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The MidAmerica Messenger

Volume 3, Issue 7    |    February 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

Regional Assembly 2016 Registration is Now Open!

Sexually Safer Congregations

The WHO in the New Era of UUism: Widening the Circle

Announcing the 2016 Winter Chalice Lighters Call

UU Summer Camp: July 3-9, 2016

Learning Network Covenant Update

Fair Share Giving to the MidAmerica Region



Rev Phil LundEach month we try to provide you with the latest information about the MidAmerica Region of the UUA, and this month is no exception. If you'd like to know more about what's going on with the wider UU movement, there's the UU Bulletin. Check out the latest edition.

And as always, the latest news about Unitarian Universalism can be found at http://www.uuworld.org. Be sure to check out the article on the two women who have been nominated for the UUA presidency!

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 graphicRegional Assembly 2016 Registration is Now Open!

Registration for the 2016 MidAmerica Regional Assembly is now open! Building on last year's New Era theme, this year's assembly will 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?

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. Register now for the 2016 MidAmerica Regional Assembly and receive the early bird rate.

Sexually Safer Congregations

Sexually Safer Best Practice CongregationBy Rev. Dr. Lisa Presley, Congregational Life Consultant

The UUA and the Religious Institute are partnering to launch a new initiative to help our congregations reduce the possibilities of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct within their walls. There are several aspects that help congregations do this--have policies in place for staff and volunteer screening and training, education for congregation members of all ages, youth group covenants, effective policies for incorporating persons with history of sexual offenses, and an on-going commitment from the board on down to helping maintain a place of sexual safety. The Religious Institute has developed a comprehensive website to assist congregations in developing and assessing their safety policies, as well as a program where congregations can apply for the Best Practices Seal. For more information or assistance, feel free to contact Lisa Presley, the program manager for this work in the MidAmerica Region, and/or visit the Religious Institute website at www.religiousinstitute.org/safer-congregations. Lisa is helping our Region adapt necessary policies too, and so she knows some of the rewards and challenges first hand.

The WHO in the New Era of UUism: Widening the Circle

MUUSJA logoBy Nancy Combs-Morgan, Credentialed Religious Educator-Master Level, Congregational Life Consultant

As you may have already seen, the theme for the MidAmerica Regional Assembly is "The WHO in the New Era of Unitarian Universalism." Part of widening the circle of our faith means affirming that we are a multi-generational community, so we hope that the "WHO" includes our amazing youth leaders.

With that in mind, I am working with the talented leaders of the Minnesota UU Social Justice Alliance (MUUSJA) in providing a special add-on track for leaders of all ages to expand their thinking and skills in faith based activism. Rev. Ashley Horan, the Executive Director of MUUSJA, and I are working to organize a half-day training, on Friday, April 29th, from 12:30-4:00 p.m., at Unity UU Congregation in St. Paul, that will include a youth and adult panel of leaders who will share their firsthand experiences as courageous leaders who are seeking to build a just and loving world.

There will also be break out tracks specifically for youth and religious educators. I will be leading the track for religious educators, with the focus on how to incorporate social justice themes and activities into congregational religious education programming. MUUSJA will be handling the registration for this add-on training, and the event will be posted soon. We hope that the youth and adult leaders who take part in the MUUSJA pre-RA training will also register and participate in our regional assembly.

Announcing the 2016 Winter Chalice Lighters Call

Chalice Lighters smThe Winter 2016 Chalice Lighters call features four MidAmerica Region congregations: the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Mankato, MN: the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northfield, MN; the James Reeb Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Madison, WI; and the UU Fellowship of Decatur, IL. To find out what each congregation hopes to do with funds they'll receive, and to donate online, visit our MidAmerica Region Chalice Lighter page.

And thank you to everyone who's signed up to participate in the Chalice Lighter Program. Your generous support helps strengthen Unitarian Universalism throughout the region.

