An Innovative Learning Circle of Your Own…

Innovative Learning Circle logo“What is the magic behind the Innovative Learning Circles?”  “How can I start one in my area?”  I get these questions more and more as word is getting out about the success of Innovative Learning Circles.

 

The purpose is to bring innovative leaders together to spark, inspire, and cross-pollinate each other.  Let’s be honest.  Being an innovator can be isolating and lonely.

 

Innovative Learning Circles is a cross between small group ministry, video conference, and case study. We meet monthly at a consistent time for an hour and a half by video (if you do not have a camera for your computer you will receive one in the mail.)  The regular agenda looks like this:

  • Chalice Lighting
  • Check-in
  • Shared Case Study
  • Reflection and/or feedback
  • Take-Away (What nugget of wisdom or observation are you taking away)

Each group has a question they explore. Some of the questions the Innovative Learning Circles I shepherd are exploring are:

 

  • How can leaders navigate challenges to plant Unitarian Universalist communities that meet the needs of the 21st century?
  • What experiments might be replicable in other Unitarian Universalist settings?
  • How can campus ministry programs reach beyond their identified UU group and make an impact? How can Campus Ministry impact area congregations?
  • How can leaders adaptively shift congregational systems to break open and make way for concepts in the Faith Formation 2020 (John Roberto) training?
  • How can small congregation focus on health and lower their walls for bigger impact in the world?
  • How can prison ministry programs reach beyond their identified UU group and make an impact? How can prison ministry impact area congregations?
  • How can leaders use worship to shift congregational systems to meet the needs of the 21st century?

 

So, if you were gathering your own circle, what question would you like to explore?  Who within your community or perhaps in the surrounding, larger community would you like to learn with?  This is a great opportunity to meet your counterparts or peers from other UU congregations in your cluster.

 

What kinds of challenges could you explore together?  This is the outline for the first meeting:

  • Chalice Lighting
  • Check-in
  • What you need from this group? This experience?
  • Sharing: What are challenges we deal with that other positions/leaders just couldn’t understand.  What do we wish the board/minister/UUA/<fill-in-the-bland> understood? What are challenges we might explore together?
  • Reflection and/or feedback
  • Take-Away (What nugget of wisdom or observation are you taking away)

 

Those questions about challenge are where the gold is.  Those will be where the “case studies” come from. Each participant takes turns giving a “case study,” which is a story or description about a challenge related to your ministry.  It’s almost always about an adaptive challenge – one that won’t go away. Some guiding questions:

  • What is the current situation? Where do I want the situation to be?
  • Who else is involved? What are our roles and responsibilities in this situation?  What part have I played?  Not played?
  • What is within my control? Outside of my control?
  • When things change a bit, what happens to the rest of the system?
  • What do I need to learn?
  • What do I need to let go of in order to embrace something new?
  • Who else needs to be involved to make possible adaptations stick?

 

The group listens with pastoral and wondering ears, not “fix it” ears.  It takes great vulnerability and trust to reveal a challenge one isn’t sure about.  And that is where the real learning happens.  It is an affirming process.

 

An Innovative Learning Circle lasts between 7-9 months.  There’s an opening circle, a case study session for each participant (between 5-7 people is recommended), and then a closing circle.

 

In the closing circle, the final session, we take time to capture the over-all, meta-learnings from our sharing. Were there patterns in each other’s stories? Is there feedback we need to give to our regional staff (or other resource people) about what we’ve learned?  Might a workshop or training come out of anything you’ve learned together? The final go-around is gratitude from each other. Hold up each person and allow circle members to tell then what they’ve learned and appreciated from their presence.

 

This model is still in beta.  I use a virtual model, because of geographic challenges, but a face-to-face format would be lovely.  What makes it an Innovative Learning Circle is the guiding question, the gathering of innovators, and the sharing of the challenge stories. Feel free to experiment! And let me know what works for you. I’d love to hear from you!

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Tandi mouth 513 Tandi Rogers facilitates eight different, virtual Innovative Learning Circles during the third week of every month. At the end of every Innovative Learning Circle she bursts out of her office and says, “These may be the most important thing my office does for growth! Wow! That was amazing.”

 

 

 

Future of (Our) Faith

Future of Faith picCarey McDonald is one of those innovators and collaborators growing our faith beyond silos and traditional boundaries who I love to dream with. Whenever I’m in Boston we set aside a chunk of time to play into the following questions:

1. “If we were in charge …”  and then we excitedly spill out possibilities with no regard to our current authority or resources at our disposal. Note that the “what” of our charge shifts at our creative whim. Sometimes we’re in charge of the UUA. Sometimes we’re in charge of the world.

