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brianDear friends:

I offer warm greetings to all participants at our District Assembly! As UU’s actively involved in your home congregation, you might be in the process of concluding a spring pledge drive, or making plans to support Religious Education programs next fall. In short, you’re likely looking ahead--and the elected leadership and staff of the Central Midwest District is no different. Yet the CMwD board’s vision for service delivery and governance points more toward a change in direction rather than a continuation of what we’ve experienced in recent memory. Let me offer a description for developments in this topic, and for two other areas as well:

Regionalism

Regionalism is your board’s major concern of the moment. For much of the past eighteen months, we’ve researched and discussed a move to a “middle judicatory” stretching across much of the American Midwest. This potential merger with our co-religionists in the Heartland and Prairie Star districts has already been presaged by the creation of a MidAmerica staff group, comprised of the three district executives and their subsidiary colleagues. The Reverend Dr. Ian Evison, our district’s Congregational Services Director, is the UUA’s regional staff lead for the group. As such, he’s provided guidance for his subsidiary colleagues and lay leaders alike across the three districts--and staff members from our partner districts have also crossed district boundaries to consult with local congregations in their respective areas of expertise.

Discussions on potential regional governance structure have not yielded the same decisive results, and this has been by design. Indeed, the “how we will govern” and the “what we will govern” questions will require more time, and input from stakeholders like you, prior to any final decision.

Yet after the executive committees of all three district boards met in Chicago last October to identify our preferences on this topic, with the lead regional staff in attendance, the assembled decided unanimously to urge movement toward an elected regional board. July 1, 2013, is the date the assemblage agreed upon by which the MidAmerica Region would start operations as the legitimate successor organization of all three districts.
Meanwhile, a “transition team,” comprised of the executive committees of the districts has been managing this process. A “treasurer’s team,” consisting of the three district treasurers and one of the regional staff team, also meets on a similar schedule to review and merge the finances of all three districts to form a regional budget. Moreover, plans are shaping up at the moment for a meeting of all three boards in the Quad Cities area on the weekend of August 24-25, 2012, to secure agreement on the steps needed to formally establish and to publicize the transition to regional governance.

Currently the transition team has been identifying the values and visions we believe should define the new region. I must say it’s becoming increasingly clear that if UU’s wish to respond successfully to present demographic trends in our country, liberal religion in the Midwest (and elsewhere) will need a governance and service delivery structure with the agility, and the technological capacities, to meet the needs of newcomers and existing congregations alike as quickly as we can.

District Services and Board Processes

The interest in regionalism notwithstanding, activities in the CMwD have kept pace since our last District Assembly. Youth Cons and meetings of groups connected to our district continue much as they have in the past. Nevertheless, staff consultancies across district boundaries have meant that congregations in our district have benefitted from both staff and lay leaders hailing from our adjacent sister districts. Inter-district Webinars and phone conferences, coupled with “in-house” visits to local congregations now occur on a daily basis. The same holds for Ian and Dori Davenport Thexton (our RE and Growth Consultant) as they confer with UU’s outside the CMwD when asked.

And your board continues to meet on a quarterly basis. We’ve discussed and approved an operating budget for fiscal year 2013, worked with our very able Nominating Committee, chaired by Mary Gerlach of the Fox Valley (Appleton, WI) UU Fellowship, to develop a slate of candidates for elective district offices, and refined the board’s policies and procedures manual.

In the last case, our exceptionally dedicated Treasurer Warren Thom (UU Congregation of Joliet, IL), drafted a district financial reserves policy that was reviewed and approved shortly after our February meeting. The board agreed with Warren that we needed to adjust the preexisting ad hoc procedure so as to cohere with those adopted by Prairie Star and Heartland, and in order to give our staff reasonable flexibility and reporting responsibilities to meet emergency funding needs as they arise.

