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The MidAmerica Messenger

Volume 3, Issue 8    |    March 2016


MidAmerica Region is building
a new era in Unitarian Universalism, where UUs visibly live our faith, create connections, grow our membership, and welcome all persons who share our UU values.

In This Issue

Join Us for Regional Assembly 2016

More Opportunities for MA Religious Educators

Register Now for MWLS/YMWLS 2016

Governance Webinar March 22 and 31

Learning Network Covenant at RA

Apologies Continue



Phil Lund 2016With Regional Assembly less than two months away, we wanted to fill you in on all the details. If you're planning on attending, don't forget you can register at the early bird rate until March 31!

And as always, your MidAmerica regional staff is here for you, so don't hesitate to contact us if you need any resources, consultations, or coaching.

As always, we appreciate your comments and suggestions for the newsletter. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Yours in Faith,
Phillip Lund
Congregational Life Consultant
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


RA2016 wordingRA2016 chalice graphic Join Us for Regional Assembly 2016 in St. Paul Minnesota
Registration is Now Open!

As we've mentioned here before, this year's Regional Assembly in Saint Paul, Minnesota (April 29 to May 1), is building on last year's New Era theme. This year we'll be looking at WHO we want to be as faith communities in the coming years. Who will we Unitarian Universalists need to be, to be relevant? How will we get there? Who will be accompanying us on this journey?

Keynote Presenters

To help us consider these questions, MidAmerica's Regional Assembly 2016 will feature three leaders in the movement:

elizabeth nguyen

Rev. Elizabeth Nguyen

Leadership Development Associate for Youth and Young Adults of Color at the UUA

Jeremy Nickel

Rev. Jeremy Nickel

Minister of the Mission Peak UU congregation in Fremont, California

Kenny Wiley

Kenny Wiley

UU World senior editor and Director of Faith Formation at Prairie UU Church in Parker, Colorado


The conversation will continue with the some of the great workshops options at the assembly, including:

  • Spiritual Discipline of Followership: UUs and #BlackLivesMatter
  • Circle of Belonging: information on how to bring people along from visitor to fully engaged member
  • Escalating Inequality: a workshop on our current Congregational Study-Action Issue
  • Heresy in the Heartland: Humanism in the Second Century
  • End of Life Conversations: how to have these conversation in your congregations
  • Navigating the Theist-Humanist Gap with Creativity and Grace
  • Positioning Small Congregations for the New Era and Millennials
  • Reverence for Diversity: Group Spiritual Direction in Congregations
  • Who is Your Congregation on the Web?

All in all, there will be 23 workshop offerings from which to choose.


The three Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association Chapters in the MidAmerica Region will each be presenting one of the worship services at this year's Regional Assembly. The Central Midwest UUMA chapter will be handling the worship on Friday evening. The Heartland UUMA Chapter will be leading the worship on Saturday afternoon. And the Prairie Star UUMA chapter will be offering the multigenerational Sunday morning worship.


Saturday evening's entertainment will feature OVation, the portable version of One Voice Mixed Chorus, Minnesota's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and straight allies (LGBTA) chorus. OVation is an a cappella ensemble of 12 singers that shares One Voice's music and message of building community and creating social change by raising their voices in song almost anywhere.

Location and Registration

So join us at the InterContinental Hotel in Saint Paul, Minnesota, April 29 to May 1 for an exciting weekend celebrating the future of Unitarian Universalism in the MidAmerica Region. Find out more about RA2016.

Register for the 2016 MidAmerica Regional Assembly before March 31, 2016 and receive the early bird rate.


More Opportunities for MA Religious Educators

By Nancy Combs-Morgan, CRE-ML, Congregational Life Consultant

Nancy C M 2015I am hoping that our MidAmerica religious educators take advantage of some of the wonderful spring offerings over the next few months. Starting with a pre-regional assembly track, "Prophetic Partners," organized by the Minnesota UU Social Justice Alliance, at Unity-Unitarian, in St. Paul, MN, on Friday, April 29th, from noon-4p. I will be leading an afternoon track for religious educators, focusing on the faith development and multigenerational social justice programming.