Sometimes the imagination playground is inspired by a book we’ve both read.  Last year Carey turned me on to American Grace by Robert Putnam, and that still makes appearances in our conversation.

2. “However, we aren’t in charge.  And we still can …” is the second, perhaps most important part of our exploration. We get real with what is our current authority and responsibility and “our work.”  Accessible resources magically sparkly with new and variant possibilities. Partners within and outside our system become apparent.  Strategies begin to take form.  We both come away feeling energized and inspired by our partnership.

I encourage you to seek out a partner to try these questions within the context of your leadership.  Don’t go to the most obvious partner in your system. But do find someone who is also passionate about growing our faith and is clear in the mission of your community.

Sometimes Carey and I try ideas out with each other that aren’t quite word-ripe, or we show each other pieces that we’re just putting the finishing touches on.  Future of Faith: Unitarian Universalism and the Millennial Generation is a presentation that is stunning and smart and right on. Carey’s been thinking about the Future of (Our) Faith for a long time.  This presentation brings it all together!  (Note: there is no sound and you move the presentation along with the arrows at the bottom.)

Please tell us what jumps out at you in the comments. What excites you? Gives you frown lines? And feel free to share the presentation.  I think this would be a great piece to show at a board meeting or staff retreat.

________________________________________________

cmcdonald_headshotCarey McDonald is the mind behind Future of our Faith.  Carey joined the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries in the summer of 2011. He most recently worked as the staff director for a statewide advisory body, the Ohio School Funding Advisory Council, where he has focused on education reform, educational equity and “closing the achievement gap.” He has also worked as a budget analyst, policy advisor and legislative aide, and has considerable experience in political campaigns and organizing. Throughout his varied career, Carey has focused on creating a world more just through a community more loving, and is excited to bring that inclusive approach to the helm of the Youth and Young Adult Ministries Office.

Carey is a seventh-generation Unitarian Universalist who was active as a youth with Young Religious Unitarian Universalists (YRUU). He is formerly a member of the Ohio-Meadville District Youth/Adult Council, was active as a youth in Diverse & Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries (DRUUMM), and served three times as a delegate to General Assembly. Before moving to Boston, he was an active young adult in his congregation in Columbus, Ohio, as a member of the Young Adult Covenant Group and chair of the church’s Annual Budget Drive. He also has served in recent years as a lay member of the Ministerial Fellowship Committee. Carey has a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Economics from Pomona College in Claremont, CA. He lives in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston with his wife, Sarah.

Announcing the 2013-14 Innovative Learning Circles!

Innovative Learning CircleAnnouncing the 2013-14 Innovative Learning Circles!  Perhaps you or someone you know might be interested in being a part of a year-long, virtual learning community with other leaders in one of the groups listed below. If this is you, please pop me an email: trogers@uua.org.

All groups follow a 7-8 month, virtual, hybrid model of small group ministryShalem, and case-studies.

 

  • Campus Ministry Coordinators: How can campus ministry programs reach beyond their identified UU group and make an impact? How can Campus Ministry impact area congregations?
  • Community Ministries:  What impact does a learning cohort make on the impact of community ministries?
  • Congregations & Beyond: What experiments might be replicable in other Unitarian Universalist settings?
  • Emerging Congregations: How can leaders navigate challenges to plant Unitarian Universalist communities that meet the needs of the 21st century?
  • Faith Formation 2020: (prerequisite: taking John Roberto’s training and reading Steinke) How can leaders adaptively shift congregational systems to break open and make way for FF2020
  • Presidents of Congregations: (61-160) How can small congregation focus on health and lower their walls for bigger impact in the world?
  • Presidents of Congregations: (301-400) Using some of Alice Mann’s work, how can leaders help their congregations break through this awkward size?
  • Prison Ministry: How can prison ministry programs reach beyond their identified UU group and make an impact? How can prison ministry impact area congregations?
  • Worship: How can leaders use worship to shift congregational systems to meet the needs of the 21st century?

These groups are already filled:

  • UU Membership Professionals: How do membership professionals impact the health and vitality of congregations and beyond? What is the role of Membership Professionals in the 21st century?
  • UU Funding Program: What impact does a learning cohort make on the impact and fulfillment of strategic plans?

