Central East Advisory Council Survey Results

CER VerticalIn Fall 2015, the recently created Central East Regional Advisory Council conducted in-depth interviews with a limited number of congregational leaders and clergy around the region.    This fall survey focused on Large Church leaders, Congregational Cluster leaders, and those who had experienced either the old in-person or current on-line leadership school in the Central East Region.

There were literally hundreds of pages of comments, feedback, good ideas and suggestions gathered during the interviews.  All of this material has been given to the Central East staff and will be used in setting goals for next year and beyond.

Some of the major themes that the Advisory Council found in the survey material are:

  1. A desire for building stronger relationships with staff Primary Contacts
  2. A commitment to creating deeper congregational collaboration through cluster organization
  3. A recognition of the value of a hybrid leadership school experience (on-line with in-person components) that allows more folks to participate than older models.  The older models of in-person leadership schools were also valued, but it was recognized that changing times brought new needs.
  4. An excitement about having access to highly skilled unified staff across the region.
  5. Multiple expressions of interest in learning to “do church” in the 21st century and creating sustainable growth.

This coming Spring 2016, the Advisory Council will send a short on-line survey to all congregational leaders and clergy in the Central East Region. Then next Fall, the Advisory Council plans to conduct more in-depth interviews.  The areas of focus have not yet been determined, but it is anticipated that youth programming may be one of the areas for discussion.

The members of the Central East Advisory Council (including UUA staff liaisons) are:

  • Rev. Lane Campbell, First UU Columbus OH, Minister of Religious Education
  • Laura Conkle, Allegheny UU Church of Pittsburgh PA, Ohio-Meadville District Board Member & Central East Transitions Team
  • ev. Jude Geiger, serves the UU Fellowship of Huntington NY, Metro NY District Board Member
  • Rev. Craig Hirshberg, NJ State Advocacy Network Director, Metro NY District Board Member & Ministerial Settlement Representative
  • Carla Johnson, UU Fellowship of Pottstown PA, Joseph Priestley District Board Member
  • John Shea, First UU Society of Albany, NY
  • Rev. Kate Walker, serves the Mount Vernon Unitarian Church, VA
  • Rev. Kimberly Johnson, serves the UU Congregation of the South Fork in Bridgehampton NY & Metro NY District Board Member
  • Rev. Scott Tayler, UUA Director of Congregational Life
  • Rev. Joan Van Becelaere, Central East Regional Staff Lead
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Allegheny UU Church Holds Rally

Allegheny Unitarian Universalist Church, PIttsburgh, PA, and the Delta Foundation held a “Hope Against Hate” rally at the church after a medical office on the North Side of Pittsburgh was defaced with a homophobic slur. Speakers included Dr. Stacy Lane of Central Outreach Wellness Center, Candi Castleberry Singleton of the Dignity & Respect Campaign, Pittsburgh Black Pride, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, and Rev. David McFarland.

The event garnered quite a bit of press including several articles and videos that can be accessed online:

Rally held against defacement of LGBT-friendly banner on North Side

Determined to transform a “message of hate” to a “message of hope,” about 75 people attended a rally Sunday that involved signing their names and well-wishes on a North Side banner that had been vandalized Friday with words derogatory to the homosexual community.
From the post-gazette.com

‘Hope against Hate’ rally held at LGBT health care provider

From Channel 4, ABC affiliate in Pittsburgh

Defaced LGBT Sign Prompts Rally For Acceptance
The Allegheny Unitarian Universalist Church is taking a stand against hate, while calling for diversity and acceptance.
From the local CBS affiliate.

Rally held after business sign defaced with LGBT hate speech

A rally was held Sunday after a North Side business sign was vandalized with LGBT hate speech on Friday. Dozens of people gathered to show their support after a sign at the Central Wellness Outreach Center’s was found with LGBT hate speech.
From WPXI in Pittsburgh

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