Monday, February 16, 2015

Wholehearted Leadership


Do some of these words make your sweat glands activate, or your mouth go dry? Perhaps they excite you, and make you want to thrust your hand in the air and yell, “Pick me, pick me!"

We have members at all levels of comfort with the term ‘leader’ and we need all levels of participation to make our congregations healthy. I am fond of saying that even if you do not “put on the cape of leadership”, you can still be an influential leader in your congregation. Leading by presence and being, is as important as having a leadership title, if not more so in some cases. Your actions, even when you do not feel like you are leading, can inspire others to leadership. One of the cool, yet sometimes scary, aspects of this is that you might not even know you are doing anything inspirational at that moment! 
Speaking of inspirational leadership, I want to take this opportunity to lift up the members of the four District Boards for their wholehearted leadership. Whether they wear their ‘capes’ or not, they have done an excellent job of guiding our Districts and Region! They have piloted our Region through some serious discussions about how might we further our Faith, and the best way to practice shared ministry in our next phase of being southern Unitarian Universalists.

Our District presidents have been meeting often, sometimes weekly, to discern the next steps for the Districts they serve and the Region as a whole. They have boldly moved us closer to deep, healthy, covenantal relationships, always remembering we are all interconnected and deeply longing for closer connection to our Faith and to one another. They are still hard at work, making preparations for the District Assemblies and facilitating several webinars for those who wish to become more familiar with the governance changes being proposed for a vote at the Assemblies. You can find more info on the webinars and how to register for one of them here: I say a big “Thank You!” to our current and previous District Presidents that have led us where we are now, and continue to encourage our members to widen our circle of connection and possibility just a bit bigger!

This is not to leave any of the other Board members out! All District Board members have actively participated in various task forces to get all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed leading up to the Annual Assemblies and the governance vote. The Elders Taskforce worked in deep relationship to envision what is next for building up lay leaders, how we might bolster neighboring congregations and clusters through the deployment of recognized Elders, and how to best utilize the first of its kind Elders Council in the near future. You can read more on the Elders Model here:

The Communications Taskforce has been doing a fabulous job in keeping all our members up to date on the happenings in the Region as it pertains to the movements of the Boards. If you haven’t familiarized yourself with some of the recent news, you can read the blogs from the last few newsletters here: To these taskforce participants and to all the others, again a hearty “Thank you!” for all that you have done and will continue to do for the District you serve, our Southern Region, and our Faith at large!

I also wish to say a full-hearted “Thank you!” to all of our congregational leaders! Without your caring, forward thinking, and thoughtful action, our Faith would not be what it is. Without all of your tireless efforts, we would not be able to step into a new way of being together with deep covenantal relationships at our foundation. I invite interested members and all of our leaders, whether you wear capes or not, to attend our annual District Assemblies April 17-19. Take part in the bold move to deeper relationship with fellow congregations, the Southern Region, and our Association as a whole. Information on the Assemblies and how to register can be found here:

In Faith and with great Hope for our shared future~

Maggie Lovins

Southern Region Congregational Life Staff

Monday, February 2, 2015

Fortune Favors....

by Connie Goodbread, UUA Southern Region Congregational Life Staff

Change is life - how it differs from the rocks… - Jefferson Airplane

Change is all around us.  In this whirling time and ever changing landscape, it is sometime difficult to find footing.  We know that in change there is loss, and yet we also know that change is pregnant with possibilities.  Knowing how to keep that which is most valuable while letting go of what is no longer useful is an art form.  We know that to grow, we must change.  We know that we are only human and so we will make mistakes along the way.  We also know that we will achieve much if we dare to be bold.  

Fortune favors the bold - Latin proverb.

In 2009 the four District Boards met in Orlando.  They talked deeply of their longings and shared ideas and thoughts.  They talked about a better world in which the values of Unitarian Universalism had more of an impact.  They talked of their faith.  The Orlando Platform was born out of this deep sharing. This was a bold move on the part of our elected leaders.  They have been brave and bold ever since.  

The first step toward regionalization was to become more efficient, identify where the system was redundant, and then reorganize so that work is not duplicated.  The second step was to end co-employment of the District staff and give supervision over the staff to the Director of Congregational Life.  The third was to examine our relationship with our larger Association and re-covenant.  The fourth was to adopt our UUA ends statements.  The fifth was to combine our budgets.  None of this was easy work.  However, it has been accomplished.

Now we find ourselves at the next phase.  Our District board members have done more amazing work.  They are leaders who care deeply about Unitarian Universalism, the congregations, relationships, and how best to grow our faith.  They are leaders who know that growth should not be merely for our glory but rather for all, so that we can be a vital part of affecting and infecting the world with more love, hope, justice, wisdom and joy.  They are leaders who are practicing shared ministry.  They are leaders who are doing their level best to be the servant leaders we need them to be.  They deserve our deepest gratitude and our heartfelt thanks.

I hope you will honor the work and dedication they have put into their service by finding time to attend one of the webinars designed to explain where we are at this moment in our move toward regionalization.  The explanation is clear and concise.  The times of the webinars are varied. Please look for them here on the home-page of our website.

We live in exciting times.  May our lives continue to be blessed with great leaders. May we ever be bold so that fortune favors, or at least smiles, nods, and winks at us.