Board Transitions and Leadership Events

District assembly will mark the closure of two noteworthy terms of board service, with another term voluntarily ended midway through 2011. I know I join the rest of my colleagues in offering heartfelt thanks to Trustee-at-Large Rosemary Johnston-Lawton (First Unitarian Church of St. Louis, MO), and to Warren Thom, as they conclude their service to the district in their capacities. Rosemary attended to her responsibilities with the high degree of probity and professionalism we came to expect from her, and has been instrumental in updating and administering our annual DA Sermon Award process. As Warren winds down his second term, he has consulted closely with Nancy Armstrong (UU Church of Bloomington-Normal, IL) our current Vice President. He’s done this to ensure a seamless transition at Treasurer, since Nancy has agreed to complete her service as Warren’s successor through June, 2013.

And while unexpected family demands warranted the resignation of Dave Weiman (UU Church of Peoria, IL), as Trustee-at-Large late last summer, we exercised the responsibility noted in our by-laws to appoint a nominated “in term” successor in the fall. The board thus unanimously elected Vera Dowell (Unity Temple UU Congregation, Oak Park, IL) to fill Mr. Weiman’s position. All of this means that your district board will be at full complement for the purposes of democratic decision-making in the crucial year ahead.

Demographic trends in varied cultures have demonstrably affected religious institutions across the globe, and certainly in the Western Hemisphere. As significant portions of our membership retire and age, liberal churches and fellowships in the geographical center of our country are being forced to re-think how they “do church.” This is a conclusion noted by our denominational President in his recent and widely circulated document entitled, “Congregations and Beyond.”

If you’re wondering how you can help your home congregation meet the challenge our faith faces at the moment, you might consider attending the week-long Midwest Leadership School this summer, held on the campus of Beloit College in Beloit, WI, from July 15th to the 21st.

MWLS and its companion program Youth Leadership School offers much in the way of instruction on “best practice” leadership performance. Daily worship and spiritual deepening programs are integrated with classroom work in an immersive experience well worth the reasonable investment of time and money.

I know whereof I speak, because I saw it first hand last summer. I join previous attendees who can testify to the transformative effect MWLS has on its participants. You can find more information about both programs on our district Web site, or by consulting with me or a member of our district staff.

As I close, let me offer my thanks for the countless hours of work given willingly by our clergy and our committed volunteers. The result of these efforts shows--the CMwD is the second-largest district by membership count in our denomination, and we have established an enviable ten-year record of institutional growth. While our staff and board are ready to develop strategies and plans intended to help Unitarian Universalism not just retain but expand its relevance across our region, we will need your help--all of your concerns and your constructive insights--as we move toward regionalism.

For indeed we will need to do so in the name of transparency and the democratic process in our movement across the Midwest. We will need to do so to better fulfill the historic call of our faith: to embrace those who rightly question, to empower those in the throes of injustice, and to embody a radical acceptance of religious and cultural diversity in a divided and broken world.I look forward to walking with you in this holy and necessary endeavor.

- Warmly, in the Spirit,

The Reverend Brian H. Covell
President
Central Midwest District, UUA
Budget Approved by Board of Trustees on February 4, 2012
July 2012 - June 2013

