The MidAmerica Region made history at this year’s General Assembly by becoming the UUA’s first region. On the morning of Saturday, June 22, delegates approved the proposed amendments to the UUA Bylaws which will recognize regions alongside districts as part of the UUA’s structure. The same set of proposed Bylaws amendments also added MidAmerica to the list of named UUA districts, and phased out the Central Midwest, Heartland, and Prairie Star Districts as they complete their process of dissolving and merging into the MidAmerica Region.
There was some, but not much, dissension. A few delegates did not understand why we needed to amend the Bylaws to add regions, in addition to districts. David Jackoway, Heartland District UUA Trustee, District Presidents Rev. Bill Sasso, Kathy Burek, Amy Taylor, and Heartland Vice President Kathy Silver all spoke to our vision of an entity which would be a new way of serving congregations, that our region is not just a larger district. We spoke of the overwhelming support the MidAmerica Region received at our spring assemblies. The final vote was overwhelmingly in favor of our proposal.
The establishment of regions in addition to districts is a two-year process, since it amends the so-called “C” Bylaws. This amendment process requires a majority vote the first year an amendment is proposed, and a two-thirds vote in the second year. The final vote will take place at GA 2014 in Providence, Rhode Island. Make plans now to be there as a voting delegate to help ensure the completion of our work!
Delegates approve bylaws changes adding regions! Read the UUWorld blog on the vote:
Love is the spirit of this church, and service is its law; this is our great covenant: to dwell together in peace, to seek the truth in love, and to help one another. (James Vila Blake, 1894)
In forming the MidAmerica Region, we seek to create something more than a new corporate institution. We want to create and nurture a new matrix of active congregational relationships. We envision MidAmerica as a dynamic and growing network of thriving congregations within the larger network of the UUA. The strands of these networks are relationships and collaborations among the congregations and organizations within MidAmerica. Many of these relationships will embody the commitments spoken in our covenants.
In August, 2012, the members of our three District Boards met and adopted the following "covenant to covenant" as a way to take our region-building work to a new level of commitment and meaning:
We, the members of Central Midwest, Heartland, and Prairie Star District Boards, hereby envision for our region a new era of Unitarian Universalism based in a relational model among our congregations and other UU institutions, and to engage Unitarian Universalists throughout this region - as individuals, congregations, and organizations - in an active covenantal process, as the formational shared experience of the MidAmerica Region.
With your active collaboration, we have developed and elaborated both a vision and a concrete proposal to form the MidAmerica Region. With your authorization, we have incorporated MidAmerica as a nonprofit corporation based in Iowa, effective May 16, 2013. Our next "institutional steps" include the recognition of MidAmerica by this year's UUA General Assembly and the combination of the three districts into MidAmerica, which is currently in process.
As we move forward, we invite you and your congregation to continue to work with us in this covenantal work and in creating a new era in Unitarian Universalism! How can you help? There will be many ways, but here are some "next steps" that will help us move the vision of MidAmerica forward.
- Does your congregation have a covenant or bond of union? If so, talk to your congregation's leaders about convening a discussion about it, and specifically about how it connects your congregation to others within our movement. If not, talk with them about convening a conversation about the congregation's sense of aspiration and commitment.
- Share that covenant! Send a copy of your congregation's covenant to me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can begin to learn about each other's covenants! I'd like to create a presentation of the covenants present within the Region, perhaps as a feature on our MidAmerica website.
- Learn more about MidAmerica! Check out the MidAmerica Region website at http://www.midamericauua.org/ !
- MidAmerica already includes many wonderful congregations, but - as former UUA President the Reverend Bill Sinkford so often reminded us - "We are better together!"
We are MidAmerica together - let's see how much we can accomplish together!
Prairie Star District, Central Midwest District, and Heartland District have joined together to create MidAmerica Region.