

This year I've also been in a good spot to help Peggy with some of the office work like snail mailings and database maintenance. Doesn't sound glamorous, but I do enjoy the work!

How can our District web tools be more useful to you? I invite you to contact us any time with your ideas and questions.



Communications Coordinator

ian-ghostranch08dori-ghostranch08Annual Report 2011

The past three years in our district have been a tough time economically for the Midwest, including our member congregations and district.  All of us have had to make hard choices regarding what we can afford and what we can’t.  In making these choices we have reinvented our work using less paper and less hydrocarbons and using technology more—and for the district office itself letting go our brick and mortar office and creating an entirely virtual office.   Now we are post recession but not out of the economic woods; early signs are appearing of new energy.  Congregations are talking about capital fund drives.  When you recertified this Spring, you reported growth of one per cent after two years of trimming the rolls.  This is slight growth but still like having one additional congregation of 177 people.   

While we hope that this growth will continue, we expect we will still need to hold in tension our vision for liberal religion in the MidWest and what we can sustain in resources.  Our region and the congregations of our district likely face the prospect of many years of deep change as has been described in the NPR series of the past few months,  We will need to raise money in new ways. Grow in new ways.  Develop leaders in new ways. Grow our souls in new ways.  And refocus our missions from just providing liberal religious spaces, to also providing a progressive religious voice in the public arena.   As I write our UU congregations in Madison are seeking to do just this regarding the rights of public workers in Wisconsin.  There will be many instances where we will need to figure out what it means to Stand on the Side of Love ( and then do it--individually and collectively.

For the district, deep change will mean working more sustainably and at the same time being more agile.  Key to this will be increasing partnership with Prairie Star District to the West and Heartland District to the East.  The necessities of economics and the possibilities of technology drive us to ask how to do more together over longer distances while also understanding more profoundly the realities of local context and personal connection.  We don’t know where asking these questions will lead us.  But we expect that the change it will bring to district work will be as profound, or more profound, than our shift to a virtual office three years ago. 

Our current basic district structures were invented in a more prosperous era when the only way to do office work over a distance was to physically move paper;  and when making a long distance call was a big deal.  Likewise the only way of us having an event together was for us all to get in our cars and drive.  It was also an era when we could better afford to do that and none of us had heard of a carbon footprint. 

In the next few months, the staff our three districts will put forward a proposal for us to discuss—and improve--for a new unified structure for the administrative and programmatic side of our district work.  Our district boards will lead separate a discussion with you of what governance structures will be most appropriate to the newly emerging realities.

Ian & Dori

kimberlee09-smAnnual Report 2011

As Youth and Young Adult Coordinator of the CMwD, I provide staff support for budgeting, disbursements, committee meetings and events, governance, policies, and to maintain youth and young adult websites and multiple listservs. I also answer phone calls, e-mails, and meet with UU congregations, members and parents about youth and young adult issues. Primarily, I have helped empower our youth and young adults by supporting the following committees and activities. This year that work has shifted to include planning for a transition to the regionalization of this work.

YASC (Young Adult Steering Committee) is the young adult leadership group in CMwD. The mission of YASC is to build community and to foster growth in the Central Midwest District Unitarian Universalist Young Adult movement. YASC members are members of our congregations that are elected by young adults in our district at our semiannual young adult conferences. YASC seeks to cultivate and integrate the presence and experience of young adults into UU congregations.

YASC also hosted OPUS in Kankakee, Illinois this summer for four days of camping and reconnecting as we helped in the return of this amazing event! Opus is the annual spiritual retreat of the Continental Unitarian Universalist Young Adult Network. OPUS included daily worship and workshops that included artistic exercises, philosophical discussions, and spiritual reflection. Additionally OPUS attendees enjoyed the pool, a challenge course, river swimming and on Friday, we planted native plants, hacked Honeysuckle and harvesting at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. Check out our video:

Our fall Young Adult conference called Conceptions: Big Ideas about Love & Sex was held in at First Unitarian Society in Madison, Wisconsin. This event explored the roles that gender and sexuality play in our lives, and foster discussions about the many different forms love can take. We also encouraged sexual responsibility by passing out safer sex kits to tailgaters at the Wisconsin Badger football game and promoting Standing on the Side of Love. The highlight of this conference was connecting with MUUYACM, the Madison campus ministry and sharing potluck and Saturday worship with the congregation at FUS.

YASC also volunteered at District Annual Assembly 2010 by presenting a multi-generational worship on Saturday.

DYSC (District Youth Steering Committee) has been the youth leadership group elected by youth from our district at our District Youth Council. DYSC works as youth leaders at district youth conferences by presenting the rules, patrolling overnight with adults and being on the discipline committee. They also offer a youth perspective on conference policies, rules and vision for our district youth work.

