Finding Resources to Learn About Regionalization

Laura ConkleLaura Conkle,
Secretary: Ohio-Meadville District Board of Trustees
Member: Transition Team,
Member: Congregational Life Advisory Council

I’ve written here previously about how we are our Unitarian Universalist Association. I’ve covered our Memo of Understanding which guides the formation of our Central East Region. I’ve written about getting stuck and unstuck and other topics. You can find my previous posts by searching my name or scanning through older posts.

CER LogoAs I sit to write today, probably my last post before our historic votes this spring, I’m filled with gratitude for my opportunities to serve. Which is not to say that my work around regionalization has been mostly easy or fun. In fact, lots of times my heart has broken wide open and my faith has been dinged. Staying committed to the real-world work of regionalization, which is much more an ongoing process than a one-time action, has required my faith to mature and deepen. And for that I’m grateful.

With respect and trust I show up at meetings, give presentations, write documents, create videos, and speak and listen to folks. I know that there are some folks in our congregations who are uncertain about dissolving our districts. That’s ok. It’s ok to be in discernment. In point of fact, it’s awesome to be in discernment. That’s how I’ve spent the last three years of my life as I worked on regionalization.

There are a lot of resources available online for you to explore as is convenient. There may also be an online presentation that you can attend. We’ve managed to get out in person to make some presentations whether at past District Assemblies, individual congregations, clusters, LREDA or UUMA chapter meetings. And it’s ok, if you’re looking at these resources for the first time.

Please join in this historic effort to create a more interconnected, healthier and stronger association.

Thank you for all you do to carry our life-saving, life-giving faith in this gritty world.

3 thoughts on “Finding Resources to Learn About Regionalization

  1. Thanks for these links. I still have some questions:
    Have any surveys (fall and spring are mentioned) been done yet? If they have been, are the resuts available and, if so, where would I find them?
    What are “successful, formerly district programs” (realizing that they are probably different in each district—will all continue?)
    As I know clusters only by rumor right now, it is hard to visualize the scope of a cluster meeting; equally, as Wisdom Seekers “events are likely to have a region wide in-person meetings”, if a relatively low-income UU member cannot afford to travel to a regional event at a greater distance than the district meetings that are “going away” [to which, by the way, I absolutely, 100%, did NOT agree], are we relegated to small local events only, with nothing at districtwide scale other than meetings by technology, not in person?
    Although we are presumably “ acknowledging differences while building on all that we share together and identifying our common priorities”, expanding from a district to a region that has a much greater diversity will increase the effort to build an equivalently cohesive entity (new region compared to old district), particularly in the short term; how will that be done; if the region does not coalesce after a certain period of time (what would that be), are there strategies being considered now as to how to address that.
    Given the decreased size of the UUA board after the vote a few years ago, are there enough board members to take on the new governance duties?
    “A major goal of regionalization is to greatly increase clustering and collaboration – moving from independence to creative interdependence.”: What happens if there is disagreement within a cluster? How pressured will the dissenting CFSs (congregations/fellowships/societies) be to conform to the majority; if a CFS chooses to leave a cluster, what pressure will there be not to do so? What if a CFS wants to remain independent but work collegially with one or more others?
    What are the current “stakeholder groups” that are represented on the current CLAC? I personally find it troubling that fully half of its membership is made up of ministers. With 4 ministers and the other 4 groups mentioned (district/geographic, persons of color, young adult, and small churches), even realizing that there are people who fall into multiple categories, there are still a lot missing. The CLAC will “providing research and feedback and other input that will be used in setting priorities and strategy”—provide that research and feedback to whom? Who will be setting those priorities and strategy? How will your average member stay aware of all of this, and have input into it?
    If the “precise ask” for dues is not determined, how can we vote? Maybe we can afford it, maybe not; maybe we feel it is an appropriate request, maybe not. Should delegates not know for what they are voting if they are to responsibly represent the interests of their CFSs? At the very least, on what “common expenses” will they be based, and what if certain CFSs do not have the same expense set? It is less important to an individual CFS and its delegates that the whole amount will remain the same than whether its specific amount will increase or decrease and by how much.
    I agree that the criterion for the size of a program should be what works best for that program, but all I see are regions (really big) and clusters (unknown size, uniformity or size or not, etc., but the name seems to indicate a certain smallness—a large group of many individuals does not really “cluster”); there seems to be nothing of similar size to districts.
    I am not familiar with commissioned lay leaders, so I cannot really comment on that program. I am not particularly interested in a denominational credential for lay leaders at my society—those within my society already do not need a stamp of approval from outside; I would not accept such a certification as automatically meaningful (or necessarily an asset without knowing the criteria) for anyone from outside. Certainly a commission from elsewhere will not be helpful to my evaluation of someone; and I will vote against any hiring of lay personnel largely/solely on this basis at my society. I cannot speak for others or if this in fact is what is intended.
    If the Wisdom Seekers program is just a concept, it is too early to vote on it; come back with a final project, or at least a clear outline of a draft, before I can consider approving/disapproving.

  2. I did find that in 2008 and 2009, delegates at suunqebest GAs were expected to confirm the interpretation of ends set earlier, so perhaps I did indeed speak too soon. Not having attended my first GA until 2009, I am learning about what went on then for the first time (joined my UU society in 1998; no connection with UUism before that).

    1. Ah, subsequent!
      Yes, certain items are 2-step votes, ensuring that full deliberation is allowed—especially by-law changes. I should check the CERG by-laws to find details, surprised I did not think about that earlier—thanks!
      I also attended my first GA in 2009; since then, attended all right in Paramus, N.J., as an off-site delegate. I hope to do the same again, and save up for a trip to New Orleans in 2017. Having district meetings in Morristown or even Stamford, Ct., helps—I can commute and save costs. If there were a regional meeting instead, it might be more difficult to do the occasional GA trip. (And no, I don’t want the UUA to pay delegate’s expenses if it gives them any voice, actual or by inference, in delegate selection [I was greatly opposed to the presidents’ subsidy, for instance; by virtue of office, the president is, or can choose to be, well-connected enough, and may be predisposed to support the hierarchy].)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *