2003 Annual Reports


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2003 Annual Reports

  1. 1. Unitarian Universalist District of Metropolitan New York 2010 Annual Reports 2010 Annual Meeting April 30-May1 Morristown NJ
  2. 2. Unitarian Universalist District of Metropolitan New York 2010 Annual Reports District President....................................................................................... Ted Fetter District Executive............................................................................... Andrea Lerner Program Consultant ....................................................................... Douglas Zelinski Administrator ......................................................................................Laurie Golson Right Relations Consultant ...................................................................Frances Sink Young Adult and Campus Ministry Consultant...................................Claire Sexton Youth Ministry Consultant .........................................................Kierstin Homblette Annual Program Fund Committee ....................................................... Tom Howard Anti-Racism and Diversity Committee....................................... Rev. Michael Tino Chalice Lighters Coordinators ..............................................Bill and Rickey Slezak Compensation Consultant ........................................................................ Doug Ford In Care, In Covenant – Seminarian Support Project.....Andrea Lerner, Julie Taylor Junior Youth Steering Committee .....................................Peter Green, Robin Slaw Ministerial Settlement Representative .................................... Rev. Craig Hirshberg Women and Religion Committee......................................................... Laurie James Young Adult Steering Committee ................................................ Ryan Novosielski Youth Adult Committee..................................................... Sara Neiss, Katie Parker
  3. 3. District President Ted Fetter 2010 Annual Report The Metro NY District Board of Trustees began its work, as we have done for the past several years, with a two-day retreat facilitated by the Rev. Mary Higgins. At the retreat, we were very pleased to be joined by the District’s Anti-Racism and Diversity Committee (ARDC) for a continuation of the Board’s work on an Ends statement that would accurately and satisfactorily reflect the determination to address issues of anti-racism/anti-oppression/multiculturalism. ARDC members were most helpful in reacting and responding to the work the Board had done over the past few months, and the Board did in fact make some change in the Ends statement. As you know, under our Policy Governance structure, Ends statements are guiding principles toward which the work of the District is focused and by which it is measured. District Executive Andrea Lerner organizes the District’s staff and other resources in order to make progress in meeting the Ends; so issues like assuring an open and positive welcome and inclusion of all people are important to include in our Ends. The second focus of the retreat last summer was to develop better ways to engage in dialogue with congregational leaders around the District, and we are trying in this Annual Meeting to make a difference there. We want to learn from you just what District services our congregations need, what benefits from the District are most important to you. Your Board will continue this work in the coming year. The third major event that shaped our year was a greater emphasis on regional organization for District work. The Board, along with Andrea Lerner and Doug Zelinski, worked hard with the boards and district executives of our three partner districts – Joseph Priestley, Ohio Meadville, and St. Lawrence – to prepare a plan for regionalizing the operations of the four districts and sharing resources even more than we have over the past three years. We are part of the Central East (or CenEast) Regional Group, which means we are the CERG region. The regionalization includes a special focus on ready-to-grow or ready-to-develop congregations we’re calling “threshold” congregations, and you’ll hear much more about what being a threshold congregation means for your own congregation and the wider region. In these tight times, budget pressures continue to grow. For next year the Board has agreed that, after holding the District Full Share rate steady for the past two years, we need to increase it by one dollar to $24 per member. We have been freezing salaries and cutting expenses and using up reserve funds as much as we dare, and even with the one dollar increase the expenses are still reduced and the reserves tapped some more. We wish we could make a better report, but we are all trying to stretch our resources and accomplish all we can within our means. I close with a heartfelt thanks to all members of the District Board and to Andrea Lerner and all of the District staff. They do a great job that deserves much more credit than they get.
  4. 4. District Executive Andrea Lerner 2010 Annual Report The transition to a system of Policy Governance for the District over the last six years has introduced a number of changes in administration and in practice. The District Board is responsible for establishing and defining the Ends towards which the efforts of the District are to be directed, and the limitations that are to be observed within those efforts. The District Executive (DE) is charged with directing the resources of the District towards the accomplishment of those ends. The DE is responsible for the practical interpretation of the ends and for regularly reporting to the Board on the progress towards those ends and on the compliance with the limitations. The Board has established the following Ends policies. GLOBAL ENDS COMMITMENT: Guided by our living faith, The Unitarian Universalist District of Metropolitan New York exists to be a source of connection and transformation for our congregations and our larger world. Therefore, the District policies, resources, and actions will result in: EN2a. Congregations that are healthy and effective; EN2b. Congregations that are beloved communities: multi- cultural, diverse, loving, and justice seeking; EN2c. Congregations that have empowered professional and lay leadership; EN2d. Congregations that cooperate and act together on areas of common concern; EN2e. Greater awareness and understanding, in our congregations and our region, of the potential of our Unitarian Universalist religion to transform individual lives, our communities, and the greater world. The work of District staff is guided by these policies and includes: (1) responding to individual requests from lay leaders, ministers, and religious education professionals for advice, consultation, and guidance; (2) shaping and supporting the administration of the District: communication, budgets, website, and resources; (3) creating, implementing, and supporting programs that will promote cooperation, support leadership, and empower congregations to grow healthy and strong. Among the initiatives that the staff has created or supported this year are: Action/Consultant Teams and Volunteers • Growth: Chalice Lighters Coordinator William Slezak and volunteers revisioned the Chalice Lighters program last year, putting additional support in place for congregations to develop applications for funding. We are also in partnership with the Joseph Priestley, Ohio Meadville, and St Lawrence districts to share the services of a Growth Consultant. The Growth Funds from the 2007 Association Sunday has provided funding for this consultant, as well as innovative growth initiatives through a District grant process.
  5. 5. Page 2: District Executive • Right Relations: Led by consultant Frances Sink; proactive congregational covenants and conflict transformation. • Ministerial and Staff Transitions: Startups and exit interviews, covenants, consulting ministry placement. • Adjunct Consultant Program: Providing facilitation for congregational work. • In Care, In Covenant: Administrator Julie Taylor and members of this team provide support for UU seminarians in Metro NY. • AntiRacism and Diversity Committee: Chair Rev. Michael Tino and his committee consulted with the District Board as the Board deliberated the development of the Ends. The committee supports congregational initiatives and plans the annual Conclave. • Junior Youth Steering Committee: Peter Green, Robin Slaw, Eric Hallander • Youth Adult Committee: Co-Chairs Katie Parker and Sara Neiss, supported by Youth Ministry Consultant Kierstin Homblette. • Young Adult Steering Committee: Chair Ryan Novosielski • Committee on Accessibilities: Chair Rev. Rosemarie Newberry • Women and Religion Committee: Co-Chairs Laurie James and Reena Kondo • Nominating Committee: Chair Rev. Susan Veronica Rak • Scholarship Fund Committee: Chair Jude Geiger • UUA Compensation Consultant: Doug Ford • UUA Ministerial Settlement Representative: Rev. Craig Hirshberg • UUA Annual Program Fund District Representative: Tom Howard Part-time Consultant Staff – Serving you by email and phone and in person under our Adjunct Consultant Program • Claire Sexton, Young Adult and Campus Ministry Consultant, focusing on congregational young adult and campus programming and participating in the partnership to organize within the four districts of the CenEast Regional Group (CERG). Funded by a UUA grant. • Kierstin Homblette, Youth Ministry Consultant, focusing on congregational youth programming and participating in the partnership to organize within the four CERG districts. • Frances Sink, Right Relations Consultant, focusing on proactive means to achieve congregational health. Leadership Development • UU Leadership Team Institute (UULTI) 2010: Three leadership training opportunities will be offered in different locations, again in cooperation with Joseph Priestly, St. Lawrence and Ohio Meadville districts. August 26-29, 2010, Metro NY is planning a three-day UULTI By the Sea in cooperation with the Joseph Priestly district. • Long Island Leadership Institute (LILI): Doug Zelinski is working again this year with Long Island congregations over five all-day Saturday workshops throughout the year. • Healthy Congregations: Doug Zelinski, Frances Sink, Alison Cornish, Sue Penney, and Andrea Lerner are trained to lead this program. We are currently offering the Healthy Congregations Series to six congregations. In spring 2011, a program on Healthy Congregations will be offered as part of LILI. • Defying Gravity Leadership Day: In conjunction with the UU Congregation at Shelter Rock (Manhasset NY), the District hosted a fall leadership day with Laurel Hallman and 12 tracks of workshops tailored to various congregational roles.
  6. 6. Page 3: District Executive • Presidents Roundtables (Vice Presidents and Ministers welcome): The Fall Roundtable was part of Defying Gravity Leadership Day, November 7, 2009. The Spring Roundtable scheduled for February 20, 2010, was snowed out. • New Dollars/New Partners Program: This program, sponsored by the national not-for-profit organization Partners for Sacred Places continues through this year with nine congregations and Murray Grove participating. We have just completed the third of four workshops, and the leaders are buzzing with excitement over the possibility of growing strong connections to the community while learning to maintain and treasure their historic buildings. Luther K Snow, author of The Power of Asset Mapping, was one of our presenters. • Collegial Conversations: A workshop for colleagues in new relationship or those wishing a “tune-up” was held January 19, 2010. • OWL: Trainings for three levels were offered: Adolescent, August 7-9, 2009, Murray Grove; Adult/Young Adult, August 14-16, 2009, at the Community Church of New York UU (Manhattan); Elementary, December 4-6, 2009, at the Unitarian Church in Westport (CT). • Renaissance Modules and Religious Education Trainings: New DRE and UU Identity, August 18-21, 2009, Ocean Grove Retreat Center; Youth Advisor Workshops, Nov 7, 2009, UU Congregation, Shelter Rock (Manhasset NY), and a second yet unscheduled; Multicultural Religious Education, May 18-20, 2010, Murray Grove. • Senior Youth Conferences: EnviroCON, October 16-18, 2009, UU Fellowship at Stony Brook (NY); Chaplain Training, Jan 8-10, 2010, Unitarian Society, A UU Congregation (East Brunswick NJ); Leadership Development Con, March 19-21, 2010, UU Fellowship of Northern Westchester (Mount Kisco NY). Three other “social” cons were also planned. • Junior Youth Events: Junior Youth Retreat, September 26-27, 2009, Harriman State Park; Junior Youth Con, April 17-18, 2010, Morristown (NJ) Unitarian Fellowship. • Anti-Racism and Diversity Conclave: This annual event presented by our Anti-Racism and Diversity Committee is scheduled for May 15, 2010, at the Community Church of New York UU (Manhattan). • Jubilee 1 Anti-Racism Workshop: Sept 25-26, 2009, UU Congregation of Central Nassau (Garden City NY). • 2010 District Annual Meeting: April 30-May 1, 2010, Hyatt Morristown (NJ). “We Would Be One” is our theme, with Burton Carley as keynote speaker and Olympia’s Daughters in concert. Doug Zelinski and I, as co-employed staff (our wages are shared by the District and the UUA), also maintain a relationship with the larger association. We participate in national events and trainings and regional staff meetings. The CenEast Regional Group, formed with the Metro NY, St. Lawrence, Ohio Meadville, and Joseph Priestly districts, has proposed a new staffing structure for adoption in the 2010-11 year. The co-employed District staff does not work alone. In fact, the health and vitality of the District grows from the participation and goodwill of many, many individuals. I would like to thank those named above in the report and: • Ted Fetter, District President, and members of the District Board: Christopher Buja, Richard Fierberg, Rev. Craig Hirshberg, Rev. Hope Johnson, Ron Roel, Rev. Tracy Sprowls-Jenks, Jennifer Stevens, and Toby Tyler.
  7. 7. Page 4: District Executive • Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt, District UUA Trustee and UU Trauma Ministry Leader. Rosemary is stepping down this month from the UUA Board, and John Hawkins will fill out the remainder of her term until June 2011. • Susan Greenberg, Bookkeeper, and Charles Klein, Webmaster • And last, but by no means least, a person who keeps us all on track: Laurie Golson, District Administrator Thanks to all who help to make our Unitarian Universalist faith a vital presence in the life of the individuals, the congregations, and the communities of the District. I look forward to the year ahead.
  8. 8. Program Consultant for Leadership Development Douglas Zelinski 2010 Annual Report As the Program Consultant for Leadership Development, I work to empower lay leadership in advancing the faith and values of Unitarian Universalism. Often my work occurs on-site, as was true for the 13 congregations whose leadership strove to clarify their visions, missions, governance structure, and UU identity and their congregation’s call. Numerous phone consultations were held in preparation for these facilitations. Four day-long Saturday trainings were held for congregational officers as well as emerging leaders. Workshop topics ranged from the “Spiritual Journey of Leadership” through “Congregational Power Analysis” to “Conflict and Covenant.” In addition, our Adjunct Consultants, other District staff, and I are developing new approaches to how our congregations understand their missions and how they stay in right relationship. The District continues its support of the Long Island Leadership Institute (LILI), which has just graduated its second class of leaders. A grant from the New York State Convention of Universalists was secured to support the 2010-2011 LILI program year. Finally, the Healthy Congregations workshop series has been launched and has received terrific reviews from attending congregations. We look forward to providing this series on a regular basis. As one expression of the covenantal relationship of our UU Association of Congregations, the District joins with its three contiguous districts to form a collaborative regional group, the Central Eastern Regional Group (CERG). The CERG supports district staff as they share their individual expertise across district boundaries – for example, when I provided a workshop at the Saint Lawrence District Annual Assembly. In addition, the CERG sponsors the residential summer leadership program called the UU Leadership Team Institute (UULTI). This year’s planning for “UULTI By the Sea” will provide an opportunity for our lay leaders to experience a transformation of their commitment to Unitarian Universalism. I also provide support to efforts of the broader UUA community, this year including the facilitation of another regional group’s multi-day retreat and the initiation of a webinar series that supports Saturday leadership programming throughout the country. Support was also given to the several reorganization efforts underway as our district staff move toward regionalization. Finally, I have benefitted from a number of training opportunities throughout the year, including those on Adaptive Leadership and the tailoring of Healthy Congregations to the UU context. It continues to be a privilege and an inspiration to work with our dedicated lay leaders. Thank you for the opportunity.
  9. 9. Administrator Laurie Golson 2010 Annual Report My responsibilities as Administrator include: • Prepare and distribute District full share statements, and receive, record, and deposit payments • Authorize and sign check payments of bills and requests for reimbursement • Prepare online registration forms and process payments for events of the District, the Liberal Religious Educators Association, and the UU Ministers Association • Facilitate financial processing for the Liberal Religious Educators Association • Secure insurance for home offices and outside events • Keep portions of the website up-to-date and help other District leaders to do so • Maintain the online Contact Information System database and Directory and help District leaders to use the System • Maintain the District calendar • Prepare and distribute the monthly e-newsletter, the Metro NY Minute • Help prepare and distribute materials for a variety of District programs and events, including Chalice Lighters calls • Prepare and distribute materials for the Annual Meeting and Annual Awards, including online and participant materials, and serve as Registrar • Support the District Board, committees, and task forces as requested, including the Nominating Committee and the Bylaws Review Task Force • Maintain files, supplies, and equipment • Respond to phone and email inquiries covering a wide range of questions, comments, and needs This past year has been a fulfilling one in my work as Administrator. I am continually challenged to maintain the highest level of service I can to congregational leaders. In September, I’ll participate in the Central East Regional Group meeting at Ocean Grove NJ and have an opportunity to be together with administrators from the Joseph Priestly, Ohio-Meadville, and St. Lawrence districts. In June, I’ll once again be attending General Assembly. Having missed General Assembly 2009 and this year’s General Assembly, I’m especially looking forward to General Assembly 2011. For this year’s Annual Meeting, my thanks go to Elaine McMillan, Volunteer Coordinator, to all those who volunteered to help at the registration tables, and to Susan Greenberg who once again helped compile the packets. I so appreciate your assistance. And to all District UUs: If at any time during the coming year I can be of service to you, please call or email me. I’m here to help, and I look forward to hearing from you!
  10. 10. Right Relations Consultant Frances Sink 2010 Annual Report The Right Relations Consultant position was created two years ago to meet the specialized need of congregations working to develop processes, policies, and procedures supportive of our mission to be radically hospitable in our covenantal faith communities. Fulfillment of this mission requires that we pay equal attention to our covenantal responsibilities to each other as we form intentionally diverse communities. The agreements we forge as individual participants regarding “How do we agree to be in community together?” form the foundation for radical hospitality and congregational right relations. Publicity about availability of right relations consultation and the offering of District-wide trainings throughout the year have led to a significant increase in requests for assistance from congregational leadership, both lay and ministerial, in forming covenantal agreements in their congregations, writing policies to support such agreements, and facilitating congregational processes to inform and engage membership these processes. Committees on Ministry (COMs) are often the guiding voice in congregational development of right relations processes and policies. This past fall Lisa Bredbenner and Lynn Dash completed a survey of the COMs in District congregations in order to learn about their functions and needs at the present time. We learned that at least two thirds of our congregations have active COMs in various stages of development. All are working within the model developed by the Rev. Robert Latham with some modifications. Congregational behavioral covenants and policies for safe congregations and disruptive behavior have been implemented in many congregations. A need for more training and clarification about the role of the COM in congregational reconciliation and mediation processes was identified. Integrating covenantal agreements into daily interpersonal life in our congregations remains a necessary culture shift. Requests for right relations consultation are often from congregations without behavioral covenants or congregations concerned about how to address an individual who persistently acts outside of congregational covenantal agreements. This year the healthy congregations training methodology was selected to form a core curriculum for District congregational learning about emotional systems theory and practice as it applies to congregational life. This approach to congregational systems is based in Bowenian emotional systems theory and has been adapted not only to congregational life but also specifically tailored to UU theologies and polity. Doug Zelinski, Andrea Lerner, and I have all completed Healthy Congregations Facilitators Training. A six-session series of workshops has been offered to congregational teams this spring and has been well attended. Modules from this curriculum are designed to be tailored to the specific requests of individual congregations. In the coming year, I will continue to expand services to congregations individually and in District offerings. Specific offerings include:
  11. 11. Page 2: Right Relations Consultant • Phone consultation to congregational leaders and ministers • Support for congregational processes to develop leadership, behavioral, and mission covenants • Support for development of policies and procedures for COMs, reconciliation, mediation, and disruptive behavior • Facilitation of District and congregational workshops and meetings • Facilitation and mediation of congregational conflict management
  12. 12. Young Adult and Campus Ministry Consultant Claire Sexton 2010 Annual Report My responsibility as the Young Adult and Campus Ministry Consultant is to serve the congregations of the District by providing support, resources, and training for young adult and campus ministry activities in congregations. I support the creation and sustaining of young adult groups, promote the growth of multiple pathways for young adult spiritual growth and development in UU communities, connect young adult leaders with additional opportunities for growth, and encourage multigenerational work and fully integrating young adults into the life of congregations. Duties include checking in with each congregation in the District that is involved in young adult and/or campus ministry, liaise with the District Young Adult Steering Committee, identify District-wide needs for young adult ministry, and encourage cooperative efforts between congregations who collectively wish to increase their appeal and offerings to people in the 18-35 age range. Ongoing work includes collaborating and exchanging ideas with District Youth Ministry Consultant Kierstin Homblette, attending meetings of District Young Adult Steering Committee, and keeping in touch with staff and consultants of the three other districts in the Central East Regional Group, as well as other district around the country. Specific tasks and events this year have been taking steps to support District-wide young adult events in addition to the annual winter retreat at Frost Valley, starting with a young adult Our Whole Lives class. To gauge and gather interest for the class, the Rev. Jude Geiger and I held an informational workshop at last year's District Meeting, which began the process of putting together the logistics for both a facilitator training and the class itself. The training was in August 2009 and the class began in September 2009 with me and three other facilitators sharing the stage, meeting every other Thursday until wrapping up in early April 2010. Additionally I have been in contact with a few congregations around the District for the first time about how to further their ministry to young adults, including First Unitarian Society of Westchester (Hastings-on-Hudson NY) and several congregations on Long Island. As always I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with and serve with people in the District. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, big or small, about how you can help sustain Unitarian Universalism’s message in ministering to young adults.