Our district youth conferences continue to be extremely popular and average attendance is between 200-300 participants each spring and fall. The Beatle-themed fall conference was named “Here Cons the Sun,” and hosted by the Evanston, IL UU Congregation. Fall conference, Some-Con A Wonderful was hosted by Unity Youth Group and at the Rockford UU Congregation. Both conferences featured a medley of workshops, social justice speakers, worship, dances and fun.

We are pleased to announce that this spring Countryside UU Church of Palatine, IL will be hosting the spring youth conference on April 1-3, 2011. Leadership at Countryside has carefully considered this decision and agreed to follow the policies and procedures developed in our district for the safety of all youth who participate. In this time of transition for district youth services, Countryside Church will be using a conference consultant to replace supervision from the district at the conference. Heather Godbout, youth advisor for Unity temple and fall conference host, has been hired to fill this role. Heather has a long history as an outstanding youth advisor in our district and we are very happy that she has agreed to do this.

CMWD Youth Council is a district event where youth connect, share resources, receive leadership training and participate in DYSC elections. 20 CMwD congregations were represented by 35 youth at Dupage, IL UU Congregation in July of 2010. Youth Council featured a series of leadership workshops, worships and community building activities. Participants also discussed the future growth of youth ministry in the district and the role DYSC can play to make our visions a reality.

I also helped plan and teach Youth Midwest Leadership School in Beloit, WI this past summer. Midwest Leadership School is a week-long intensive experience designed to engage youth participants in all aspects of leadership in a Unitarian Universalist faith community. It challenges and trains Unitarian Universalist youth in three areas: Leadership Skills Development, Worship, and Religious Values & Heritage. We were pleased to have 23 youth attend and to unite adult staff from Heartland, Prairie Star and CMWD to make this event a success for the second time this summer. We have already begun planning and staffing for the school that will be happening in 2011. Our featured video about Youth MLS:

Thank you for the opportunity to work with all the youth, young adults, their allies and congregations of CMWD for the past 6 years.


Kimberlee Tomczak Carlson

mwlsAnnual Report 2011


MidWest Leadership School (MWLS) is a cooperative undertaking of the Prairie Star (PS), Central Midwest (CMWD) and Heartland Districts (HD) of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). It is officially sponsored by the Central Midwest District (CMWD).

MWLS Mission Statement

The mission of MWLS is to develop leadership skills, framed by the principles and purposes of Unitarian Universalism, of members of congregations, and seminary students not yet in Candidate Status, within the three sponsoring districts.

MWLS Leadership Definition

“Leadership is an influence relationship among leaders and followers who intend real changes that reflect their mutual purposes.”
[Rost, Joseph (1992). Leadership for the Twenty-First Century. New York: Praeger.]

2010 MWLS

MWLS served 36 students from across the Midwest in July 2010. Districts were comparably represented with CMD = 10, Heartland = 13, PSD = 12, and Ohio-Meadville = 1. The session commenced on Sunday afternoon, and closed the following Saturday at noon.


Sessions covered the gamut of topics on leadership, working in organizations, small group dynamics, organizational change, and so forth. Significant time was spent exploring the origin and history of the Unitarian Universalist community and its theology and culture. Each participant was involved in a variety of small group activities. In addition to education on the meaning and preparation of worship, participants were involved in eleven worship service experiences during the week.
Participants worked in six OD groups to expand their organizational and leadership skills, seven Credo groups to share and clarify personal and spiritual values, and nine worship groups (in participation with Youth School members) to better understand the worship experience by preparing and delivering a worship service.
We were able to take advantage of the new Science Center at Beloit College for many of our activities as well as other facilitates at Beloit College. Participants and staff are housed in residence halls at Beloit and eat in the college dining hall.

Clerical Staff Members

REV. THOM BELOTE, History and Theology Presenter, has served as the minister of the Shawnee Mission UU Church in Overland Park, Kansas.
REV. IAN EVISON, Organizational Development Presenter, is Congregational Services Director for the Central MidWest District.
REV. THEA NIETFELD, Chaplain, serves her Fellowship in Salina, Kansas.

