MultiSite Ministries: the promise of partnership

We want to extend the reach of love in Northern Colorado.

Dana and Gretchen IVRev. Gretchen Haley and Diana McLean kicked off the partnership between Greeley and Foothill churches and explored the theology of a good partnership. I highly recommend their podcast, The Promise of Partnership.


“This ministry partnership is not just a partnership between ministers and staff, but also the people of two congregations.. What does this mean? What kind of relationship is it? .. The goal for us (Greeley) is to have excellence in worship every Sunday, and consistency in ministerial presence. The goal for Foothills is to help spread the Universalist faith. We will both benefit from economies of scale, as three ministers will be in relationship with one another and with both churches. This will leave more time for ministers to be with congregants and performing other ministries.” ~ from their podcasted sermon


As we began our year together, the lay and clergy leaders gathered to create a covenant to document what we each understood as the promises we were making in their partnership.  To do this, we went around a circle, with each person getting a chance to say one response to the question “What do you think we are doing together?” Responses were invited without comment or dialogue until everyone felt they had said everything they could think of.  Then, we talked through what we each meant by those statements, and fleshed out precisely what we hoped for in the coming year.  From these hopes, we created the following covenant.  As you can see, it includes both practical and visionary promises.  It is understood as an evolving document that we will return to again and again throughout this experimental year.


Covenant of Partnership – Unitarian Universalist Church of Greeley and the Foothills Unitarian Church

We the congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greeley and the Foothills Unitarian Church, united in our shared commitment to Unitarian Universalism and the Spirit of Life and Love, and as religious communities each with our unique missions, vision, values and histories, covenant with one another:

  • To grow the Unitarian Universalist faith and strengthen each of our congregations and our impact, growing in openness to new possibilities and claiming a broader vision.
  • To utilize and contribute to the resources of the Unitarian Universalist Association, including providing input about our experiences so that we may learn from and benefit others who are engaging in similar experiments.
  • To form heart-to-heart connections between the ministerial team and congregants as well as across our congregations, creating opportunities for the congregations’ members, lay leaders and staff teams to see one another and build relationship.
  • To share three professional ministers who serve as a team in both of our congregations.
  • To roll out our partnership in partnership – respecting the need to build buy-in in each of our congregations before moving forward on initiatives while also discerning when we need to lead our congregations towards leaping ahead to the next opportunity.
    • We will not merge our congregations, but rather we will act as partners, thinking like a “we” on decisions that affect both congregations.
    • We will work from the assumption that our congregations are equal in faith if not in size or in budget.
    • We will acknowledge and value the different gifts and skill sets each of our congregations bring.
    • And we will “date” so that we might see if we “fall in love” – which means we will pace ourselves.
  • To remain flexible and to keep a mindset of “experimentation,” assuming good intent and bringing up issues before they become problems, and to create a Partnership Task Force who will help facilitate this communication.
  • To leverage economies of scale across both churches, sharing administrative resources especially in the realm of bookkeeping and membership administration, and professional knowledge, including across our religious education and music ministries.
  • To create patterns of interaction that create in both congregations a sense of relief rather than overwhelm – with the value being that this is a mutually beneficial relationship for both communities in both impact and efficiencies.

We acknowledge that we are each new to this partnership and so we assume we will stumble at times and encounter challenges that test the well-intended explicit and implicit promises of this covenant. When these challenges arise, we promise to come together in conversation, and seek help from outside resources as we may need, to seek and offer forgiveness generously, to learn well from our experiences, and to begin again.




Rev. Gretchen Haley is entering her 4th year as the Associate Minister for the Foothills Unitarian Church and as of August, serves as part of the ministry team serving the UU Church of Greeley.   She finds great inspiration from Alice Blair Wesley’s 2000 Minns Lectures, The Lay and Liberal Doctrine of the Church: The Spirit and the Promise of Our Covenant.



For White Activists Devastated and Feeling Defeated by Racist Violence

aCan't BreathThe following is reprinted from the Good Men Project with permission from author Chris Crass.


Chris Crass has a guide for fellow white anti-racism activists who are overwhelmed by recent stories about racist violence.

1. Take a moment to appreciate the fact that you are devastated by brutal racist injustice and that while your heart is broken, another alternative is that your heart has been hardened by the scarring of internalized white supremacy that has divested you from loving your own full humanity and the humanity of others.