  13. 13. Youth Ministry Consultant Kierstin Homblette 2010 Annual Report The youth ministry consultant serves the congregations of the District by providing current congregational youth ministries and congregations who wish to do youth ministry with resources and training, supporting the creation and sustaining of youth groups, promoting a variety of pathways for youth spiritual growth and development in UU communities, connecting youth leaders with additional opportunities for growth, supporting adults working with youth (including youth advisors, religious educators, and ministers), and encouraging multigenerational work and integrating youth into the life of congregations. My work as a consultant in 2009-2010 included work with the District Youth Adult Committee (YAC), helping to coordinate a number of District-sponsored trainings for youth and adult allies, and serving as a resource for youth advisors in congregations. • YAC is the decision-making and planning body for District youth activities, including a number of youth conferences (cons) and trainings each year. This was a transitional year for YAC, as many of our senior leaders aged out the community and new YAC members stepped into leadership positions. We developed some exciting plans for supporting youth in congregations, in addition to the District-wide social cons, including ideas for cluster events, engaging youth from congregations without youth groups, and modeling different kinds of youth-adult partnerships. We are looking forward to implementing some of these actions plans in the upcoming year. • The District sponsored two youth trainings this year, to facilitate the development of youth leaders and to pass on some best practices for youth ministry. A Chaplain Training was held in East Brunswick NJ on January 8-10, 2010, which proved to be an exciting opportunity for some of our youth to be trained to serve their peers as chaplains at youth meetings and cons, helping to create a healthy and sustainable community for the future. The District also sponsored a Leadership Development Conference on March 19-21, 2010, in Mount Kisco NY at the UU Fellowship of Northern Westchester. Trainers from the Pacific Northwest District worked with the youth and advisors in attendance to build skills in communication, facilitation, community-building, goal setting, and youth/advisor relations. Finally, District Young Adult and Campus Ministry Consultant Claire Sexton and I have been working together to build relationships between youth and young adult ministries in the District. We helped to put together a bridging ceremony for senior high school youth at the Unitarian Church of All Souls in Manhattan in May of 2009, and we are offering some joint programming at the 2010 District Annual Meeting, specifically addressing how congregations can integrate youth and young adult ministry and best practices into their everyday church life. In addition to a joint workshop, we are providing some structured time for youth and young adults to come together to plan the bridging event for this year, which will take place in June at Central Unitarian Church in Paramus NJ.
  14. 14. Annual Program Fund 2010 Annual Report Financial support for Unitarian Universalism comes directly from the 1,047 member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association through contributions to the UUA Annual Program Fund, which provides almost half of the UUA’s unrestricted income. These contributions fund UUA programs, services and resources that directly benefit and strengthen congregations and Unitarian Universalism as a whole, including: • Congregational Life • Ministerial Leadership • Advocacy and Witness for Social Justice • Youth and Young Adult Ministries Thank you to all of the congregations in our District who contributed their full Fair Share to the UUA Annual Program Fund in the last fiscal year, ending June 30, 2009. The 46 Fair Share Congregations in Fiscal Year 2008-09 Baptistown NJ Mohegan Lake NY Bay Shore NY Montclair NJ Beach Lake PA Morristown NJ Bellport NY Mount Kisco NY Bridgehampton NY Muttontown NY Brooklyn NY All Souls Newton NJ Brooklyn NY First Orange NJ Croton-on-Hudson NY Paramus NJ Danbury CT Plainfield NJ East Brunswick NJ Pomona NY Englewood NJ Poughkeepsie NY Flushing NY Princeton NJ Freeport NY Ridgewood NJ Garden City NY Rock Tavern NY Hackettstown NJ Somerville NJ/North Branch NJ Hastings-on-Hudson NY Staten Island NY Huntington NY Stony Brook NY Jamesport NY Stroudsburg PA Kingston NY Summit NJ Lincroft NJ Titusville NJ Manhasset NY Toms River NJ. Manhattan NY Community Wayne NJ Manhattan NY Fourth Westport CT
  15. 15. Page 2: Annual Program Fund How did we do last year? Last year was a challenging year for many of our congregations – and for the UUA. The following table shows how well the congregations in the Metro NY District did for the past four years. Fair Share Analysis of District Giving for Each Fiscal Year 2008-09 2007-08 2006-07 2005-06 Fair Share $537,488 $517,536 $509,962 $494,547 Total Contributed $476,060 $509,352 $499,882 $478,737 Total Contributed as % of 88% 98% 98% 97% Fair Share Fair Share Congregations 46 47 46 46 of 51 Possible We have been, and continue to be, the district that other districts look to for leadership, with historically the highest giving levels of any district. However, our congregations, our District, and our UUA are all feeling the effects of the economic downturn – as shown by the totals. The effect of decreased giving is to reduce the ability of the UUA and of the District to speak loudly, to provide support, and to serve our larger community. That being said, we all appreciate every gift and every effort made. We are thankful for each congregation’s continued generosity What about this year and next? We expect to complete the current fiscal year ending June 30, 2010, with a percentage of fair share participation of about 81%, which will adversely impact next year’s programs, support, and services. Our mission, and the mission of every congregational leader, must be to help our congregations return to financial health so that we may restore the vitality and voice of the UUA. In recognition of the times, the Annual Program Fund has again frozen the fair share per member rate at $56, the same as it has been for the past two years. For more information on programs and services available to our congregations with your Annual Program Fund support, visit http://www.uua.org/giving/annualprogram. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, , I can be reached at metrony-apf@comcast.net or call me at 201-887-6171. Submitted by Tom Howard, Annual Program Fund District Representative
