The MidAmerica Messenger
December 2018 and forward will be found at our new site: https://www.uua.org/midamerica/news/blog
Volume 6 Issue 4 | November 2018
The MidAmerica Region is where UUs visibly live our faith, create connections, grow our membership, and welcome all persons who share our UU values.
Phil Lund, Congregational Life Consultant
This issue of the MidAmerica Messenger has some important information for individuals and congregations in the region, namely, the theme, date, and location for next year’s Regional Assembly; details on the new Annual Program Fund formula for congregational support of the UUA; and an update on the MidAmerica Chalice Lighter program and more!
In Faith, Rev. Phillip Lund
Bryan Stevenson, Founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, AL, and the 2017 Ware Lecturer, called all Unitarian Universalists to “get proximate to people who are suffering…”. This important message calls us to be “in” relationship. As we seek to dismantle white supremacy, within our own institution, as well as the greater world, we must seek to be in relationship. As Stevenson went on to express, we also need to “change the narrative,” and, I believe, that narrative is changed when each of us does our own individual work of education and consciousness raising. The next step is to be in community with those who are in the process of deconstructing narratives. Deconstruction equals change.
Our MidAmerica Regional staff team is in the process of changing. As we learn and grow, we are hoping to act upon a new narrative that will help dismantle white supremacy within Unitarian Universalism and beyond. We are also inspired by many of the MidAmerica congregations who are being intentional about their efforts to dismantle white supremacy. For instance, from the UU Church of Indianapolis, I was inspired to see that there are monthly messages from their Board of Directors on their efforts to dismantle white supremacy, such as this recent piece from their President, David Jackoway,
Building the Beloved Community
"We cannot as Unitarian Universalists argue about whether racism or a culture of white supremacy exists in our faith. It does, and it is actively harming people of color."
For further inspiration, please check out the dismantle white supremacy page on the UUA website.
We would love to hear more of your congregational narratives as you seek to engage in this important work.
Nancy Combs-Morgan, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Photo: UU Church of Indianapolis)
This year, our RA will be held in St. Louis, Missouri, at the Marriott St Louis, April 5-7, 2019.
The theme is “Intersectionalities”—how we live, work, and relate, as well as share, withhold, and leverage power in our world. Presentations and workshops will explore identities we encounter and embody, the challenges of social inequality, and tools and skills we need in order to work more effectively with one another, as well as the general “nuts and bolts” of congregational life, such as leadership, stewardship, membership, and religious education. Our Keynote Presenter will be UUA President, Susan Frederick-Gray. Join us to explore, share, and worship with fellow Unitarian Universalists.
More about our keynote: The Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray is the ninth president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). She was elected in June 2017 to a six-year term.
She served as lead minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix since 2008. She previously served as minister of First Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown, Ohio, where she was a leader in congregation-based community organizing efforts, and served as intern at First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville, Tennessee. After leading the UU response to Arizona’s anti-immigrant laws in 2010, she became lead organizer for the Arizona Immigration Ministry and a key organizer of the 2012 Justice General Assembly. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Harvard Divinity School. She lives with her husband, the Rev. Brian Frederick-Gray, and their son, Henry.
Registration will be open in January!
From the UUA’s Office of Stewardship and Development
What is the Annual Program Fund?
Every UU congregation in our Association is asked to contribute a specific sum of money annually to the Annual Program Fund to support all of the congregations in our Association. The Annual Program Fund makes up the single largest source of funding for the work of the Unitarian Universalist Association. In turn, the UUA utilizes these funds to provide resources, programming and support to all of the congregations across the Association. Your giving makes this possible. Thank you!
In July of 2019, congregations in MidAmerica and the Districts of the Pacific Western Region will move to the New APF.
The New APF formula is different in two significant ways.
First, the New APF request supports both APF and what your congregation formerly contributed to your district and/or region. The New APF is a unified program, demonstrating that we are all one UUA. The New APF is also based upon a congregation’s ability to pay, and it therefore is based on a congregation’s certified expenditures rather than number of members. The New APF is a fair and equitable way for all of our congregations to both support, and be supported.
The New APF formula asks for a contribution of 6.75% of your congregation’s certified expenditures. There are built in adjustments to the formula for congregations in high wage rate areas (utilizing the national UUA Geo Index), or for congregations who have extremely high expenses per member (whether this is due to the high cost of your building or other circumstance). Additionally, there is a transition collar applied so that no congregation’s requested contribution amount will go up by more than 10% in a year. At the same time, no congregation’s requested contribution amount will go down by more than 10% in a year.
How Did The New APF Come About?
The APF Task Force of the UUA Board (with the help of the UUA Staff and the congregations in the Southern Region who piloted the GIFT program) worked for a number of years to study congregational giving in order to create a program that would be fair and responsive to the realities of congregational life, while at the same time providing sustainable financial support so that our congregations can be well served. The New APF Formula is the result of this work.