Your devastation is the result of your heart being alive and refusing the socialized indifference, amnesia, and straightjacketing of your consciousness that post-Civil Rights movement white racialization aims for. Your internal capacity to be devastated by this murderous racist system is a source of power that serves you well and is what can help you be part of bringing this system down.

2. Focus your attention on momentum for justice, and decentralize the roadblocks and jerks. There are millions of people in motion for Black liberation at this moment, and courageous Black feminist leadership is front and center and the vision, strategy, inspiration, and guidance of the leaderful ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬ movement is where our attention should be, rather then on the right wing jerks, militantly post-racial racist trolls, people in your life who just want to argue or other energy sucking dementors that can grab and hold our attention – often making it hard to see the people around us in motion or ready to move for racial justice.

Ask yourself – am I letting jerks who want to maintain supremacy systems occupy my heart and mind – which we are also socialized to do, socialized to undermine our efforts to get free. Or are we choosing to open our hearts and minds to the leaders who give us energy, who give us hope, who connect us to ancestral liberation movements and movements of liberation and humanity loving people today?

3. Be loving with yourself, supremacy systems want you to exhaust yourself by beating yourself up, for not doing enough, for letting jerks demobilize you, for “not being good enough” to be the activist you want to be. Tell these voices of supremacy systems that they cannot have you, that you are stronger then they would ever allow you to believe, and that our movement is far more effective and stronger then supremacy systems want us to understand, to feel in our bones, to feel as tears of pain and sorrow roll down our face.

4. Take time to learn about grassroots Black Lives Matter organizing happening, led by Black activist, but also what racialized as white activists are doing as well. Try to know three inspiring, life affirming stories of resistance for each story of devastating racist violence. One of the key challenges before us isn’t just awakening white racialized people to the reality of racism, but to help ourselves and others truly believe we can bring it down and build up robust, complex, living and breathing Beloved Community. We are carrying on the legacies of our movement ancestors and the impact of our efforts is beyond what we often dare allow ourselves to dream.

5. What you do matters. You are not alone. For every Ida B. Wells, Anne Braden, William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois, Ella Baker, Elizabeth ‘Betita’ Martinez, and Alicia Garza, there are millions of people whose names we don’t know, but threw down and are throwing down, in many different ways, giving what they could with the talents, capacities, and other responsibilities they had/have, and united by vision, strategy, culture, and love and rage, this is what makes movements move. What you do matters. You are not alone. Let courageous liberation leadership move you, and protect yourself from the forces that seek to demobilize, defeat and undermine you and forces for collective liberation.

6. Reach out to others, as you are, and generate mutual support, as many are having or have had these same struggles. Refuse the isolation supremacy systems seek for you. Accept the interdependence liberation calls us into, even when supremacy systems tell us we aren’t good enough to experience it.  Love is on our side.  We will get free, all of us.



Chris CrassChris Crass is a longtime social justice educator and organizer who writes and speaks widely about anti-racist organizing, feminism for men, lessons and strategies to build visionary movements, and spiritual leadership for social justice. He is the author of Towards Collective Liberation and is a Unitarian Universalist working to build up the religious left.

Analysis of The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life

2015RLSpromo640x320Religion data geeks everywhere rejoiced this month when the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released its newest study of the American religious landscape. Pew made waves a few years ago when it published a sweeping report that pointed to the rise of the “nones,” the increasing numbers of American adults who have no religious connection. This year’s study updates Pew’s massive 2007 study, and gives us valuable trend information.

So what does Pew report? Well, for starters, the “nones” are still rising. Since 2007, 19 million Americans have joined the ranks of the nonreligious. 19 million! That’s 23% of adults, trending up from 16% in 2007. And, as before, the increase of nonreligious adults comes from the losses of traditional Catholic and Mainline Protestant faiths. Pew is pretty much the gold standard for this kind of data, but for what it’s worth the decline of religious affiliation is a trend so robust that it shows up in every other similar survey.

Younger generations continue to lead the bleed away from traditional religious practices, with about 35% of Millennials claiming no affiliation. But, and this is one of my favorite parts of the new study, every generation has seen an increase in the number of unaffiliated adults since 2007! Baby Boomer unaffiliateds, for example, have gone from 14 to 17% of their peers. Friends, the waters are still churning amidst this sea change in American religion, and there’s no sign of them slowing down.