  16. 16. Anti-Racism and Diversity Committee 2010 Annual Report The work of the Anti-Racism and Diversity Committee (ARDC) in 2009-10 focused on a significant shift in language happening around our Association, towards language of “inclusion” rather than “non-discrimination.” This language shift began with the revisions to the UUA Bylaws Section II suggested by the UUA Commission on Appraisal (COA) and debated at General Assembly 2009. In the suggested amendments, the section now titled “Non-Discrimination” would have been replaced with one entitled “Inclusion.” The new language was meant to be more positive and goal-oriented, while still acknowledging the difficult systemic work of dismantling oppression. While the proposed amendments did not pass, delegates to the General Assembly overwhelmingly passed two resolutions calling for further work on the Inclusion section. Specifically, the delegates asked the UUA Board to revisit this section by itself as soon as possible (which will be 2011) and also asked UUA member congregations to engage in discussions of their own policies, practices, and bylaws. The ARDC took up this work in our District, creating a workshop for use in congregational settings as well as a thorough packet of worship materials, ways to engage children and youth in this discussion, and information from the UUA Board.. In this packet, we invited congregations in our District to consider amending their own bylaws to include a section on inclusion, with the following proposed language (modified slightly from the COA version that was meant for the UUA): Systems of power, privilege, and oppression have traditionally created barriers for persons and groups with particular identities, ages, abilities, and histories. We pledge to do all we can to replace such barriers with ever-widening circles of solidarity and mutual respect. We strive to be a congregation that truly welcomes all persons and commits to structuring congregational life in ways that empower and enhance everyone’s participation. We are pleased to report that this work sparked significant discussion around our District. At least three congregations have thus far already amended their bylaws, and more are expected to do so this spring. More importantly, though, good conversations are happening about what it means to put this work into practice in our congregational life. ARDC is presenting a workshop on this very topic at the 2010 District Annual Meeting, and the 2010 Anti-Racism Conclave, to be held May 15 at the Community Church of New York UU, is designed to introduce new ways of beginning discussions about the work of inclusion and dismantling systems of racism and privilege. Submitted by the Rev. Dr. Michael Tino, Chair
  17. 17. Chalice Lighters Coordinators Bill and Rickey Slezak 2010 Annual Report Chalice Lighters is a District program to help achieve growth potential. Twice each year, in the fall and the spring, individuals in congregations are asked to contribute at least $10. Every Chalice Lighters dollar goes to the selected congregation or cluster of congregations to help take a significant step to: initiate a congregation, secure professional religious leadership, secure or improve a building, or facilitate innovative growth plans. Chalice Lighters are UU congregations helping other UU congregations to help grow Unitarian Universalism! Thanks to the tremendous job done by the Chalice Lighters coordinators within each of our congregations, as well as the broad support by the professional and lay leadership, Chalice Lighters continues to grow and prosper! In the spring of 1999, Carl and Alice Spatt introduced the approach of holding two targeted Chalice Calls per year, each one held for a specific congregation to help them in some growth related project. A key component of that approach has been the active participation of the “called congregation” in which it is encouraged that “ambassadors” from the called congregation be given the opportunity to speak for five minutes at the other District congregations during the Sunday service about who they are as a congregation and what they hope to accomplish with the Chalice Lighters funds raised. In addition to raising funds, the visits have also helped to promote fellowship and connection among District congregations. More than $410,000 has been raised in the 20 Chalice Lighters calls held so far. The Spring 2009 Call for the UU Legislative Ministry of New Jersey raised almost $19,000, which is being used to fund a part time Legislative Director. The UU Legislative Ministry of New Jersey was formed in 2008 and has been very active in advocating for social justice in the public arena based on UU principle. Because no congregation was selected for the Fall 2009 Chalice Lighters Call, the call for the UU Legislative Ministry of New Jersey continued into fall 2009. There has been no Spring 2010 Call since no applications were received by the deadline. The Chalice Lighters Committee is currently considering applications for the Fall 2010 Call. We continue the transition with the Chalice Lighters draft policies and procedures that were instituted last year. The Chalice Lighters application process is now a two step process, with the first step being to submit “Intent to Apply.” A Grant Manager is then assigned to assist in preparing the formal application. The purposes of the new policies and procedures are to: • Improve transparency and to clarify and expand the Chalice Lighters program as a means of facilitating the growth of Unitarian Universalism; • Encourage and promote inter-congregational cooperation in support of growth;
  18. 18. Page 2: Chalice Lighters • Improve the quality and quantity of Chalice Lighters applications by assigning a Grant Manager to assist congregations in developing their Chalice Lighters applications, and by requiring applications to be associated with a long-term growth plan; • Improve accountability of the Chalice Lighters program by requiring periodic reporting on the use of Chalice Lighters funds and on the effectiveness of the project funded by the Chalice Lighters program in achieving growth objectives. Congregations and congregation clusters are encouraged to submit an “Intent to Apply” by May 15, 2010, with applications due by October 15, 2010, in order to be considered for the Spring 2011 Call. The “Intent to Apply” and the application form may be found on the District website at http://uumetrony.org/services/chalicelighter.htm. We look forward to your thoughts and ideas as to how to make the Chalice Lighters program better serve your congregations and in growing Unitarian Universalism in the District. Thanks again to everyone for your support of Chalice Lighters.
