What if you could tap into—even grow—the passion and energy that your congregation has shown at its best? What if you could channel this energy and share it with other congregations in the area to achieve significant goals?

It can happen. Gathered Here is a UUA-wide initiative co-sponsored by the UUA administration, the UUA board, and several other UU organizations.  It uses an Appreciative Inquiry approach to engage congregations in individual interviews and community conversations.

Participants reflect on their most positive experiences as a UU, along with their hopes and dreams for their congregations and our larger faith. These conversations can and will be powerful catalysts for change.

“After the interview process I heard several people say, ‘I’m so glad we did that. It made me remember why I got involved,’” said Becky Hoort, a member of the First UU Congregation of Ann Arbor that used a similar Appreciative Inquiry process in the past. “The discussion was framed in a positive way, talking about what was good rather than what we needed to fix. It gave the congregation new energy.”

Gathered Here does not stop at the congregational level. Other types of UU communities are invited to participate. Individual interviews are welcome, too. And, over the next year, each participating congregation will be invited to join with two others in a cluster meeting (which may be virtual or physical) to share what they’ve learned, discover patterns, and contemplate local possibilities for collaboration. These clusters will then be invited to meet at the regional level to continue the process. Finally, in October of next year, the regional results will be collected and distilled into goals and directions for the movement as a whole.

Gathered Here interviews have already begun.  Community conversations within congregations and other UU communities are scheduled to begin in October and conclude in 2012, no later than mid-summer. All of the materials are free and will be available for downloading from the UUA website.

For additional information on how your congregation or UU community can participate, visit the Gathered Here page on the UUA’s website, uua.org.

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