November is open enrollment month for the UUA Health Plan, just as it is every year. But this year there's a twist. Congregations and other eligible organizations have the opportunity to compare the UUA's health plan options with those offered by the federal Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.
When the UUA Health Plan was organized in 2007, it was the only viable option for many congregations. Now, for the first time, the health care exchanges set up under the ACA provide an alternative that congregations can choose to look at. To compete with the ACA's low-premium, high-deductible plans, the UUA is introducing its own bronze-level option. Read more at the UUA website.
JOIN THE REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE ADVOCACY COMMUNITY
Are you interested in helping your congregation join the fight for reproductive justice? Get involved in the UUA's advocacy community for monthly opportunities to learn and engage.
December 4th Conference Call, 3:30pm Eastern Topic - Springtime Opportunities for Advocacy
January 13th Webinar, 3:30pm Eastern Topic: Reproductive Justice Ministry with UU Men
February 3rd or 4th Conference Call, time TBD Topic: Strategic Planning and Funding Opportunities
On Saturday, August 17, 2013, nearly 40 members of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock (UUCSR), Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Central Nassau in Garden City, Original Blessing in Brooklyn and First Unitarian Congregational Society Brooklyn partnered with volunteers from the Central East Regional Group of the Unitarian Universalist Association (CERG) and Sustainable Long Island to clean the shoreline along the bay of the City of Long Beach. Volunteers of all ages worked together throughout the day to repair the ravages left by Superstorm Sandy last fall. Other volunteers joining the service project were from the group All Hands and residents of Long Beach and other LI communities. Read more on the Sandy Relief Work Page.
Behind the Kitchen Door by Sara Jayaraman is the 2013-14 Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Common Read.
The Central East Regional Group announces six congregations who are selected to be the third cohort of the region's Threshold Congregation growth program. They join the nine congregations that were selected last year and the nine congregations selected in 2011.
These congregations are healthy, vibrant, exciting and faithful Unitarian Universalist communities. The Threshold Congregation Program is designed to build on their strengths and to enable them to grow -- in numbers, in spiritual depth, in purposeful commitment within, and in outreach. While the aspect of growth that is easiest to measure is "seats in the pews" (and this is a critical component of success), it's not the only ingredient. Of equal importance is that the congregations offer vibrant and challenging worship experiences, welcome and true hospitality, an effective system of governance with effective leaders, loving social action beyond its walls, and radical inclusivity.
Individualized congregational planning will be taking place in April and May with consulting work to begin June 1 and to continue for the next three years. Along with working with a staff consultant, all 24 Threshold Congregations will also be working with one another in an intentional learning community—both in person and on line.
The Central East Regional Group - CERG – consists of the St. Lawrence, Metro New York, Ohio-Meadville and Joseph Priestley districts. For more information about how your congregation can apply for the next round, click here or contact your District Executive.
The Unitarian Universalist discussion guide to The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, selected as the 2012-2013 Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Common Read, is now available. Intended to help groups reflect on the book and consider together what steps they are called to take, as people of faith, in response to Alexander's call for awareness and action, the discussion guide is adaptable for congregational, cluster, or district programming for adults of all ages and life stages. Two formats are offered: A single, 90-minute session and three, 90-minute sessions. Download your copy for free from UUA.org: http://bit.ly/u0d55t.
Assessing Sexual Health: An Online Guide for Unitarian Universalist Association Congregations
Is your congregation sexually healthy and responsible? Rev. Debra W. Haffner, President of Religious Institute, Inc. and an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, has created an assessment guide for congregations on their sexual health policies and procedures. Designed for clergy and lay leaders, the guide consists of 9 check lists known as building blocks. A church could use all or part of the building blocks depending on their size and capabilities and where they are in the Safe Congregation Process.
A new "Congregations and Beyond Discussion Guide" has just been published at http://www.uua.org/documents/congservices/beyond/discussion_guide.pdf
It gives a framework for congregations to discuss the UUA's set of initiatives, new technologies and congregational stories of new methods of reaching out to spiritual seekers. Please join the conversations on Facebook on the page "Unitarian Universalists Exploring Congregations and Beyond" and post your thoughts!