  19. 19. Page 2: Chalice Lighters • Improve accountability of the Chalice Lighters program by requiring periodic reporting on the use of Chalice Lighters funds and on the effectiveness of the project funded by the Chalice Lighters program in achieving growth objectives. Congregations and congregation clusters are encouraged to submit an “Intent to Apply” by May 15, 2010, with applications due by October 15, 2010, in order to be considered for the Spring 2011 Call. The “Intent to Apply” and the application form may be found on the District website at http://uumetrony.org/services/chalicelighter.htm. We look forward to your thoughts and ideas as to how to make the Chalice Lighters program better serve your congregations and in growing Unitarian Universalism in the District. Thanks again to everyone for your support of Chalice Lighters. Submitted by Bill and Rickey Slezak, District Chalice Lighters Coordinators
  20. 20. Compensation Consultant Doug Ford 2010 Annual Report Many of our congregations appear to be gradually emerging from the recession. In addition to visiting two congregations in the District to discuss generalized compensation issues as they transition to new ministers, I also received phone calls from, responded to emails from, or held teleconferences with about ten other congregations to address more specific issues. Our District managed to increase the list of congregations that qualify as Fair Compensation Congregations – either committed (10) or practicing (3). Hopefully with the recession continuing to be an issue of the past, more of our 51 congregations will now be positioned to join this list whose members practice the belief that how we compensate our staff is an issue of living consistent with our UUA principles. The following enhancements were offered by the UUA Health Plan and other benefits plans in 2010. • The base premium rate increase for the Health Plan is 11.5%, well below the projected average increase across other health insurance plans while being able to hold deductibles, co- pays, and out-of-pocket limits steady. • The standard PPO plan now covers all in-network diagnostic procedures in full, with no deductibles or coinsurance. • Long-term Disability Insurance is now offered by UNUM at the same previous cost to the employees and is available to all employees who work at least 750 hours per annum (previously it was 1,000 hours). • Life Insurance is also offered by UNUM at the same previous cost to the employees and features a benefit of 200% times salary (up from 150%) and is now portable. I can always be contacted at dougbar@aol.com or 973-543-6415 for help in your congregational self-assessment program or assistance in solving any other compensation issues. We shall continue to look forward to more congregations in the District joining our Fair Compensation list.
  21. 21. In Care, In Covenant – Seminarian Support Project (formerly Nurturing Excellence in Ministry) 2010 Annual Report The first year of In Care, In Covenant has brought excitement and growth to our District. The project kicked off with a coffee break meeting during orientation for UU students at Union Theological Seminary (UTS). This event enabled us to connect immediately with the incoming first-year seminarians (10 new UUs at UTS this year), introduced everyone to the newly hired UU chaplain on campus, the Rev. Orlanda Brugnola, and gave current students the opportunity to begin to create community with the new student population. In mid-October we held a talk led by the Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt titled “The Real Deal about UU Ordination” that was attended by over a dozen students from two local seminaries. This talk was recorded and burned onto CDs which were distributed to another dozen students from the District who were not able to attend in person. A Winter Retreat held at the UU retreat center, Murray Grove, brought six students together from three seminaries for fellowship and direction led by the Rev. Tracy Sprowls-Jenks and the Rev. Virginia Jarocha-Ernst. One of the students is the lone UU currently attending Princeton. This student’s comment after the retreat was, “I can’t believe I have a community!” In March, we set up a panel for students with questions regarding their upcoming Regional Sub-Committee on Candidacy (RSCC) appointments. The Rev. Vanessa Rush Southern, the Rev. Dr. Michael Tino, and the Rev. Jennifer Brower worked with seminarians individually to prepare for the RSCC. One student emailed a note afterward: “Thank you for putting this event together. I found it really helpful. Vanessa shared with us some of the standard questions that were always asked when she was on the RSCC. It helped it all seem less abstract than the list of 16 attributes that was sent to us. It made the RSCC seem a bit less overwhelming.” In addition to the events we have held, we created many other opportunities for community, communication, and collegial relationship development. By getting all the seminarians onto a GoogleGroup, we were able to easily disseminate information about District events, UUA scholarships, and the RSCC, and to make announcements. The seminarians also used this forum to communicate with one another. We contracted with Lori Ragona to customize the e-portfolio that was created for the Mountain Desert District. Students are using this e-portfolio and reporting it is quite useful. By reaching out to every congregation in the District, several congregations have contacted us for seminarians to provide pulpit supply, and we are currently working to increase the number of field education sites within UU congregations. Our District Annual Meeting is approaching, and part of the grant money has been spent on scholarships for nine seminarians to attend. At the 2010 Annual Meeting, it is planned that the Southeast Regional Sub-Committee on Candicacy Administrator, Connie Moore, and Julie Taylor are presenting a workshop on In Care, In Covenant with the hope that more congregations and clergy will get involved with the program next year. ulie Taylor was hired as the project coordinator to oversee the program. This position was in a way also part of the program nurturing excellence in ministry, because it was part of Julie’s internship requirement for fellowship.
  22. 22. Junior Youth Steering Committee 2010 Annual Report The Committee organizes and operates two programs annually, a fall retreat and a spring conference. At these events, we introduce middle school-aged youth to a wider community as they come together with peers from other congregations in the District. We create a safe space and offer a one-night model of Young Religious UU’s intentional communities. Our mission is “To save the world, one middle schooler at a time.” Families are busier than they have ever been, a trend that is reflected in our events. Even though they are still well-attended, an ever greater number of registrations arrive at the 11th hour. It is still difficult to find committed high school youth with the time to participate as staff members. Last year’s Con was graciously hosted by the Unitarian Church in Westport (CT); the retreat continues to take place at Camp Ma-Kee-Ya in Harriman State Park. We cannot adequately express our gratitude to the senior youth whose love and attention breathe life into the events, or to the adult advisors who drive and witness, or to the congregations whose members feed and care for us. The Junior Youth Steering Committee is currently facing a predicament that is familiar to most not-for-profit efforts. Our churches, our outreach programs, and the UUA itself are all experiencing shortages of money and facilities at a time when our work is most needed. The Committee’s personnel remains the same. Robin Slaw is co-chair and co-director. Eric Hallander is our registrar. We do need more adult help. We need someone to concentrate on improving our financial picture. We also need a current liaison to the high school Con community. Anyone who is interested in learning more about our junior youth ministries, or in helping out, is encouraged to contact us. You can reach Peter Green at drpg@aol.com or 914- 414-1226, or Robin Slaw at robinslaw@verizon.net or 973-903-4989. As this report is being written, we are about to hold our Spring Junior Youth Con. The power of these events to change lives and confirm young people in our faith community is evident and incalculable. We wish we could host them for every middle schooler, everywhere. Submitted by Peter Green, Co-Chair