FY2011 Tot Actual
FY 2012 Budget
FY 2013 Budget
Income
Total 4000 District Contributions 191,508 200,655 200,142
4010 UUA APF Share 29,783 30,009 30,000
4020 MUUC/MUUF District Share 24,392 32,848 32,000
Total 4030 UUA Portion of Co-Employed Staff 81,460
Total Income 269,752 263,512 343,602
Expenses
5000 Staff Compensation & Benefits
Total 5001 UUA Portion of Co-Emp Comp - - 81,460
Total 5010 CMwD Portion of Congregational Services Dir 42,093 44,517 48,557
Total 5020 CMwD Portion of Faith Dev & Growth Dir 57,940 61,166 64,459
Total 5030 District Administrator 53,961 59,697 55,221
5040 Cong Services Dir Professional Expenses 11,732 10,500 10,000
5050 Faith Dev & Growth Dir Professional Expenses 11,638 10,500 11,500
5060 Dist Admin Professional Expenses 1,834 2,000 1,500
Total 5070 Writer & Event Planner 3,330 3,500 3,881
5075 Writer & Event Planner Professional Expenses 1,303 800 800
5080 Regional Y/YA Ministries Salary 8,886 23,527 13,780
Total 5080 Regional Y/YA Ministries Salary 11,697 23,527 13,780
5085 Regional Y/YA Professional 4,531 4,000 3,000
Total 5090 Communications Coord Salary 13,001 14,962 24,287
5095 Communications Coord Prof.Exp. 1,293 900 900
Total 5000 Staff Compensation & Benefits 224,684 236,069 319,345
5100 District Office
5105 Supplies/Office Expense 1,447 750 750
Total 5110 Office Space 1,155 1,500 1,500
5115 Telephone 8,375 7,000 7,000
5120 Office Postage / Mailing Services 1,089 900 1,000
5140 Accounting Services 6,545 3,300 3,300
Total 5150 Temporary Help / Office Assistant 2,950 500 500
5160 District Liability Insurance 955 1,700 1,700
5165 Other Expense 100 250 250
5180 Business License/Annual Report to State 10 150 150
Total 5100 District Office 22,470 16,050 16,150
5200 Programs & Services
5225 Telecommunications 2,551 500 500
Total 5240 Midwest Leadership School 91 323 1,200
5250 Women & Religion Program 77 - -
Total 5200 Programs & Services 3,410 823 1,700
5300 Board & Committees
Total 5301 District President 1,364 1,000 1,000
Total 5305 District Board 2,321 3,000 3,000
5325 Discretionary Fund 204 250
5330 Regionalization Expenses Share of 2013 funding for MidAmerica Regionalization = $63,400 (See below)
5335 District UUA Trustee 359 500 500
5340 Nominating - 275 275
5350 Annual Program Fund Chair - 150 150
5355 Dist. Compensation Consultant - 200 20
Total 5358 Ministerial Settlement Rep (PT) 972 700 700
5365 Congregational Resources
5365-01 Chalice Lighters 34 1,000 1,000
5365-04 MOD Squad - 50 50
5365-99 Consulting Program Support 99 1,500 1,500
Total 5365 Congregational Resources 132 2,550 2,550
5380 Religious Education Support & Resources 937 2,200 2,000
Total 5385 Young Adult Steering Committee - YASC 2,037 2,500 2,000
Total 5390 District Youth Steering Committee - DYSC 1,913 2,500 2,000
5405 New Initiatives - 100 100
Total 5300 Board & Committees 12,743 15,925 14,295
Total Expenses 263,292 268,867 351,490
Net Income - WITHOUT TRANSITION COSTS 6,460 (5,355) (7,888)

Net Income WITH CMWD SHARE OF TRANSITION COSTS FOR 2013 6,460 (5,355) (71,288)

denisetracyAnnual Report 2012

This has been a successful year for the Women and Religion Committee.  We associated ourselves with the District and came into full relationship with CMD.  We have changed some of our policies to comply with the District and are happy about our change in status.

Our summer program, held at Ronora, was in retreat format in a casual setting.  40 women attended and communally shared meals, housing and did the dishes together.  The program was called, “Women of Strength".  Workshops, worship and relaxation gave everyone a restful summer  experience.

Our winter program “Heart Pulse: Journey Into Sacred Sound” was held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Rockford, IL.  Ragani, an inspiring lifelong devotee of yoga, meditation and complementary healing medicine, was our speaker.  Her presence was nourishing and her story was captivating.  Her keynote speech was followed by an all conference workshop on meditation.  On Saturday night her band her joined her for a sung Kirtan meditation session.  The church was full  to capacity and everyone experienced singing and the music of inner peace and inspiration.  Ragani, who had only attended one Sunday church service ever in her life, preached at both Sunday services.  Her sermon was spiritual and uplifting!

In addition there were 14 workshops and opening and closing worship services .  The local committee of five women was extraordinary.  Representatives from both the Rockford and Rockton churches were on the committee.  Shayne Baker, Jan Henningsen, Judy Pickle, Holly Hansen and Milli Fleer were the five Goddesses who hosted and put on one of the best conferences we remember attending!

This spring we will be reviewing our technologies.  Our web site and registration system need to be revised.  We will also be brainstorming ways to build up our summer retreat attendance.

