Trustee Tidbits

Joan Lund, September, 2012
jlund@uua.org  or 813-931-9727

Welcome to a “new” season in many congregations. In some of our congregations September begins with a “Water Communion” which is an expected and welcome rite. There is also something new for us at the national level. The UU College of Social Justice (UUCSJ) is an endeavor of the exciting collaboration between our Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC). This new College has been a part of a UUSC strategic plan dating back approximately two years.

The UUSC, founded in 1940, is a nonsectarian organization that works to advance human rights and social justice worldwide. Partnering with grassroots organizations and advocating for changes in public police the UUSC helps people in needed areas such as organizing workers and relief in the wake of a disaster. Without writing too much about our UUA, established in 1961 as the result of a merger of the Universalist Church of America and the American Unitarian Association, let it be said our UUA helps UU congregations thrive and promote the values of Unitarian Universalism. Both institutions share the mission of becoming true allies of oppressed people, and acting as catalysts for justice.

The UUCSJ is directed by newly appointed Rev. Kathleen McTigue who will lead the organization in offering current leaders and future activists of any age a broad and effective portfolio of service-learning and justice-education experiences. There will be no funding from the operating budgets of our UUA or UUSC because the UUCSJ is being funded by designated gifts from donors. At General Assembly (GA) it was announced there has already been a $1million gift. In approximately a year the UUCSJ plans to provide programs at the congregation level the help them determine justice priorities and develop local social justice alliances and partnerships.

I venture to say all of us have been challenged to make a difference in our world. The various social justice experiences/trips the UUCSJ already has offered and/or will be offered in the future are a way to experience an opportunity for personal transformation. Recently a group of 60 UUs traveled to Haiti to assist in the continued re-build there. Another recent trip involved a group of youth/young adults who journeyed to Tuskegee, Birmingham, Selma, and Montgomery to learn about the history of the civil-rights movement. They returned with reports of being overcome with emotion upon learning about Bloody Sunday, and the use of tear-gas and brutal beatings, including the death of one man, during the ultimately successful march to Montgomery.

If your congregation would like more information about the UUCSJ and/or upcoming social justice trips contact uucsj.org. If you would like to contact me please email at jlund@uua.org.  I look forward to hearing from you. May your upcoming congregational year be spiritually enriching and rewarding in all of your endeavors.

Notes From Your Regional Directors

Rev. Kenn Hurto and Connie Goodbread
August 2, 2012

Amidst the summer excitement of gold medal winners in the Summer Olympics and the worry about violence and polarized politics, our congregations continue to minister to our people, empowering them to witness for love and justice.

Our Justice General Assembly continues as our congregations apply the lessons learned there — notably working with local partners on matters of human dignity and basic rights to food, safety, voting rights, and healthcare.

By the way, please do let us know how your congregation is taking GA home!

In a recent FLD Connections, Kenn noted changes coming to our region that, we hope, will further strengthen our congregations to serve individual members as we all work to build the world we dream about.

This newsletter is part of that change. Hereafter, the FLD Connections and MSD E-newsletter become one regular communication, linking congregations from the U.S. Virgin Islands to congregations in Mid-Tennessee and in between. Our new combined e-newsletter is titled Deeper Connections.

Our goal is to keep you apprised of resources and opportunities for congregational development. In addition congregational leaders will continue to receive information on District-focused events.

Early this fall, the Southern Region Staff team will launch a rotating blog for our Directors to introduce themselves to you and offer personal commentary on our faith, American religious trends, and matters of moral justice.

Here is your Regional Staff team:
Rev. Kenn Hurto
Regional Lead
Transitions Director
khurto@uua.org

 

 

Connie Goodbread
Faith and Leadership Development Director
cgoodbread@uua.org

 

 

 

Jennifer Nichols
Faith and Leadership Development Director
jnichols@uua.org

 

 

 

Rev. Susan Smith
Stewardship and Administration Director
ssmith@uua.org

 

 

 

Annette Marquis
Evangelism & Strategic Growth Director
amarquis@uua.org

 

 

 

Rev. Sue Sinnamon
Evangelism & Strategic Growth Director
ssinnamon@uua.org

Trustee Tidbits

Joan Lund, August, 2012
jlund@uua.org  or 813-931-9727

GA has been over for a month and you have probably had ample opportunity to go on our UUA web site to read, listen, and learn about the many events, activities, workshops which are of interest to you. From my perspective and those with whom I have spoken GA was a marked success. I have written a report which will go out in the District e-news. In our on-going work looking at the long-term future of Unitarian Universalism, during the spring and through the summer the UUA Board of Trustees (BOT) has been involved in various aspects of a process called scenario planning.

The practice of scenario planning begins with the definition of a focal issue or decision. The BOT asked the question: What differences do we want to make in Unitarian Universalism, for whom and at what priority by the year 2050? The purpose of scenario planning is not to pinpoint future events but to highlight large-scale forces that push the future in different directions. It’s about making these forces visible, so that if they do happen, the planner(s) will at least recognize them. It is about helping make better decisions today. The practice of scenario planning is not difficult to describe but is can be difficult to do with skill and expertise. The “issue”: The future of our UUA. The BOT has brainstormed a long list of key factors and environmental forces that might influence the outcome of our UUA future and determined two trends: 1) more people becoming spiritual, not religious with less interest in organized religion; and 2) differences in wealth, class, and income, with an increasingly unstable economy. Each trend is assumed to either continue, or reverse, and the four different combinations then make up the four different assumptions of the BOT’s self-selected four teams.

From the trends, four teams emerged: 1) As the income gap grows and the economy becomes unstable, more people turn to religious and church life. 2) As the income gap grows, and the economy becomes unstable, people continue to leave organized religion. 3) Greater income equality stabilizes the economy, with a substantial increase in religious and church life. 4) Greater income equality stabilizes the economy, as people continue to leave organized religion. I am on this Team.

Each Team will meet three times by conference call prior to September with the end goal to write a “story” identifying trends and other issues related the assigned assumption. Youth and Young Adults will be invited to comment on the scenario work and add their own. After the scenarios are finalized and distributed to the BOT in September, they will be considered as part of our ENDS review in October.

Your Florida District Trustee realizes there may be questions and/or confusion regarding what has been described in the column. It’s a lot to digest. Because I may write further on this topic and your thoughts are important, I would like to hear from you. Thanks…and continue to enjoy our long, hot summer!

UUA Florida District

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