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TopClara Barton &
Massachusetts Bay Districts
of Unitarian Universalist Congregations

NEWSLETTER: September 2011
In This Issue
Looking Forward!
Welcome, Hilary Allen
Clean Up At Monson Congregation
Association for Membership Professionals
Your Tax Exempt Status
Join Our Mailing List!

Chalice Lighter Logo

Applications for CBD Fall 2011 Chalice Lighter Grants due Oct 15. [Details]  


For Congregational Leaders  

October, 2011

December, 2011 January, 2012
  •  21st: TBD  
March, 2011 April, 2012
  • 28th: Districts Assembly  - HOLD THE DATE! 

Religious Education 

October, 2011 November, 2011 December, 2011 January, 2012 February, 2012 March, 2011 April, 2012

Looking Forward!

It's only mid-September and district staff have already been busily engaged in the work of this church year. Two Presidents and Ministers Convocations and a Church Staff Start Up gave participants opportunities to talk about topics that are often skipped over in the busyness of a new church year. Three OWL teacher trainings have already come and gone. And the number of congregational board start up retreats led by district staff is higher than ever.
CBD MBD staff 2011
We look forward to what's coming throughout the rest of the year, too, each of us in our own way. Here's what gets us up in the morning (in order as shown in photo above):


Doug Zelinski, Director of Leadership Development  

"This year I'm all about congregational lay leaders appreciating that their efforts are not behind the scenes. I am humbly inspired when I meet with a group of Board members and Committee Chairs who realize that, collectively, they have the power to shift congregational culture by purposefully "going public" with the ways love has shaped their lives and with their hopes for how love can shape their congregation and the world."


Rev. Sue Phillips, District Executive

"I'm excited to work with congregations who are serious about faith development for people of all ages, and to celebrate the maturational and numerical growth that follows in the wake of that kind of congregational focus."



And Now, Please Welcome...  

Hilary Allen ...Hilary Allen, a Master of Divinity student at the Episcopal Divinity School, who will be acting as Social Justice Intern at the District for this academic year. Hilary comes with an amazing background in community activism, anti-racism and multiculturalism. She attends First Parish in Brookline. 


When asked what she looks forward to in the coming year, she said: " being a part of the District's work at this exciting time as we learn about, develop, and communicate the work of Justice Ministry within congregations. It is my hope that I can offer my background, gifts, and current ministerial formation in service of the mission of keeping Spirit connected to our work for a just and beloved community." 



Clean Up at Monson Congregation 

Monson Steeple Damage"What strikes me," says Ed Harrison, a congregant at the UU Parish of Monson, MA, "is how heartwarming it is that so many individuals pitched in to help us clean up the mess on our front lawn. The tornado just picked up the steeple and dropped it 10 feet away. Two trees on either side of the entrance were totally uprooted. Stumps needed uprooting. All of that work was done by church members and other people who just wanted to help whether they were UUs or not."


Though much of the labor was volunteer, there were still costs associated with the clean up. The church rented a dumpster and hired someone with a bucket loader to move debris into the dumpster. Bat guano that had built up in the steeple also needed to be dealt with. Finally, when the mess in the yard was cleaned up, some landscaping and reseeding were in order. The outdoor work alone cost $1500. An additional $3800 was needed to cap off the granite tower that became exposed when the steeple blew off.


It remains unclear what insurance will or will not cover. Funding from relief donations collected through the district office, therefore, has been extremely helpful. The congregation was able to move back into the church for morning services on September 11 and hold a dedication service that afternoon. Everyone in town was invited.



New Association for Membership Professionals 

UUAMP logoThe UU Association of Membership Professionals is a new organization whose mission is "to sustain and nurture the ministry of membership in Unitarian Universalist congregations and to support Unitarian Universalist Membership Professional staff by sharing ongoing lessons of growth, successful strategies and creative solutions." For more information, go to their website at

Keep Your Tax-Exempt Status Current

Please be sure to attend to any notifications your congregation receives from state tax agencies. Recently, several states have tried to collect taxes on churches that had not properly filed their tax-exempt status with the state. In one case a congregation has had a huge lien placed against it that will require an act of the state legislature to undo. We would hate to have that happen to you.
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Judy Murray, District Administrator 

"As Dual-District Administrator, I look forward to supporting our full district staff in executing their exciting new programs while extending our district reach farther, wider and deeper to our 118 member congregations. If you cringe when you hear the word audit, then you know why I am looking forward to the completion of separate (but equal) audits for Clara Barton and Mass Bay Districts."


Rev. Beth Miller, Director of Congregational Development 

"Autumn is always a time of new beginnings and renewal. It is my great joy to support the professional and lay leaders dedicated to making our churches vital to their members and communities. I'm happily engaged in my work with several of our congregations and look forward to being with many more of you in the months ahead. We're off and running for a great year!"


Karen Bellevance-Grace, Director of Lifespan Faith Formation 

"I look forward to meeting some of our gifted religious professionals and inspirational lay leaders who support the ministries of faith formation in our districts. I am very excited to learn what is happening in our congregations and to dream together what may be possible."


Meck Groot, Program and Social Justice Coordinator

"This year, I get to work with congregational leaders to grow our collective capacity for creating and maintaining the Beloved Community through justice ministries that are creative, engaging, and transformative. Lucky, lucky me!"


Of course, we can't do any of this without all of you. We hope you are looking forward with us.