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Roundtable Revival Mentoring Program for Persons Who are Reentering the Community 

Persons returning to the community face significant barriers rebuilding their lives after experiencing contact with the criminal justice system (Coates, 2015). Examples include those citizens on probation or parole or those returning to the community after a period of incarceration in jail or prison. These challenges are being magnified by the COVID-19 epidemic.

Currently in Eau Claire County, we do not have a comprehensive reentry program that can serve those being released from jail or prison, so even a brief jail stay could result in the loss of housing, employment, family disruption, health care coverage, or transportation. Recent estimates suggest that each year 15-20 women return to the Eau Claire area after release from prison. In 2017, the Eau Claire County Jail released 4,916 people. Roundtable Revival has a goal of providing resources and programming to support reintegration into the community and reduce recidivism.

We will ultimately offer a variety of reentry programs, including the Mentoring Program, Reentry Peer Support, a First Stop program for people being released from jail, and an alcohol-free tavern as a place where people can gather in the evening to socialize, relax, and have fun. Roundtable Revival utilizes a foundation of Certified Peer Support Specialists. Training for the Peer Support Specialist is provided by the State of Wisconsin and their hours are billable through Medical Assistance. These specialists have the advantage of having personal experience with the criminal justice system and have been trained in understanding the available community resources. Ultimately, we hope that any added programs will contribute to the goal of empowering returning citizens and enhancing their overall physical and mental health. We want to offer them the opportunity for an equal place at our roundtable.

Objectives: For the Mentoring Program, we plan to draw upon the power of a mentoring relationship to empower persons as they seek to negotiate the challenges of obtaining housing, employment, substance use and alcohol misuse treatment, healthcare, mental health treatment, and other needed resources. Funds raised will be used for start-up and initial operational expenses. The outcomes will consist of a tracking success across the areas of individual need and an evaluation of the mentoring program by the mentors and mentees.

Mentoring Program Design: The program will be modeled after similar successful programs, best practices, and evidence-based models. Area churches and congregations, the Synagogue and the Mosque as well as the general community will be approached for support by providing weekly meals, Life Skills presenters, and Mentors. The program will meet weekly at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Eau Claire for three hours with each session consisting of socializing and sharing a meal, group support and life story sharing, an educational presentation on life skills, and individual mentoring. Mentors will be trained prior to each cycle and will be asked to attend group mentor meetings periodically during the cycle. The initial focus will be providing a safe space for adult females who volunteer and are accepted into the program. If there is enough interest, a second site will serve adult men. We envision conducting  mentoring program cycles in the fall and spring. A graduation ceremony will be held at the conclusion of each cycle.

All mentors will be asked to complete an initial six-hour workshop training. Group meetings of Mentors will occur prior to the weekly meetings every third week of the program duration. Mentors will be given a manual with a mentor job description and training materials.

Expected outcomes: Our mission is: To cultivate inclusive, accepting, and empowering spaces WITH people who face barriers due to a conviction history: Facilitating full reintegration into our community. We plan to link individuals with community resources for housing, employment, substance use and alcohol misuse treatment, mental health treatment, and other needed resources. An overall goal of Roundtable Revival is to foster a more responsive and collaborative system for the employment, housing, mental health, healthcare, and substance use and alcohol misuse treatment needs of returning citizens.  In addition, we will instill a sense of community and belonging among individuals who are returning citizens.

How the project will be sustained: The Eau Claire County Department of Human Services operates two programs that will be a source of collaboration and support, The Comprehensive Community Services (CCS) and Community Support Program (CSP). We have also established a beginning relationship with the Eau Claire County Jail, the State of Wisconsin, Department of Corrections, Probation and Parole and The Transition Center (day treatment center) in Eau Claire. Roundtable Revival is incorporated as a State of Wisconsin, certified nonprofit social service agency or 501(c)3.

Unitarian Universalist Songleaders Convergence 2020

We’re excited to bring the Songleaders Convergence back to the Association for Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries Conference for a second year to share skills, best practices, wisdom, and of course, songs! The Convergence offers days of learning and networking to nurture a deeper culture of community singing in our congregations and wider community.

We’re asking our wider UU community to help us with a match grant. A match grant means that if we meet our $6,000 goal, the UU Funding program will match it with ANOTHER $6,000! This means if you give $20, you’re actually contributing $40! 

We’re inviting songleaders from across our Faith and all those who love community singing to converge for what promises to be a transformative gathering of resonance, harmony, and rhythm. The Convergence scholarship opportunities are aimed at making it possible for new leaders and participants of color who may not otherwise have the chance to participate to be with us in a community of growth and welcome.

Money raised will provide scholarships for leaders and participants of color and for first time attendees to the AUUMM Conference. 

What can attendees expect?

  • Confident & invitational songleading
  • Songleading for worship and in the streets
  • Deepening cultural context, story, worship, and preaching through songleading
  • Harmony singing, vocal technique, circle songs, and more!

Who’s invited?

  • Ministers and seminarians
  • Religious Educators
  • Choir members and singers
  • Musicians both professional and recreational
  • Anyone leading or wanting to lead songs in worship, around the dinner table, at the board meeting, or in the streets
  • You!

The Wisconsin Unitarian Universalist State Action Network

The Wisconsin Unitarian Universalist State Action Network aims to build a statewide advocacy network employing the power of the collective voices of Unitarian Universalists in Wisconsin. We uphold the worth and dignity of every person while acting to further justice, equity, and compassion. Through a website and social media the Wisconsin Unitarian Universalist State Action Network hopes to provide portals for Wisconsin UU congregations to share what they are doing and see what other UU congregations are doing to advance justice, equity and compassion, through the website and social media to provide in depth information about the issue critical to the citizens of Wisconsin, and to provide a forum for individuals to express their actions and need for justice, equity and compassion.

Help our MidMaine YoUUth service project team get to Safe Passage/Camino Seguro in Guatemala City this July!

Safe Passage/Camino Seguro is a top-rated charity working in Guatemala City since 1999 to bring hope, education, and opportunity to the children and families trying to make a living around the city’s garbage dump—one of the largest landfills in Central America. Their mission: “We help children in the Guatemala City garbage dump community break the cycle of poverty through education, emphasizing life skills and perseverance in order to thrive in work and contribute to their community.”

Our group of UU youth and adult leaders will serve as Support Teams at Safe Passage for a week, engaging with “affiliates of all ages – from the littlest learners in the Jardín to the women in Creamos.” We will learn about Safe Passage and their programs while we provide valuable assistance: in English classes, as classroom assistants, planning and leading activities in our Escuilita English classes, meeting and working with the women-artisans of Creamos  (buying their fabulous jewelry), and supporting the operations team with much-needed tasks, etc. It is a hand-on opportunity to see how an organization clear in its mission can make a difference, and give us the opportunity to do so as well by showing up and helping out.

Our MidMaine YoUUth group has been preparing and fundraising for this trip for the last 18 mos.  Last year, we studied about and engaged with our Wabanaki neighbors, learning about our shared, painful history.  This year, as we prepare to go to Guatemala, the lessons from Maine are helping us understand more about the conditions for indigenous people in Guatemala, including discrimination, poverty, and lack of education.  and opportunity. Our time with Safe Passage will change our lives.

The participants each make a personal contribution of $600, collected over two years to ensure it is affordable for any of the youth in our congregations who want to participate.  These personal dues cover about 25% of the total cost. The rest we raise through an ask to our individual friends and family, as well as the members of our four congregations.  This Faithify campaign is a way of extending the reach of our ask throughout our UU denomination, while spreading the word about Safe Passage/Camino Seguro (https://www.safepassage.org/) and our collaborative youth program.  We are proud of what we have and will accomplish together!

Help Send Two...

NEW for 2020:  All funds pledged will be immediately processed for General Assembly campaigns. (No “All-or-Nothing” Goal on this campaign.)

We would like to offer financial aid to two members of our congregation who have never attended General Assembly before. These funds will be available to members who would like to attend General Assembly but have not been able to afford registration, room, and board previously. The members who use these funds will serve as delegates for the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo at the 2020 General Assembly in Providence, RI.

Support the Ordination of Walter Clark

While the beginning and ending of a ministry may be hard to pin-point, there a certain milestones along the way: Acceptance and graduation from seminary, visiting the RSCC and MFC, and internships. One of the most celebratory of these milestones is the rite of ordination.

Rev. Andrew Millard and Walter at the end of his internship at the Fellowship of the Peninsula in Newport News, VA 

On April 18th at 3:00 pm, I will be ordained by three different UU congregations. The Unitarian Universalist of Richmond is my home congregation. This is where I first came to love our faith and where the first calls of UU ministry were heard. Rev. Jeanne Pupke was my minister and my mentor and encouraged me to pursue the path of ministry at Meadville Lombard Theological School. There I met so many wonderful people who were all on similar paths for the faith, each with their own unique gifts. During my internship with the Richmond congregation, I was guided not just by Rev. Pupke, but by all the members of the staff: Rev. Sherman Logan, Rev. Sue Sinnamon, Rhonda Hodder, Desiree Woodson and others. The congregation was both graceful in helping me over hurdles and congratulatory when those hurdles were cleared. It was a wonderful 2 years in Richmond.

Bob Denniston, Nancy Brown and supporters at the US Supreme court demonstrating against gerrymandering 

After Richmond I served for a year and the Fellowship of the Peninsula in Newport News, VA. Rev. Andrew Millard helped me to appreciate the different dynamics of a smaller congregation and DRE Joanne Dingus helped me with engaging the youth of the congregation. We worked through white supremacy training and raised a Black Lives Matter banner on our building. I learned about teaching adult education for the congregation and celebrated my first UU Christmas with them.

Rev. Jeanne Pupke, Rev. Elizabeth Ide and Walter at the Fight For $15 ralley in Richmond, VA 

For the last year and a half, I have been working with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, VAin their pastoral and social justice ministries teams. The congregation has weathered some hard times recently and their resilience is clear. It has been awe-inspiring to work with the dedicated individuals that make up Arlington UU, who have taught me the importance of collaboration, clarity and kindness. Interim minister, Rev. Terasa Cooley has been both a mentor and colleague to me and has been a wonderful person to work with. The staff of the Arlington congregation have become like family to me and I have enjoyed all of collaboration between us.

The one thing I have learned is that ministry is not done alone. There are so many people who have loved me into ministry and I want to share my ordination with them all. However, there are so many people who want to attend, but are prevented from doing so due to travel costs. Usually congregations will help out with travel expenses for those participating in the service, and there will be some help in that regard. However, I would like to minimize the costs to the congregations so that they can put their resources towards their mission. All three of the congregations I have worked with are involved with major renovations or capital campaigns. Additional funding for an ordination has been hard to find.

That’s why I need your help. Any donation you can make will help offset the costs of the ordination service and make sure that my out of state ministerial colleagues will be able to attend. I am estimating the air fare alone for all of those flying in will be over $2,000.00. If I can raise that much money it will help defray the costs from the congregation and give those who have loved me into this ministry an opportunity to be with me on this most special of occasions.