Taking Action in Black Lives Matter

SSL Black Lives Matter LogoIs your congregation considering expressing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, by placing a banner or sign on congregational property or your web presence? Here are a few things to consider in order to be prepared to join this conversation within your community:

  1. Accept that the banner or sign will likely be vandalized, and what you will do if it is.
  2. Be prepared to stay committed to the message, even in the face of significant negative public response, because backing away from the message would be damaging to the Black Lives Matter movement.
  3. Help your congregation to anticipate and prepare for negative responses to the congregation’s support for the Black Lives Matter movement, knowing that such push-back shows that the message is bringing the conversation about racial justice into public view.
  4. Provide opportunities for the congregation and the community to both learn about racial justice, and to process the emotions that might come with the congregation taking such a controversial stand.
  5. Choose who will speak to the media on behalf of the congregation, and be intentional about the message the congregation wishes to share.
  6. Be ready to receive and welcome those who wish to show solidarity with the congregation’s stand in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement, and to listen to their stories and wisdom as much as we share with them about Unitarian Universalism.

If you wish to learn more about how your congregation can be prepared for taking a prophetic public stand in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement, see this open letter to congregations from the Central East Regional Staff of the UUA. Many Unitarian Universalists feel called to show our solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, and with preparation and discernment your congregation can as well.

You can find resources around the Black Lives Matter Movement on the Standing on the Side of Love website, the UUA website and the CERG website.

Rev. David Pyle
CER Program Manager for Justice Ministries

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In Care Program for UU Seminarians

retreat 2014Unitarian Universalist seminarians in the southern Central East Region gathered August 20-22 in beautiful New Windsor, Maryland for our third In Care retreat.  Together, they worshipped, got to know each other, asked burning questions, and examined real life ministerial case studies.  “These retreats ALWAYS renew my call to ministry and I am SO thankful for that,” said one participant.

In Care programs are popping up around the country as Unitarian Universalism considers how to best support those preparing for our ministry.  Typically, such programs offer students one-on-one vocational advising with a fellowshipped minister, an opportunity to connect with other students, the chance to ask questions about the fellowshipping process and what ministry is really like, and some learning time to cover those topics that aren’t part of the seminary experience.  Want to find a local In Care program?  Please contact Rev. Megan Foley for information.

New windsor 1In Care has been so welcome by students that new Congregational Life Consultant Rev. Megan Foley is spearheading an effort to establish a continent-wide program.  “It would be wonderful if support was available to every person preparing for our ministry, regardless of where they live or what seminary they attend,” says Megan.  Stay tuned for more developments in expanded In Care!



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Do You Faithify?

Faithify LogoHave you heard about Faithify.org?

Did you know there are CER Congregations who currently have projects on FAITHIFY? Yes there are (and they aren’t the first ones!). First Unitarian Church of Barneveld, NY has a project to make their church more accessible. The Delmarva Cluster (Delaware area) has one to support their Fall Cluster Retreat. First UU Church of Youngstown, OH is working to bring Rev. Clark Olsen to town as a speaker on Racial Justice.
Are you asking just what is FAITHIFY?

FAITHIFY is crowdfunding for Unitarian Universalists. If you have heard of Kickstarter, GoFundMe or other crowdfunding sites, FAITHIFY is like that with a twist. FAITHIFY is a crowdfunding platform for Unitarian Universalist ministry projects. Projects include everything from youth work to justice, service, buildings, staff positions, and emerging ministries. FAITHIFY is full of projects that are “faithified” through the direct support of others.

For those of you who are looking for ways to give money to projects that will further Unitarian Universalism in some way – here is a place to look. You check the site, read about the projects and donate to those you think are worthy. If the project receives enough donations to reach its target then your credit card is charged. If they don’t then you receive a notice telling you that it won’t. The crowd (that would be us) decides what gets funded and what doesn’t.

