As in any organization, there are concentric rings of committed members. At UUCA (and at most religious institutions), we have 60-80 highly committed members in the center of our circle. These folks donate large amounts of time and money to Unitarian Universalism. They are our frequent volunteers. They are the folks who go to cluster, district and national UU events, and UU summer camps. They are many of our highest donors and they often also give to Chalice Lighter calls, separately to the UUA and often to the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) and maybe even the Church of the Larger Fellowship (CLF), too.
That’s a lot of UU involvement and it explains why these folks seem to know an awful lot about Unitarian Universalism, about the workings of the UUA, and have UU friends around the country if not around the world; generally they seem to know “what’s going on.” Well, what about the rest of us? How do I learn stuff without committing that much time?
Best answer: READ
Second best answer: PARTICIPATE
Actually participating is better than reading, but if you don’t read stuff, you’re not going to know what opportunities are available for your participation; hence the number one ranking for READ.
So, “What’s the minimum I need to read?” I hear you ask.
- The UUCA Weekly Enews – ALL OF IT!! Every week! (You can cheat by just reading the Sunday order of service insert which is an extract (but not all) of the enews or you can cheat even more by reading the entire set of slides that run every Sunday in Sandburg Hall after the services.)
- At least the Lead Minister’s column in the monthly newsletter
- At least the “News” section of the quarterly magazine, UU World
- Uh, well, you could read “News4Leaders” but if you made it this far I guess you already do. You get points for that!
Extra credit reading:
- The other 3 columns in the monthly newsletter: Associate Minister, Lifespan Religious Education Director, Board President
- Other articles in UU World, paying special attention to the authors’ names since they are often “players” in the UUA.
- Subscribe and read the lead article of the Southern Region (UUA) e-newsletter. Scan the rest.
- Join a UUA e-mailing list. These are posts written by UU members with special interests. Go here to see the list of choices.
OK, so what kind of participation are we talking about?
- How about coming to worship most of the time? It’s amazing how much that helps keep you connected to what’s going on in the congregation.
- Attend a non-UUCA UU event. (One very easy one would be the Cluster Gathering on October 18 here at UUCA. You might also check out the nearby Mountain Retreat Center for camps, retreats and even clean-up weekends.)
Extra credit participation:
- Attend a UUA General Assembly, the big kahuna of UU events.
The rest of you UUCA leaders know stuff, too. What recommendations might you make to help turn new UU leaders into “old hands?”
Linda, this is a great article on a very important subject. When we talk about lack of communication it is usually about the effectiveness of a specific media or problem passing information to the congregation. This article not only outlines the major “learning opportunities” but goes a step farther and prioritizes sub-sections of each if reading time is limited. Thanks for providing this communication overview…I feel a chart coming on.
I too think it’s a marvelous, very helpful article. Congratulations. As one who has been in all sorts of UU circles, committees, congregations, etc. I can say that I’ve never seen such a concise, helpful piece to inform people on how to be “connected.” I especially second your first recommendation: attend Sunday services often. It’s an excellent way to keep continuous reinforcement of your own “belonging” as well as your faith/beliefs/sense of place in history.
I’ll add emphasis to your point about seeking out a UU e-mail list to associate with. Get connected with dialogues among UU’s across the country on a subject of particular interest, be music, social justice, administration, education or whatever.