  23. 23. Page 2: In Care, In Covenant Metrics: • Continued contact with 37 seminarians from six local seminaries and a few recent grads; • 10 UU clergy, lay leaders, and District staff working on events and mentoring; • New awareness reported of importance of turning in paperwork related to the fellowship process; • 7 with appointments to the RSCC in March or April; • 2 met with the RSCC and are now candidates. In Care, In Covenant has been a success. We are requesting $10,000 from the Panel on Theological Education for the upcoming year to continue to gain momentum and institutionalize this program within the Metro NY District. Submitted by Andrea Lerner and Julie Taylor
  24. 24. Ministerial Settlement Representative Rev. Craig Hirshberg 2010 Annual Report Change is constant, and it is no different when it comes to ministerial transition. When a congregation becomes aware that its minister is leaving and they intend to undergo a search for a new minister, the UUA, through its Transitions Office, offers support through the services of the Ministerial Settlement Representative (MSR). This person is recommended by the district, then interviewed and trained by the Transitions Office. The MSR services, which are provided free of charge to all fair share congregations, offer three progressive consultations with each congregation. In MSR I, the MSR travels to the congregation to meet with the congregation as a whole to explain the overall search process and timeframe and to answer any questions congregational members may have. That same day, the MSR meets with the board of trustees following the congregational meeting to provide written resources and to discuss specific responsibilities the board must complete in order to facilitate a smooth search process. Once a search committee is elected, the MSR returns to the congregation to explain in detail the process, timetable, and responsibilities of the search committee. The MSR is in contact once again when the search committee receives the names of potential candidates to explain the final process of selecting a final candidate. Occasionally, the MSR is able to facilitate a worship service for the congregation the morning of the MSR I visit and, upon availability, facilitate the search committee retreat. These two functions are in addition to the services provided by the UUA. Not unlike the previous year, finances and the economic downturn have created many challenges for some congregations in search. Several have had to adjust their packages to a sustainable level, which could have an impact, only to re-adjust them based on the real financial needs of ministers they hope to call. Others have had to defer the search process with a two-year interim period so that they have more time to raise the funds needed for the search process. Last spring, two congregations in the District called settled ministers. The First Unitarian Society of Plainfield (NJ) called the Rev. Tracy Sprowls-Jenks, and the UU Congregation of Monmouth County (Lincroft NJ) called the Rev. Virginia Jarocha-Ernst. Currently, 11 congregations are in transition. Congregations in Danbury CT, Paramus NJ, and Toms River NJ (consulting) have decided on final candidates. Congregations in Hastings-on-Hudson NY, Princeton NJ, Poughkeepsie NY, Ridgewood NJ, Kingston NY, Stony Brook NY, Southhold NY, and Mohegan Lake NY are in various stages of transition, some choosing consulting ministry and others doing a full national search. Hastings-on-Hudson and Princeton have completed MSR I & II, Poughkeepsie and Kingston have completed MSR I, Ridgewood, Stony Brook, Southhold, and Mohegan Lake are just beginning the process of determining their next steps. It has been a pleasure to serve District congregations in this capacity. Witnessing the dedication and commitment in our District congregations is a very gratifying experience for all who are able to be a part of it.
  25. 25. Women and Religion Committee and the Unitarian Universalist Women's Association 2010 Annual Report In accordance with our Mission: We provide a support network beyond our congregations for the promotion of feminist values as well as organizing opportunities for interconnection within our District. What’s New and Exciting This year 2009-10 is unusually active and stacked with outstanding programs because we have won grants from the Fund for Unitarianism Universalism to plan and stage events for the Margaret Fuller 2010 Bicentennial Celebration. Fuller scholar/author/actor Laurie James is the initiator and Project Director and Reena Kondo, Co-Chair of UUWA and UUW&R, is offering her invaluable assistance. This year our own District is serving as Fiscal Agent. The UUFP grants offer a challenge feature that provides a dollar-for-dollar match for fundraising, which has caused even more organizing on our part. Our featured 2009 fundraising program that raised $1000 (the match added another $1000) was a staged reading of Laurie James’ original script, “Roots of Rebellion,” at the Community Church of New York UU with members taking the 18 parts. The play tells the story of the groundbreaking nineteenth century women who first spoke out on American platforms for equal rights. This play is currently available for District congregations to stage with Laurie James as director as a partial fundraiser for the Bicentennial. For more information contact: ljauthor@nyc.rr.com. Our 2010 fundraiser which raised $2700 (with another added match) was a 19th century dinner party featuring revolving DVD presentations of Margaret Fuller in America and Italy and speakers Laurie James and Fuller/Ossoli researcher Mario Bannoni, a sixth generation Roman visiting the United States who is to serve as our guide on our “Follow the Footsteps of Margaret Fuller in Rome, Rieti, and Florence” tour. Please be invited to the series of 2010 Bicentennial events to honor Fuller that are currently being launched; several are free. At CUNY Graduate Center there will be “A Medley for Margaret Fuller,” a dramatic presentation of Fuller’s life and significance with eight actors reading from her writings; Professor Marc Dolan will offer interpretive analysis. At the Center for Independent Publishers, two Fuller biographers, Laurie James, winner of the Margaret Fuller Award, and John Matteson, Pulitzer Prize winner, are teaming up for a revolving DVD presentation and talk. On Fuller’s birthday, May 23, at Community Church of New York UU, the Rev. Bruce Southworth will preside with a worship service on Fuller, followed by a birthday party, followed by a reading of Laurie James’ play, “O Excellent Friend!” with Rev. Southworth reading Emerson and Laurie James reading Fuller. In addition, there are three unique, one-of-a-kind “Follow the Footsteps of Margaret Fuller” tours planned for the year. The “Footsteps” walking tour in New York City utilizes the expertise of District UUs: Tim Muench as Henry David Thoreau, Stephen Anderson as Ralph Waldo Emerson, the Rev. Paul Johnson as James Freeman Clark, and Laurie James as Margaret Fuller.
