Holiday Greetings from Your Southern Region Staff Team

Dear Southern Region Unitarian Universalists,

We thank you for the work you do in your congregations and wider communities to strengthen and share Unitarian Universalism. Wishing you peace, joy, and every blessing this holiday season.

In faith,
Your Southern Region Staff Team

image - Photo collage of Southern Region staff team featuring ten photos of individuals on a green background with red highlights and white text reading "From the Southern Region Season's Greetings!"

From top left:
Natalie Briscoe, Kathy Charles, Lillian Drab-Braddick, Kathy McGowan
Jessica Curren, Cameron Young, Rev. Nato Hollister
Nancy Combs-Morgan, Christine Purcell, Rev. Tyler Coles
SR Staff Team Photo Collage created by Rev. Tyler Coles

Essentials Leadership Experiencelogo - sr essentials leadership experience
November 2021 – February 2022

The Southern Region Essentials Leadership Experience (Essentials LE) is an online experience with self-paced lectures and supplemental materials and includes live processing sessions. This series spans from November through February, with three live sessions in December, January, and February. The topics for the three sessions are Congregational Foundations, Faith Development, and System Theory. The cost is $75 per person. Please note: there are prerequisites for participating in this event. Additionally, we ask that at least one other person from your congregation participate in this event with you. Your registration certifies that you have or will meet these requirements.

Download the Essentials LE Handbook to learn more. Register here.

Toolbox Webinar Series 2021-2022

Toolbox Webinars are compact and efficient one-time training sessions that support congregations and congregational leadership. Toolbox Webinars are offered live, monthly, on the second Tuesday beginning in August (with occasional fourth Tuesday sessions), and last up to 90 minutes. Learn more and register here.

  • January 11: Shared Ministry – With Southern Region Staff Members Lillian Drab-Braddick and Rev. Tyler Coles. Shared Ministry is the ways in which the church leadership – professional and lay, volunteer and paid – work together to co-create Unitarian Universalism with the congregation and move the community into its missional priorities. This toolbox webinar will explore the relationships and responsibilities that we must build to have successful shared ministry in our congregations.

Widening the Circle of Concern Study/Action Guide Now Availableimage-cover art widening the circle of concern report

We’re excited to announce the release of a Study/Action Guide to the Widening the Circle of Concern report! Many of you are looking for ways to bring the hard work and findings of the Commission on Institutional Change into the life of your congregation or UU community. This new guide provides 11 session outlines for a group or taskforce in your congregation to break down the various components and recommendations of the original report.

More than a discussion guide, this Study/Action provides framing and helpful hints on how your community can actively participate in transformative liberation. Widening the Circle is joyful change work that is deeply rooted in our shared UU theology. We hope that engaging this guide offers your community an opportunity for meaningful connection during this time of isolation. The UUA offers many thanks to the commissioners and professional group leaders who came together quickly to develop this additional resource.

Learn more and sign up to receive your copy of the Study/Action Guide here

Picture of COVID-19COVID-19 Guidance and Resources for UU Congregations

Your UUA’s COVID resource team has recently updated guidance for congregations on COVID-19 concerns. This new guidance includes information we were hearing from congregations that they need:

  • specific metrics and tools about how you can determine when gathering in person is safe (including a sample from the UUs of Reston, VA)
  • sources for scientifically accurate data and prevention information (as local/state/national governments are not always being helpful in this regard)

Review the updated guidance on gathering here. Review the recently updated and reorganized “Addressing Pandemics in Your Community” resources here.

Introducing Leader Lab

Relentlessly Useful Resources for Leadership Development

As Susan Frederick-Gray mentioned during her president’s report at General Assembly in June, LeaderLab is a tremendous resource for congregational leaders. Check it out at:

You can go there for extensive training by taking one of the full length leadership courses from the Unitarian Universalist Leadership Institute that are designed to help leaders with the basics of leadership and to help them understand the unique complexities of leading in the context of our UU congregations. Enrollment for these online courses is typically in the fall, winter and summer. Registration for the fall courses is open now; classes begin September 6. For a complete list of the courses offered, both elective and on demand, go to: Courses are $30 each. If you are a member of the congregation and need assistance with registration for any of the courses, please talk with Bob Whitaker at




In Loving Memory of Reverend Doctor Hope Johnson

Photo - Rev. Dr. Hope Johnson

Hope’s spirit and wisdom live on in the depth and breadth of the work she accomplished and the hearts and souls she touched. Her influence was profound. Hope graced the Southern Region Team with her wisdom, humor, elegance, and love. The Southern Region Staff Team will miss her every day. If you are struggling with your grief please reach out to us.

Throughout the UUA staff, and throughout our movement, so many knew and loved Hope from her work with congregations and religious professionals through the UUA, as well as her work with Diverse Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries, Black Lives of UU and other UU Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities and the professional community of ministry. She was also loved by the congregations she served as minister and by her home congregation of Community Church New York. Her loss is a deeply personal one for so many, and her decades of ministry have been an incredible contribution to our faith.

Hope is survived by her twin sister Dr. Janice Marie Johnson, Co-Director of Ministries and Faith Development at the UUA. There is a CaringBridge page set up by the family and they ask that messages be sent through this link: