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Issue 72     February 2013
In This Issue
Consider A UU Camp This Summer
Annual Conference
Preserving Camp UniStar
Youth and Young Adult News
News of People and Congregations
Wider UU World

Consider A UU Camp This Summer

Camp StarTrail
Join us July 28 - August 2, 2013 for Camp StarTrail located near Omaha, Nebraska. The week's theme will be "Poetry and Justice" presented by Rev. Meg Riley, senior minister of Church of the Larger Fellowship. Children will have the opportunity to participate in Seventh Principle Explorers. More information on our Camp StarTrail pages.

Camp UniStar
The  summer program for Camp UniStar in northern Minnesota has been announced. Camp UniStar offers ten family weeks with various programs, a work week, and two youth weeks. More information at

Annual Conference 2013

Cedar Rapids, Iowa
April 5-7, 2013

Ready to celebrate 50 years of PSD? Registration is OPEN for our conference, "Inspire the Future We Envision"! We'll kick off Friday night with a banner parade, official welcome, a rousing address by the Rev. Stefan Jonasson, then CAKE, and party.You have the power to create the church you want, and what better way to get those creative juices flowing Friday night than with the rich harmonies of The Deep Dish Divas? These versatile musicians, Deb Hunemuller, Carrie Kriz, and Karen Pierce play bass, fiddle, flute, guitar & dulcimer, but are equally at home singing a cappella. We know you'll find old favorites as well as new among the swing, folk, and vintage novelty songs served up by this tantalizing trio. Check out their Facebook page: for samples of their music. It's the perfect start for a weekend packed with workshops, speakers, more music, and hanging out with a couple hundred other UUs you're dying to meet.

More Information on PSD Annual Conference 2013.

Camp UniStar: Preserving the Camp for the Future

by Kathy Burek, District President

In 1961 the Prairie Star District (PSD) received a gift of land on an island in Cass Lake, Minnesota. It became Camp UniStar. Since then, thousands of UUs and like-minded individuals from all 50 states have enjoyed its rustic serenity and programs. Each season features a work week, ten family weeks and two youth weeks. Approximately 700 campers each year participate in UniStar's activities. The UUA’s move to consider consolidation of administrative capacities through regionalization raised the question of what to do with certain assets, such as Camp Unistar which was managed by PSD.  In anticipation of the possibility of regionalization, the PSD Board directed its Enterprise Management Group (EMG), which has been assisting the PSD Board with providing oversight over Camp Unistar, to explore the possibilities for the future that would meet its primary goal of assuring that the Camp would continue its successful mission far into the future.

Important insights gained throughout this process include:

  • Governing a camp and governing an organization intended to serve UU congregations require very different skill sets and aptitudes on the part of board members;
  • Managing risk, especially those associated with owning a rustic property with a waterfront, is an important consideration of the oversight required and the potential costs to congregations, should regionalization occur;
  • Many other districts have “spun-off” camps to improve oversight and risk management; and
  • Prairie Star District and many other stakeholders value the camp highly and want to see it remain strongly connected to the Midwest UU community.

The EMG reviewed a range of options, and in April 2012 made a recommendation to the PSD Board that balanced the needs of all stakeholders. A copy of the EMG report, which describes the legal and financial input they received, is available on the PSD Website at CampUniStarEMG.

After receiving feedback from numerous sources on the EMG report, the PSD Board has directed the EMG to develop a proposal that would:

  • Authorize creating a new, non-profit corporation, the Camp UniStar Foundation (CUF) that is separate from, but connected to, the MidAmerica Region.
  • Transfer ownership of the camp property, with an estimated value at $2 million, to CUF as a restricted charitable gift;
  • Transfer ownership of camp reserves and endowment funds held worth nearly $300,000 to CUF (these funds have been segregated within PSD);
  • Create a strong governance structure for the CUF board that includes the MidAmerica Region Board, but seeks active participation from people committed to the camp and has strong provisions related to the sale of the property; and
  • Make the UniStar Management Committee a key part of the CUF structure and empower it to operate the camp.