Our Womanspirit 2013 will be held In Wisconsin at UUCW in Brookfield., the first weekend of February.
We have a contract with Feminist singer and songwriter, Holly Near, who will give a keynote, an all conference workshop and Saturday night will sing in concert.  She also will be providing sermons for both Sunday services.

We recruited new members and our committee is filled.  We are now a portfolio Board. 
Jessica Hunsberger,  Chair of Summer Retreat at Ronora
Lauree Brown, Past Chair
Lee Breeggemann, Treasurer
Jan Hennigsen, Secretary and 2013  WWS Advisor
Amy Shaw, Computer, Web site and Conference Registrar
Kathy Bradshaw, Chair, Winter Conference 2013

Respectfully Submitted,

Denise Tracy

Chair, CMwD Women & Religion

Gretchen2011 by AaronAnnual Report 2012

This year we've spent some time thinking and talking about, and testing our new Regional website, www.midamericauua.org. A growing new feature is the organization into areas of interest. As our CMwD moves toward combining with the two Districts to the East and West of us, this will be the go-to place for congregational resources in the MidAmerica Region! We have:

  • Announcements and links to upcoming programs and events of interest to members in the entire region; we are working on a geographic locator so you will be able to find events in your interest area that are also in your geographic area regardless of District.
  • Links back to the original web sites of the three constituent districts, CMwD, Prairie Star and Heartland.
  • Area-of-interest pages with information specific to Faith Development and Religious Education; another to events of interest to Youth and Young Adults; and a new page specifically for Social Justice. Each one has its own calendar, articles and resource links.
  • The Social Justice page invites you to write your own story and add your congregation's events to share with others who visit our web site. Check it out!  Tell us what’s happening in your congregation to further the cause of Social Justice for all.

We're all working on getting into the habit of figuring out which news needs to be on District sites, and what needs to be on the Region website. Much of the news from the MidAmerica site will also be posted to Facebook and Twitter. We've set that up with a one-click option the article's author can choose.
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color facebook 128 color twitter 128 color twitter 128

A metamorphosis quietly took place in 2011 as our monthly newsletter transitioned to a more timely news-now format. Rather than gather the latest news items as a full-length read, we are sending announcements and items of interest individually, hoping that will be more in tune with everyone's busy lives and e-mail boxes!

On technical matters, because we see more than our fair share of spam and e-mail scams, when there is specific advice we can offer, we post it in our Communications blog on www.cmwd-uua.org.

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

Peace,

Gretchen

Communications Coordinator

ian2012As we have gone through the third year of tight economic times our congregations, our district, and our association have faced basic questions about what it means to represent and embody our UU faith in changed circumstances.  This includes equally engagement with the Occupy Movement and issues such as Immigration (Justice GA in Phoenix) and moving to more sustainable staffing, program, and building options.  The good news is that, as congregations adapt themselves to the changed circumstances; it again becomes possible for them to undertake bold, even audacious projects.  Two notable examples of this are the UU Congregation of Woodstock who in January moved to a new building (http://joomla.uucofwoodstock.org/) and the DuPage UU Church finally being able to move forward to build its new sanctuary.Dori2011-sm

Our district work in the past year has been led by these developments in the congregations in two senses.  First, we often are involved in helping congregations improvise ways forward when what have been standard ways of doing things do not work.  Second, we are ourselves reinventing ourselves with the move to create a common administrative and program structure with Prairie Star and Heartland Districts.  To serve congregations in the future we are going to need to find ways of working that are far more sustainable and agile-with lower administrative costs and more and smarter use of technology.  Inventing these new ways of working in partnership with the leaders of our region has been a powerful experience. We are documenting this in our new regional blog (http://midamericauua.org/blog).  Members of the boards of the three districts have created a transition committee to manage the transition in governance which is proposed to be completed by July 1, 2013.  Brian Covell, our district president, will report separately on this.

One key project of the year has been the inauguration of our first regional staff position, with Nancy Combs-Morgan working for the whole region as the Coordinator of Emerging Models of Youth and Young Adult Ministries.  This new position is focused on developing congregational capacity for supporting youth and young adult ministries including training leaders and helping congregations host youth events.    Our first congregationally sponsored youth con, UniCon, was a collaborative effort, planned by Unity Temple and implemented by youth from Unity Temple, First UU Church of Wausau, Emerson Chapel, Countryside UU Church, and the UU Church in Peoria.  We were also excited to offer our first regional JusticeCON in Ann Arbor (March 2-4) where the focus was on workshops to build social justice skills in our congregations with particular focus on gearing up for the National Day of Witness and Service at the UUA General Assembly on June 23, 2012.  This transition of our work has been supported by many congregations and many leaders in congregations stepping up to assist.  Nancy Combs-Morgan, Dori Thexton in Central Midwest District, and Phil Lund in Prairie Star use a team approach. They all have been involved deeply in support of this work. 

The development of online events and online resources has continued.  The region has partnered to add series of events for youth leaders, religious educators, membership people, and others.  One of the most powerful ways in which the pressure to innovate and the possibilities of the technology is in the continuing growth of our "online ministries" (http://www.midwestuuleadership.org/).  We are now likely at the beginning of a time where the variety of online programs emerging in UU districts and regions across the continent will become one of the largest programmatic offerings of the entire association.   Our leaders will be able to access these events from almost anywhere and access the recordings at any time.   We are working to make social justice central to the DNA of our new region and to support congregations in networking with each other in doing this work.  We have created a place on our new regional website to highlight things about Social Justice/Standing on the Side of Love.  We are adding to regularly and encouraging congregations to post their material there for networking & connections.   http://www.midamericauua.org/index.php/resources/justice.

It is an honor to serve you.  We thank you for all you are contributing to creating our new ways of working.

Thanks,

Ian & Dori

mwlsSponsorship
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.]

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. 

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.

2011 MWLS
Participants
MWLS served 36 students from across the Midwest in July 2011.  Districts were comparably represented with CMD = 15, Heartland = 6, and PSD = 15. The session commenced on Sunday afternoon, and closed the following Saturday at noon. 

Experiences
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.

Professional Staff Members
REV. MATTHEW JOHNSON DOYLE, History and Theology Presenter, is senior minister of the UU Church in Rockford, IL. 
REV. IAN EVISON, Organizational Development and Leadership Presenter, is Congregational Services Director for the Central MidWest District.
NANCY HEEGE, Organizational Development and Leadership Presenter, is District Executive of the Prairie Star District.
REV. LISA PRESLEY, Chaplain, is District Executive for the Heartland District.

Lay Staff Members
DAVE BECKER, Bookstore Manager and Group Facilitator, is a first year staff member and Director of Religious Education for the UU Fellowship in DeKalb, Illinois.
PAUL GODDARD, School Dean and Group Facilitator, is a second year staff member and is Worship Chair of the UU Church in Rockford, Illinois.
BARB GUTSCH, Lead Technology Coordinator and Group Facilitator is a third year staff member and is member of the UU Fellowship of Salina, Kansas.
GENEVIEVE O’MALLEY KNIGHT, Treasurer and Group Facilitator is a second year staff member, and is member of the UU Congregation in Oxford Ohio.
JIM LAUGHLIN, Assistant Technology Coordinator and Group Facilitator is a first year staff member and is a member of the UU Society of Iowa City, Iowa.
JEFFREY REED, Registrar and Group Facilitator, is a third year staff member and member of the Open Circle Fellowship in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.
KELLY RINEY, School Chair and Group Facilitator, is a third year staff member and the Director of Religious Education at the UU Church in Rockford, Illinois.
SYLVIA TUCHSCHERER, Assistant Treasurer and Group Facilitator, is a first year staff member and member of the UU Fellowship of Topeka, Kansas.

