Saturday, December 15, 2007

The UU Tipping Point: Explaining Unitarian Universalism to the World

© Peter Bowden September 2007. Permission to copy granted with attribution.

In September my wife Amy and I offered a sermon for Association Sunday that offers a new way to interpret what the name Unitarian Universalism means. We suggest that how people explain our name is a huge stumbling block for our movement's growth. We preached from an outline so there is no full text. The following shares our ideas and how we arrived at them. Please feel free to share comments.

I’d like to offer you a new way to share Unitarian Universalism with the world. It is a positive affirmation of what we are today. It has been crafted to not only be easy for YOU to remember and share, but easy for the people you share it with to remember as well.

I’ll share it with you and then explain how Amy and I got to this.

What is Unitarian Universalism?

If you need to explain this to someone don’t go to a rehearsed elevator speech, history book, wikipedia or even a UU Principles card. Simple go to the name. If we look at our the root words in our name we find UNITE and UNIVERSAL. What do these mean in terms of our congregations today?

Unitarian => Unite => To bring together

Unitarian has the root “unite” meaning to bring together. What kind of people do our congregations bring together? We bring people of diverse beliefs together.

Universalism => Universal => Shared by all

Universalism has the root “universal” meaning shared. What brings us together despite our diverse beliefs? Our shared values. When we put these together we get the following:

We bring people with diverse beliefs together
around shared universal values.

Can you remember that? If you explained it to someone else, could they? If so, this is huge. Why? Because our movements ability to grow and spread is crippled by the challenge most of our members and friends have sharing our faith.

In September my wife, the Rev. Amy Freedman, and I preached on growing our faith. This was part of the 2007 Association Sunday, a special Sunday raising funds for the Unitartian Universalist Association’s growth efforts. Together we explored why Unitarian Universalism isn’t growing and offered our solution – making our faith easy to explain.

In his book The Tipping Point, author Malcolm Gladwell suggests three things that need to be present in order for something to reach a point where it “tips” and spreads though a population. The context or circumstances need to be right, there must be a passionate core group advocating for the idea or product, and lastly, whatever it is must be what Gladwell calls “sticky”.

1) The right context
2) A passionate group of supporters
3) An ideas that is sticky

Look at the world today. In my opinion, the context for sharing Unitarian Universalism couldn’t get any better. The world is ready for our our message. Criteria number one, the context? Check!

Next is a passionate group of supporters. Gladwell calls this the Law of the Few. Tipping doesn’t require millions of people. A small number will do just fine. We have thousands and thousands of people ready, willing and trying to share our faith. Criteria number two? Check!

Two down. The world is ready. We have passionate people trying to share our faith. Why on Earth are we so slow to grow? What’s missing? This is where the third criteria comes in. As it is presently explained, Unitarian is not sticky at all.

What does stickiness mean? Simple. For an idea to spread you have to be able remember it long enough to accurately share it with someone else. Sticky ideas are easy to remember and share person after person after person. According to Gladwell if you can’t remember what someone tells you you will never change your behavior or buy their product or go to see the movie they recommeded.

Criteria number three? Yikes! Big problem.

You see the problem. Explaining our faith is often like a brutal version of the game telephone. You know the game. You put a bunch of people in a circle and whisper something in the ear of the first person. They whisper it – as best they can remember – to the next. And on and on it goes. If there is any complexity to the phrase or story shared, by the time it goes through the chain of people something very different comes out the other end.

How many people with no knowledge of our faith could your explanation survive before degrading? I’ll let you be the judge. But imagine… Imagine what would happen if we could overcome this lack of stickiness! Think what would happen in we suddenly met all three of Gladwell’s criteria for a movement that could spread with ease?

1) The perfect context – check
2) A group of passionate supporters – check
3) A faith that is easy to explain and share – ??????

This Summer Amy and I spent three days at our annual General Assembly conference interviewing people about Unitarian Universalism for a video. You can find it online by Googling “You’re a Uni-What?” Again and again people thanked us for working on this video and affirmed that it is hard to explain.

Given this, for Association Sunday Amy and I decided to focus on what would need to happen in order for our faith to spread. We had read The Tipping Point. I had read other books on the subject such as Seth Godin’s Unleashing the Idea Virus and Purple Cow. Instead of just pushing people to craft their own elevator speeches and support the UUA’s growth efforts, we wanted to offer use the Association Sunday to overcome the stickiness issue.

Amy and I talked about the average NON-STICK explanation of Unitarian Universalism. We came to the conclusion that it isn’t that Unitarian Universalism is hard to explain, but that the way people explain it is flawed.

When discussing our faith with newcomers people often try to explain far too much up front, that or they don’t explain anything. People have told me that they actively avoid discussing our faith because they know they aren’t up to the task. Those who do try might explain the Christian origins of the names Unitarian and Universalism, follow up with a disclaimer that we’re not really very Christian, at least many of us, and then explain what our congregations are like now.

Friends, this is not a good way to tell someone about us. If your congregation is like ours, a Christian message is not at the center of what you are about. If this is true, we shouldn’t lead with historical explanations of our name. Instead we suggest offering a modern interpretation of the name “Unitarian Universalism” that is both accurate and relevant for our world today.

Sitting in a cafĂ© discussing the UU-NON-STICK problem issue with Amy, I suggested that we need to re-brand Unitarian Universalism. We agreed. It is time for us to share with the world, not our history, not a disclaimer that we’re not this or that, but hope. And this hope is no longer about the unity of God or the nature of salvation. Today our message, the Unitarian Universalist message, is about diverse people with diverse beliefs coming together and living lives based on the values that we share.

The UUA’s most recent capital campaign has the slogan, “Now is the Time.” We think now IS the time for our faith. But all the marketing campaigns in the world won’t help us grow if the we can’t get our name, our message and idea of Unitarian Universalism to stick.

Fortunately we don’t need a lot of money to change how we talk, just intention. Together Amy and I offer you our new and improved explanation of Unitarian Universalism. So far people love it and have found relevant, personally appealing – they can identify with it -- and much much easier to remember. All you need to do is remember the name of our faith. The rest is in there.

Unitarian Universalism
Unitarian: We bring people together
Universalism: We gather around shared values

We bring people with diverse beliefs together

around shared universal values.

By infusing our name Unitarian Universalism with new meaning, we can make it easier for our members, friends, and their friends to tell others about our faith. Amy and I think that this explanation is sticky and through it we can meet Malcolm Gladwell’s stickiness criteria.

1) The perfect context – check
2) A group of passionate supporters – check
3) A faith that is easy to explain and share – check!

If you agree, we invite you to teach people this new way to talk about our faith. We can tell people what Unitarian Universalism means today. After they understand this we can follow up with our shared Principles and Purposes and all the UU history they want.

In faith,

Peter Freedman Bowden
UU Consultant, Trainer & TV Producer

Rev. Amy Bowden Freedman
Minister, Channing Memorial Church, Newport, RI

Monday, October 15, 2007

Association Sunday Part I: We Are! We Are, UU

On Sunday, October 14th, Amy and I led the Association Sunday at Channing Church in Newport, RI. I'll tell you about our sermon later (Now is the Time: Our Tipping Point!) and my new approach to making Unitarian Universalism very easy to spread.

But before the sermon, we had a message for all ages including the following UU adaptation of Queen's "We will Rock You!" I must say that it was a blast having the whole congregation stomping their feet and clapping their hands with the kids up front practically screaming/squeeling with excitement.... Yes, we rocked out.

Original concept by
please identify yourself
New lyrics by Rev. Amy Freedman

We Are! We Are, UU.
We Are! We Are, UU. Sing with me now.

We Are! We Are, UU. Everybody!
We Are! We Are, UU.

Keep that beat going…

Uni-tari-an Universal-ists
in A-sso-ciation now hear this!

