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After the delegates at the 2015 MidAmerica Regional Assembly approved the Learning Network Covenant, the MidAmerica Board approved the following charge:
Charge and Timeline for a Learning Network Covenant Task Force
The Learning Network Covenant Task Force ("Task Force") shall plan and coordinate an open and inclusive process, as described in the Learning Network Covenant proposal materials (see pages 5-9 of the 2015 Annual Meeting Delegates Packet) approved without objection at the 2015 Annual Business Meeting of the MidAmerica Region, UUA.
The Task Force shall be appointed by the MidAmerica Region Board of Trustees, and shall include representative(s) of the Board and the MidAmerica Staff, as well as other participants representing the breadth of MidAmerica.
The Task Force shall report and discuss its work in process with the Board on a quarterly basis, and shall prepare reports to be shared with the UU congregations and organizations of MidAmerica, also on a quarterly basis.
The Task Force shall bring a preliminary statement of direction and principles to the 2016 Annual Business Meeting for discussion and endorsement by the delegates.
The Task Force shall bring a proposed Vision of MidAmerica as a New Era to the 2017 Annual Business Meeting for discussion and endorsement by the delegates.
The Board of the MidAmerica Region, UUA, commits itself to active support of the Task Force, and encourages the Task Force to let the Board know what support will be most helpful.
Approved by the Board of Trustees, MidAmerica Region, UUA -- May 16, 2015
Over the summer of 2015, the Task Force was formed. Since then, it has met on a roughly monthly basis. These are the members of the Task Force: Nancy Combs-Morgan (Lexington, Kentucky, MidAmerica Region Staff); Rev. Dawn Cooley (Louisville, Kentucky, MidAmerica Region Board); Rev. Lisa Friedman (St. Paul, Minnesota); David Jackoway (Indianapolis, Indiana); Rev. Bill Sasso (Carbondale, Illinois); and Shannon VanLandingham (Lawrence, Kansas).
In accordance with our charge, we offer the following preliminary statement of direction and principles to the 2016 Regional Assembly. We welcome your feedback and comments!
Learning Network Covenant: Statement of Direction and Principles
In creating a more explicit vision of the MidAmerica Region as a “New Era in Unitarian Universalism,” we commit ourselves to . . .
- learn and experiment together in an open and inclusive process, both clearly-structured and capable of generating living, meaningful results.
- embody our UU principles, hearing each other deeply, speaking from our hearts, and speaking our truths in love.
- strengthen our sense of interrelationship, embracing diversity in all of its dimensions within this shared learning process.
- connect ourselves, our congregations and communities, and our larger association, relating grassroots experience and insight to the Ends identified by the Boards of the UUA and the MidAmerica Region.
- honor our heritage as a cradle of liberal religious progress, walking together in the spirit of the Cambridge Platform, while recognizing that the 21st century confronts us with both rich opportunities and serious challenges.
- engage our bold and radical theological heritage, following its imperative to explore new understandings of what our faith calls us to be, to do, and to ask.
With the participation of many – ideally every – MidAmerica congregations and communities, over the next year we will create a vision that includes these aspirations:
MidAmerica as fundamentally relational, as a network of networks, where each congregation and community:
- is recognized and celebrated as a resource
- reaches out to others in response to shared opportunities and struggles
- sees the welfare of their neighbors as integral to their own
- rejoices in joining their voice and vision to create a larger Unitarian Universalist presence in their region
MidAmerica as a growing edge of Unitarian Universalist theology and practice:
- a site for renewal of covenant and religious freedom
- a continuation of this region's proud heritage of religious insight and experimentation
- a foundry for the next generation of social justice outreach and effective change
MidAmerica as a vital element within Unitarian Universalism and the UUA:
- a cradle of interconnection, innovation, and impact
- a laboratory for collaborative leadership
- a model for religious health and vitality
MidAmerica as a catalyst for change, together we:
- embody the Beloved Community
- bend the moral arc towards justice in the wider world
- serve as stewards of our environment addressing climate change and environmental racism
Questions (Conversations) We Invite Congregations  to Engage
Learning: What types of learning partnerships would your congregation seek with your sister congregations? For instance, would you value learning partnerships focused on stewardship, worship, social justice, leadership development, and/or faith development?
Network: In what ways would your congregation benefit from being in a network of congregations who intentionally seek to deepen their learning partnerships?
Covenant: How would a covenantal understanding with other congregations deepen the connection to the greater learning and connection?
- How would you describe your congregation's sense of covenant with other congregations, or with the larger UU movement?
- What does it mean (or would it mean) for your congregation to be in covenant with other UU congregations?
- What does being in covenant with other congregations look like? Or what would it look like?
Resources: What resources does your congregation need to deepen lateral relationships with other congregations?
New Era: Name three words that describe what your congregation most hopes to see in the New Era in Unitarian Universalism.
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Please share the results of these conversations with the Learning Network Covenant Task Force, by emailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org -- thanks!
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For additional background information about the Learning Network Covenant itself, please visit https://www.midamericauua.org/about-us/staff/documents/governance/learning-network
 We intend the term "congregation" to be understood in a broad sense, including congregations in the traditional sense as well as other covenanted communities and institutions, camps, professional organizations, etc.