The researchers at Pew thoughtfully included a breakdown just for Unitarian Universalists (there’s actually one for every faith tradition they track, but I’m still appreciative). Compared to eight years ago, we are getting younger and less wealthy. In self-identification, or the number of people who tell researchers they are UU, we are overall holding steady at 0.3% of the adult population which, given the increases in the US population, implies we’ve grown by 54,000 in the last few years to 735,000. However, keep in mind that we’re not seeing this growth in self-identification reflected in our congregational membership reports. Maybe someone should dig into that intriguing divergence

Check out the Pew data for yourself! I’ve only made it through the summary so far, but the full report looks worth a read. Pew also says they are going to publish more detailed reports on religious affiliation soon (hopefully great stuff like this gem), and I can’t wait to see what insights emerge.

What else do you see in this research? Add your thoughts in the comments.


cmcdonald_headshotCarey McDonald is the UUA Director of Outreach, total data geek and trend-spotter.

Mutuality Movement

Mutuality movement flowerI have been looking for ways to bridge contemplative mind and body practices, Unitarian Universalist Principles and values (especially around social justice), and find a meditation structure that would interest our youth and young adults. In my Fahs fellowship research, I conducted a survey of UU religious professionals and volunteers to understand how they are using meditation in their current setting and how they envision the role of contemplative practice (mindfulness meditation, compassion practice and etc.) in their congregations.


The survey results show that there is a need in our congregations for practical meditation practices, that are easy to teach, and that seamlessly integrate into the lives of participants and programs of the congregations. The results also show that there is also a need for a tool to both cope with and respond to traumatic events that arise in our communities.


In the course of my research, this country was jolted into an awareness of the plight of African-American men in our all too often racist and violent country. In response, I co-created a course held currently being held in Berkeley, CA around bringing the wisdom of Buddhist practice to the issue of the African American experience of racism.  What we have found in this series of courses is that many well-meaning white people are feeling discouraged by the revelation that racism and oppression are still alive and real for Black people in this country. They want to take action but many are dissatisfied that many years of scholarship in critical race theory and years of racial justice work has, as of yet, not been able to effectively uproot racism in this country. I listened deeply to people who expressed the hope that spirituality, especially, body-mind meditation practice might offer an opportunity to non-violently and effectively respond to social ills.


As a results of my Fahs research and pulling from my Buddhist training; I am developing a community of youth and adult practitioners, who will simultaneously develop their own meditation practices while learning to lead meditation instruction in their communities. The project, Mutuality Movement, culminates in individuals and communities who are spiritually mature and prepared to carefully engage in the practice of solidarity activism.


Mutuality Movement

Mutuality Movement is a contemplative response to the Black Lives Matter movement that provides tools for youth and young adults to affect change through the practices of solidarity and meditation. Acknowledging the youth leadership in the Black Lives Matter movement, Mutuality Movement trains youth and young adults to lead public meditation sessions, focused on the development of compassion while offering a non-violent opportunity to publicly resist systems of injustice. Mutuality Movement also encourages the development of covenant groups or sanghas, whose primary practice will be to respond non-violently to the problem of racism in America.


Rooted in Buddhist meditation, it is compatible with Unitarian Universalism in teaching mutuality in praxis. Mutuality being that understanding of the interconnectedness of all beings and the resultant covenantal commitments to be in supportive and advocating relationships with our fellow humans. This program offers the opportunity to expand our faith beyond the walls of our congregations and into those communities in need of a sacred commitment from justice-oriented and faithful individuals.


If you are interested in hearing more please contact Rev. Scott through the Mutuality Movement website (scroll to the bottom of the page to submit your contact information.)


JamilThe Rev. M. Jamil Scott serves as the Director of Religious Education at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno and is a 2014 Fahs Collaborative contemplative education research fellow in collaboration with Meadville Lombard Theological Seminary. He is completing his Divinity studies at Naropa University and is an ordained Buddhist minister by the International Order of Buddhist Ministers. Rev. Jamil is  active in faith based social justice work with the organizing group Faith in Community and the Buddhist Peace Fellowship.

Circle of Life

Innovative Learning Circle logoOnce a month for the last several months, six ministers and one lay leader from the states of Tennessee, New Jersey, Illinois, New York and Wisconsin have been meeting to talk about congregational collaborations. They meet virtually, of course, as part of the Multi-site Innovative Learning Circle initiative. Each participant has shared a challenge story related to their work with other congregations and listened as their colleagues offered wise and gentle thoughts and suggestions in response. The conversations have been enlightening, informative and instructional, both to the person who shared the challenge story and the people who responded. In the process, these seven Unitarian Universalist leaders from different parts of the country have bonded and formed a loving and supported community.


