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TopClara Barton &
Massachusetts Bay Districts
of Unitarian Universalist Congregations

NEWSLETTER: November 2010
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In This Issue
The Architecture of Our Interdependence
Resources to Explore our Associational Connections
New Books in District Library

Learning Congregation Workshops
Got Purpose? It Does a Congregation Good
with Doug Zelinkski
(Participation in Parts II and III not dependent on attendance at Part I. All are welcome!)
Lay Pastoral Care Teams
with Rev. Sue Phillips
Who is in Charge Here?
with Larry Peers (February 12)

Creating and Leading Dynamic Lay Led Worship
with Rev. Sue Phillips (June 11)

Religious Education
OWL Training for Teachers of Grades 7 to 12
Renaissance Module

Youth Ministry Training - Advanced

  • March 26, 2011 (details and registration coming soon)

DRE-RE teams for seasoned DREs

  • April 30 (details coming soon)
Spring Conference
Governance and Ministry in UU Congregations
with Dan Hotchkiss
May 7, 2011 - details coming

Annual Meetings
  • Clara Barton District: April 9, 2011 - 9:00 AM
  • Massachusetts Bay District: April 10, 2011 - 5:00 PM
The Architecture of Our Interdependence
SPhillipsby Rev. Sue Phillips
District Executive

There are 23,000 members and registered youth in the 118 congregations of the Massachusetts Bay and Clara Barton Districts. Each of these congregations is part of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations. The UUA includes your congregation and all the rest, together. It is the architecture of our congregations' interdependence.

The UUA is an Association rather than a denomination. This may seem like an arcane ecclesiastical distinction. It's not. Let me explain.

Denominations are often more distinguishable by how they are governed than by differences in belief. Episcopalians, for example, are organized around the episcopate - a fancy word for bishops. Presbyterians are organized around the presbytery - a governing body of ordained elders and clergy. These are denominations, with clear hierarchies through which power is vested and exercised.

Unitarian Universalism is not organized like that at all. As you probably know, ours are self-governing congregations. Each congregation has the sole authority to set its own budget, establish its own rules of membership, and call its own minister.  We prize this independence. 

But no matter how much our congregations value autonomy, we willingly join with others to do what we cannot do alone. And this is the simple reason why the Clara Barton and Mass Bay Districts and the Unitarian Universalist Association exist: we are the architecture congregations have chosen to do together what we cannot accomplish alone.

The 118 congregations in our two districts and 1100 other congregations across the country make up the UUA. The District and the UUA aren't some hierarchy from on high - trust me no one wears a mitre at UUA headquarters at 25 Beacon Street in Boston. No! The District and the UUA is you, and me, and our congregations in Hartford and Cambridge and Worcester and Springfield, at All Souls in Washington DC, and Third Unitarian in Chicago and First UU Church in San Diego and everywhere in between.

So what does this mean for your congregation? Why does it matter that your church is connected to congregations in Seattle, and Denver, and Austin, and Charlotte?  When you all search for a new minister, you need someone to vouch that your candidate has gone to divinity school, and that she or he is suitable for the ministry. And while you alone have the power to choose your minister, you don't have to figure out that whole process out by yourselves - the association of congregations is there to help. [more]

Resources to Explore our Associational Connections
UUA LogoThe Unitarian Universalist Association's website, which contains abundant resources for lay leaders, congregational members, and religious professionals on every topic under the sun, from worship resources and sample bylaws to UUA staff listings and anti-oppression resources.Video: Episode 10

A Religion for Our Time
A series of eleven videos that highlight inspiring stories and projects from sister UU congregations.

SSL LogoStanding on the Side of Love
Powerful inspiration from our Association's key social justice campaign.

New Books in the District Library
You are welcome to borrow books from the District Office. Please visit this link for more information about our holdings and terms of use.

The following books are new to our collection:
Feature The Architecture of Our Interdependence (continued from top)

When your congregation pays your district and UUA dues, when you come to district trainings to share your wisdom with other lay leaders, and when you send delegates to General Assembly, you are expressing your commitment to other Unitarian Universalist congregations. You are living a faith that says while our independence is important, our enduring strength comes from our interdependence.

When you support the Unitarian Universalist Association, you quite literally allow our tiny congregation in Ogden, Utah, to create a life-saving haven for GLBT youth in their community. When you support our Association, you make it possible for hundreds of Unitarian Universalists to witness against racist immigration policies in Phoenix, all under flaming yellow Standing on the Side of Love banners.  When you support our Association, you make it possible to send a Trauma Ministry team to Knoxville in the wake of the shootings last year. When you support our Association, you help the Unitarian Universalist church in Kampala, Uganda, to support ministry that is literally saving lives. Individual congregations can't do all this alone. Together we can. This is the power of our Association.

Unitarian Universalism teaches us that we are not our brothers' and sisters' keeper.  We are rightfully proud of our independence and freedom to worship according to our conscience. But our associational polity is so much more than a justification for independence. It is the architecture of our interdependence. We may not be our brothers' and sisters' keeper, but through our Association we know that we are indeed our brothers' and sisters' brothers and sisters.

In faith,