Archive for May, 2009

10 Things I’m Particularly Proud Of

May 29, 2009

1. We did live streaming of three events at our District Annual Conference, and it worked! Our Lifespan Faith Director and I did our Annual Conference workshop “live” at the conference and also via Persony and that worked well, too.
2. The MidAmerica District Staff have offered monthly online workshops since August. The workshops have been on a wide variety of topics, have had good attendance, and have been well-received by participants. I’m proud that I’ve learned the technology and have become an effective “host” at these online workshops.
3. The MidAmerica District Staff team has already developed a schedule of monthly online workshops for next year and will also offer a day of online leadership training for congregational leaders in September. There will be 6 workshops for leaders in various roles – presidents, treasurers, membership chairs, volunteer management, and more.
4. I organized a training program for pastoral care teams from midsize Iowa congregations. It consisted of an online orientation and a one-day, in-person training, led by one of our UU chaplains. People from three midsize congregations participated.
5. Camp StarTrail is ready to launch in August! We have about 90 Unitarian Universalists of all ages coming together in Nebraska for our first-ever camp there. See details at
6. We offered a workshop on conflict last November, and over 70 people from three Nebraska congregations participated.
7. More than 300 people attended the District Annual Conference in April, in Duluth! We have come to realize that our conference and our expectations of the host congregation have grown more complex, and we’re working on improved materials and processes to assist our local committees.
8. Our Annual Conference this year included two pre-conference workshops – one on AntiRacism/AntiOppression/Multiculturalism [a first!] and one on ecology/earthkeeping/sustainability.
9. We’ve received money from the Panel on Theological Education to fund an enhanced “in-care” system for seminary students, and as part of that, we’re starting a program to support senior students’ working with small congregations.
10. After a period of discernment, our District Board has voted to move toward policy governance. As staff members, we are enthusiastically supporting that and will take on new roles as the change takes place.


A Huge Step Forward

May 13, 2009

I’ve been asked to provide a list of “some of the things I’m most proud of” in my work during the last church year. I’m thinking about it and will post the list when it’s complete. But I wanted to share the first thing that occurred to me, because [1] I’m really proud of it, and [2] it represents a new way of making District services to congregations available to nearly everyone who wants them, no matter where they live!

#1 on my list is this: at this year’s District Annual Conference, we live streamed three major events — our two major speakers and the UUA presidential campaign forum. And best of all, it worked! People in all parts of the District were able to see those events live, even though they weren’t with us in Duluth. Not only that, but we’ve now posted videos of those events on our web site at [Click on Annual Conference and go from there to Highlights of 2009] So if people missed the live streaming, they can still watch the events. Or if they were at the Conference and want to see the speakers again, they can see them again. Or if they want to recommend the speakers to their friends, the friends can watch them. And on and on.

This represents a huge step forward for our District. In past years, we’ve had up to 325 people attend the Annual Conference, out of the 9,0000 adult Unitarian Universalists who are members of our congregations. In the past, we were sometimes able to get permission to post scripts of the major speeches on our web site for people to read. Now, with permission, we can present them live and also archive them for the future. This is huge, and this is just the beginning. We can do more and more of this, and we can offer other events online, too. Some of you may have attended some of the monthly online workshops that our Midwest UU Leadership group [District Staff from three MidAmerica districts] have hosted this year.

Thanks to our Web Coordinator Ben Stallings for his work on this, from concept to reality. Thanks to the speakers for their willingness to give permission. Thanks to the folks in Duluth who let us use their equipment.

Keep watching! We’re just getting started!