At the regional assembly, there will be a wide array of super workshops, including one on Adult Faith Development, that I will be co-leading with my colleague, Rev. Phil Lund. I would warmly recommend any religious educator to take part in this workshop, even if you don't have a lifespan faith development portfolio. I will be focusing on the impact of considering adult RE teachers as a community of practice, which are in search of spiritual direction and support. What a difference it would make in religious education recruitment if the adult leaders felt nurtured in their own faith development!

Then, follow up that brief workshop experience with a more in depth review at our Adult Faith Development Renaissance Module, at North Shore Unitarian, in Deerfield, IL, May 12-14th.

Finally, I promise, be sure to save the dates and register for the Heartland LREDA retreat, held at the beautiful Oakwood Retreat Center (near Muncie, IN) on May 24-27-this will be the 10th year of this marvelous retreat, which focuses on the self-care of DRE's and has a wide array of spiritual practices through the week.

Information about the Regional Assembly, "Prophetic Partners," and the Adult Faith Development Renaissance Module are on our website. Information about the Self-Care Retreat will be posted on the Mid-America UU Religious Educators page.


Register Now for Midwest Leadership School - July 10-16

MWLS2015 3 480wHow will you spend the week of July 10 - 16 this summer? We invite you to join a talented group of UU adults and youth in Beloit, Wisconsin. This will be a week you'll always remember!

MidWest Leadership School is a week-long intensive program in leadership and group dynamics, for adults and for youth, ages 14 - 18. Led by lay and ordained staff with a deep understanding of UU congregations, MWLS:

  • develops both youth and adults into congregational leaders
  • provides leadership tools and skills
  • deepens Unitarian Universalist identity

Grow, thrive and renew

Explore your spirituality and nurture the gifts you bring back to your congregation. MWLS is an immersive and rigorous week of learning in classroom and small-group settings. Our program blends the practical (leadership tools and best practices) with the spiritual (theological exploration and worship) and experiential (small-group challenges) in a safe, welcoming environment. Leaders trained at MWLS have gone on to help their congregations through growth challenges, building new programs, expanding outreach and confronting social justice issues head-on.

Read more about MWLS or Register.


Governance Webinar in March

Ian Evison 2015By Ian Evison, Congregational Life Consultant and Lead Staff

We've added a March webinar on the subject of governance to our calendar:
Introduction to Governance
Tuesday, March 22 and Thursday, March 31, 7:45 pm Eastern/6:45 pm Central.

While good governance can be a great help, bad governance, un-reflective governance, and even-as we are discovering-misconceived efforts to change governance approaches, can get us into painful tangles. This webinar (great for board members, presidents and staff of congregation) gives a very brief introduction to the subject and some basic wisdom concerning doable changes that can set a congregation on a road to more thoughtful practice...and perhaps to meetings that are filled with more meaningful conversation and end when they are scheduled to end. Imagine that!


Learning Network Covenant at Regional Assembly

Learning Network CovenantBy Shannon VanLandingham for the LNC Task Force

Have you heard about the Learning Network Covenant, but are wondering, "What the heck is it?" Join us for our workshop at Regional Assembly to see how you can connect with other congregations and communities to share resources, see what is working for others, and share your leadership and knowledge. Our task force has been hard at work, and we want to show you where we are headed and get your input.

Are you a Board Member, Young Adult, Fundraising Chair, Minister, or Lay Leader? Basically anyone involved with a UU community will benefit from the Network. We are looking forward to sharing our vision and hearing what you need.


Apologies Continue

Rev Lisa Presley IMG 0962a200By Lisa Presley, Congregational Life Consultant

Friends, as I said last month, there are days when no matter how hard you try, you lose track of details. And I regret to say that I missed the UU Congregation of Grand Traverse from the list of Fair Share congregations!

Thanks to them, and you, for your indulgence for my mistakes!