Archive for April, 2008

Another Congregation Featured in Local Newspaper

April 30, 2008

Another of our congregations has received great coverage for their new “green” construction. The UU Congregation of Duluth, Minnesota, was featured in the Duluth News Tribune on Wednesday, April 30. Several photos and a list of the new building’s special “green” features, plus information about the church, is on the newspaper’s Web site at www.duluthnewstribune.com  Way to go, UUCD!

This building project was awarded a Chalice Lighters grant by Prairie Star District in 2006-07. Read more about the Chalice Lighters program here: www.psduua.org/chalicelighters/chalicelighters

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Green Construction Garners Publicity for UU Congregation

April 17, 2008

The congregation in Wichita, Kansas, got some nice publicity when they moved into their new building this spring. A reporter from the local newspaper, the Wichita Eagle, did a feature article on the “green” elements of the building. The March 20 article included two large photos showing the energy-efficient windows and the ductwork placed inside the rooms, rather than beneath the roof. The accompanying text mentioned the recyclable carpet and the congregation’s plan to purchase chairs made from renewable plant-based materials.

Letting the local press know about new developments in your congregation is one way of inviting positive publicity for your church or fellowship. You can send this news out in the form of a press release, and it can feature a new program, a lecture series, a new class for children, or, in the case of First Unitarian Universalist Church of Wichita, the “green” aspects of their new construction.

The article didn’t mention the connection between the “green” construction and our seventh principle about “the interdependent web of all existence,” but we hope the average reader learned more about the values of Unitarian Universalists through the “green” choices that were made.

What is your congregation doing that could be announced to a wider audience?

No Scarcity of Good Ideas

April 3, 2008

When I have a few spare moments, I read newsletters from our congregations in Prairie Star District. We have fifty nine congregations that are affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association, and we have several more that are smaller, newer,  and working toward affiliation. Almost all put out a newsletter which gets mailed [or emailed] to their members and friends.

As I read, I’m always amazed by the great opportunities being provided to people in our congregations. Here are some examples from the latest bunch:

  • In Duluth, MN, members can take part in two study groups — one is reading Class Matters: Cross-class Alliance Building for Middle Class Activists and the other is studying a Feminist Psychology of Men, using a book by Christopher Kilmartin. In addition, there’s a monthly book club reading Bel Canto by Ann Patchett for April. It’s amazing to me that anyone in Duluth even has the time to read, since they’re just moving into their new “green” church building, planting an Interiorscape garden, finishing a kitchen, and more. But they’re not ignoring the needs for interesting programming, even in the midst of the move.
  • In Des Moines, nine “Provocative Propositions” were developed in a visioning weekend, and the nine teams are working up action steps to move in new directions for Communication, Community Building, Growth, Lifespan Religious Education, Social Justice, Financial, Arts and Music, Leadership Development, and Building and Grounds. In the meantime, there are classes in Buddhist meditation, two children’s choirs [on Sundays and on Wednesdays], a movie night, a parenting group, and much, much more.
  • The Bloomington, MN, congregation is offering a free showing of “For the Bible Tells Me So,” a video about how people of faith handle the realization of having a gay child or family member. [I’ve seen this video mentioned in other newsletters, as well.] And members can sign up to be part of a Habitat for Humanity Work Camp this summer.
  • Shawnee Mission UU Church in Overland Park, KS, is sponsoring a Moms Against the War event on Mother’s Day, May 11. See more about this here:  www.juliasvoice.org  They intend to “reclaim Mother’s Day as it was intended by Unitarian Julia Ward Howe — as a day to promote peace and show the impact of war.” In April, there’s a Saturday workshop on developing a strong and robust lay ministry program, with guest speaker Rev. Ken Sawyer.
  • At Peoples Church in Cedar Rapids, they are providing a place to recycle old batteries and CFL light bulbs because of the mercury and toxins, and selling tote bags to use instead of the “plastic or paper?” ones at the grocery store. They’re also sponsoring a Poetry Night and a Movie Night and several social events this month.

This is just a small sample. If you are looking for new programming ideas for your congregation, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to read other churches’ newsletters to get some. If you go to our Web site www.psduua.org and click on Find a Congregation, you can go to a variety of congregations’ Web sites and read their newsletters there. There’s no scarcity – that’s for sure!

A Dry Spell in Blog Land

April 1, 2008

It has been a long winter in Minnesota. And yesterday, in a cruel pre-April-Fool’s-Day joke, we received seven inches of snow! Last week I caught a cold and cough, like so many other people. Viruses and germs multiply like — well, like germs and viruses — during the winter here, because we spend so much time cooped up together, indoors, breathing each others’ air. So I caught a cold and cough and it’s settled in my sinuses, so this week I feel like I’m operating at about half my usual pace.

All this is by way of an apology. It’s been a long winter, and I’ve been in the midst of a dry spell in my writing for this blog. I haven’t known what to write, so I haven’t written anything.

There are blogs I read every day. The blogs I read every day are about knitting. And these women [and one man] write about their kids and their books and their frustrations and joys with their knitting projects and about everything else. I love to check in with them when I get home from the office every day, and I’m always disappointed when several days or a week goes by without a new entry.

So today’s entry is just to say — hello! I’m still here. I’ve been “under the weather,” as well as “under 7 inches of snow,” but I’m still here. The sun is shining, the snow will melt, and Spring will arrive in Minnesota. I’ll get inspired again, and I’ll write again. We DO believe in resurrection, don’t we?