Eric HufferEvery year in the Fall, the members of our MidAmerica Region Board of Trustees make phone calls to leaders of some of our congregations to check in, and gather feedback. We have conversations about how they are doing, what seems to be working well, and where they might be experiencing struggles. We check to see how and if they feel connected to the Region and UUA, and which, if any, of the resources and programming made available by the region and UUA have proven useful to them or their congregation.

Our hope is that these calls will help the region and UUA create better connections with our congregations, and find ways we can better serve them. Each year, in November, the MidAmerica Region board and the congregational life staff team meet and review the notes from the calls, and look for general themes that appear across the conversations. We try to identify successes and opportunities for improvement, as well as areas of need.

This year, the tone of the calls felt a little different. We kept hearing how stressed and tired both congregations and leaders are feeling. They spoke of having to respond to so many different social justice issues over the last year, and the need to provide sanctuary and ministry to their members as they too struggle with the many demands on those seeking justice in our world.

There is no denying that these are trying times, and the demands on our time and resources are many as we work toward bringing forth the beloved community. Many congregations feel isolated, and may even withdraw into themselves to focus on taking care of their members. I want to take this opportunity to raise up that these are the times that make being part of an “association of congregations” so important. We have covenanted to join together in body and spirit in the work of our faith. We know we are not alone, and that knowledge gives us strength, resolve, and creativity.

I am asking you to live into that knowledge, both in the work that you do, and the resources you share, as we go forward in community.

Eric Huffer

President, MidAmerica Region