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    Retooling for New RealitiesA Year-Long Learning Community for Congregational Leaders

    By Renee Ruchotzke

    Retooling for New Realities: A Year-Long Learning Community for Congregational Leaders

    This is?a?time?of expansive?change. Our faith communities are experimenting and collaborating as never before. How might we bring more intention?to?what?congregations?are already?doing??

    Retooling for New Realities is an opportunity for your congregation to?become thought partners with other UU congregations in cohorts organized (as much as possible) by size, regional culture and challenges.?Experienced lay leaders, working with UUA staff, will facilitate online gatherings for?congregational leaders?to learn together and share experiences with one another.?From experience (General Assembly, Regional Gatherings, Leadership Schools, etc.) we know that when congregations meet with other?congregations, they?generate a creative interchange of ideas.?

    These times also offer the?opportunity to?recommit to?our intentions and aspirations?as?faith communities.?With the need to socially?distance, the urgent pressure for racial justice,?and the pending threats of climate change, our communities have?the?incentive to retool our congregations to?help?shape?and live into?a?survivable?future.?

    Our hope is that?as?innovation and experiment?are?shared?nimbly?and effectively?among participating congregations?though this program,?UUA program staff will?also?be able to draw?from what?is learned to provide resources for all?UU?congregations?in the spirit of reciprocity.??

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Participating congregations will:?

    • October 25, 2020 was the deadline forthe first cohort.?

    • Complete an application by November 29, 2020 to join?the second cohort.

    • Commit?a?team?of at least 4?trusted?leaders?likely to bring a diversity of perspective, considering:?

      • Both?professional and?laypeople?

      • Leaders?whose perspectives are often represented in congregational decision-making?and leaders whose perspectives are often?overlooked??

      • Leaders from both majority?and minority?demographics?

      • Leaders?with?both inside?and outside?perspectives?

    • Pay a fee*?of 1.5% of the congregation’s 2020 Annual?Program?Fund??full share

    • Commit to the full 8 months of the program?

    • Participate?covenantally:?

      • be willing to learn, with the spirit of “beginner’s mind” even when we may bring some expertise?

      • be willing to question our?assumptions, knowing that?different backgrounds?and experiences influence our?worldviews?

      • gently hold one another accountable to creating a community of faithful practice?

      • be responsible for our own participation and spiritual growth, with integrity and enthusiasm?

      • make space for everyone’s contribution and participation to build a rich learning environment?

      • commit to?work with others in?our?own faith community to use what we learn to help further the mission of the congregation (or other covenantal community) to build a better world?

    *The fee?will enable us?to compensate cohort facilitators, who will be trained and supported throughout the program?

    Program will include:?

    • Some “homework” including reading and on-demand webinars?on topics including:?

    • Regular cohort meetings?with a peer facilitator?

    • Sharing challenges,?experiments?and experiences with other congregations and?with?UUA staff?

    About the Author

    Renee Ruchotzke

    Rev. Renee Ruchotzke (ruh-HUT-skee) has served as a Congregational Life Consultant in the Central East Region since September of 2010. As program manager for Leadership Development, she is responsible for providing consultation, programming and training material (including webinars and videos) on...

    For more information contact conglife@uua.org.

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