Introducing the new UU Talks Project!

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Unitarian Universalists speaking at TEDxWaldenPond

Friends, I’m excited share some more details about the new UU Talks project and to get you excited to:

  • participate as a host congregation
  • brainstorming ideas for speakers
  • and if able, to help crowdfund our Fall launch event

Next week we’ll be sharing a form you can use to express your interest.   Now for an overview and details.  The second video below “Turning Unitarian Universalism inside out with UU Talks” goes into quite a bit of detail for those who are ready for that.

UU Talks Overview

Working with our congregations and Twinkle Marie Manning,  a Unitarian Universalist who is an award winning TV producer, event planner and seasoned TED Talk organizer,   we are going to create our own Unitarian Universalist version of TED Talks UU Talks!

How It Works

Step 1:  We help you hold amazing local UU Talk events
With how-to resources and coaching from the UU Talks team,  local congregations host events where amazing UU inspired talks are delivered and filmed.  Using our model, the event will generate revenue to cover the filming of the talks.

Step 2.  We share and promote videos of the UU Talks
Videos from local UU Talks are then given to our team to distribute through the UU Talks website and social media channels.  We’ll be growing and investing in these channels.  Once distributed via our channels, they can be shared everywhere!

Step 3. UU Talks support funded by our success
After we launch the project and have our first batch of talks produced and initial support resources created  — funded by this Faithify campaign — we’ll be move on to the long term funding strategy which will be via the Patreon crowdfunding.

Patreon, a crowdfunding site for creators, will let us identify UUs and friends  who will fund each video we publish through the UU Talks platform.  That way the cost of our support to congregations comes from the successful publication of videos.

Did you catch that?   We’re going to have the cost of our time supporting congregations funded not up front, but after we successfully help you create amazing events and videos.  And we’re going to do that via a larger creator based crowdfunding strategy.

If we reach our $3,000 goal now [now funded] we’ll move forward with our startup.  Then it will be  UUs  pledging $1+ for each video we distribute which supports this project long term.

What I Love

What I’m most excited about is the outreach potential.  Eventually we can have enough patrons that we’ll have an advertising budget generated for each video.  Imagine if every time we published a video, UU Talks had the budget to do paid advertising promoting that video to the larger world!   A video related to a specific justice issue could be shared and promoted via Facebook with an interest in that justice issue.  This would invite people to engage with content they care about, and through it, discover UU Talks and Unitarian Universalism.  I see this as a way of turning Unitarian Universalism inside out.  Instead of asking people to join a church, we’re inviting them to engage with something we are passionate about.

Also Amazing…

Also amazing is the potential for this project to build the media skill and capacity of our congregations,  strengthen their local partnerships.  And all of that using a model that pays for itself — local events are self funding and UU Talks is funded by helping congregations and successfully  producing new videos!

Collaborate with Us!

Interested in collaborating with us on this project?  Please use this form to share your interest.  We’re seeking host congregations, speakers, sponsors and other collaborators.   http://goo.gl/forms/Chqb8XETXXdkplma2

Help Fund It  [Now funded]

Please support our Faithify crowdfunding campaign
We’re raising $3,000  to support our pilot event, training and initial resource development.

Do You Love It?

Do you love this idea?  Do you want to see more high quality media produced sharing UU ideas, values and making the best of Unitarian Universalism with the world?  If yes, please tell us!  We want to hear your feedback and ideas. Contact us via the project’s social media channels, or comment on this post below.

Coming Up…

We look forward to collaborating with you!   Coming up next:

  • Information on how to collaborate with us!
  • Identifying host congregations and their local speakers
  • Seeking amazing speakers for our model UU Talks in the Fall

 

 

At the UU Meeting House

This video comes via the Rev. Edmond Robinson of the Unitarian Universalist Meeting House of Chatham, MA.  A light hearted outreach video featuring lyrics that nicely describes their congregation and Unitarian Universalism at large.

Official Video Description
A cute little song celebrating the UU Meeting House of Chatham, MA, at the “elbow” of Cape Cod, with performances by the Sunday School kids, the adults, the minister, members of the All Worn Out Jug Band, drone aerials of the building and scenes from vibrant church life.”

At the UU Meeting House
by Edmond Robinson

There’s little place in Chatham,
It’s where we like to meet
On a hill, by the village market on Main Street
We question all our answers, we cherish all our doubts
We look for good in everyone and try to work things out

Chorus
At the UU Meeting House (2x)
We welcome you, as we do your friends, your kids, your spouse
At the UU Meeting House (2x)
We share our hearts, our souls, our minds
At the UU Meeting House.

On old Cape Cod, some search for God while some are humanist
At the Meeting House, we all learn that we must coexist,
We tackle life’s big questions, what’s true and what is just
What we’d do to get out of this stew if it were up to us.Salvation’s not in heaven, or some far-distant place

But in the here and now we try to help the human race,
we’re all interconnected, soul answering to soul,
Loving the good things of this world, that’s just how we roll.

Start Tweeting at #UUAGA in 3 Easy Steps

Reprinted from previous UU Planet post.

You have a smart phone, you’re on Facebook,  you might even have an iPad.  If you DO and you’re at General Assembly, it is time to try Twitter.  I know you can do it and I want to follow your tweets.  Here’s a quick guide.

  1. Find someone you know who is techie and probably tweets.
  2. Offer to buy them an ice coffee if they help you get set up on Twitter.
  3. Do what they say.

I’m serious! GA is the perfect time to get some social media and tech coaching from friends and colleagues.

