What's New for 2020-21
Supporting online church and deepening de-centering whiteness efforts are among the many adaptations we're making to our resource packets this year. Read below to learn more about all the ways we're enhancing our material to strengthen our support for you.
Small Group Packets
Here's how we're enhancing our small group resources this year...
- Regular De-Centering Spiritual Exercises: As a way of helping you deepen your de-centering whiteness efforts, this year we're dedicating one spiritual exercise every month to a different aspect of dismantling whiteness work. Our vision is to use each monthly theme to highlight and honor the many unique aspects and levels of de-centering whiteness.
- Support for Anti-Racism Specific Groups: It's exciting to see congregations innovating with and creating so many small groups focused specifically on dismantling white supremacy. You've told us you're developing anti-racism small groups, classes, book discussion groups and movie discussion groups. With this in mind, we're intentionally filling our packets with material that can be lifted from our small group packets to seed and support these de-centering whiteness efforts.
- Regular Creativity Based Spiritual Exercises: During this time of Covid, small groups are especially central to keeping our church communities connected and nourished. In our spring survey, you ranked political discussion groups and creativity groups as two kinds of groups you were most excited about. We're still trying to discern if we have the bandwidth to create a theme-based political discussion packet, but we're committed to ensuring support for creativity-based groups. To this end, we're doing two things this year:
1. We're dedicating one spiritual exercise every month to a creativity-based activity.
2. We're partnering with a wonderful UU leader, Elizabeth McCoy, who has years of experience leading creativity retreats and groups, to lead a monthly online "Creativity Matters" small group that engages our themes through creativity-based activities and reflection. This online group is open to members of your congregation who want to learn how to run such creativity-based small groups in your own church setting. More information HERE
- Expanded Training Opportunities for Facilitators: We're increasing the number of times we offer our a two-hour basic training webinar and doubling the number of those that can participate in our two intensive facilitator training groups. We're also offering new webinars on:
1. How to use the material in our core packets to seed other kinds of small groups
2. How to use "lectio divina" discernment practices to enhance our regular Soul Matters groups as well as to develop additional spiritual practice groups
3. How to integrate your online newcomer welcoming systems with your Soul Matters small groups
4. How to use our small group material and process to develop inspiring and easy-to-do lay worship services
Learn more about all of these webinars and trainings on our webinars & trainings page.
Here's how we're enhancing our worship resources this year...
- Doing Online Permissions Work for You: Online worship is complex. Having to search for and secure the needed online permissions for all the pieces you use in online worship makes it even more challenging. So this year we're taking that permissions work off your plates and doing it for you. This includes sermons as well as the other worship components. Our new approach to sermons ensures that everyone is clear about how preachers want their sermons to be used and makes sure we're not competing with preachers who depend on guest preaching fees for their livelihood.
- De-Centering Whiteness: To deepen our commitment to de-centering whiteness in worship, we're continuing our practice of seeking out worship pieces by people of color and we're adding a number of new efforts, including hosting decentering whiteness in worship webinars this fall, establishing an advisory team and exploring having some packets solely devoted to marginalized voices.
- New Systems to Support Those of You Without Paid Preachers: We've heard that many of you are struggling to find and pay for guest preachers. To help, we're exploring the development of systems that will more easily enable you to identify speakers willing to preach on our monthly themes. One idea is to create a match-making system that lists UU guest preachers who have sermons on our 2020-21 themes. Another idea is to assist small churches with pooling their money to purchase sermon videos, thereby increasing the affordability for small churches and ensuring preachers are paid at the UUA recommended rates.
- Specialty Worship Packets: Last year we began assembling specialty worship packets, most notably on stewardship as well as sacred words. This year we're expanding the list to include packets on water communion, flower communion, Ramadan, Earth Day and possible the UU principles. Visit the Specialty Packets page on our website. to learn more.
Here's how we're enhancing our religious education resources this year...
For more information contact Susan: firstname.lastname@example.org. Soul Matters Sharing Circle LLC