Each month, starting in November, we will report back some of the “gold nuggets” of learning from the various groups.  So stay tuned for some rich, community learning!

______________________

Laughing Tandi for DialogTandi Rogers is a former enthusiastic school teacher and has simply switched classroom venues.

Getting the Most Out of General Assembly

GA Closing WorshipHaving had the privilege to attend over ten General Assemblies, I like to think I’m getting the hang of it.  Here are some tips and resources to help you get the most out of your General Assembly experiences.

UU World will provide timely reports and articles on their GA Blog, illustrated by some striking selections from their Photostream on Flickr. Follow UUWorld on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news during major GA events.  General Assembly also has an official Twitter hashtag: #UUAGA.

I recommend downloading the GA Mobile Ap. And for those of you staying at home who would like to participate virtually, there are events being live-streamed. Some congregations organize GA viewing parties complete with popcorn.

Stefan Jonasson and I will be holding “office hours” at the Congregational Life booth in the Exhibition Hall. Sign up for a time slot at the booth.  I will be especially delighted to have a “Sweet Spot” consultation with you or help you create your own Innovative Learning Circle.

 

Tandi’s Tips: 

  • Pack comfortable shoes, ear-plugs, and a re-usable water bottle. Bring a bag or backpack with room for snacks to keep you going. I’m always surprised with how packed the schedule is.  Stay physically fueled and try to get good sleep. Do pay close attention to self care!
  • Attend your regional ingathering Wednesday evening to connect with people from your area. Find congregations that are similar in size, and make a list.  At the General Assembly, seek out people from those congregations who are in similar leadership roles as you and compare notes.  What is working well?  What are challenges?  What are possible solutions?  Swap contact information and keep in touch.
  • If you are going with members of your congregation arrange regular meetings (breakfasts?) to debrief the experience and start plotting collaboration and support once we’re back home.
  • Be extra-friendly to the folks working the General Assembly – they are all volunteers and our UU siblings.
  • Sing out at the Opening Worship and let the rush of celebrating with thousands of Unitarian Universalists from all over our continent sink into your bones. Let our collective energy feed your spirit. After each worship service ask what you liked best and how you can bring that nugget home to your own worship.
  • Seek out district board members and your Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations trustee and tell them what your greatest hopes are for our religion and your congregation.  Our boards set the vision for our collective ministry with long range dreaming. Tell them what your priorities are.
  • Seek out UUA staff with your questions.  Tell us your joys and challenges of building a vibrant, thriving religious community. During Plenary staff sit in a block to the front-left when facing the stage. Feel free to find us there!
  • Go to a workshop that speaks to a need in your congregation. Before you leave General Assembly, create a plan for how you will apply what you learned back in your home congregation.
  • Go to a workshop that speaks to a personal passion or interest.  Before you leave General Assembly, create a plan for how you will apply what you’ve learned back in your home congregation and/or your personal life.
  • Keep some extra room in your suitcase for the wonderful Unitarian Universalist clothing and jewelry available in the Exhibition Hall.  Everyone should have at least one piece of UU jewelry to wear.
  • Keep the energy going! When you return to your congregation, schedule some coffee time with key folks to share what you learned. Give them copies of the hand-outs and your notes.  Write an article for your congregation’s newsletter.  Make yourself available at coffee hour for people who are interested. Seek out the next group of leaders who should go to General Assembly 2014 to represent your congregation and bring back inspiration, perspective, connections, and ideas to help your religious community be all that it can be.

___________________________________________

Tandi Feb 2012Tandi Rogers’s favorite part of General Assembly is putting faces and names together of all the congregational leaders she follows throughout the year.  She hopes people will run up to her to share good news from their part of world.

 

 

Innovative Learning Circles

Innovative Learning CircleWhat would happen if we gathered some of our religion’s best, innovative leaders together from around the Association to spark, inspire, and cross-pollinate each other?  This was the question behind the experiment Innovative Learning Circles.  The break down of the experiment was this:  5-6 leaders gather virtually for a monthly hour-and-a-half-long meeting over a span of nine months starting in September.

Similarly to small group ministry there was a group agreement as to how to be together and what could be shared outside of the group. Most participants were familiar with the model and very little adaptation was needed.

We experimented with various kinds of videoconference software to see what served our purposes best. I am eternally grateful for the patience (and humor) of the groups, as some of the early products were disastrous. Most of the groups settled into (free) Google Hangout or a paid-for version of Skype.