Please visit www.uua.org/amplify for further information and resources about APF.
All congregations should have (or will shortly) received a mailing from the UUA’s Stewardship and Development (Stew/Dev) staff group outlining the changes that are happening to how you donate to the UUA and the MidAmerica Region. The “New APF” continues our practice of having you send all funds to the UUA with revenue sharing between the UUA and the Region, AND it involves a change in how Honor Congregation amounts are calculated—with all of this to start July 1, 2019. There is great material in that packet, so we hope you’ll read and share it with everyone who has a need to know.
And, for those of you who have questions, Stew/Dev is hosting both weekly open office hours, and webinars geared toward treasurers/financial folks, and to ministers. These dates are in the packet, but we wanted to make sure you saw them.
Open Office Hours: every Monday from 5:00 pm Eastern Time, 4:00 pm Central Time, for 60 minutes: connect by going to: https://zoom.us/j/6179486514
Webinars for Treasurers/Financial People:
November 14, 2018, at 3:00 pm Eastern, 2:00 pm Central
November 20, 2018, at 1:00 pm Eastern, 12:00 noon Central
Zoom connection: https://zoom.us/j/6179486514
Webinars for Ministers:
November 13, 2018, at 1:00 pm Eastern, 12:00 noon Central
Zoom connection: https://zoom.us/j/6506789566
Introducing Conversations about End of Life Wishes in Your Congregation
A webinar with Rev. Rosemary Lloyd, UU Minister and Advisor to Faith Communities for The Conversation Project:
Tuesday, November 13, 7:45pm to 9:00pm Eastern Time.
90% of Americans think it is important talk with their loved ones and doctors about what matters most to them about end of life care. Yet fewer than 30% have done it. Some say it is scary. Or they just don’t know how to start the conversation.
In this webinar, Rosemary Lloyd will share examples of how congregations can introduce the tender topics of advance care planning and care at the end of life. Using preaching, pastoral care, programming, and free tools from The Conversation Project, faith communities can help normalize having these crucial and intimate conversations so that loved ones aren’t left in the dark about your wishes.
Rev. Rosemary Lloyd, BSN, MDiv, is Advisor to Faith Communities for The Conversation Project at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Boston, Massachusetts. Rev. Lloyd supports clergy and congregations in having values-centered conversations with loved ones and health care providers about crucial end-of-life matters.
Phillip Lund, Congregational Life Consultant
As I mentioned in last month’s MidAmerica Messenger, beginning with the Fall 2019 Chalice Lighter Call, we will be awarding only one large grant each call to a single congregation in the region. Our hope is that by giving bigger grants, congregations will dare to take on bigger projects, projects that could use a boost from Chalice Lighters in the $10,000 to $15,000 range. But what about congregations that don’t need a large grant? That’s where another change is coming. To make sure that there will still be plenty of opportunities for congregations to get grants under $10,000, the Chalice Lighter program is going to start supporting Faithify campaigns beginning in September 2019.
Until then, we will continue to award grants to three congregations in the MidAmerica Region. With one exception—this Chalice Lighter Call. Because we didn’t have any applications for the Fall 2018 Chalice Lighter Call, we’ve decided to use this opportunity to begin building up a dedicated fund for Faithify contributions. Every dollar you send to this call will be held in a special account to support Faithify campaigns from MidAmerica congregations and related organizations beginning in September 2019. We intend to work closely with groups posting campaigns on Faithify, and our hope is to contribute to one campaign from a MidAmerica congregation or organization every month. That way Chalice Lighters will be able to give thousands of dollars a year to support Faithify campaigns in addition to the three yearly Chalice Lighter calls. This would substantially increase the amount of money we can give to congregations and other organizations in the Region.
Applications for the Winter Chalice Lighter Call are being accepted until November 15, 2018.
To submit an application, visit https://midamericauua.org/programs/chalice-lighters#application
The Church of the Larger Fellowship will be sending almost 900 holiday cards to CLF members experiencing incarceration. Could you help? Invite your social action committee or youth to write messages of hope. If interested, it’s important to read a detailed list of Do’s and Don’ts.
CLF staff and volunteers will address all envelopes, bringing a bit of cheer to our incarcerated UU members, many of whom are lonely and without support.
Questions? Reach out to Beth Murray at email@example.com
OPEN ENROLLMENT MONTH AT THE UUA
November is Open Enrollment Month for UUA Health and Dental Plans. (As a reminder, there is no open enrollment for Life or Long-Term Disability insurance.). The Office of Church Staff Finance is currently negotiating 2019 Insurance Plan rates and anticipates a modest increase in Health Plan rates in January. Dental, Life, and LTD rate increases may be larger. To learn more or enroll see https://www.uua.org/finance/compensation/health
We are seeking to covenant with each other to find new ways of partnering and standing together on the side of love for the flourishing of our world, our communities, our congregations and our members.