Serving With Spirit: Stronger Together, Planning for Partnership
Online Workshop

Saturday, November 23, 8:30 a.m Pacific/ 9:30 a.m. Mountain/ 10:30 a.m. Central/ 11:30 a.m. Eastern/ 12:30 p.m. Atlantic – 5 hours duration
Registration deadline: November 12
Online Event via Zoom 

Explore our potential for meaningful, creative congregational networking and partnerships. Together, develop strategies to support and sustain the growing number of small congregations. 

In this workshop, we will look at the driving forces changing our society and our congregations. We will explore our potential for meaningful, creative congregational networking and partnerships as a response to these changes, drawing on our theological foundation of covenant. We will see that a focus on creative partnerships is a mindset and a shift in our world view as well as a call to find new processes and procedures.

It’s a different way of thinking about our congregations, their dynamics and our lives in religious community. Partnering is not some pre-set formula or pre-established structure that can be pulled off a shelf and plugged in. Instead, it is an invitation to be creative in the face of massive social and religious change.

By the end of this time together, you will know more about the social context we face in our religious lives and the gifts each congregation can bring to a partnership situation. You will also have identified common needs and goals and created a basic plan for congregational network creation. Margaret Wheatley also wrote: “Relationships are all there is. Everything in the universe only exists because it is in relationship to everything else. Nothing exists in isolation. We have to stop pretending we are individuals that can go it alone.

Organizational expert Margaret Wheatley has written: “Despite current ads and slogans, the world doesn’t change one person at a time. It changes when networks of relationships form among people who share a common cause and vision of what’s possible. This is good news for those of us intent on creating a positive future.

Rather than worry about critical mass, our work is to foster critical connections. When we seek for connection, we restore the world to wholeness. Our seemingly separate lives become meaningful as we discover how truly necessary we are to each other.” For our congregations to survive and thrive in the 21st century, we need to understand and act on the knowledge that our congregations and the unprecedented issues we face are all deeply interconnected.
If we can think together and work together in new ways of partnership, we will find we have the collective wisdom to meet our challenges. ”

Pre-workshop reading materials

  1. Required readings: Pre-Workshop Readings and Websites
  2. Familiarize yourself with the website for North Texas UU Congregations (large congregation)and the website for UUs of Greater Pittsburgh (smaller congregation).


Sliding fee:  $65 – $80 – $95 (individual)

Group rate:  $65 per person (groups of three or more)
One group member will register and pay for the entire group, and provide the names and email addresses of all group members.


Rev. Joan Van Becelaere

The Rev. Joan Van Becelaere has spent over 11 years as the District Executive of the Ohio-Meadville District and then Staff Lead for the newly formed Central East Region. This past year, she retired from the UUA and is the part-time Executive Director of Unitarian Universalist Justice Ohio. Before all of this, she was Vice-President for Student Services at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, CO, where she also taught UU polity and history. She lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her spouse, Jerry Wagenman, and their four cats – Zachariah, Hezekiah, Elijah and Jezebel.