From coast to coast, near and far,
let your voice be heard wherever you are.

Sing it!

We Are! We Are, UU. Everybody!
We Are! We Are, UU.

Come on now, don’t be shy
Whether you’re a gal or a guy.

You can still respect other points of view
and tell them about your religion too.

We Are! We Are, UU.
We Are! We Are, UU.

[name of congregation] is a special place
touching lives with care and grace.

Offering gifts in shared min-is-try
is the way for you and me.

We Are! We Are, UU.
We Are! We Are, UU. Everybody!

Like a flaming chalice oh so bright,
Our message is of love and light.

From coast to coast, near and far,
Let your voice be heard wherever you are. Last time! Sing it!

We Are! We Are, UU. Sing it!
We Are! We Are, UU.

Sharing our UU Family Tree

On my site I have been compiling all of the content I discuss with people in the course of my UU evangelism. One of the missing bits of info has been a "tree of religions" showing our UU family tree. I've found it helpful to communicate our place in history. However, this isn't the easiest thing to draw on a napkin in a coffee shop.

Using a fun online tool I've made a version of our family tree. Feel free to share it. AND please, I'm no historian. Give me corrections. It was a royal pain in the you know what trying to get enough info from our various websites to make this version. This info should be much easier to find. So help me out. If you're a UU historian, please send me feedback. You can comment below.

Here is the link and an embedded flash version (click and drag to move).

Friday, September 21, 2007

New video - You're a Uni-what?


Check out this video Amy and I made. It combines interviews at General Assembly 2007 with some commentary by us.

A special thank you to everyone who volunteered to speak with us at GA! I hope to do more with the interview footage I have - approx. 75 minutes worth.

If you want to email someone the link it is

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Soul Purpose of Film School

The other day a UU friend asked me if I had gone to film school for the sole purpose of producing Unitarian Universalist outreach and marketing videos.

While it would be nice to spend my days making UU evangelism and related viral videos, I don't see that paying the bills. Also, being married to a UU minister, it is nice to have life about church 24/7.

My media work goes far beyond our UU world. In addition to my work with our congregations, I also produce videos and short films for nonprofit organizations in the greater Boston area -- see my website, . I also work on two nationally syndicated kids tv shows, and am developing my own show/book series. No publisher yet, but I have a new agent.

All of this non-UU work is great fun, meaningful, and pays the bills. The UU media? I'm banking on the fact that I can do more to impact our world and spread our faith via my media ministry than the average congregation. And that's without funding.

If you have ideas for UU evangelism video material - skits, commercials, etc... - please comment.

- Peter

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Philocrites, Chalice Chick, iMinister and me LIVE (almost)

If you missed the workshop on blogging we led at this year's General Assembly, you missed a rare appearance by the four of us. First time ever this panel has been assembled. It was great fun, and from participant comments, very informative.

Several people commented that they had no idea I was so funny. Obviously they've never heard me guest preach.

This presentation was recorded. You can get the audio cd of this via the General Assembly content management service.

Just visit this and purchase
Blogs: A New Generation in Communication ($12.00)

Monday, June 25, 2007

More on UU TV with Dan Harper and our purple friend

The Rev. Dan Harper, while video blogging this last week at General Assembly, grabbed me and that UU friendly purple alien for a quick video interview.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Can the UUA move its chairs? Koans for OS@GA07

Fun being part of the Open Space Technology process at GA. First, there is no technology in the OST. My wife and I preached a sermon recently that shared this OST thing and a handful of members asked me where the gizmos come in. No gizmos. In fact, this, according to one of the facilitators at my session isn't really pure Open Space Technology anymore. It is OS @ GA 07.

OS @ GA 07?? What the bleep does that mean?! In true OST there are small group gatherings in clusters of chairs set up for - you guessed it - small groups. Seems that the OST thing emerged as a part of this GA after a contract was set with the convension center and therefore we are not allowed to move chairs out of their rows.

That is why we need OST, right? Because there are so many institutionalized practices keeping us from doing what we know we can and should do. I look forward to seeing what comes from this process.

Will the UUA be able to move their chairs once we deliver innovation, inspiration and new visions to the UUA board? Only if they are smart enough to get up off of them first. But a lot of people seem pretty cozy in those seats. I had a seat once. Actually twice. One was in a closet, the other was in the basement.

Reminds me of this koan.

Master Kyogen said, "It is like a man up a tree who hangs from a branch by his mouth. His hands cannot grasp a bough, his feet cannot touch the tree. Another man comes under the tree and asks him the meaning of Bodhidharma's coming from the West. If he does not answer, he does not meet the questioner's need. If he answers, he will lose his life. At such a time, how should he answer?" *

If you were to write a koan like the above for UUA-congregational situation, what would it be?

UU's ready for UU TV

CLICK HERE to sign up for new UU TV email list.

After one day at the 2007 General Assembly in Portland it is clear that UU's are ready for UU TV. And I haven't even started filming yet! Can't wait to see what kind of conversations and buzz gets going once I start doing my interviews with people today.

I'm also excited that UU TV in various forms has emerged in several of the OPEN SPACE TECHNOLOGY sessions. Of the grid of sessions topics being explored the following are included:
  • Good News: Media Communication: UU TV?
  • One Minute Elevator Speeches on Cable TV
  • Dialogue with the World: UU Mass Media
To this I say BRING IT ON.

Interested in UU TV? We can make this happen. From inspiring each other to produce more UU video content to organizing what I dream of, an internet based 24/7 UU TV network.

To help get us organized I have started an E-Newsletter for UU supporters and producers of UU video, tv and other mass media. CLICK HERE to sign up. If you have news to share or a project to discuss, get in touch. Have ideas for UU TV? Let me know.

As they say at this GA, NOW is the time. That's the slogan for the UUA's present campaign to grow our faith. They are right, it is time. It is time for us to get serious about sharing our faith, about 21st century communication, and so much more... But folks, its been the time for a long time. Support the UUA and their efforts, but I invite you to join me in forming a community of smart, fast, nimble, skilled, visionary UU's who can make UU TV a reality THIS century.

Now is the Time: A Campaign to Grow Our Faith

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Connecting for UU Video @ GA

Since phones are easier to access than computers at General Assemby, I am going to record updates on where I will be filming on my voice mail. You can call at any time starting tomorrow afternoon for an update. Call 401 855-0037. Thanks, Peter

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Get interviewed at GA for new UU video

For my final project in film school I am producing a video for newcomers to Unitarian Universalism. Something to the effect of "Discovering Unitarian Universalism" though people in my class call it the "WHat the @&#% is a Unitarian" video.... These are just working titles. This ~ 10 minute video is being produced for distribution via the web through sites such as YouTube. I'd like it to be available for anyone on earth to post on their website.

I can't go through life as the person who made the purple alien video, right? It is true. When I attended the Mass Bay District conference this year several people went and brought friends over to meet me as "The guy who made that purple alien video." Let me repeat that while I made this video, it was as a test for how viral videos travel. It saddens me that this is one of the top UU videos on the entire internet. At least I'm making up for it.

One element of the film will be "street interviews" with people on the street in Portland as well as in my neighborhood(s) -- Boston, MA and Newport, RI. Non UU's will be interview briefly about what they know about Unitarian Universalism.

With an estimated 6,000 UU's attending GA I will be grabbing as many interviews as possible. If you are going to GA and are interested in being interviewed for the "street interview" segment, I invite you to keep an eye out for me @ GA (click here for photo), check this BLOG for related announcements during GA, and/or email me.

Those of you not going to GA, I'll write about how you can help shortly. I'm will be needing to stills of congregational life, congregation exteriors, etc... That and I'll be filming in some congregations in the Boston area.

Want to keep up to date on this project? Subscribe to my e-newsletter.