Lay Staff Members

MARGIE FRY, Group Facilitator, third year staff member, is a member of Thomas Jefferson Unitarian Church of Louisville, Kentucky.
PAUL GODDARD, Group Facilitator and Bookstore Manager, is Worship Chair of the UU Church in Rockford, Illinois.
BARB GUTSCH, Group Facilitator and Technology Coordinator, is a member of the UU Fellowship of Salina, Kansas.
GENEVIEVE O’MALLEY KNIGHT, Group Facilitator and Assistant Treasurer, has been attending the UU Congregation in Oxford Ohio.
MARK MATUSZEWSKI, Group Facilitator, a third year staff member at MWLS, and treasurer emeritus and general gopher, is a member of the UU Fellowship of DeKalb, Illinois.
JEFFREY REED, Group Facilitator, Treasurer and Secretary, is a second year MWLS staff member and member of the Open Circle Fellowship in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.
KELLY RINEY, School Dean and Group Facilitator, is the Director of Religious Education at the UU Church in Rockford, Illinois.
NOEL ROZUM, Group Facilitator, is a first-year staff member.
JAN STEINMARK, Registrar, is a member of the UU Church of Evansville, Indiana.
JENNIFER TODD, Chair and Group Facilitator, is a Wiccan Minister and Pagan practitioner who facilitates the Lake Spirit CUUPS (Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans) chapter and member of Olympia Brown UU Church in Racine, Wisconsin

New for 2009 and 2010

In 2009, The Youth Leadership School was initiated to provide a Midwest Leadership School to high school age youth. Housed in separate facilities at Beloit College, collaboration between the Adult and Youth schools has involved shared participation in and preparation of worship services.

Comments from Participants and the close of the MWLS program

I gained a greater confidence in my leadership skills & a greater understanding in the leadership skills & ways of others & how they inter-relate (positively or negatively and ways to make negatives better).
I learned a lot about variety in worship, not only from the services by from the excellent worship education sessions, the covenant-based behavior concepts will be very useful, as well as what I learning from the exercises in general in the OD groups.
I’m really happy to be here! I AM ON BOARD! The bus!
I so appreciate how this has changed how I will lead @ my church, and even @ home.
I see our Leadership School realizing the importance of the state of our individual churches. More and more conversations around this and questions are coming up. It is healthy for us all.
I feel that I’m really becoming comfortable in my leadership, stepping into my power, and communicating much more clearly. Thank you staff for being such good models for that!
Worship group is A++. Also…regardless of how our Worship Team’s service turns out Tuesday evening at 7 pm, I have an amazing experience during the planning/prep phase.

Follow-up comments, four months after MWLS

It's given me a wider network of people to connect with within the UUA. I'm on the Ministerial Search Committee, and it was great to get to talk to others in the same process.
I value the connections made throughout the region. The biggest gain was to be able to look at my congregation in a more objective way.
I gained a greater appreciation of putting together a worship service. My worship group had a few challenges (with the teens), but I wouldn't change it, because it gave me an appreciation of working with teens.
The combination of learning about group dynamics, nonviolent communication/conflict resolution skills, and Meyers-Briggs personality types was amazingly helpful. I am more facile and skilled in group environments and I am better able to prevent conflicts, as well as to defuse and work through conflicts when they occur.
The thought that this invaluable resource for church leadership training was almost not held last summer chills me to the bone. UUs are fighting the uphill battle as it is as far as preserving our denomination and individual churches as it is. Without this incredible experience and training it is difficult to comprehend how our longevity and liberal voice would be preserved let alone in a healthy manner.

MWLS Finances and Authorization

MWLS is a self-supporting, self-managed, non-profit training organization, sponsored by CMWD, in collaboration with PS, and HD of the UUA. It is one of several UUA leadership training entities. MWLS Staff include lay personnel, ordained ministers, and representatives of the three sponsoring UUA districts. On an annual basis, staff set tuition and fees for participation, approve a budget, and contract for services required to operate the training experience. Staff members are responsible for marketing and recruitment of participants. Staff select officers and define roles needed to operate MWLS. Staff meet as needed (at least quarterly), to plan future MWLS training institutes and evaluate previous training institutes. Operation of MWLS is governed by policies contained in the MWLS Staff Handbook.

2010 Financial Status

2010 Budget 2010 Actual Variance % of Budget
Bookstore 2,200 2,879 679 1.31%
Tuition/Fees 28,820 28,893 73 1.00%
Total Income $32,650 $32,804 $154 1.00%
Beloit Expenses 24,295 23,120 -1,176 0.95%
On Site Expenses 4.145 3.812 -333 0.92%
Copying/Printing 615 634 -19 1.03%
Administration 760 1,072 312 1.41%
Professional Stipends 3,400 3,400 0 1.00%
Staff Meetings 6,000 6,742 742 1.12%
Total Expenses $39,216 $38.78 ($437) 0.99%
Income – Expenses -6,565 -5,975 -591
Scholarships 3,000 993
NET ($3,565) ($4,982)