Collaboration with Youth Leadership School
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 2011 MWLS Participants
“It is my congregation’s tradition to send the President-elect. I’m hoping to help increase the number attending dramatically”.
“ As an extrovert, I learned a tremendous amount about working with introverts without overwhelming them. My congregation thanks you.”
“MWLS was a profound and moving experience which deepened my faith commitment, my understanding of our faith, and my intention and capacity for spiritual growth”.
“MWLS was a transformative experience for me. As rewarding and interesting as the academic aspect of it was, the spiritual aspect of it was unparalleled in my life. I have rarely formed so many deep, cherished connections with so many people so quickly, and feel powerfully blessed that it was within a religious tradition and community”.
“MWLS has reinforced my desire to serve my congregation as well as continue outreach with other UU congregations”.

Dave Becker


MWLS 2012 Dean

NCM-edited-200Annual Report 2012

With the bold move to move forward with the first regional position of the Mid America Region,  (comprised of the staff of the Central Midwest, Prairie Star and Heartland Districts of the UUA), the focus for this  position was intended to mirror the new and innovative direction of such a shared endeavor.  As the title states, this position is to focus on emerging models for youth and young adult ministries in our MidAmerica congregations.     As I set about this endeavor,  congregational leaders, from all three districts, shared with me the distinct need for heightened trainings, virtual and face to face, for youth advisors, religious educators, ministers,  and congregational leaders who care deeply about youth and young adult ministry. With that request in mind, we set out to have a rich offering of trainings this last fall, which included webinars on:  “Basic Youth Advisor 101 Training,”  “Sustainable Youth Ministry,” and “New Ideas for Young Adult and Campus Ministry.”  The response for the youth advisor trainings was decided, and it generated the development of a series for Youth Advisors, which started this last January and will be continuing through the Spring.  Each session of the “Youth Advisor Series” will delve into the topics I get asked about most frequently, such as resource suggestions for new formats in youth programming; conversations on boundaries, confidentiality and safety issues, and how to make sure that youth ministry is part of a larger multigenerational lens in our congregations.

In addition, to expanding the webinar offerings, we are continuing to provide up to date and helpful information on trends in lifespan faith development.  The REALL conference (held in Milwaukee this last March) was one further example of an engaging face to face continuing education opportunity for CMwD leaders, which had a rich array of pastoral care workshops and information on the emerging model of “lifelong learning networks,” (as indicated from the “Faith Formation 2020” study).

I am very pleased to report that we are maintaining our deep commitment to leadership development for youth and young adults throughout MidAmerica, and a cornerstone experience for such leadership development is our Youth Midwest Leadership School and the Midwest Leadership School (for adults).   We continue to hear so many success stories of the experiences of youth who took part in YMLS, and also have been inspired with the narratives of young adults who also have been a part of the adult MWLS.  In addition to face to face opportunities for leadership development, we are building a rich resource section of our shared website with a wide host of leadership and lifespan faith development resources.  We have the site up and running and will be expanding the site, in new ways, come this summer. 

Another message I have been hearing loud and clear from leaders throughout MidAmerica is the need for engaging social justice opportunities for youth and young adults.  We are mapping out a multi-year process for new models of justice work for youth and young adults.  This March the first regional youth conference, JusticeCON, was held in Ann Arbor, MI, with a focus of empowering youth and adults to step up on issues of immigration reform.  This conference also prepared folks to take part in the “National Day of Witness,” June, 23rd, which will be happening during JusticeGA in Phoenix.  Also, I will be working this Spring with leaders from southwest Florida, who have partnered for the last few years with the Collective of Immokalee Workers in Southwest Florida.  Our dream is to have a spring break experience up and ready for the Spring of 2013, where youth groups and young adults from MidAmerica can work directly in support for dignity and justice in the tomato fields of southwest Florida and immerse themselves in the Fair Food Movement.

In addition, a very new initiative in Unitarian Universalist campus ministry is in the formation stage, which is an effort to work with UU congregations who seek to branch out their young adult ministry by enabling Young Adult OWL on campuses.  We will be training our “beta” group of campus leaders this August to take the lead on offering YA OWL on campuses throughout MidAmerica.  This will be an interfaith experience with other groups, such as the Hillel Campus Centers, and will also be an opportunity to partner with our OWL co-creators in the UCC movement.  There is also an additional creative experiment emerging around creating and sustaining new young adult UU covenanted communities on campuses.    

