Department disbanded; most offices will merge with District Services into new Congregational Growth and Vitality Staff Group.
The UUA had already announced that the Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministries, which had been part of Congregational Services, is being merged with the Youth Office to form the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries within the Lifespan Faith Development Staff Group. A director for Youth and Young Adult Ministries will be named this summer. The office will implement a new program for supporting youth ministry, which grew out of a four-and-a-half-year examination of the denomination’s youth programs.
The resignation this spring of the Rev. Tracy Robinson-Harris, a member of the UUA’s Leadership Council who has served as director of the Congregational Services Staff Group for eight years, prompted additional staff changes. UUA Executive Vice President Kay Montgomery announced in May that there will no longer be a Congregational Services Staff Group. Members of that group will work within other staff groups.
The District Services Staff Group will become the Congregational Growth and Vitality Staff Group, Montgomery said. The following offices, which had been located in Congregational Services, will move to the latter group: Congregational Stewardship Services, Services to Large Congregations, and Growth Services.
The Marketing Outreach office, which had coordinated the UUA’s national and regional marketing campaigns, is being disbanded. A new marketing initiative, which is still under development, will reside with the Advocacy and Witness Staff Group.
The office of Congregational Justice-Making in Congregational Services will move to the Identity-Based Ministries Staff Group. Congregational Justice-Making, directed by Diane Martin, is responsible for the JUUST Change and Journey Toward Wholeness programs, as well as the Jubilee I and Jubilee II trainings. Congregational Justice-Making includes about 25 part-time consultants and trainers in antiracism, antioppression, and multicultural work.
The Rev. Harlan Limpert, director of the District Services Staff Group, will head the Congregational Growth and Vitality Staff Group. Robinson-Harris will continue to be responsible for congregational safety and ethics issues for one year, as a consultant.
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Donald E. Skinner was the founding editor of the InterConnections newsletter for congregational leaders and a senior editor of UU World from 1998 until his retirement in 2014. He is a member of the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church in Lenexa, Kansas.