MWLS Goals and Objectives

Members of the MWLS staff endeavor to create a stimulating and safe environment in which personal boundaries are respected, and participants can share their personal religious paths, challenging themselves and others to experience spiritual growth. Participants attending MWLS can expect to increase their understanding of how their faith informs their active participation in congregational life, developing personal, interpersonal and organizational skills. During a one-week intensive learning experience, MWLS offers programming and resources that:
• enable participants to utilize skills in creating and strengthening shared ministries;
• develop skills in communication, organizational development, leadership, conflict management, decision making, implementation, and evaluation;
• encourage a sense of connectedness among Unitarian Universalists;
• build trust in group processes and dynamics;
• impart knowledge of and appreciation for Unitarian Universalist history and theological issues;
• encourage a sense of denominational awareness;
• develop skills in working effectively with boards of trustees and committees; and
• encourage exploration of issues of personal spiritual growth.

MWLS Staff Member Responsibilities: Purpose/function of Staff Members:

• Make policy decisions
• Develop and update job descriptions for staff
• Select a dean, registrar, small-group facilitators, treasurer, public relations coordinator, bookstore coordinator, and presenters in organizational development, UU theology & history, and worship
• Approve the annual MWLS budget
• Take care of publicity and recruitment
• Evaluate MWLS and make recommendations for future schools
• Include religious/spiritual components in each meeting
• Foster ministerial participation of staff and students
• Select and invite new members to attend the fall meeting
• Assist with set-up and clean-up before and after School

Jeffrey G. Reed

MWLS 2010 Treasurer

The Nominating Committee of the Central Midwest District has proposed the following individuals for election to the positions indicated at the 2011 District Assembly.

Nancy Armstrong, Vice President

Nancy_Armstrong_06-2009Phone: 309-452-8320
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
My husband Joe and I joined the UU Church of Bloomington-Normal in 1983 after years of searching for the right fit for both of us. Over the years I have been actively involved in Religious Education, Caring, Finance, Fund Raising, Fellowship and Board Leadership. I am currently serving my ninth year as congregation treasurer (and still like it!) and (most fun of all) I sing in the choir. I have also been serving as a Trustee on the CMWD Board. I am employed full-time as a financial planner and have no plans to retire any time soon. In our spare time, my husband and I garden, cook and travel. We have one daughter, Larissa, who is a dedicated UU as well.

Tracey Koch, Board Secretary

Tracey_KochPhone: 314-838-1725 x9
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I have been active in Unitarian Universalism for the last ten years. As a member of Eliot Chapel, I served as the RE Committee Chair and volunteered as the Membership Coordinator. I also taught Sunday School for many years and volunteered as the Children's Library Coordinator. I am now a member of First Unitarian Alton. I am the current RE Committee Chair and teach the 4/5th graders. I am also involved with the UUSC as a Regional Coordinator. Outside of church life, I am a stay at home mother to three children. I play in a German band and a woodwind quintet. One day a week, I volunteer as the librarian for my children's school. I have a Masters in Social Work and previously worked with local refugees in starting their own businesses.

Erik David Carlson, UUA Trustee

Eric_David_CarlsonUU Church of Stockton
Phone: 815-947-3812
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
A life-long Unitarian Universalist, I have been intimately involved in CMwD leadership since arriving in Chicago in 2005, serving on the District Young Adult Steering Committee, working as event chaplain for district youth and young adult conferences, and helping coordinate and lead worships at District Annual Assembly. I received preliminary fellowship in 2010 and now serve the Unitarian Universalist Church of Stockton, IL as minister, having been called in May.
For the past year and a half, I have served as the official Continental Unitarian Universalist Young Adult Network (C*UUYAN) Observer to the UUA Board of Trustees. In this time, I have attended all Board meetings and conference calls, engaged with each of the elected Trustees, contributed to working group meetings on sponsored organizations and youth and young adult issues, and added to board discussions regarding GA 2012 Phoenix.
Having studied the Carver model of Policy Governance extensively in coursework at Meadville Lombard Theological School, I have also contributed to individual board members’ understanding of the model. I have established good working relationships with the entire Board as well as Moderator Gini Courter, UUA President Peter Moralis, and other core staff.
My candidacy is supported by a number of CMwD congregations, including the UU Church of Stockton, the Olympia Brown UU Church, DuPage UU Church, the UU Church in Rockford, IL, and Unity Temple of Oak Park, IL.
As the current UUA Board looks towards regionalization and a potentially complex restructuring of congregational service delivery, it is essential that each Trustee be as knowledgeable, competent and dedicated as possible. Given my existing relationships with the Board and UUA staff, my proven track-record of accomplishments in the CMwD and elsewhere in our Association, my understanding of systems, technology and Policy Governance, and my unwavering dedication to strengthening our inclusive faith, I believe I am uniquely suited to represent our district on the UUA Board of Trustees.

