In 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:
- A desire for building stronger relationships with staff Primary Contacts
- A commitment to creating deeper congregational collaboration through cluster organization
- 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.
- An excitement about having access to highly skilled unified staff across the region.
- 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