Rev. Emilie Boggis, Minister of Congregational Life at the Unitarian Church in Summit, NJ, spoke for all the participants when she wrote, “I really look forward to our time together, to hearing your stories, and grappling with the issues. And I am amazed (I don’t know why) at how much movement there is in my own “project” from hearing your stories and coming to a deeper understanding of what we are trying to do. I’m very, very grateful for you all.”


Are you involved in multi-site work or even just thinking about it? Sign up for the next round of Innovative Learning Circles and join us. For more information, contact Tandi Rogers,


mark bernsteinMark Bernstein is a member of the Congregational Life Staff of the Central East Region of the UUA. He is also a member of the Multi-Site Midwife Team and had the honor of facilitating the Innovative Learning Circle that he wrote about.

Study Guide for UUWorld Article: Lake Country Unitarian Universalist Church (Hartland, WI)

chaliceCongratulations to the Lake Country Unitarian Universalist Church (Hartland, WI), for being the newest UUA Breakthrough Congregation! Each year the UUA’s Congregational Life Office recognizes a handful of congregations that have “broken through” barriers to achieve exemplary goals.

Lake Country Unitarian Universalist Church is highlighted in the current edition of the UUWorld, which will be hitting Unitarian Universalist members’ mailboxes at any moment. The following study guide is intended to accompany the article about the Lawrence congregation. We hope that this enables lively discussions for your congregational leaders.


Questions for Discussion and Deeper Study

Rev. Shaw states that at Lake Country you can “walk in on day one and know that is your house too.”


Questions for Discussion

  • What are some of the ways in which Lake Country conveys this message?”
  • In what ways does your congregation convey this message?
  • What else can your congregation be doing to state this message loud and clear?


The congregation is firmly committed to demonstrating its values to the surrounding community.


Questions for Discussion

  • What are some examples of how Lake Country does this?
  • How does your congregation reflect its values in the community beyond your walls?


Lake Country prides itself on its diversity, including political diversity.


Questions for Discussion

  • How diverse is your congregation politically?
  • In what ways can you make additional space in your congregation for people along the political spectrum?


One of the congregation’s charter members points out that “You never arrive. You keep changing.”


  • Is your congregation trying to “arrive’? What would that look like?
  • In what ways is your congregation continually changing?



Bernstein MarkThis Study Guide creator is Mark Bernstein, Congregational Life Staff with the Central East Regional Group. CERG offers many excellent growth resources. Please check them out! Thank you, Mark, for so generously serving our faith.

On Wholeness and Worship

yarnSomething is shifting. Either out there or within me. I’m not quite sure. But I see babies and toddlers everywhere in UU-land. More babies and pregnant people and waiting people at UUA headquarters (in Boston) than any other time in our history. And here at the UU Ministers’ Association Institute, where I am reporting, there are glorious babies and toddlers interspersed throughout community.  I believe this is a real, measurable, sign of health. We are becoming more whole.


During worship I had the opportunity to sit next to someone under 5. He turned pretzels into little trains. I shared bits of thread from my crocheting and he turned them into worms. It was delightful. This little teacher gave me a reality check.


That’s nice, but what I really want you to know is that this new friend of mine was in worship and listening. When people applauded by putting their hands in the air and shaking them, he asked what people were doing. His mother explained the sign (language) for applause and he enthusiastically joined in.


I leaned into his sweet chatter to discover that he was weaving in words from the sermon into his play. Every so often he asked his mom what a particular word meant. It occurred to me that this tot was listening more closely to the sermon than I was… He was absorbing the entire experience more profoundly than I was.


What would the Sunday experience be like if we threw out all preconceived notions of what worship ought to be like and had permission to start over? (Not all at once, but at a pace that is tolerable.) What would our Sunday experience look and sound like if we believed ourselves responsible for the brain-heart-spirit development of our people of all ages, cradle to grave?


Let’s go there.



red glassesRev. Tandi Rogers keeps silly putty and other items to help wiggly hands during worship. She likes to share.  Look for her at worship, no matter your age.

Study Guide for UUWorld Article: The Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence, Kansas

lawrence choirlawrence childrenLawrence peace polelawrence water communion

Congratulations to the Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence, Kansas, for being the newest UUA Breakthrough Congregation! Each year the UUA’s Congregational Life Office recognizes a handful of congregations that have “broken through” barriers to achieve exemplary goals.

The Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence, Kansas is highlighted in the fall edition of the UUWorld, which will be hitting Unitarian Universalist members’ mailboxes at any moment. The following study guide is intended to accompany the article about the Lawrence congregation. We hope that this enables lively discussions for your congregational leaders.


Questions for Discussion and Deeper Study


Over the years, the Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence, Kansas has experimented with a number of alternative programs, demonstrating their willingness to change.


Questions for Discussion

  • What were some of the concrete ways in which the congregation showed their openness to change?
  • How open is your congregation to change?
  • In what ways can your congregation experiment with alternative or additional services in order to better meet the needs of your members?


Lawrence recognized that change requires leaders and has cultivated leaders through education and leadership weekends.


Questions for Discussion

  • In what ways does your congregation cultivate and support leaders?
  • What are some strategies your congregation can implement to better recruit, recognize and retain leaders?


In an effort to clarify its identity and future direction, Lawrence is currently engaged in a mission/vision/strategic planning process.


Questions for Discussion

  • How well does your congregation’s mission and vision impact on congregational life? How could your congregation benefit by revisiting its mission and vision?
  • Does your congregation currently have a strategic plan? If not, why not? How could your congregation benefit from creating one?


At their water communion and ingathering, the minister asked the congregants to decide if their waters were “waters of peace, waters of joy, waters of struggle, or waters of hope.”


  • As you think about your congregation, which category of waters do you carry with you? Why do you feel that way?



Bernstein MarkThis Study Guide creator is Mark Bernstein, Congregational Life Staff with the Central East Regional Group. CERG offers many excellent growth resources. Please check them out! Thank you, Mark, for so generously serving our faith.

Report Out from the FACT People Gathering, part 2

FACTStefan Jonasson and I attended the annual meeting of he Cooperative Congregational Studies Partnership last week. (for highlights from that gathering see part 1 of this 2-part series.) CCSPis the body that conducts and publishes Faith Communities Today/ FACT Reports. The common core questionnaire of the survey replicates over 150 questions from the 2000, 2005 and 2008 surveys, plus a special section on the 2008 recession.


These are the resulting reports from those surveys:


  • Faith Communities Today 2000: A Report on Religion in the United States. This research project was the largest survey of congregations ever conducted in the United States. It also is the most inclusive, denominationally decade
    sanctioned program of interfaith cooperation.

The Faith Communities Today data brought together 26 individual surveys of congregations representing 41 denominations and faith groups.
  • American Congregations 2005
 The FACT2005 national survey of congregations profiles religious life based on the 2005 national survey of congregations. This 30 page report presents a comprehensive look at the FACT2005 findings, including trend comparisons to FACT 2000 survey findings, and new perspectives on worship, conflict, leadership, interfaith involvement, vitality, the prevalence of strong
    beliefs (both on the right and the left) and the greatest challenges congregations
  • Faith Communities Today 2008 A First Look FACT2008 is the preliminary report of the recent 2008 national survey of churches, mosques and synagogues in the U.S. This report looks at tgrowth2010he story of change over eight years and demonstrates considerable congregational decline but also a pattern o hope and lessons to be learned to grow a healthy and vital congregational life
  • American Congregations 2008 This report of the FACT2008 national survey of churches and other religious communities is the most recent p
    rofiling of congregational life in the United States. The 38 page report presents a comprehensive look at the findings, including trend comparisons to FACT 2000 and FACT 2005 survey findings, and new perspectives on worship, conflict, leadership, interfaith involvement, vitality, economic hardships and other challenges churches, mosques and synagogues tell us they face.
  • Facts on Growth: 2010 Congregations that are spiritually vital and alive, have strong, permanent leadership, and enjoy joyful, innovative and inspirational worship are more likely to experience growth,
    a new study has found.  Other factors that support growth are being located in the South; having more weekly worship services; and having a clear sense of mission and purposeInternet-cover
  • A Decade of Change in American Congregations 2000-2010 The health of America’s congregations remains a challenging situation, according to a newly released report from Faith Communities Today.  The findings that show that despite efforts at innovation, bursts of vitality and increased civic participation, faith communities are entering this decade less healthy than they were at the turn of the century.
  • Virtually Religious: Technology and Internet Use in American Congregations  Religious congregations are making dramatic strides in adapting to the contemporary Internet technological reality. This report describes the level of technological use by religious groups, identifies the factors that either aid or hinder its use, and highlights the positive outcomes for the congregation that embraces the use of technology. The report also speculates beyond the data to offer several reasons why all congregations should intentionally develop their technological ministry capabilities, no matter how large or small, technologically adept or unsophisticated.worship
  • FACTS on Worship in 2010 Worship is the central, quintessential act of religion.  The worship gathering is the major setting in which people congregate to grow in their faith. This Faith Communities Today report provides a snapshot of the United States at worship across churches, denominations
    and faith groups. The picture of worship that emerges from this research report is one of both variety and similarity.


