Kenn Hurto, Executive Lead for the Southern Region and Connie Goodbread, Congregational Life Consultant
We know it is not news to you that changes are happening within our Association and Districts. After several years of planning, Florida, Mid-South, Southeast, & Southwest Districts have begun initiating steps toward unifying our identity and working as the “UUA Southern Region.” Our four governing Boards have reduced their size, approved cost and income sharing, and authorized staff to work as a team across District boundaries. With the 2013-14 fiscal year, we will begin a new funding structure that will replace the way congregations now pay our UUA “Annual Program Fund” and District Fair Share. We will be changing from the per member assessment to a single “Ask” based on a percentage of congregational budgets (more detail on that in weeks to come).
In keeping with these changes, with this issue, we close our individual District newsletters. Our plan is to launch a Regional newsletter on October 15th. This will be sent to all who are interested, in each of our 232 congregations across our 13 states. Over the last few years, our editorial goal has been to bring news to congregational leaders about area events and resources to further their leadership and ministry. We will continue to do that in our expanded focus as well.
Other changes: We’ve reduced four administrative offices into two. The Regional Office is in Orlando, staffed by Jessica Curren. The second office is in Charlotte, NC staffed by the Rev. Glenn Johnson. In addition Kathy Charles, who lives in Houston, is our logistics expert and we have hired a company to unify our bookkeeping throughout the Region.
The UUA field staff are now referred to as “Congregational Life Consultants,” doing away with the old “District Executive” and “Program Consultant” distinctions. Connie is one of our Congregational Life Consultants. We have four staff portfolios; Faith and Leadership Development, Connie Goodbread and Jennifer Nichols, Administration and Stewardship, Rev. Susan Smith, Transitions, Rev. Kenn Hurto and Evangelism/Growth, Rev. Sue Sinnamon. Coincidentally, our colleague, Annette Marquis of the Southeast District, is moving to a new position as the “LGBTQ & Multi-cultural Ministries Program Manager” for our UUA. This change prompted a review of our staffing plan; the good news is that we have found opportunity to increase from 6.5 full-time staff to 8, beginning January 1st. This is made possible with a bit of an additional financial stretch by our UUA. We are delighted to have this additional staff to better serve our congregations. (We are now in the midst of seeking two talented people for those positions; see uua.org/careers if you are interested.)
In addition to providing direct service to our congregations as before, Kenn’s duties now include working as the “Lead Executive” for the four Boards and directing the work of our staff group, affectionally known by our nickname, the “HallelUUjah” team. Kenn is also the “go to” person for congregations in the midst of professional leadership transitions.
A brochure describing these changes will be in the mail to our congregations in the next few weeks. We are mindful that change is often disruptive. However, our goal is to make these transitions go smoothly with no disruption of support to our congregations. Of course, congregational leaders may continue to call upon Kenn and Connie as well as any of the Southern Regional staff. Please feel free to call or write if we can address any concern you may have.