The Rev. Dr. Bill Sasso, Ministerial Trustee

Bill_SassoCarbondale Unitarian Fellowship
Phone: 618-529-2439
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The Rev. William Sasso ("Bill") has served as minister of the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship since August, 1999. He holds advanced degrees in both ministry and business administration. In June, 1999, after completing a five-year program of study, he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Ministry (with distinction) by Meadville/Lombard Theological School in Chicago. Believing strongly that Unitarian Universalism offers the spiritually committed wonderful leverage to achieve positive change, in both ourselves and our world, Bill has been active in the Carbondale Interfaith Council and Carbondale in Harmony, as a planner for Carbondale's annual Community Celebration of the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and as a founder and Board member of Rainbow Cafe, Southern Illinois' safe space for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender teens and their friends. Bill and his family enjoy the beauty of nature present in southern Illinois.

Kenneth Pechtl, Youth Trustee

Kenneth Pechtl is a lifelong Unitarian Universalist affiliated with the Youth group of the North Shore Unitarian Church of Deerfield, IL.

Dave Weiman, Board Member at Large

Dave_WeimanPhone: 309-264-3561
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I joined the Universalist Unitarian Church of Peoria in the Spring of 2000, a few months before I retired. In early 2001 I joined the Social Outreach Committee and served as the committee’s chair for 18 months beginning in mid 2003. In 2005 I became a member of the church’s Personnel Committee, serving as its chair for a few months in early 2006. In July of 2006 I began to serve the church as president of the Board of Trustees. I concluded that service the end of June, 2010. During that period the church changed its governance to a modified ‘Policy Board’ model. I chaired the Board Committee named ‘Policy Governance Advisory Group’ which was charged with the study of church governance, and the formulation of a governance model that was approved by the congregation. The Committee also developed and published a Board Governing Policy Manual, which the Board adopted and has been operating with for approximately 10 months. I continue to chair the Policy Governance Advisory Group. I attended the UUA General Assembly in Portland, OR, and two Parliaments of the World’s Religions in Barcelona and Melbourne. I am currently co-directing a national effort to enlist UU churches to pass resolutions we’ve developed which address the injustices suffered by American Indians.

Diana DeWeese, Nominating Committee

Diana_DeWeesePhone: 217-546-5834
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I’ve been a UU for the past 25 years. I am currently a member of the Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation and the Church of the Larger Fellowship. At ALUUC, I have served on several committees and the board of directors. Currently, I am a member of the Fellowship committee and the Pagan Interest Connection at ALUUC. Starting this year, I am also president of the UU Women’s Connection, a district-wide women’s organization. I’ve been a councilwoman for the past four years, serving as treasurer, vice-president and president, as well as conference registrar for several of our spring and fall conferences. As a councilwoman I’ve had the opportunity to meet women in UU congregations throughout the district. I have attended several CMwD annual assemblies, UUA general assemblies, and winter CMwD WomanSpirit conferences. I served on the Planning Committee for the 2005 WomanSpirit on Springfield, Illinois. I have been retired since January 2008. My husband, Kurt DeWeese, is currently the board president at ALUUC. My daughter, Marissa, is in college; and my son, Kyle, is working in Springfield, Illinois. In the Springfield community I am a member of the Junior League, currently co-chair of the Sustainer committee. Drumming, chanting, sewing, cooking and gardening are what I love to do with “my” time.

Mary Lou Shadle, Nominating Committee

Mary_Lou_Shadle_ThumbnailPhone: 773-753-4629 Cell: 312-835-9415
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I have been a UU since 1959, having joined the South Nassau Unitarian Church in Freeport, NY at that time. In 1960 we moved to Chicago where my husband attended Meadville Lombard Theological School. I attended 1st Unitarian Church in Hyde Park, and was a member of the choir for several years. We attended Unity Unitarian Church in St. Paul, MN during my former husband's internship there. I have been a member of Third Unitarian Church of Chicago since 1988, and was Board Chair in the early 90's. I have been on several committees, including a search committee, and am currently co-chair of the Adult Religious Education Committee. I was a delegate to CAUUC for 3 years. I have attended several GA's, though not recently. I am a retired school social worker, and I now live at Montgomery Place, a continuing care retirement center, where many of the residents are UU's.