In addition to providing funds, individuals can also support projects by sharing them on social media, which increases the number of people who see the projects and will potentially donate. So it’s more than just providing money. You also need to engage.

Need more information? There is a webinar called FAITHIFY 101 – A Webinar for the Rest of Us –  TONIGHT – September 14th at 7 pm (they usually record them if you miss it). Details on the Facebook Event Page.

Interested in posting a project? No problem – the steps for that are listed on the FAITHIFY website, complete with a video. Need more help? Contact your primary contact. We’ll get you connected with those who can help you.
Just one more example of how we Unitarian Universalists are Better Together.
Beth Casebolt
CER Communications Consultant


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Welcome to New Staff

welcomeEvery year at this time of the year we have new staff starting in many of our congregations – new settled ministers, interim ministers, new religious educators, music directors and administrators. The staff of the Central East Region would like to welcome all our new folks to our region and let you know that we are here to help. Need assistance? Please contact your primary contact. You can find out who that is here.

This year has been a particularly busy year in our region and we have a lot of new faces to welcome. To celebrate all these new folks we’ve listed what we can below. We know this list is incomplete, because we don’t always hear about new folks until they’ve been around for a while. If you have a new staff person to celebrate, please list them in the comments below.

New Ministers we are welcoming include:

  • Rev. Paula Maiorano – UU Society of Southern Delaware
  • Rev. Evan Keely – Paint Branch UU Church, Adelphia, MD
  • Rev. Michelle Collins – Cedar Lane UU Church, Bethesda, MD
  • Rev. Christian Schmidt and Rev. Kristin Schmidt – UU Church in Cherry Hill, NJ
  • REv. Christian Scmidt – UUs of the Chester River, Chester Town, MD
  • Rev. Justin Osterman – UU Congregation at Montclair, NJ
  • Rev. Tony Johnson – Unitarian Society of Ridgewood, NJ
  • Rev. Jane Thickstun – First Unitarian Society of Ithaca, NY
  • Rev. Jennifer Brooks – First UU Church of Columbus, OH
  • Rev. Pam Allen-Thompson – UU Congregation of Erie and UU Church, Meadville, PA
  • Rev. Michael Walker – Unitarian Church of Harrisburg, PA
  • Rev. Gabi Parks – UU Fellowship of Centre County, State College, PA
  • Rev. Madelyn Campbell – UU Church of the Shenandoah Valley, Stephens City, VA
  • Rev. Joan Montagnes – UU Church of Buffalo, NY
  • Rev. David Miller – UU Congregation fo Fairfax, VA
  • Rev. Amy Williams Clark – Cedarhurst UUs, Finksburg, MD
  • Rev. Lynn Cox – UU Congregation of York, PA
  • Rev. Dr. Neal Joans – Mainline UU Church, Devon, PA
  • Rev. Roberta Finkelstein – First Unitarian Church of Wilmington, DE
  • Rev. Dr. Susan Moore – All Souls UU Church, Washington, DC
  • William Humpfrey – All Souls UU Church, Bellville, OH
  • Rev. Michelle Buhite – UU Church of Amherst, NY

New Directors of Religious Education we know of are:

  • Darrel Dyke – Pullman Memorial Universalist Church, NY
  • Carol Zimmerman – UU Church of Canton, NY
  • Julie Rigano – UU Society of Schenectady, NY
  • Chelsea Churpak – UU Fellowship of Wooster, OH
  • Karen LoBracco – UU Church of Kent, OH
  • Steven Mead – First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh, PA

Please let us know how we can assist you and your congregation!

The Central East Staff
Andrea Lerner, Patricia Infante, Rev. David Pyle, Rev. Hope Johnson, Rev. Megan Foley, Raziq Brown, Rev. Renee Ruchotzke, Evin Carvill-Ziemer, Rev. Joan Van Becelaere, Sue Tabone, Cristina Sanchis, Jillian Conway and Beth Casebolt

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