What survey is on the horizon? We’re studying young adult ministries! That made you perk up, didn’t it? This late fall each congregation in the Association will be taking the same survey that interfaith communities across the country will be taking. This blog will report out both our internal Unitarian Universalist findings and the larger FACT reporting.


According to the FACT website: The emerging consensus of research shows a growing percentage of young adults are not connected with any religion, although many younger Americans express an interest in spirituality. This reality raises concern about young adult participation in religious communities.

What is the involvement of young adults in local congregations of all faiths across the United States? And how are faith communities with significant proportion of young adults distinctive?

For these resources, a congregation is considered to have significant young adult participation if 21% or more of its participants were 18 to 34 years of age.  Across all faiths, a total of only 16% of all congregations were in this category.


So watch for the next FACT survey coming from the UUA. Make sure you’re faith community is represented!



Stefan and Tandiat CCSPStefan Jonasson and Tandi Rogers read these reports not just for fun but as a blue print for priorities and strategy.  Drop Tandi a line with stories as to how your congregation changed a direction, strategy, program or behavior due to inspiration from one of these reports. She can be reached at

Report Out from the FACT People Gathering, part 1

FACTAs it turns out, data geeks throw a pretty good party! Stefan Jonasson and I attended the annual meeting of the Cooperative Congregational Studies Partnership last week. It was held in Chicago at the beautiful headquarters of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.  About 30 researches from over 25 denominations or religious networks gathered to compare notes, observations, challenges, and excitement over current studies. I was downright giddy to be there!


I got to meet my counterpart from the Greek Orthodox community who attempted to replicate the study I had done a couple years ago on Free Range Unitarian Universalists. He and I spent many hours on the phone last year talking about how polity, culture, and many other variables effect translation of research instruments. Try to grock that for a moment. In the room of religious researches Alexei and I would be placed on opposite ends of the spectrum for so many reasons, and yet we could not wait to finally meet and break bread together.


Researchers for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the Church of the Nazarene and I excitedly swapped challenges of our fall 2015 study and checked our assumptions – Is that true? How would we know? What do you see from the vantage of your tradition?


I disclosed holy envy for the new, comprehensive and dynamic database that the United Church of Christ researchers use with the whole of their national and field staff. And followed them on break to take notes on the details of a study they are doing on Congregational Vitality. I want to borrow their instrument!


Some expressed holy envy at how Unitarian Universalists use technology with relative ease to break down barriers to communication. We are early adapters and adopters of technology. They looked at Stefan and I in wonder because we primarily collaborate across national borders through regular video conferencing.


Many of the researchers were equally fascinated that data analysis is a relatively small percentage of our Growth Office’s dedicated time. That most of our work is in actually actively using the findings to do ministry better, whether in direct service or in resource development. They had holy envy that our reports are actively being used by our UUA Board of Directors to make better decisions about our future. And that our field staff uses reports to determine priorities and check intended impact. I know many of our congregations do, too! “Give me those numbers so I can decide how to do better!”


And there was discomfort, too. When the researcher from the National Council of Churches pointed out that the historic Black churches were missing from our cooperative, I kept pushing the issue. Why? What are we going to do about it? And now we have an effort to examine who is missing and to actively invite those groups into the cooperative. Later my new friend from the LDS tradition observed, “Inclusion is very important to your religion, isn’t it?” Yes. Yes, it is.


In partnership with others similar enough to be able to communicate but different enough to challenge same-ness assumption is where I really begin to understand myself. My participation with the CCSP clarified for me that I come from the people of


  • Adaptivity
  • Relational Curiosity
  • Thinking to do
  • Working toward justice


I feel blessed to live in a time where I can work along side my cousins in faith and use quantitative and qualitative research to help see a clear picture of who we are individually and together in this 21st century landscape.


Part two of our FACT People Gathering report will focus on the actual publications of the Cooperative Congregational Studies Partnership and the most current survey taking place.



Stefan and Tandiat CCSPYes, Stefan Jonasson and Tandi Rogers pass notes in class and egg each other to make mischief for the good of the group. They were in their element at this particular gathering.