This year I have been working on two television shows, going to film school full time, guest preaching, working with the Youth Group at my wife's congregation and more. Let me say that commuting to Boston is an evil experience and that I've now made up for not having a car while I worked at the UUA. My poor carbon footprint! You can read more about my new and expanded UU video and media work on my website,


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Do UU seminaries train ministers to grow our movement?

I just heard that the UUA is restructuring how it funds our UU seminaries. Instead of funding seminaries they will be focusing on supporting the seminary students. A letter sent to Star King graduates states that this will amount to a $250,000 cut in funding to each institution -- Starr King and Meadville Lombard.

I read the report on this. It mentions that 60-70 percent of UU seminarians do not attend UU seminaries. While I understand the logic, I hate the idea of not having multiple UU seminaries.

Here's my immediate, albeit late, reaction to this. GROW our movement. INCREASE the number of UUs. Drastically MULTIPLY the number of UU congregations. Move from a binary ministry model - you are or you aren't a minister - to a CONTINUUM of ministry.

I chalk this financial problem up to UU's doing a craptastic job of sharing our faith, sharing ministry and planting new churches. Not that tripling the # of UUs would fix these financial problems, but it wouldn't hurt.

Now, I'd love to check in with Starr King and Meadville Lombard and see what exists in their curricula as far as UU evangelism, church planting, small group ministry, cell ministry, and all those things that would be necessary to build a growth oriented UU ministry.

I don't know what they teach. I would love to find out.

How much of this is a chicken and the egg sort of phenomena? How many seminarians leave our "flagship" UU seminaries and go off and start a new UU congregation? Does our system allow for that? Could anyone afford to do that?

Maybe some brave soul can bring this up in the GA open space technology sessions. The OST question about our role as a faith community in this complex world could easily include a group focusing on how our view of ministry, "lay" ministry empowerment/training, and cultivation of ministers relate to our capacity to minister in this hurting world.

PS - Every time I guest preach and mention Open Space Technology people want to know what kind of gadgets are involved. NONE. It is a process. Not a techno-gizmo.

What your congregation needs to know about blogging

At General Assembly later this month the authors of, iminister, the chalice blog and I are leading a workshop on blogging. Scroll down for details.

Blogs and their related technologies are simply ways of letting people give you permission to deliver text, image, audio and video content to them automatically without their needing to surf to your site. Blogs and bog feeds automate content delivery. Take a look at what Mars Hill Chapel is doing. If you look at their "feeds" page you see that all of their content is set up so people can have it delivered to them. Amazing! Announcements served up fresh. That sermon you missed. The sweet sound of the choir...

A confession. My blog-life has been on hold while I'm in film school. Yes, my blogs have been demoted to sporatic on Philocrites guide to UU Blogs. Oh well - just two more months! Then I'll be done and can get on with fusing my TV and UU work. If you liked that little UU alien movie, lookout!

You know the internet is changing everything. It is time for our UU leaders need to know that congregations can use blogs to efficiently and inexpensively tell their story, communicate with friends, members and the larger community, and make congregations of all sizes feel smaller. If you are a UU blogger or blog reader and you have someone going to GA, send them our way!

If you or a rep from your congregation can't make it, I highly recommend the book The Blogging Church by Brian Bailey of Fellowship Church. Though our workshop will cover more ground than just congregational blogs, this book does a fabulous job discussing blogging for congregations and ministers. If you're minister or webmaster has been toying around with a church blog, get this book into their hands. After this read all will realize that blogs are powerful tool for communicating with your community.

If you haven't explored many UU blogs take a look at Philocrites guide to UU Blogs.

Friday 4:30 p.m. - 5:45 p.m.

OCC Oregon Ballroom 204 [700]
#3064 Blogs: A New Generation in Communication
GA Planning Committee Sponsored

Unitarian Universalists are using blogs to share our message with thousands of readers online. What are they saying? A panel of prominent UU bloggers discusses thisexciting new form of public communication and its uses for evangelism, public witness, self-expression, and debate. Learn how you can get involved.

Peter Freedman Bowden
Rev. Christine Robinson
Christopher L. Walton
Suzyn Smith Webb

Sunday, February 04, 2007

"Association Sunday" 2007 to fund marketing and growth efforts

The UUA's special fundraising Sunday is taking shape. Earlier flyers sent to UUA member congregations called this Growth Sunday. This Sunday is the - the next in the Ministry Sunday and Youth & Young Adult (Mind the Gap) Sunday series. Below are details from the new Association Sunday webpage.

Association Sundays

What are "Association Sundays"?

We at the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations know our congregations can do more together than alone, and that is why, as part of the "Now Is The Time" comprehensive fund raising campaign, we are organizing a series of Association Sundays. Because our surveys indicate growth is the highest priority, these Sundays will be devoted to Growing our Numbers, Spirit, Leadership, Witness and Diversity. The first Association Sunday is scheduled for October 14, 2007. The theme will be: Growing our Faith through Growing our Numbers. Funds raised will be for national marketing and Growth Outreach Projects.

Why do we need Association Sundays?

We need to bring our congregations together to more effectively pursue our mission of affirming the "inherent worth and dignity" of every person in the world. We are "better together," and we can help one another, by combining our resources to have more of an influence on others, and our country. These Association Sundays will increase our connection and effectiveness. Now is the time for our congregations to grow stronger and more vital because we believe our religious values are needed to help heal the wounded world.

How do I organize this Sunday in my congregation?

  1. Register with the Stewardship and Development Office at by May 1, 2007
  2. Schedule October 14, 2007, or a Sunday close to it, for your Association Sunday service and special collection;
  3. After registering you will receive a resource packet containing worship and educational materials;
  4. Share your enthusiasm with other and get them involved. You can post flyers (PDF ) on your notice boards.

Who can I contact for further information?

Send an email to , or email Reverend Stephan Papa at . You can also call Cherisse Haakonsen at 617-948-6544 or send her an email at .

Thursday, February 01, 2007

SGM 911: Getting Dangerous with Small Group Ministry Report

Below is a link to a report & set of recommendations I shared with the Rev. Terry Sweetser, UUA Development Department and Special Advisor to the President of the Unitarian Universalist Association, in April of 2006. It outlines why I think many small group ministries are failing and what we could do to help them given the funding.

SGM 911: Getting Dangerous with Small Group Ministry (PDF)

I'm posting this doc because recently I've had several UUA staff members and UU parish minsiters ask if I think there is a problem with our existing model(s) of small group ministry. SGM911 communicates my take on this issue.

I invite you to share this document at will, print it, post it, whatever you'd like. Anything to get a conversation going. Especially a conversation with the UUA's board and staff.

Have thoughts on how SGM is doing? Post a comment below.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Thandeka's ENTIRE Star Island RE Week theme talk for $17.50

This Summer I had the pleasure of leading a weeklong young adult workshop on Star Island, a beautiful mish mash of UU evangelism, campus ministry, and small group ministry.

The theme speaker of the week was Thandeka, a very popular UU writer and theologian. I won't explain what the talk was about. You can look at the description of the 2006 RE WEEK page.

I will say that after every talk of hers I've been to people go Wow! or Whoa! Though Thandeka admits that people later have trouble remembering exactly what she said. Given this Thandeka was very intentional about boiling it down to easy to remember phrases.

If you are a Thandeka fan or are interested in what she calls "Affective Theology" then this is a must have. The week started off with this: "Our bodies make believers of us all."

$17.50 for 3 audio CD's with a whole week of theme talks including shipping!

The CD details

Star Island

Star Island RE WEEK

Friday, January 19, 2007

Check out America's top "Innovative Churches"

The January/February 2007 issue of Outreach magazine featured a list of the top 25 most innovative churches in the U.S. The Outreach editors and a panel of experts compiled this list.