First Unitarian Church of Alton, IL CMWD Federated Church of Avon of Avon, IL CMWD Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington-Normal of Bloomington, IL CMWD Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship of Carbondale, IL CMWD All Souls Free Religious Fellowship of Chicago, IL CMWD First Unitarian Society of Chicago of Chicago, IL CMWD Peoples Church of Chicago of Chicago, IL CMWD Beverly Unitarian Church of Chicago, IL CMWD Micah’s Porch, Chicago, IL CMWD New Garden Community Church, Chicago, IL CMWD Third Unitarian Church of Chicago, IL CMWD Second Unitarian Church of Chicago, IL CMWD Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Decatur of Decatur, IL CMWD North Shore Unitarian Church of Deerfield, IL CMWD Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of DeKalb of DeKalb, IL CMWD Unitarian Universalist Church of Elgin of Elgin, IL CMWD Unitarian Church of Evanston of Evanston, IL CMWD Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva of Geneva, IL CMWD Prairie Circle Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Grayslake, IL CMWD Unitarian Church of Hinsdale of Hinsdale, IL CMWD Prairyerth Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Hinsdale, IL CMWD Universalist Unitarian Church of Joliet of Joliet, IL CMWD Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Macomb of Macomb, IL CMWD Mt. Vernon Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Mt. Vernon, IL CMWD DuPage Unitarian Universalist Church of Naperville, IL CMWD Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Oak Park, IL CMWD Countryside Church Unitarian Universalist of Palatine, IL CMWD Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Park Forest, IL CMWD Universalist Unitarian Church of Peoria of Peoria, IL CMWD Unitarian Church of Quincy of Quincy, IL CMWD The Unitarian Universalist Church of Rockford, IL CMWD Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rock Valley of Rockton, IL CMWD Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Springfield, IL CMWD Unitarian Universalist Church of Stockton, IL CMWD The Federated Church of Sycamore, IL CMWD Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana-Champaign of Urbana, IL CMWD Lake Shore Unitarian Society of Winnetka, IL CMWD Congregational Unitarian Church of Woodstock, IL CMWD Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Elkhart of Elkhart, IN CMWD First Unitarian Church of Hobart of Hobart, IN CMWD First Unitarian Church of South Bend of South Bend, IN CMWD Bay de Noc Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Escanaba, MI CMWD Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Houghton, MI CMWD Marquette Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Marquette, MI CMWD Berrien Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Saint Joseph, MI CMWD Cape Girardeau Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Cape Girardeau, MO CMWD Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia of Columbia, MO CMWD Emerson Unitarian Universalist Chapel of Ellisville, MO CMWD Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Jefferson City of Jefferson City, MO CMWD Kirksville Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Kirksville, MO CMWD Eliot Unitarian Chapel of Kirkwood, MO CMWD Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Rolla of Rolla, MO CMWD First Unitarian Church of St. Louis of St. Louis, MO CMWD West Plains Unitarian Universalist, West Plains, MO CMWD Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Appleton, WI CMWD Unitarian Universalist Church West of Brookfield, WI CMWD Unitarian Universalist Church of the Lakes of Elkhorn, WI CMWD Open Circle Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Fond du Lac, WI CMWD Green Bay Area UU Fellowship of Green Bay, WI CMWD Lake Country Unitarian Universalist Church of Hartland, WI CMWD Unitarian Congregation of Rock County, Janesville, WI CMWD Bradford Community Church Unitarian Universalist of Kenosha, WI CMWD James Reeb Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Madison, WI CMWD First Unitarian Society of Madison of Madison, WI CMWD Prairie Unitarian Universalist Society of Madison, WI CMWD Lakeshore Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Manitowoc, WI CMWD Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Marshfield of Marshfield, WI CMWD Unitarian Church North of Mequon, WI CMWD First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee of Milwaukee, WI CMWD Unitarian Fellowship of Milwaukee of Milwaukee, WI CMWD United Unitarian & Universalist Society of Mukwonago of Mukwonago, WI CMWD Olympia Brown Unitarian Universalist Church of Racine, WI CMWD Prairie Lakes Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ripon, WI CMWD Free Congregation of Sauk County of Sauk City, WI CMWD Sheboygan Area Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Sheboygan, WI CMWD Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Door County of Sister Bay, WI CMWD Stevens Point Unitarian Universalist Association Fellowship of Stevens Point, WI CMWD First Universalist Unitarian Church of Wausau, WI CMWD Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Woodruff, WI CMWD


Peggy_June_2009Annual Report 2011

District Assembly last year was a slightly different format than we’ve had in the past.  Instead of a keynote speaker, we had a panel discussion with leaders from growing congregations, and the breakout sessions were discussions of themes from the panel presentations. From comments received, many attendees liked this format. 

This year we will again be doing a slightly different format. We will have a keynote speaker, the Rev. Mark Morrison-Reed, to discuss the Perversity of Diversity and the challenges of becoming more culturally and racially diverse in our denomination in two two-hour sessions.

Rather than having formal breakout sessions, we will be having an extended lunch period with Topic Tables for small group discussion. This was a format tried last year and it was enthusiastically received.

We will again have a table specific for the Media Team where team members can gather, and where you can come to ask questions and get knowledgeable answers to your technology issues!

At General Assembly we took advantage of being a Virtual Office and simply declared that a specific table in the exhibition hall was the Central Midwest District Office. Folks knew to meet us there and they did!  As we work more and more closely with our neighboring districts, we hope to coordinate our “offices” at the upcoming GA. In fact, the Ingathering at GA this year will be a joint effort for the Midwest Region.

As have many organizations in these difficult times, the Central Midwest District last year found itself in tightened financial circumstances and to meet these, every member of the staff took a week's unpaid furlough. However, we did it in a most positive way.  We decided that when we took our furloughs we would not do any district work in that time, but would use it in the most creative way possible. I, for instance, used the time to paint landscapes; others used it to travel; others to refresh their environment.  Each was unique as the individual.

We've discovered a number of tools to help us with this, some of which may be useful to you, too. For instance,

  • The regional Midwest UU Leadership telephonic workshops continue to be enthusiastically attended.  These are short (about one hour) single topic workshops on issues of importance to congregations. We hope to see more attending. We use for these, which, as implied, is free for you to sign up.  If you have unlimited service with your telephone, even the call is free for a very valuable information resource.
  • We continue to rely heavily on online file services to not only store our many files, but also to conveniently transfer larger electronic files to each other. Among the major file server uses are recordings of workshops that are then linked back to our web site for your listening (and sometimes viewing!) pleasure if you were unable to attend.
  • For several years now we have been relying on email and links back to the document file system on our web site to provide materials for our Board and Committees. In the spirit of openness, with very few exceptions for sensitive items, all documents are available publicly for you to see on our web site as well.
  • We are continuing to provide documents to our congregations and their delegates to District Assembly electronically for a substantial savings of time and dollars. In addition, a good third of our Chalice Lighters have opted to receive their Call letters electronically rather than on paper via the US mails, again saving printing and postage costs which can better be used for resources for our congregations. 
  • The Central Midwesterner monthly newsletter continues to evolve, and is now often a compilation of articles that appear on our web site in a convenient and compact format with links to sent directly to your email.
  • The staff meets virtually every week using an internet telephony provider. And we've even held Board meetings, Committee meetings and Finance Working Group meetings with all members dialing in. I know Ian and Dori hold many multi location meetings via conference call.
  • As many of your congregational administrators are aware, the UUA has created a web tool called MyUUA.Org where designated users from every congregation in the country can go in and update their own records online. We have been working with them, and as of this year we stopped asking congregations to repeat their same information to both the UUA and us. We now get our congregational leadership information from the MyUUA.Org site. This will allow our district information to be as up to date as you good folks can make it.

As always, we welcome your calls and emails with comments, suggestions, questions, requests for help, and even just to say hello!  Don't be a stranger!  Let us hear from you!

Peggy Boccard

District Administrator

cmwdboard-warrenAnnual Report 2011

It has been my pleasure to serve as your treasurer for the last 5 years. You will elect a new treasurer a year from now. If you are interested or know of a candidate, please talk with a nominating committee member or with Brian Covell, Meredith Beckman, or Nancy Armstrong. 

Central Midwest District is generally in sound condition. Our situation at this time has experienced a rebound of its invested funds from the drastic hits taken by nearly all equity markets in 2008. Our reserves are about 30% in CDs and 70% in socially responsible funds. Yields from any certificates of deposits have dropped from around 4% to around 1% and thus are not very helpful as an income source for providing a cash flow cushion. While we have used some of our reserves at times when our cash flow became too tight, we still have a safe cushion to operate the district securely well into the future.

During the last year we were informed by our consulting accountant, Mark Cull, of several changes that would improve our reporting and record keeping. One of those concerns was precipitated by an inquiry into our insurance coverage. We were told that if we want insurance coverage for “affiliated” organizations under our policy, then the affiliates need to be clearly affiliated with CMWD. From an accounting point of view that would require financial record keeping and oversight. If affiliated groups in your local congregations use the facilities of your church, then I would suggest you read your insurance policy carefully.

The budget for the CMWD is prepared over the winter months and is discussed and approved at the board meeting prior to District Assembly. This has been our procedure under policy governance for the last three years. The proposed by-law amendment is proposed to make the procedure clearer.

Last year, with lower contributions and thus less income, we had a reduced, but balanced budget. As a way to hold down expenses, our staff worked under an understanding of accepting week long furloughs during the year (July 2010 - June 2011). This plan was reflected in the last budget.

