Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Fall: A Time for Rituals and Reconnections

by Rev. Carlton Elliott Smith
Congregational Life Staff

I can feel the intensity in the air. Now that Labor Day weekend is over, we dive headlong into the fall and the new program year for the Southern Region and for our local congregations!

From my years as a parish minister, I remember the rituals of autumn: new and seasoned religious educators attending teacher trainings, ministers returning from vacation and study leave, and choirs rehearsing special music for Ingathering Sunday, which, for many congregations, includes a Water Ceremony/Communion. We, as Congregational Life Staff, will be out among you, leading start-up weekends for ministers and congregations beginning their journeys together, as well as ceremonial occasions, as our budgets and schedules permit.

We hope lay leaders and ministers alike will avail themselves of the programs being offered by and within the Southern Region. You can increase leadership capacity within your congregation through learning from UUA staff and experts, while building relationships with your peers in other congregations near and far. Please register early! Early registration helps us plan and prepare the best programs possible.

We offer for your consideration:

The Southern Region Fall Multi-track Training Events

This year, we are building on the success of the Southwest UU Conference’s annual Fall Harvest conference by offering similar intensive experiences in the Mid-South and Southeast. We encourage teams from congregations to come and spend a weekend delving into track themes such as the fundamentals of congregational leadership, ‘hot’ worship, personal stories as tools for social justice, and the spiritual dimensions of personal finance. Specific tracks vary by location. See our events page for additional details and to register.

Multi-track Training Event, October 10-12, 2014 – Gallant AL
SWUUC Fall Harvest, November 7-9, 2014 – Glen Rose TX
Multi-track Training Event, November 7-9, 2014 – Richmond VA

Also please note that the Presidents of the Four District Boards (Florida, Mid-South, Southeast and Southwest) voted recently to offer scholarships so that more members of small congregations can be a part of these multi-track events. You can apply for scholarship assistance as you complete your online registration form.

LREDA Fall Conference, October 17-20, 2014 – Decatur GA
While this is not an event sponsored by the Southern Region, we are thrilled that the site of this year’s largest gathering of Unitarian Universalist Religious Educators is within our borders and will be convenient for many of our own. This year’s theme is “Best Practices of Shared Ministry.” Topics include staff relations, finance, continuing education, radical hospitality, self care and pastoral care. Look for our Executive Lead Staff for the Southern Region, Rev. Kenn Hurto, and me in the hallways. For additional details and to register, click here.

In addition, check our calendar for other leadership development and retreat opportunities, including those at The Mountain.

Here’s to a season of inspired beginnings, renewed covenants, deeper connections, and reaffirmed commitments to justice, equity and compassion for all.