Kevin D. Hendricks, of the blog Church Marketing Sucks, has made a Squidoo Lens out of the list. Nice thing about this list is that there are links to the websites of listed churches and you can vote to move items up or down the list (thanks to Squidoo's very cool Plexo technology).

The Top Innovative Churches list on Squidoo

UU ministers and lay leaders, are you following any of these churches? Reading any of their books. Many of them publish resources sharing their innovation. My personal favorite is North Point Church and the books written by Andy Stanley.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

My bank was just invaded by Fox News

A flat screen TV featuring FOX NEWS just appeared in one of our local banks. Advertisements before movies. Ads on flat screens in check out lines. Those of you feeling that your environment is being attacked by hostile media may join me in the purchase of the TV B-GONE Universal Off Button Keychain. After complaining about the TV proliferation a friend recommended it. A small keychain with an off button that works on most televisions. Nice.

Get your TV B-GONE Keychain

Note: I tend to try and keep posts on this blog to UU related matters. People, if businesses are going to follow the trend and put flat screen television up everywhere and set them to FOX NEWS - its a bad thing. Maybe if our news stations weren't so biased.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Large Church: Praxis, Problems & Promise

The following is an announcement from Meadville Lombard Theological School on a new large church ministry training.

Meadville Lombard is excited to offer a course focusing on large church ministry leadership in a one week intensive format July 9-13, 2007 in Dallas, Texas.

Learn to create and lead institutions capable of sustaining the complex ministries and operations of large churches. Ordained ministers, lay leaders, seminarians, and church staff will all find applicable, dynamic approaches to 3 key elements of church life:

* Worship * Education * Public Witness

Students will discover the critical alignments and distinct roles of members, ministers and staff found in healthy institutions. This course will offer instruction in theology and theory while drawing on experiences of several large congregations, including one of the most dynamic institutions in the Unitarian Universalist movement today, the First Unitarian Church of Dallas.

We intend to provide people with:

  • A theology of religious leadership
  • Skills for building effective leadership teams
  • Applications for ‘best practices’ in worship, education and public witness
  • A community of students, ministers and lay leaders

Costs for Participation:

  • Credit – Tuition for those seeking Meadville Lombard credit: $1,450 plus $50 registration fee
  • Audit – Tuition for those auditing the course: $725 plus $50 registration fee

Team Rate – If a single congregation would like to bring a team of five or more to audit the course, a special group tuition fee of $2,100 would be offered with a $50 registration fee per participant.

Visit the Meadville Lombard Theological School web site at for more complete course information, travel and lodging information and to register.

Friday, January 05, 2007

New Covenant Group News Blog / Feed

Techno savvy Small Group Ministry & Covenant Group fans - by popular demand I've establishing a "blog version" of the popular Covenant Group News e-newsletter. This blog will be a place for me and other UU Small Group Ministry collaborators to post news as we find it. The edited contents of this blog will be shared via the CGNews e-newsletter.

Get the new CGNews feed if you want to keep posted on new resources, events and other news related to Unitarian Universalist small group ministry and the happenings of the UU SGM Network.

You can subscribe to the blog feed here

You can view the CGNews blog on the UU SGM Network Site at

Subscribe to the email form of CGNews

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Christian right to dismantle America’s open society

Interesting article on by Chris Hedges, former NYTImes Mideast Bureau chief. He writes that the radical Christian right is making great progress toward its goal of "co-opting the country’s military and law enforcement."
The drive by the Christian right to take control of military chaplaincies, which now sees radical Christians holding roughly 50 percent of chaplaincy appointments in the armed services and service academies, is part of a much larger effort to politicize the military and law enforcement. This effort signals the final and perhaps most deadly stage in the long campaign by the radical Christian right to dismantle America’s open society and build a theocratic state. A successful politicization of the military would signal the end of our democracy.
Chris Hedges is the author of American Fascists:The Christian Right and the War On America. Those of you opposed to the idea of America becoming a theocracy would do well to check out the Interfaith Alliance's FIRST FREEDOM FIRST campaign.