Two flavors of Innovative Learning Circles emerged:

  • Think Tank Groups wrestled with questions I would bring from the UUA Leadership Council or around a specific and timely issue. These groups developed respect and affection for each other, and I watched them reach out to one another outside the groups.  These groups were quick to share resources and problem solve.
  • Case Study Groups took turns each telling their story, a specific incident, or issue they were working on. These groups went deep with each other, risked vulnerability, and helped keep each other accountable in a way that humbled me.  Before someone shared I would ask what kind of feedback they would like to receive, further deepening the trust and allowing us to practice showing up effectively and lovingly.

I sent out questions or articles ahead of time, but the format for all the groups was very similar:

Chalice Lighting

Check-in

Question or Case Study

Reflection and/or feedback

Take-Away (What nugget of wisdom or observation are you taking away)

 

A couple things we learned:

  • The more time zones involved, the more complicated it is to find a common day and time.
  • Closed FaceBook groups keep each circle in contact throughout the month and was used to varying degree.
  • Don’t under-estimate basic introductions and sharing descriptions of ministry settings. The cultural differences between geography, size, and setting were fascinating and enlightening – and often assumed until we stumbled over them.
  • Asking each individual what his or her “Take Away” is was key to over-all learning and often unveiled another layer to group dynamics. I kept a notebook of “Take Aways” for each group and highly recommend that practice.  Going back over the year not only recorded growth, but we sometimes would go back to a concept or quote that was gold.
  • There seems to be a corollary between structure and depth of sharing. A set time and a set agenda provide the safety and predictability for a group to focus on the intimate relationship between themselves.

 

I believe this initiative is replicable, and I encourage you to borrow as you are so inspired! Please consider starting a version of Innovative Learning Circles in your congregation, geographic area or virtually by affinity/ leadership role.

I will share some of the Take Aways in coming blogs…

 

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Tandi Feb 2012Tandi Rogers is a Credentialed Religious Educator and former classroom teacher. She cherishes how the teaching and the learning never stop, the classroom just keeps expanding.

 

 

 

 

Congregations & Beyond Sweet Spot

C&B Sweet SpotCongregations & Beyond” is a concept that Peter Morales introduced to us a little over a year ago.  There’s a study guide.  There’s a video.  There’s  a Facebook group dedicated to exploring the concept and keeping the conversation going. This blog has posted on it before.

 

And yet, there are many of us still trying to wrap our heads around it.  We’re still wondering what our home congregation might look like in a Congregations & Beyond context.  So today, we’re going to use a different part of our brain.  Get out the markers and/or crayons.

 

  • Draw a big circle on a piece of paper.  Draw a big square overlapping it like a Venn Diagram with a corner of the square smack in the middle of the circle.

 

  • In the circle list the things that your congregation does that people consistently show up for? What creates a lot of buzz and energy?  Where is your joy? Also list the things that your congregation does together that make you go, “Dang, I feel UU to my bones when we do that!” (That’s what the light green lettering in the circle allude to — don’t hurt your eyes trying to read it.)

 

  • In the square list the three most exciting places to be in your wider community. And then list the three places that break your heart.

 

  • That overlapping place in the middle is the Congregations & Beyond Sweet Spot. Go there!

 

If your congregation has a choir that blows the roof off with energy and beauty, and you live in a city whose homicide rate breaks your heart… Perhaps your congregation is called to start a community-wide Peace Choir, show up at places of violence and sing that space back into grace.

 

Maybe you have a youth group that shines with spiritually mature natural leaders, and your schools are littered with a bullying problem… Perhaps your congregations trains, supports, and commissions them to be peacemakers within that system

 

The possibilities are endless.  It requires that we collectively show up in authentic and aligned ways, and be in dynamic relationship with the wider community.  You may be a Congregations & Beyond community and you didn’t even realize it.

 

And here’s an offer.  If the leaders of your congregation commit to doing my little art exercise above, and you still can’t see your Congregations & Beyond Sweet Spot, contact me for a consultation.  I see possibilities and abundance all around.

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Tandi Feb 2012Growth Strategist Tandi Rogers’ office looks more like an art studio with room for work.  She delights in color coding data and maps with demographics.  Venn Diagrams have a special place in her heart.  And she travels with colored markers.

What is Your Beacon Hill?

Cornerstone of the new headquarters of the American Unitarian Association laid. “Boston Mass.- The cornerstone of the new headquarters of the American Unitarian Association was laid at 32 Beacon Street, yesterday with high officials of the church and laity attendin[g]. Photo shows Rev. Samuel A. Eliot, D.D. holding in his hand the box that was placed in the cornerstone.”