Generous Gift Received

By Nancy Heege

DAnn Prior2D'Ann Prior was an extraordinary person. A member of Michael Servetus Unitarian Society in Fridley, Minnesota since 1994, D'Ann was a devoted Unitarian Universalist who truly lived her values. She was active in a variety of social justice efforts. She helped to start a state-wide network of UUs for advocacy work, the Minnesota UU Social Justice Alliance, and she worked to defeat a proposed constitutional amendment that would have banned same sex marriages in Minnesota. She wore her gold Standing on the Side of Love t-shirt and baseball cap, even after cancer began to slow her down.

After D'Ann's death, the MidAmerica staff were notified that she had left bequests to her congregation, to MidAmerica Region, and to the Unitarian Universalist Association. In this way, her beloved faith communities, and the causes that she cared about, will continue to benefit from her passion and her generosity.

People interested in making a bequest to the MidAmerica Region can contact Lisa Presley at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

MUUSA UU Summer Camp: July 3-9, 2016

By Margaret Plett

Consider joining fellow UUs this summer in the Missouri Ozarks at the annual Midwest Unitarian Universalist Summer Assembly (MUUSA). The weeklong camp offers many workshops and activities for families, couples and singles of all ages. This year Reverend Krista Taves will lead the daily Morning Celebration service on this year's theme: "The UU House of Soul."

Come gather with hundreds of other UUs in the beautiful forests and rolling hills of the Missouri Ozarks at YMCA Trout Lodge, where you can connect with old friends, make new ones and participate in a wide variety of activities. Get all the details at www.muusa.org.


Learning Network Covenant Update

rev bill sassoBy Bill Sasso, on behalf of the Learning Network Covenant Task Force

Last April, MidAmerica Region delegates endorsed the Learning Network Covenant (LNC)-an open and inclusive visioning process intended to help us explore the possibilities that our new region can engage. Here's a quick update to keep you informed about the LNC process.

Our LNC Task Force has met recently to review two draft summaries: a statement of principles and direction, and a compilation of stakeholder groups in our MidAmerica visioning process. We are also developing a set of questions for you and your congregation, to help us understand what resources will be most valuable in MidAmerica, and where they might already be present. We also encourage UU organizations other than congregations to be part of the LNC process. We hope to share these drafts with you soon (perhaps in March), and look forward to receiving your feedback and comments.

For more information, or to share your suggestions and insights concerning the MidAmerica Region Learning Network Covenant process, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.! Your questions and/or reflections are always welcome!

Fair Share Giving to the MidAmerica Region

APF UUABy Lisa Presley, Congregational Life Consultant

Friends, please let me extend a deep apology to the many good congregations that should have been included on our list of Fair Share congregations in the last newsletter, and were not. I don't know if you've ever had that kind of day where the document you forward that supposedly contains the right information is not, in fact, that document! Well, I had one of those days, and passed on to our staff team wrong information.

So in this newsletter, we THANK all those who were inadvertently left off the list of generous Fair Share donors in our last newsletter, as well as all those we did include! We can't do our work without you, and we are most grateful. I apologize for any consternation, hurt, dissing or other ill feelings this has created in your congregations. We so appreciate you!

