What is your congregation doing that makes you proud and makes you want to invite others to get involved? How is your congregation finding creative solutions to challenges great or (perhaps deceptively) small? Since 2012, UU World has been profiling congregations recognized by the UUA as “Breakthrough Congregations.” Our stories have always tried answering those sorts of questions—but the honor was tied to the premise that a breakthrough would result in membership growth. In this issue, we’re introducing the first congregations recognized under a new and expanded Breakthrough Congregations program that is focused more on the innovations and the energy they unleash than on the specific outcome of membership growth.
This issue presents two of the 2018 Breakthrough Congregations. Nicole Sweeney Etter tells the story of the Oakland, California, church’s realization that Sunday school was not providing the kind of deep, anchoring community that children need, and was probably making it harder for parents to find what they needed, too. So they created a UU summer camp instead (page 28). Michael Hart profiles the Athens, Georgia, fellowship’s lay leadership development program, which has profoundly boosted the congregation’s volunteer capacity (page 6). Learn more at UUA.org/breakthrough.
Our masthead catches up with reality by officially recognizing Sonja L. Cohen as deputy managing editor. A member of our staff since she first arrived fifteen years ago as an intern, Sonja has taken on more and more responsibility for bringing story ideas to reality, working closely with freelance reporters and essayists, finding art and photographs, and laying out most of the pages in the magazine. Her colleagues depend on her attention to detail and to deadlines, her dedication, and her kindness.