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January 2022 News & Updates



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  • SL4CC Practice Group
  • JUUST Breathe
  • Faithify
  • Defund Fear
  • OWL Update
  • Admin Corner

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  • NER gatherings
  • Pi Gathering


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new year

From your New England Region Team

“In our perfect ways. In the ways we are beautiful. In the ways we are human. We are here. Happy New Year’s. Let’s make it ours.” —Beyonce

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Changing Our Metaphors

by Rev. Erica Baron

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Several years ago the New England Region team was creating the first version of our Spiritual Leadership framework. We identified 5 practices that help UU congregations to bring forth and support the spiritual leadership of everyone in the congregation. One of these practices we named “Binding to Tradition.”

The word binding was chosen deliberately. The word religion comes from latin meaning “to bind fast.” It’s related to the word ligament. And the word obligation. We chose to use the metaphor of binding to tradition to emphasize that claiming Unitarian Universalism creates obligation. We are obligated to carry on the tradition we have inherited. To bring its blessings and gifts forward into the future. And we are obligated by the harms our tradition, our congregations, and our association have committed. We are obligated to repair and to heal that harm.

Binding has a sense of constricting - of being constricted. Although we imagined the one doing the tying to be the person freely choosing Unitarian Universalism, that sense of constriction remains. In fact, it was key to the metaphor. Some Unitarian Universalists, we thought, could benefit from a little constraining. Constraint to counter the often said, “we can believe anything we want” and still be Unitarian Universalists. This statement ignores the important commitments to the value of every person and our understanding of the way all things are connected and interdependent. Constraint to the rarely said but often acted, “we can do anything we want and still be Unitarian Universalists.” There is so much unkindness, injustice, and inequity among us, which is a betrayal of those commitments. We chose the metaphor to evoke that feeling of constraint. To center that actually, there are limits.

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Spiritual Leadership for Culture Change Launching in 2022!

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Looking for company as you explore ways to embed the practices of Spiritual Leadership into your congregation? If you haven’t already, sign up to join this community of practice we’re launching this month. Convened and facilitated by NER staff, the community will gather once every couple of months — with a daytime and an evening option each time. We’ll learn together, ask questions, tell stories, and support each other in turning ideas into commitments into faithful practices. 

Our first 90 minute convenings will be January 25 at 1:00pm and January 26 at 7:00pm. Details about the focus and design will be sent to all who join the community through the form linked above.Further details and introductory video can be round here.

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Interview and music with Rising Appalachia.  Chloe Smith and Leah Song join Eric and Shannon to discuss music, love and community. Regular Monthly episode will be January 23rd at 8pm ET.

Topic will be Climate Justice. Noella Prescod and Zoe Johnston will be joining Eric and Shannon to talk about this important topic. 


Faithify Corner

Diverse Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries (DRUUMM) welcomes donations in support of expanding access for pastoral care and faith formation with BIPOC UUs. This Faithify will help us develop a lay pastoral care training that we anticipate launching by the end of 2022, and produce our Elder Spiritual Odyssey programs that connect stories of faith journeys of our elders with younger and future generations.

Your donation is gratefully received. Learn more about DRUUMM.

This UU Common Read invites us to ask ourselves, “Why is it important for UUs to Defund Fear?”

Plan to gather for a deep dive into Zach Norris’s Defund Fear: Safety without Policing, Prisons, and Punishment(Beacon Press, 2021) in Spring 2022. While Zach Norris’s book is secular, the issues it confronts and the solutions he offers raise core theological questions for Unitarian Universalists. Groups can meet for one 90-minute session or adapt the discussion materials to go deeper together with multiple meetings. Three different, parallel discussion tracks will support any UU group, an exclusively BIPOC group, or an activist group to explore personal connections to America’s public safety story and bring UU theologies to bear. Video materials, including conversations with author Zach Norris, will be available starting in April, 2022 to support our exploration.


Online OWL Facilitator Trainings

Registration opened Nov. 8 for four online Our Whole Lives facilitator trainings in March. These trainings are for the Grades 7-9/10-12 levels only; other training levels will become available by the end of summer 2021. Note, due to high UU demand, we will limit applicants to two per UU setting. If your setting already has at least two approved facilitators, please wait until the summer to register someone else. 

The training calendar and registration links are shared at www.uua.org/re/owl/trainings.


Please Help Us Keep Your Information Current

We track ministers, administrators, religious educators music directors, presidents, vice-presidents and treasurers in your congregation. We would appreciate you completing this form if people in these roles change during the year. If you have more than 3 updates, please start a new form. Note this is note a replacement for updating you MyUUA data.


NER Events


Admin Zoom Gatherings

These recent times have been especially isolating for administrators and we have noticed a rise in the number of new administrators in the region. Let's connect! Join your peers to share ideas, questions, concerns and support. Hosted on: Wednesday, Feb 9th 7-8:30PM and Thursday, Feb 17th 12-1:30PM. Note, you are welcome to attend either of these sessions. The same content will be covered in both.

Register and learn more here.

Leadership Gathering (Online)

This is the NER quarterly zoom gatherings for congregational board members/trustees. Join with your peers to share ideas, strategies, questions, concerns, and support. This event is open to current board members and people who will be on the board within the next several months. Hosted on: Thursday, February 3, 7-8:30pm

Register and learn more here.

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A Second Slice of Pi: An Online Conference for Smaller Congregations

Remember Pi Day, March 14, 2020 (3.14) when we were going to have synchronized conferences across the country for smaller congregations? There was going to be a theme of pie for everyone and lots of connecting? And...the pandemic happened instead?

Join us online at the UU Leadership Institute (UULI) on Saturday, March 12th, 2022 from 3 to 5 pm ET for A Second Slice - an updated, pandemic safe conference for smaller congregations! What will we be doing? Easy on demand resources for small congregations, opportunities to connect with leaders of other small congregations, and a chance to share your story. Registration is open!

Has your small (<120 members) congregation done something interesting lately? A new partnership? A unique social justice project? A new way of connecting your members? Would you like to share your success with others? A Second Slice of Pi is looking for stories to share with participants at the conference via a short video (we can help!). Contact your regional staff to let them know you’re interested or submit your idea with this form. Deadline for material submissions is February 1.


Notable dates in January:

Explore the Full UUA Events Calendar for more!



Leadership Resource Library

If your congregation is discussing how to come back together in person, the Leadership Resource Library may help in that process!

List COVID-19 Resources

New England Region Links

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Website: uua.org/new-england

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