September 2022 Newsletter

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Welcome back, a message from Woullard Lett!

Who doesn’t love summer? We see growth and development in nature as vegetation blooms and the days lengthen and heat up. Now, we have just recently passed the summer solstice when the productive energies of summer are at their peak. In congregations we are preparing for the beginning of the new church year. In New England, we turn to the last days of resting under shade trees, walking along sandy beaches or being nestled in warm breezes or cooled by summer showers.

We welcome the experience of transitioning to the new church year and all the preparation and anticipation that these times bring. We are aware of the challenges that this time brings for some and the opportunities it presents to others. We find new blessings and face new burdens as our circumstances change with the seasons. Ministerial transitions have represented a particular challenge for many congregations in this pre-post COVID time. Adapting to the new forms of worship that blend online and in-person requires new ways of doing things.The opportunity or the opposition to returning to in-person worship can also raise anxiety levels or remind us how much we missed being in each other's presence.

We look forward to coaching and companioning you on our church year journey. We will share opportunities to challenge and connect you with sibling congregations throughout the region and across the country. The New England Region staff team continues to promote the practices of spiritual leadership: centering in gifts, inner work, tending to tradition, covenant and faithful risking. We are humbled by your demonstration of spiritual leadership in our collective ministry. Let’s begin again in the new church year. 

Read the Latest Blog

5 Tips For Heavy Lifting!

by Wren Bellavance-Grace

“How are you?” I asked my DRE colleague on our recent phone call. Her response was not exactly typical, but becoming more familiar. She’d had a bout of Covid about six or eight months before. Although she’d been quite sick, it could have been much worse, and she was grateful for the vaccines her family had received. “Still,” she said, “even all these months later, I find I get winded easily. It’s harder to lift heavy things. Some things are just harder now.”

We return to our traditional New England UU church year in September, many of us feeling the same way after three years of covid - so much of what we used to do is just harder. Some of us who have chronic conditions or care for loved ones who do, it feels hard to show up for Sunday worship, and harder still to imagine going to coffee hour. For some families, it feels harder to rally the kids to go back to RE or youth group - it’s hard enough getting them to school five days in a row! It’s harder to find volunteers to staff our programs, serve on committees, companion the youth group, run the annual auction, or any one of a number of other things we once had an army of volunteers to help with in the before times. Everything is just a little harder.

We gave this blog post a provocative title, one that looks like social media clickbait designed to lure you to our pages with quick fixes for complex problems. These internet traps are really effective at getting eyeballs on their pages, but they aren’t effective at bringing viewers any actual help.

Read More

NER News & Events

Being in Right Relationship with Change

Daytime offering: September 27, 1:00 PM (ET)*

Evening offering: September 29, 7:00 PM (ET)*

*An optional orientation to Spiritual Leadership Q&A session

will begin 30 minutes before each offering. 

In describing the concept of "emergent strategy," adrienne maree brown asks: 

“How do we get in a right relationship with change that allows us to harness and shape things towards community, towards liberation, towards justice?” 

As change envelopes us today, what might it be like for congregations to get into right relationship with change? How do practices of Spiritual Leadership — such as faithful risking and doing inner work — help sustain such a right relationship and guide our collective lives towards mission? 


We will kick off our community of practice for the new church year exploring how some congregations are shifting their orientation to change and what new possibilities emerge as they move into right relationship with change, steering toward community, liberation and justice. Registration and pre-work details will be sent out in early September.


Our bi-monthly gatherings allow congregations to learn from each other; share concerns, stories and questions; and explore opportunities for collaboration. If you have not already joined the community of practice, you can do so using this form. The community is open to all — religious professionals and laity. Once you join, you will automatically receive registration details and the pre-work assignment before each gathering.

To learn more, follow these links: 

Board/Trustee Gathering

(online event)

This is the NER quarterly zoom gathering for congregational board members/trustees. Join us and your peers on September 8th from 7-8:30PM ET to share ideas, strategies, questions, concerns, and support. Registration is free and required. Registration ends Wednesday, Sept. 7. 

Admin Gathering (online event)

Join your peers to share ideas, strategies, questions, concerns, and support on September 13th from 12-1:30pm ET Open to New England Region congregational administrators. 

We’ll send details to all registered participants a few days before the gathering, along with a survey inquiring about what topic(s) you’d like to discuss. Please register by Wednesday, Sept. 7. 

Claiming our Spiritual Leadership (in-person event) 

As leaders in your congregation, do you feel your church commitments are more like chores than a joyful expression of your faith? Are you collectively worried about having enough -- time, money, volunteers, funding, members? Do your people long to deepen or recapture their connection to each other, to spirit, to purpose? Do you have a vision for change but feel unsure how to bring it about or how to express it in a way that will be welcomed? 

If you answered “Yes” to these questions, now is the time to claim your spiritual leadership. Starting Sept. 25, 2022 - 1:30 PM to 3:00PM (ET).

A workshop designed for boards, committees, church staff, newly nominated or elected leaders, and volunteers who want to tap their individual and collective power for living into the mission and purpose of their congregation.

Registration is open and ends September 16th.

Can't join us in-person? Take the course online through the UU Institute

Welcome Sherri Lysy to the New England Region Team! 

After a long and tough search the New England Region is welcoming Sherri Lysy (she/her) as our new Administration and Finance Manager. 

Sherri lives in Raymond, Maine with her partner, Andrew, and pup, Hubert. Sherri likes to garden, hike, kayak, read and do yoga (not necessarily in that order). She brings experience from the private and non-profit worlds and a history with Unitarian Universalism. We look forward to her sharing her gifts with us.

News & Events

Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray’s 2022 Ingathering video

Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray’s 2022 Ingathering video

Four Plays For a Planet in Peril 

New Resource available to congregations!

Four Plays for a Planet in Peril is a series of unique and provocative interconnected short films that, together, run about 66 minutes. Each film also stands alone and can be shown independently. The films vary in style from satirical to serious, from stylized and lyrical to realistic. The films' creators—writer, director, award-winning environmentalist Lee Roscoe and filmmaker/producer Janet Murphy Robertson—hope to inspire action by congregations and individuals alike! 

Lee Roscoe and Janet Murphy are making these films available to UU congregations without cost as a way to spread the message of urgent concern for the environment. You can use them in worship, as a jumping off point to discussion, or you can contact the creators to arrange to use them for fundraising. 

Access them here! 

The film makers would love to know when and how you use them. Please send your comments on the films, plans for screening them, and any questions to Lee Roscoe at

Four Plays for a Planet in Peril are copyright and we hereby authorize the UUA to distribute this content for screening by congregations and viewing by individual members.

Notable Dates in September:

Labor Day - Sept 5th 

9/11 Anniversary - Sept 11th

Hispanic Heritage Month Sept 15th - Oct. 15

Autumn Equinox/Mabon- Sept 22nd 

Celebrate Bisexuality Day* - Sept 23rd 

Rosh Hashanah - Sept 25th 


Explore the Full UUA Events Calendar for more!

Pandemic Strategies (Including COVID-19)

We thank all congregations whose generous contributions to the Region

and to our UUA Annual Program Fund make all of our work possible.

We offer learning opportunities throughout the New England Region for congregational members, lay leaders, and religious professionals.

Regional staff services and support are available to UU congregations year-round.

Contact us!

(617) 948-6415


Staff Contacts

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