The proposal will be voted on at the PSD Annual Meeting in April 2013.  From the PSD Board’s perspective, this recommendation has several advantages:

  • MidAmerica Region appointment of board members retains influence of UU congregations in the operations of the camp, and the UU connection so important to UniStar’s history and culture;
  • The requirement of MidAmerica’s approval of the sale of camp property ensures that an asset belonging to UU congregations cannot be disposed of without the consent of UU congregations;
  • Separation of corporate structures allows the camp to be governed by a board which can focus exclusively on the camp, while the MidAmerica Region can focus on serving the needs of UU congregations; and
  • Separation of corporate structures shields the MidAmerica region from legal liability, since it has no responsibility for camp operations.

Lastly, in further support of Camp UniStar, the PSD Board has allocated $10,000 toward high-priority safety projects. This allocation was made at its December 8, 2012 board meeting. Also see

Youth and Young Adult News

The Adaptive Possibilities

by Nancy Combs-Morgan, MidAmerica Coordinator of Youth and Young Adult Ministries

You may have seen various posts on our MidAmericaUUA website, and on the Heartland, Prairie Star and Central Midwest websites on regionalization. Much of that important news has been focused on the impact on governance for our respective three districts. At our most recent MidAmerica staff retreat this last December, we had a shared "aha," that we should start a series on the "adaptive possibilities" that we can realize together due to regionalization.

Let’s begin with some good news.  A few years back Dori Davenport Thexton, Phil Lund, and myself began to have a conversation about how hard it was to sustain the viability of offering Renaissance Modules for our respective three districts.  Despite the challenges, we shared, and continue to share, a conviction that offering meaningful and worthwhile continuing education opportunities for religious professionals, and seminarians, who want to learn more about the Philosophy of Religious Education, Teacher Development,  Administration of RE programs, and UU Curriculum Planning, Ministry with Youth, Multicultural Religious Education, Worship for All Ages, is something that we want to maintain and sustain.  In particular, to aid those religious professionals in their own professional development, such as in the RE Credentialing Program, or the process of ministerial formation.  The next move on our part was to create a multi-year MidAmerica regional plan for offering renaissance modules each fall and spring.  The locations have rotated between our respective three geographic areas and between us we have co-led most of these offerings.  The regional collaboration has also afforded a platform for those religious professionals, who had previously taken one of these trainings, to step up and become a trainer.  The shared regional model for offering Renaissance Modules has proved to be sustainable and an enriching experience for attendees as well as the training co-leaders.  This experience demonstrates that regionalization does not just provide adaptive challenges, but more so, adaptive possibilities!

We are pleased to report that our next offering will be the Adult Faith Development Renaissance Module, co-led by Barb Friedland, DRE at Thomas Jefferson UU congregation in Louisville, KY, and Gail Forsyth-Vail, the UUA’s Adult Programs Director.  The module will begin on Thursday evening, February 28, 2013 and conclude on Saturday, March 2 by noon, at Eliot Chapel in St. Louis, MO.  It will be part of a larger event, REALL, which will have multiple workshops on how to raise lifelong UU’s!

More information on MidAmerica Region events.

News of People and Congregations

News from Congregations

First Universalist Church of Minneapolis, Minnesota was the winner of The Unitarian Universalist History and Heritage Society’s inaugural Heritage Project Prize. The prize was awarded  for First Universalist’s Sesquicentennial Celebration, which engaged dozens of congregational members in the congregation’s history, and produced an impressive webpage, narrative history, and video presentation. Many individuals contributed to this project, among them Nancy Atchison and Karin Wille, who co-chaired the Sesquicentennial Steering Committee; committee members Bette DeMars, Carol Jackson, Peg Meier, Mikki Morrissette, Marie Nordberg, Jeff Sylvestre, Jennifer Thomas, Pamela Vincent, and Marcia Wattson; Senior Minister Rev. Justin Schroeder; and Associate Minister (newly retired) Rev. Kate Tucker. To learn more about keeping heritage alive in your own congregation, see