Lisa Presley

UU Fellowship of Ames Ames IA
UU Fellowship at Burlington Burlington IA
UU Society of Black Hawk County Cedar Falls IA
UU Fellowship of Clinton Clinton IA
Northeast Iowa UU Fellowship Decorah IA
First Unitarian Church of Des Moines Des Moines IA
UU Fellowship of Dubuque Dubuque IA
UU Society of Iowa City Iowa City IA
UU Fellowship of North Central Iowa Mason City IA
First Uniitarian Church Sioux City IA
First Unitarian Alton IL
UU Church Normal Bloomington IL
Beverly Unitarian Church Chicago IL
Peoples Church of Chicago Chicago IL
Third Unitarian Church Chicago IL
UU Fellowship of Decatur Decatur IL
UU Church of Elgin Elgin IL
UU Society of Geneva Geneva IL
Prairie Circle UU Congregation Grayslake IL
UU Congregation of Rock Valley Rockton IL
Abraham Lincoln UU Congregation Springfield IL
Federated Church Sycamore IL
UU Church of Urbana Champaign Urbana IL
UU Church of Bloomington Bloomington IN
UU Congregation of Columbus Columbus IN
UU Fellowship of Elkhart Elkhart IN
UU Church of Evansville Evansville IN
UU Congregation of Fort Wayne Fort Wayne IN
First Unitarian Church of Hobart Hobart IN
UU Fellowship of Kokomo Kokomo IN
UU Church Lafayette IN
UU Church of Muncie Muncie IN
Oaklandon UU Church Oaklandon IN
First Unitarian Church of South Bend South Bend IN
Heartland UU Church Zionsville IN
Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence Lawrence KS
UU Fellowship of Manhattan Manhattan KS
First UU Church of Wichita Wichita KS
UU Church of Bowling Green Bowling Green KY
Thomas Jefferson Unitarian Church Louisville KY
Open Door UU Fellowship Owensboro KY
UU Fellowship of Madison County Richmond KY
Community Uus in Brighton Brighton MI
UU Church of Greater Lansing East Lansing MI
UU Congregation of Flint Flint MI
Grosse Pointe Unitarian Church Grosse Pointe MI
People's ChurchKalamazoo Kalamazoo MI
The Marquette UU Congregation Marquette MI
UU Fellowship of Midland Midland MI
UU Fellowship of Central Michigan Mt Pleasant MI
Harbor UU Congregation Muskegon MI
New Hope Congregation New Hudson MI
UU Congregation of Petoskey Petoskey MI
UU Community Church of Southwest Michigan Portage MI
Northwest UU Church Southfield MI
Pilgrim House UU Fellowship Arden Hills MN
Headwaters UU Fellowship Bemidji MN
Lake Fellowship of U & U Excelsior MN
Michael Servetus Unitarian Society Fridley MN
Unitarian Fellowship Grand Rapids MN
UU Fellowship of Mankato Mankato MN
UU Fellowship of Northfield Northfield MN
Northwoods UU Fellowship Pine River MN
First UU Church Rochester MN
St Cloud UU Fellowship St Cloud MN
Unitarian Church of Underwood Underwood MN
Mesabi UU Church Virginia MN
UU Church of Minnetonka Wayzata MN
UU Fellowship of Winona Winona MN
UU Church Columbia MO
UU Fellowship of Jefferson City Jefferson City MO
Gaia Community Kansas City MO
UU Fellowship of Rolla Rolla MO
First Unitarian Church of St Louis St Louis MO
Bismarck Mandan UU Fellowship and Church Bismarck ND
Grand Forks UU Fellowship East Grand Forks ND
UU Church of Fargo Moorhead Fargo ND
Kearney UU Fellowship Kearney NE
Unitarian Church Lincoln NE
First Unitarian Church Omaha NE
Second Unitarian Church of Omaha Omaha NE
First Unitarian Church Cincinnati OH
Northern Hills Fellowship Cincinnati OH
St John's UU Church Cincinnati OH
Miami Valley UU Fellowship Dayton OH
UU Fellowship of Lima Lima OH
First Universalist Church New Madison OH
Hopedale UU Community Oxford OH
UU Fellowship of Yellow Springs Yellow Springs OH
Chequamegon UU Fellowship Ashland WI
UU Church of the Lakes Elkhorn WI
Open Circle UU Fellowship Fond du Lac WI
Lake Country UU Church Hartland WI
Bradford Community Church Kenosha WI
UU Fellowship of La Crosse La Crosse WI
UU Fellowship Marshfield WI
Unitarian Fellowship of Milwaukee Milwaukee WI
Blue Hills UU Fellowship Rice Lake WI
Prairie Lakes UU Fellowship Ripon WI
UU Society of River Falls River Falls WI
Saint Croix UU Fellowship Saint Croix Falls WI
UU Fellowship of Door County Sister Bay WI
United UU Congregation Waukesha WI
First Universalist Unitarian Church of Wausau Wausau WI
Northwoods UU Fellowship Woodruff WI