The MidAmerica Messenger

Volume I, Issue 8 | June 2014

In This Issue

Chalice Lighters Are Making a Difference
Going to General Assembly? Or Not?
Check Out Our Future Webinars
A Resource to Use Again and Again
The Stories We Tell Each Other

As we reach the season when many congregations' leaders change over, I thank all of you who have served your congregations this year. Your time and attention, your skills and commitment are all appreciated by those who benefit from your leadership. Thank you.

We always appreciate your comments and suggestions for the newsletter. Feel free to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!


Nancy Heege, Congregational Life Consultant

Chalice Lighters Are Making a Difference!

Chalice LightersHere are the exciting projects in MidAmerica congregations being funded by the Chalice Lighter program this year.

  • Harmony UU Church, Morrow, Ohio - this 4-year-old congregation rents space and needed help buying chairs for their growing numbers, plus equipment for A/V and acoustics and to improve their hospitality area and signage.
  • Tree of Life UU Church, McHenry, Illinois - making renovations to a building they own, such as renovating the kitchen, adding permanent walls, new phones, and new office computers
  • First Unitarian Church, Sioux City, Iowa - put in a wheelchair lift and accessible rest room last fall
  • Lake Country UU Church, Hartland, Wisconsin - modifying a rest room to meet ADA guidelines, as well as replacing a non-accessible drinking fountain.
  • UU Congregation of the Quad Cities, Davenport, Iowa - will be hiring some additional administrative staff, to allow their minister and religious educator to spend time creating programs called for in their Strategic Plan for Growth.

Does your congregation need assistance in a growth-related project?

Applications for the Fall 2014 Chalice Lighter grants are due August 15.

Chalice Lighters are MidAmerica Unitarian Universalists who sign up to donate individual gifts to congregations' growth-related projects. A committee evaluates and decides on projects to be funded.

Conduct a Chalice Lighter enrollment drive in your congregation. See the link to the Ambassador Packet at the website above for more information.

For assistance with applying for a grant or enrolling more Chalice Lighters, contact Dori Thexton or Phil Lund (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Going to General Assembly in Providence? Or Not?

GA 2014On Wednesday, June 25, come meet MidAmerica Region Board and Staff members at GA, and pick up a MidAmerica pin to wear during General Assembly and to take home to wear in your congregation. Each Region will have a table on the concourse of "the Dunk" (the Dunkin Donuts Arena, adjacent to the Convention Center) from 4-6 p.m. on Wednesday. This opportunity is being offered in place of the district and regional "Ingatherings" at previous General Assemblies.

If you're not going, be sure to watch the General Assembly events which will be live-streamed from Providence.

When General Assembly begins on June 25, just go to www.uua.org and the live-streaming link will be on the home page. Why not gather a group from your congregation to watch with you?

Check Out Our Future Webinars!

Midwest UU LeadershipOur online learning experiences introduce interesting topics and build participants' skills. In the next few months, we will offer webinars on topics for people responsible for small congregations' web sites, for religious educators, youth advisers, and more.

Schedule for upcoming webinars

List of archived webinars 

You can view the archived webinars anytime that's convenient for you. The topics are wide-ranging and designed to be of help to congregational leaders in a variety of roles.

A Resource to Use Again and Again

Regional Assembly 2014If you missed the Regional Assembly in April, you can visit our web site at RA 2014 Archives page to

  • see photos from the four locations
  • view the videos of the keynote address, business meeting, and Topeka worship services.

Saturday's keynote address, Reclaiming Our Liberal Heritage and Embracing Our Hunger for Justice, by Rev. Dr. Paul Rasor, was inspirational and engaging. Watching the video as a group would be a great way to reinvigorate your congregation's social justice program!

If you were at the Regional Assembly and would like to get others from your congregation interested in attending future events, please pass along the link above and encourage others to see what we offer.

The Stories We Tell Each Other

by Charlotte Preston, MidAmerica Board Vice President

Charlotte prestonA challenge for us as a newly formed MidAmerica Region is owning each other's congregational history and working in ways we have not previously done across all of our 13 states. As our 185+ MidAmerica congregations get to know each other, to know the ways we have interacted with our communities, and to hear about the work in each congregation to affirm the inherent dignity and worth of those around us, we, like travelers around a shared campfire, must take the opportunity to name touch points of who we are and what we have done, the "family stories" that were benchmark references for Central MidWest, Heartland, or Prairie Star and now become our Region's history.

To collect and share these stories, we need your help. Perhaps your congregation has worked with immigrants, documented or not, and what you have experienced can inform the work in other MidAmerica congregations. Perhaps the work has been addressing the areas where a community's inequitable attention to infrastructures reflects economic differences. Speaking personally, I well recall the sense at the UUA General Assembly in Kentucky that I needed, as a MidAmerica board member, to reset my orientation about environmental issues, so attuned to wetlands and boundary waters as a Minnesota resident, to encompass coal mining as it has ravaged Kentucky which is part of "my" Region but had not so much felt like "mine" before.

What is your congregation's story regarding working the areas of Anti-Racism, Anti-Oppression, and Multi-Culturalism? Send your story idea to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We want to get onto and share the good work of your congregation.

Central Midwest, Heartland, and Prairie Star Districts of the Unitarian Universalist Association joining together to create a new era in Unitarian Universalism as MidAmerica Region