PSD People

Rev. Ron Knapp, Minister Emeritus, First Unitarian Church of Omaha, has written a book MOMENTS In A Life. It’s a memoir of eight decades of exploration/ six decades in the ministry/ six decades of marriage/ five children/ thirteen different homes/ six different states. Published by Outskirts Press A signed copy is available from the author for $25.00. Make checks payable to Ron Knapp and send to Ronald Knapp, 9615 Wirt Street, Omaha, NE 68134.

In Memoriam

Donald McKinnon

Our sympathy to the family and friends of Donald Taylor McKinnon who died Sunday, January 13, 2013, just 11 days before his 87th birthday. Don was the UUA Trustee representing Prairie Star and Western Canada Districts from 1995 to 2003 and in that role served on the Prairie Star District Board. Don was admired by many for his handling of the difficult issues the UUA Board dealt with in those years. He was predeceased by his wife Margaret McKinnon (nee Robinson) in 2005.

Don attended the University of Manitoba obtaining a science degree and then later his Bachelor and Masters of Education. He had a long career in teaching and administration in the Winnipeg schools. He and his wife were active members of the Unitarian Church of Winnipeg for more than half a century. Don took a leading role in his church and the Unitarian Universalist Association both at the district and national level.

Don was passionate about his model railroad and spent thousands of hours of his adult life working on the huge layout that took over most of the basement of his home. He also loved stamp collecting, gardening, reading and needlepoint.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the Canadian Cancer Society or the Riverview Health Centre Foundation would be appreciated.

Charlotte Justice Saleska

Condolences to the family and friends of the Rev. Charlotte Justice Saleska who died of Alzheimer’s disease on December 28, 2012. She was 77 years old.

Rev. Saleska was born in Marion, Indiana on August 16, 1935. In 1988, she earned both a Master of Arts in Religious Studies from the University of Chicago Divinity School and a Master of Divinity from Meadville Lombard Theological School. She was first called to serve the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Quad Cities in Davenport, IA, becoming their first and only female settled minister, from 1988-2000. She then went on to serve several congregations as interim minister. In 2000, she was named Minister Emeritus of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Quad Cities.

Rev. Saleska’s tenure as minister, as in life, was marked by a love of literature, a commitment to religious pluralism and social justice, and the enduring power of liberal religion in local congregations. While in Davenport, IA, she co-founded the Interfaith Theological Symposiums.

Rev. Saleska was predeceased by her husband the Rev. Charles Saleska. She is survived by her sisters, brothers, two sons, and three grandchildren. One of her sons is the Rev. Kent Hemmen Saleska, minister of the UU Church of Minnetonka in Wayzata, Minnesota.

A memorial service will take place on Saturday, March 16, 2013 at 1:00 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church West, 13001 West North Avenue, Brookfield, WI 53005.

Wider UU World

Audio UU World

Audio versions of six articles of the Winter Issue of UU World are up online. Not only are they useful for the visually disabled but also just for folks who would rather listen to an article while they are driving or otherwise occupied.


International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF) announces its fall 2013 West Coast Tour to visit and learn about several IARF member groups in California, Oregon and Washington. Organizers would like to know of your interest as space is limited.

Reproductive Justice

The UUA endorsed "Reproductive Justice" at Justice GA 2012 and chose it as our next Congregational Study/Action Issue (2012-2016). This topic, while inclusive of reproductive choice, provides UUs the opportunity to educate and act on a broader and deeper level, aligning us with a movement for reproductive justice began by women of color whose reproductive "choices" were impacted by more than the legality of abortion. Reproductive justice is about the reproductive and sexual wholeness of all people and communities. Find out more at