The repeatable themes of my work, echo the themes of our entire MidAmerica team, which is that we seek to enable sustainable, repeatable, scalable and transformative experiences in our member congregations, and of critical importance is our deep commitment to growing Unitarian Universalism throughout the Midwest.  Finally, we seek to model an interconnected team working with congregational teams.  Our MA team has an understanding where we all have a deep generalist grasp of the multilayered issues in congregational life, yet we invite one another to have our individual particular passions and specialties, such as my passion for Unitarian Universalist youth and young adult ministries.

Nancy

Nancy Combs-Morgan, MidAmerica Coordinator of Emerging Models of Youth And Young Adult Ministries

The Nominating Committee of the Central Midwest District has proposed the following individuals for election to the positions indicated at the 2012 District Assembly.

Jeff Reed, Vice President

Jeff Reed

Jeffrey “Jeff” Reed is Past President and Past Vice President of the Board of Open Circle Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Fond du Lac, WI, and a past member of its Service Planning Committee. A 2008 attendee of MidWest Leadership School (MWLS), he has served as MWLS Group Facilitator, MWLS Treasurer, and MWLS Registrar.

Jeff is Dean and Professor of Management in the School of Business at Marian University, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. A college professor for over 15 years, he earned his PhD in Psychology from Kansas State University. He also spent 15 years in industry, as a program evaluation and human resources consultant and as a product development engineer, project manager and planner at Xerox Corporation in Rochester, NY.

He has served in leadership roles as a President of the Fond du Lac Morning Rotary Club, President of the Fond du Lac Area Human Resources Association, Region IV Secretary of the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education, and State Diversity Director for the Wisconsin State Council of SHRM. He has chaired a variety of leadership and diversity conferences, and served on several non-profit organization boards.

Nancy Armstrong, Treasurer

Nancy_Armstrong_06-2009

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.  Nancy was formerly the Vice President of the Board of Trustees of CMwD.

Rob Zimmerman, Trustee-at-Large

Rob Zimmerman

My wife, Karen, and I have lived in Wauwatosa for 20 years, and in Southeast Wisconsin for 24 years. We have two children, Madalina (17) and Alex (16). I am a sustainability advocate for Kohler Co., and focus on water conservation issues and green building projects nationally, as well as support development and execution of Kohler’s global sustainability strategies. I currently serve on the board of directors of the Alliance for Sustainable Built Environments, and co-chair a committee for the Alliance for Water Efficiency.

My family attends Unitarian Universalist Church West in Brookfield, Wisconsin, and we have been members there since 1999. We are proud of how our church has grown, both as a spiritual community and as a force for change in the Milwaukee area. Some of my contributions include:

  • Current member of Nominating and Campus Committees
  • Board of Trustee member from May, 2007 to May, 2010
  • President of the congregation from May, 2008 to May, 2009
  • Delegate to GA in 2009
  • Religious education teacher for four years
  • Co-facilitator of the Our Whole Lives (OWL) program twice
  • Member of the Adult Enrichment Committee for several years
  • Member of Long Range Planning Committee for several years
  • Usher for five years

I recognize the value of UU churches working together to affect change. CMWD provides resources and networks to facilitate that, and I would be honored to bring my experience and energy to help further that mission.

Vera Dowell, Trustee-at-Large

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Vera Dowell has been a UU for 40 years, the last five at Unity Temple UU CongregationVera Dowell has been a UU for 40 years, the last five at Unity Temple UU Congregation in Oak Park. Presently serving as co-chair of the religious education committee she also was a member of the search committee which called Emily Gage to be Minister of Faith Development. During the 19 years she and her husband were members at the First Unitarian Church of Dallas, she served in various positions in RE, capital campaigns, on the board including being president, and as chair of the search committee which called Laurel Hallman. Vera was a board member of the Southwest District and served as a member of the staff of the SW Leadership School for several years. Now retired, Vera loved being an elementary school teacher of the academically gifted.

Rev. Dottie Mathews, Nominating Committee

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After nearly 30 years of experience in the business world, Dottie heard the call to ministry in 2002 and entered seminary to begin a second vocational phase.  She was joyfully ordained as a Unitarian Universalist minister in 2006.  Dottie is currently serving as the full-time Organizational Chaplain for Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin and, in that capacity, she provides compassionate care for nearly 1400 team members (known as employees in other organizations), with a wide range of abilities and challenges, in 24 sites across the state. 

Prior to joining Goodwill, Dottie served as the Associate Minister of the Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Appleton, Wisconsin, for five years.    There, she was primarily responsible for providing pastoral care and counseling for the Members (+/660 adults and 225 children) and Friends of this vibrant faith community.

Dottie resides in Appleton, Wisconsin, with her partner of over 12 years, Rosie Geiser.  Together, they provide copious amounts of love and emotional support for her three adult children, one daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.

Jamie Boyce, Nominating Committee

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Jamie Boyce is currently Membership Director at Third Unitarian Church-Chicago, where she has served for three years.  Prior to that Position, Jamie was Membership Coordinator for two years at North Shore Unitarian Church in Deerfield, Illinois.  In addition, Jamie works in  compliance and grants management at AgeOptions, the Area Agency on Aging for Suburban Cook County.  Prior to that, she worked at implementing after school programs in the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago.

She received her B.A. from Michigan State University and studied for 4 years at Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey.  In her free time, Jamie loves to travel, explore Chicago's restaurant scene, and attend Kickboxing classes.

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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 Congregation of Waukesha, WI (formerly in Mukwonago) 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 2012

Much of the District Administrator’s job is to manage financial, regulatory and corporate requirements for the District.  This includes accounting for payables and receivables and reporting on them, reporting to government agencies and to our Board of Trustees through the Finance Working Group. 

In addition, we provide support for the Board of Trustees and their meetings.  I help with both logistics and preparing discussion and informational documents for the Board’s consideration.

Another aspect of the position is to help organize events and prepare registration for District workshops and major events like District Assembly.  We also help manage the physical logistics for these meetings, as well as the printed materials and documents associated with them.  Some of this takes a substantial amount of time.  For example, preparations for this year’s District Assembly began last August!

We are proud to report that in our annual financial consultation with our CPA, he declared that our accounting systems were in such good shape that he felt they were “fully auditable” right out of the block for the first time since he has been working with us.  As for the financials themselves, while the Treasurer will report more fully, our status is in good shape, with at this time more than six months of reserves available for contingencies.

The District Administrator also supports and tracks Chalice Lighters, maintaining the database of contributors and contributions, providing documents and information and managing grant applications for the Chalice Lighter Committee’s review.  The Chalice Lighters program has been providing financial grants to existing and emerging congregations since 1996.  Since then we have given grants to more than 40 congregations in excess of $350,000.  Grants can be requested in one of four areas: to

  • Support a new or emerging congregation.
  • Acquire or expand meeting space for an existing congregation.
  • Increase paid professional staffing.
  • Establish outreach and public relations programs.

Our most recent Call for contributions, the Winter 2012 Call, began in January and will go through March 15.  It is for support of a UU-based radio program “Food for the Soul” requested by a consortium of Chicago area UU churches: Third Unitarian Church of Chicago,  Unity Temple of Oak Park IL, and DuPage UU Congregation of Naperville, IL. 

If your church has a good idea for which you’d like some financial support, please let us know and fill out an application for a Chalice Lighter Grant.  The application deadline for the Spring 2012 Call is February 15, 2012.

The participation in the effort to simplify our access to congregational leadership information is becoming more and more widespread.  This allows us to obtain the updated information from the same place the UUA does, so you, our congregations, only have to make your updates in one place. 

While it is the CMwD staff’s responsibility to keep the usual tasks, projects and events going as they normally would be, we have also been working on aspects of the Regionalization of the CMwD, Prairie Star and Heartland Districts, which we are hoping to be approved and implemented effective July 1, 2013.  There has been excellent cooperation among the staffs of all three districts.  For example, among other things, I have been working with the District Executives and Administrators of PSD and HLD to reconcile three accounting systems.  In addition, the three District Administrators meet in a phone conference most months to discuss areas of interest and share hints and ideas.

Peg

District Administrator

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