The budget for the coming year reflects a planned return to the normal, non-furlough, work year for the full time staff. While no salary increases are in the budget, returning to a full work year, requires a larger budget line for staff services. The plan for next year, 2011-2012, is a deficit budget of about $13,000. While our staff has often operated to keep expenses low and run a balance of income to expenses, next year may or may not be as successful as we have been in the past.  In 2012, CMWD will likely consider an increase of fair share from $21 to $23. Currently we are on the lower end of fair share amounts among the districts of the UUA. A stronger economy would help us, but at this time a better economy is still uncertain.

Respectfully Submitted,

Warren Thom


wrlogoAnnual Report 2011

There are currently five members on the CMwD Women & Religion Committee:

  • Laura Cass – Chair and Winter 2011 Retreat Liaison
  • Nancy Irons – Past-Chair (resigned early)
  • Christina Conway – Treasurer
  • Denise Tracy – Secretary
  • Co Chair Jessica Hunsberger – Summer 2010 Retreat Liaison and IT
  • Lee Breegemmann – Treasurer after May 2011
  • Natalie Silk – (resigned)

We have all worked hard to make 2010 a successful and productive year as we have had to reconfigure ways in which we work. The committee has undergone some leadership and functionality changes and has had great success. Many factions have been reconfigured and the committee is strong, efficient and effective currently and is growing in our proficiency.

As the two major functions of this committee are the summer and winter retreats we have focused on making these retreats successful in theme and attendance and offers diversity and spirituality to the women that attend. We have had smaller than usual planning committees; however, they have been effective in delivering outstanding programs and retreats for the many attendees. The Winter WomanSpirit 2010 conference was held in February in Wisconsin and was well attended. A number of workshops were presented as well as a keynote address by Starhawk. Approximately 250 attendees attended and enjoyed the entire weekend event full of shopping with vendors, attending workshops and lively rituals.

The Summer WomanSpirit 2010 retreat again was held at Ronora Lodge, in Watervliet, MI with a warm and lovely weekend. The retreat had enough attendance to support itself and the energy level was as high as usual with women connecting for spirituality and camaraderie. At the end of the retreat a planning committee gathered to volunteer to work on another retreat for the next SWS2011!

CMwD Woman and Religion hold two major face to face meetings each year, one in May and one in October. May 2010 we welcomed Jessica Hunsberger onto our committee and Laura Cass become chair as Nancy Irons became past chair. We were joined by the SWS2010 planning committee as well as the chair and co chair for WWS2011. We welcomed Karen Books to the Wise Women and thanked her for her work on the committee. Our budget, goals and meeting schedule was set for the coming year.

In June Nancy Irons attended General Assembly in Minneapolis, MN. She expressed that she was not sure how effective it was for CMwD W&R to attend. In August Laura Cass attended Midwest Leadership School in Beloit, WI. She brought home many tools and skills in leadership that she has been able to use within the committee but also within her life and her church.

October brought us to our next face to face meeting in which many new ideas were presented and decisions were made. Denise Tracy opened her summer home to the committee for the meeting and it provided us an opportunity to bond and work in a relaxed environment. After much research and contemplation on moving our summer retreat to another location that could allow more woman the opportunity to attend by lowering our price we chose to remain at Ronora for the time being while we continue to research our options. We chose to accept Lee onto the committee at the Winter meeting rather than waiting until May as customary and therefore setting precedence for two entry points onto the committee; May meeting and Winter meeting, though all members will retire from their term at the May meeting when it has been served. Denise Tracy was nominated to be the next Chair and she accepted. A decision was made to reconfigure our May meeting to include just the committee members and no longer hold the May meeting at Ronora Lodge to help cut costs and be more efficient. The summer planning committee will hold their spring meeting at Berrien Springs UU with a lunch provided by W&R and the availability to visit the Ronora Lodge for planning purposes if necessary.

Shortly after our October meeting Gretchen Ohmann, the office manager resigned with 2 weeks notice. Laura Cass and Jessica Hunsberger met with Gretchen to be trained in some of the functions she had performed for the committee and after some trial and error and reconfiguring the CMwD Woman and Religion are functioning well and effectively on its own!

In the autumn and winter months the committee has been working towards joining with the district and is working hard to come into alliance with the policies and regulations as well as banking methods of the District to make the merge easier. Denise Tracy will be taking over much of the details of this as she becomes Chair in May 2011.

Looking into the Future, the SWS2011 retreat is coming along well with anticipation for another wonderful summer retreat. WWS2012 is being planned and will be held in Rockford Il.


Laura Cass

Chair, Women & Religion Committee