The picture shows American Unitarian Association President Samuel A. Eliot II holding the cornerstone of the AUA headquarters. He  modernized Unitarianism as a denomination and laid the pathway for its organizational structure.  All this was revolutionary at the time.  He knew that the organization wasn’t the end-all-and-be-all, but that a healthy, efficient denomination was essential to a healthy faith.

Flash forward 88 years.  Our UUA is on the cusp of moving from 25 to 24.

The new building consists of open, light-filled space that will be customized to support the work of a contemporary, mission-driven, collaborative Association.  No matter how much potential the new site affords for improved technology and access, though, many are grieving.  Others say the move “from Boston to Boston” is irrelevant.

But my hope is that this move might provide essential role modeling for our congregations.

I’m keenly aware that many of our congregations – especially in New England — are housed in buildings from a very different era. And that these building suck up magnificent resources that could be spent in other ways that inspire people to lead lives of humility and purpose, connection and service, thereby transforming themselves and the world.  Many of our congregations have taken up their building as their mission, rather than the building sustaining and supporting the mission.  If you recognize this in your own story, may you have the courage to take control of your story and mission and move with us into a new era.

I love our history.  But sometimes we treat the 25 Beacon Street address as if it were built in 1825. In fact it was built in 1927 and served merely as an office building to the Louis Cornish and Frederick May Eliot administrations of the American Unitarian Association.  At that time the AUA served around 300 congregations.  We now serve over 1000 congregations through a network of staff and key volunteers stationed not just in Boston but all over the continent.

I confess that I’m terribly sentimental about 25 Beacon Street. I have stories for almost every room, as do many of you.  And I will take those memories with me and commit to making new ones.   But the only spaces currently used for their original purposes are the President’s office, the bookstore, and the second floor chapel, landing, and library. And just think about how what goes on in those rooms has changed over the years!

The significant features came from somewhere else and can move with us again.  Channing’s pulpit is moveable. The chandelier, which was a gift from a church in the 1600s, can move again.  All the library books came from somewhere else.  The President’s desk is moveable. And that cornerstone in the picture?  It can move again.

As the excitement of the news of the pending headquarters move starts to die down, I hope you will look for your own congregation’s story within this new story.

What is your Beacon Hill?  Are you ready to move into a new era?  What will you bring with you?

 

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Tandi Rogers is the UUA Growth Strategist.  In a prior career she was a history teacher and often conjures the ancestors to guide her work. May they be proud of our path.  May we make the way easier for the generations to come.

The Move: reading materials to go with your morning coffee

24 FarnsworthFor those of you still trying to wrap your mind around the Unitarian Universalist Association Headquarters moving off Beacon Hill and into the Seaport/ Innovative District, here is my attempt at a comprehensive curation of the related news:

and in the blogosphere:

I will attempt to address some of Tim’s questions in the next blog post…

 

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Tandi Rogers is the UUA Growth Strategist. She is trying to balance change with gathering facts, listening for the unfolding story, and answering the call of new opportunities.

Social Media as Ministry

A social media picturePeter Bowden and Rev. Naomi King are each giving one of the Minns Lectures tomorrow (March 9) on the topic of social media. You can follow along via Twitter: #minnslecture.  Naomi asked me for examples of how social media can be used for faithful ministry.  Here is the list I gave her:

Community, Accountability, Interconnection

When I was on District Staff and youth ministry was in my purview I was on FaceBook one night and an adult from the Youth Con(ference) group sent me a private message.  He was concerned that a youth in his friend network was showing signs of suicide. I jumped over to the youth’s page and made an immediate call to the youth’s minister who jumped in his car and drove over to the youth’s house. I looked up the youth’s parent’s contact information and called to explain the situation and let them know their minister was on the way to their home. The suicide averted. Family got the help they needed. That is perhaps the most overt example of our interconnected web saving lives.

I have other examples of depressed youth acting out on FB, the signs picked up by either trained peers (UU youth chaplains) or adults, and interventions taking place almost immediately.

I’ve witnessed religious leaders acting out on FB, sometimes clearly out of covenant, and people on FB reaching out, holding individuals accountable. I’ve picked up the phone on numerous occasions to call youth advisors, DREs, and ministers, “I’m reading some of your FB statuses and wondering if how you’re representing yourself is how you intend to…” And I’ve thankfully had others make that same phone call to me, allowing me the opportunity to get back on track. Now that’s some faithful ministry!

