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Our Southern Region and the UUA

During the Congregational Meeting someone asked, “What do we get for the money we send to the Southern Region and the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (UUA)?

The answer to the question is, in my opinion, almost everything that we can’t get or do by ourselves. The tools available to the leaders in our Fellowship from both the Region and UUA are numerous, used often, and there for the taking. [Click "Read more..." to continue.]

The Southern Region
The Southern Region provides us with many opportunities to learn and grow. We have direct access to the time and expertise of our “First Call” Southern Regional staff person: Maggie Lovins. Maggie answers questions posed by our congregational leadership, serves as a UU networking person - directing leaders to websites or the names and numbers of people who have the needed information in the UUA, conducts training both locally and in regional sessions, and serves as a speaker, at no charge, for Sunday Services as she did for UUFG just a few months ago.

Maggie also tries to handle local problems, but if she feels that they are beyond her expertise, she forwards them to former Florida District Executive, now Lead Regional Staff person, Rev. Kenn Hurto. Kenn is experienced in solving local problems, and he can access specialists in the UUA. if he needs additional help.

Our Leadership Development Committee relies on instruction which is conducted by the Southern Region at various times and yearly. At the Regional level currently the two yearly trainings are Dwight Brown Leadership Training and the UU Leadership Experience.

The UUA also has the Multicultural Leadership Experience and other opportunities on an occasional basis. For example, we can access multi-track Leadership Events and Congregational President’s Convocations throughout the region.

Because of the size of our Region (Virginia via Tennessee to Texas), group “camping” experiences, whether tents or lodges, takes place from SWUUSI in Oklahoma, to SUUSI in Blacksburg VA to SWIM in the Miami area. All of these are organized by the Region, with the bulk of the actual planning and production being done by the involved members and committees.

On the national level, we are all tied together by the annual General Assembly which means so much to those who attend. These national conferences require amounts of planning and volunteer hours that are far beyond the scope of what we would be able to do locally on our own.

On the national front, UUA President, Rev. Peter Morales issued a statement on behalf of the UUA membership, including us, condemning the massacre in Columbia SC. Rev. Morales and Unitarian Universalist Service Committee CEO Bill Schulz also publicly affirmed the Encyclical of Pope Francis on global warming. We as a congregation could also do this but it would not have the impact of our national leader doing so publicly on behalf of all UUs.

UUA also advocates nationally for compassionate immigration reform, files amicus briefs on issues before the Supreme Court, coordinates the sending of over 7,000 messages to US legislators, and works alone and with other groups to influence the outcome of many important causes.

The UUA does the credentialing of UU Ministers, Religious Education Directors, and Music Directors nationwide. They make available online to all members the “Tapestry of Faith” for lifelong learning, and “Leap of Faith” for congregations to network with other congregations to form groups interested in a particular problem. Online resources concerning the running of specific areas of a congregation life are available and often updated weekly.

The amount that the Southern Region and the UUA are able to do corresponds directly to the amount of funds sent by our congregations. The amount of our GIFT contribution through UUFG determines the amount of services we receive in return.

In Fellowship,
Al Tweedy

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