  26. 26. Page 2: Women and Religion Other District UUs are “boning up” on their characters as Horace Greeley, Julia Ward Howe, Lidian Emerson, Edgar Allen Poe, Lydia Maria Child, and Anne Lynch. These Fuller friends will “speak-out” in parks and appear in entertaining skits at a celebration at a restaurant at the end of the 3-1/2 mile walk. Moreover, there are two exciting and specially designed Footsteps tours that involve more extensive travel: “Follow the Footsteps of Margaret Fuller in Boston, Cambridge, and Concord” and in Rome, Rieti and Florence. Both feature private guides and coaches and are jam-packed with commemorative plaque ceremonies and visits to historic locations. Each program and tour is described fully at www.margaretfuller.info. Our Yearly Program Our annual Women’s Weekend Renewal was held on November 13-15, 2009, at the beautiful waterfront estate of St. Josephat’s Retreat House in Glen Cove, Long Island, NY. Our Theme Leader was Dr. Carmella Marrone, founder and Executive Director of “Women and Work,” a free job-and-life skills training program designed for women who need to work but lack the requisite academic, technological, and social skills. The Theme was “Weaving Empowerment Throughout Life.” Dr. Marrone shared her own powerful, inspiring story and helped us share ours. Everyone was very impressed by her. Reena Kondo from the Community Church of New York UU led a Croning Ceremony featuring five women, and Wendy Moscow from the UU Congregation of Queens led multi-national folk dancing. Videos were also shown. On January 16, 2010, our annual Luncheon/Lecture was held at the Community Church of New York UU, with Laurie James as the speaker. The title of her talk was “Quips, Gibes, Excoriations, Stones, and Mud that Fuel the Superiority of Margaret Fuller.” Those who attended learned a great deal about Margaret Fuller. Attendees also enjoyed meeting and reuniting with UU women from various District congregations. Submitted by Laurie James, Co-Chair
  27. 27. Young Adult Steering Committee 2010 Annual Report The Young Adult Steering Committee (YASC) is a voluntary coordinating body that works to support the spiritual and social needs of UUs age 18 to 35 in the District. The YASC endeavors to ascertain and satisfy the needs of a vibrant and growing segment of the UU population in the metropolitan area, as well as to assist local congregations to do the same. The current leadership of the YASC is as follows. Ryan Novosielski, Acting Chair and Webmaster David Menendez, New Jersey Outreach Royal Forest, Long Island Outreach Gregory Axel-Lute, Treasurer Rev. Jude Geiger, Chaplain Claire Sexton, Ex-Officio Mission We, the UU Metro New York Young Adults, Covenant to Promote a Safe, Welcoming and Radically Inclusive Spiritual Community By: • Promoting our Seven Principles through collaborative social justice efforts. • Creating opportunities for young adults to explore spiritual development and personal growth. • Encouraging the development of sustainable young adult communities through District-wide and local events. • Enhancing young adult participation in local congregations through outreach and support. Accomplishments There have been many exciting accomplishments in the last year, some originating with the YASC and some from District young adults at large. We have focused on providing support in a more background role and on outreach to congregations to request their support for District young adult programming, particularly in the area of campus ministry for our least served age group, 18-25. We thank the Rev. Jude Geiger for his invaluable service, both as a committee member and a chaplain at events, as he finishes his tenure as chaplain. Highlighted achievements this year include: • Continued to assess young adult groups/programming at congregations: Created a calendar of events with listings of both District young adult programs and local congregational programs that are taking place, located on our improved website at http://uumetrony.org/ya. Congregations wishing to add their young adult programming to this calendar should contact ya-webmaster@uumetrony.org.
  28. 28. Page 2: Young Adult Steering Committee • Annual Winter Retreat at Frost Valley, February 12-15, 2010: The purpose of this annual and popular event is to foster greater bonds between young adults from around the District and to promote linkages to local congregations. For the third year running, this retreat had the largest-ever attendance – 36 participants, many of whom attended for the first time – and for a brief period of time, had a waiting list! Young adults attended from NY, NJ, and CT. We are happy that for the first time, we have had to discuss what we might do should we need larger accommodations in the coming years. Special thanks to District young adult Jai Berg for serving as dean of this conference for the second year. • Young Adult Our Whole Lives, September 2009-April 2010: This year our District hosted its first-ever young-adult Our Whole Lives comprehensive sexuality education class, led by facilitators Claire Sexton, Kirsten DeFur, the Rev. Jude Geiger, and David Snedden. This class met every other week with more than 20 District young adults regularly participating – many of whom had never before attended a District-level young adult event. • Campus ministry group at NYU: Through the leadership of New York University (NYU) student Lindsay Hope Simon and some support from the YASC, NYU once again has a recognized and active UU campus ministry group. Congratulations to Lindsay, and her fellow leaders Brianna Claire, Amy Yourd, and Chris Dieman. Find their group on Facebook, “NYUU: Campus Ministry at NYU.” We hope to be able to assist this group in a larger capacity in the coming year. • Wine, Dine, and Discuss!: District young adults Jai Berg and Jamie Hamilton have hosted a successful ongoing monthly dinner and book club open to the District. Jai is currently planning other interest-based get-togethers in the future. • Active local congregational groups: In addition to their service at the District level, past and present YASC members have served in a leadership capacity to local congregational groups. We hope to see this trend continue and will continue to work to cultivate new leadership in congregations with a critical mass of young adults that currently lack official programming. o Huntington NY: Newly active group led by YASC member Royal Forest. o Brooklyn NY First: Vibrant group with diverse programming led by Minister of Religious Education Rev. Jude Geiger. o Community Church of NY UU (Manhattan): Newly active group led by former YASC chair Daniel Gregoire Additionally, members of the YASC were available throughout the year to assist congregations with young adult outreach and programming. The YASC maintains a young adult announcements mailing list on the UUA listserv, a website that reaches young adult UUs throughout the District, as well as a Facebook group. Through the network, the YASC promotes both young adult-specific and general events and programming planned by local groups and congregations. This year, that includes maintaining a calendar of young adult events for District congregations. We are also pleased to note that several congregations in the District now have young adult leadership serving on their boards of trustees. Looking forward, we are currently in the process of trying to secure a field education position to support the growth of campus ministry in the New York City area. We also have leadership positions available on the YASC. Interested parties should contact Ryan Novosielski at ya- chair@uumetrony.org. Submitted by Ryan Novosielski, Acting Chair
  29. 29. Youth Adult Committee 2010 Annual Report This year, the Youth Adult Committee (YAC) continued working toward our broad goal of providing healthy and strong youth programming to the District. We are looking to do this at both the District and local level. We began the year with a youth and youth adviser workshop to help strengthen youth programming within congregations, reflecting the denominational shift towards local, decentralized youth programming. We held numerous YAC-run social conferences and would like to thank the congregations who hosted cons for their support. We also held a Chaplain Training and a Leadership Development Con. We are continuing our effort to utilize technology to help strengthen local programming via resource distribution. We look forward to making our website into a source for youth across the District. We also look to the idea of “clusters,” or groups of nearby congregations, to allow more youth to participate in District programming. We are currently working on ways to implement cluster events, so stay tuned! These actions are a part of our overall efforts to implement the recommendations of the Youth Ministry Working Group. We are in the process of restructuring YAC so it can be more representative of the District as a whole – for example, including “non-con” youth, attaining better geographic diversity, etc. We are looking to increase dialogue with local congregational leaders to include them in our visioning process, and we welcome any input. We expect the following year to bring an exciting shift in how youth ministry is viewed in our District, and we look forward to the implementation of our many ideas. Submitted by Katie Parker, Co-Chair