Virtual Learning Space

Social Media allows for virtual learning space in either real-time or your-time. I enjoy private learning space (closed FB groups) for my Congregational Life department at the UUA. It’s fantastic for witnessing each other’s work and sharing resources and asking for help. Being able to be on-line dynamically keeps our large group more tightly knit.

I coordinate four Innovative Learning Circles that meet via videoconference every month for an hour and a half. In-between we keep connected via closed FB groups. The FB group is a place where we can safely give feedback on projects we’re working on. Every-so-often I will put out notes asking what people would like us to pray for/on. They don’t hesitate to respond in very touching ways. I have definitely noticed that the group members show up for each other publicly on each other’s FB pages. With how isolating ministry can be, I definitely consider this kind of support to be faithful ministry!

The Church of the Larger Fellowship has a couple affinity FB groups that act as both learning circle and support group.  I belong to one of their parent groups and it has been a sanity-saver.

Prayers

Every morning I read through the morning FB statuses and receive them as 
“candles of joys and concerns.” I pray down the status. And at night I do the same thing. I also pray down the newspaper. But my prayer life really took off with FB. I feel spiritually full and awake. I don’t use Twitter as much, but when I’m on Twitter, I’ve got my prayer on. There are a couple explicit FB Prayer groups I’m on.

Power of Graphics and Cross-fertilizing

Have you seen the UU Media Collaborative Works?  Their effectiveness in developing UU identity and pride has been mind-blowing! Their reach has been breath-taking. I have seen their graphics on FB, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and websites.

There were a couple UU graphics that I saw popping up on the pages of other faith traditions. And UU events shared on pages connected to other traditions. I find this deeply satisfying. I don’t have any data on this, but I just know that cousins-in-faith who pick up and repost our graphics will be more likely to reach out/ reach back and partner with us. And that can only make us all stronger.

 

 

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Tandi Rogers is the UUA Growth Strategist. She will be on a no-electronics-sabbath this weekend, but will catch up on the Minn’s Twitter feed on Monday while on the subway  to work.

Growing & Learning By Example

As a Growth Strategies Specialist with a religious education orientation, I encourage learning through experience and relationship.  By this I mean piling a group of leaders from your congregation into your car to go experience another Unitarian Universalist congregation and break bread with their leaders. This relational experience embodies President Peter Morales’ call to “Get Religion, Grow Leaders, and Go Beyond Borders.”

Please consider getting outside your paradigm as to what Unitarian Universalism is, as expressed within your home congregation. The very dynamic nature of Unitarian Universalism requires us to hold our faith lightly, not tightly, and be open to its diversity and ever-progression.

Even before you print out directions for your road trip, contact the comparable leaders from the congregation you are visiting.  If you’re the president and are taking a worship associate and religious educator and the newly appointed canvass coordinator, then call ahead and arrange to meet with their president, canvass chair, some worship associates and religious educators. Ask for a tour of their facilities. Ask to see their guiding documents.  What do love they about their role? What do they struggle with? Offer to take them to lunch and continue the conversation.

Start paying attention the moment you look up the website to the destination congregation in order to glean directions and contact information for leaders. Take in the whole experience of driving up to the building and then being greeted. Pay attention to the response of all your senses in worship and fellowship. How is it different than your home congregation? How is it the same? How does this inform your understanding of Unitarian Universalism? What might you like to try in your own congregation?

For those of you crying out, “But we don’t have another Unitarian Universalist congregation within reasonable driving distance!” please reach out to any liberal religious community within reasonable driving distance!  Sometimes we can learn more from other faith traditions more than our own.

Another option is to experience other congregations through the following video series. You can process the same questions while watching the videos as would on your in-person experience. And you can contact the leadership from those congregations to set up a phone or video conversation to tap into their wisdom and experience.

  • Breakthrough Congregations – These short videos highlight congregations that have achieved significant and sustained numerical growth by breaking through an obstacle in the areas of spiritual vitality, organizational maturity, faith in action, and/or associational growth.
  • A Religion For Our Time series: These short videos highlight inspiring work in congregations, including innovative projects relating to worship, religious education, social justice, membership, and fellowship.

May this be the beginning of a supportive and collaborative relationship!

Take courage friends. 
The way is often hard, the path is never clear, and the stakes are very high. 
Take courage. 
For deep down, there is another truth: 
you are not alone.  ~ Rev. Wayne Arnason