We need to help each other to learn the communication tools of our time.  I’ve found that one-on-one is best for some people, especially those who are anxious about trying. That’s why I’m doing more private clergy social media training these days.  But I can’t do that for everyone. We need to help each other. If you are at GA and Tweet, try and teach one person how to do the same during the week.

Now that you are set up, make sure to do the following while your coach is standing by…

  1. Write your first tweet. If you’re at GA, include the hashtag #UUAGA.
  2. Next, have them show you how to search for a hashtag, that’s the keyword tags we use to create conversations. Search for #UUAGA by clicking here.
  3. Follow other UU’s tweeting using that tag.
  4. Follow me on Twitter @uuplanet. I’ll follow you back.

Let me know via Twitter if you’ve started Tweeting this GA.

Don’t forget to use the GA Hash Tag!  When you tweet during GA, if you want all of us to follow it, include the tag #UUAGA.

Use Hahtag #UUAGA at GA

Jessica and Tim, thanks for making awesome UU MEDIA

For their work advancing Unitarian Universalist media, design and outreach via the UU Media Collaborative Works I hereby publicly present Jessica Ferguson and Tim Atkins with UU Gold Seals of Awesome Appreciation. Thank you for your generosity, time, talent and passion!  ~ Peter
UU GOLD SEAL OF AWESOME APPRECIATION

Stephen Colbert, Billy Graham and “the Cult of Unitarianism

Unitarian Universalism made the Colbert Report yesterday, November 1st.  In hiTip/Wag – Constant Documentation & Billy Graham segment, Stephen Colbert discusses Mitt Romney’s outreach to Reverend Billy Graham and Graham’s subsequent disencultification of Mormonism.

In response to Unitarians being listed on Graham’s website, Colbert replies..

“Oh yes, the dangerous cult of Unitarianism. Their rules are so loose, their three sacred texts are the Old Testament, New Testament, and Free to Be You and Me.”

If you haven’t seen it yet, you may watch the segment here. The part about Unitarian Universalism starts 3 min 30 sec into the video.

What Do Unitarian Universalists Believe?

What happens when a previously Christian church gets so liberal you don’t have to be Christian to belong? What happens when over time the country gets increasingly pluralistic with massive numbers of people loving the Dalai Lama, Oprah and doing yoga?  Eventually you get a breed of congregations that bring diverse people together around shared values, not set beliefs. That’s what’s happening in Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations, great values but many different spiritual and theological perspectives.

That’s my quick explanation.  You can get a more official description here or watch the following video about our congregations.

The Challenge of Unitarian Universalism

Okay, not all Unitarian Universalists love Oprah and the Dalai Lama…  But I do.  And that’s the beauty (and challenge) of Unitarian Universalism.

Because our congregations don’t have a set creed, we end up with people who don’t agree on big religious questions.  And I love that!

What About Love?

Speaking of love…  In recent years love has moved to the forefront as an organizing force in our congregations.  Not a cheesy bad greeting card love, but a we need to take care of each other fight for justice and build a better world together kind of love.  We might not agree on whether there is an afterlife, but we know how we should treat each other.   In fact, we have a campaign dedicated to that, the Standing on the Side of Love campaign.

And this election season, we’re encouraging people to VOTE on the side of love.

Why I Love the Challenge

Me? I want to be part of a community where people have great values, but differing opinions.   It keeps me learning and growing.

For me, Unitarian Universalism serves as a home community and center from which I can continually explore, have friends to share and discuss life with, and an institution through which we can multiply our efforts to address the moral challenges of our time — marriage equality, climate change, immigration justice and beyond.

If that sounds appealing,  find a congregation near you and see what they’re up to.

I should note that I have a big fat UU bias.  I was raised a Unitarian Universalist and came upon pretty much everything great in my life through my UU connections — my wife, my work, my friends, my meditation practice, fellow change agents, hope…

The UU Media Collaborative week 1

Friends, this is a glimpse of how Unitarian Universalists can collaborate with amazing results…

Late September 2012 we started a Facebook group called the UU Media Collaborative to bring together UU creatives who want to work together to share our faith and raise the quality of UU Media.  We created the group, then a page to share content, followed by a site for archiving hi resolution images.

The first week (according to Facebook) over 50,000 people saw the images and 3,000+ were “talking about” the content.  Check it out…

Here’s an alternate version.  Sharing this video with the group for feedback, ultimately it was decided there was no reason not to share both 😉

Checking in on Youtube stats

Just looked at my Youtube channel stats for September and 30% of videos were watched on mobile devices.  Only 12% were viewed as embedded videos.  Just goes to show how critical it is to 1) put your videos on Youtube if you want them discovered organically and 2) that mobile is increasingly the norm.   I think about all of the Unitarian Universalist sites that aren’t mobile optimized, using vimeo, etc…. Gotta go where the people are and that’s Youtube…

Childrens Photo Release Forms

story time
Photo courtesy UU Stock Photo / sparker8898

Photo release come up constantly these days.   Nothing helps improve a congregation’s website like images from congregational life, and that means photos of adults, youth, young adults and yes, children!  It is essential that you get consent from your families before using images of children in your publications, be they print or online.

When I saw a call for sample releases on the LREDA email discussion list this week I thought I’d offer to make some of the samples public.  Thanks to the leaders below who offered their releases as examples for this post.  I’m happy to post a few more sample docs if you have one that you think is outstanding or significantly different from those below.   Contact me via sidebar of this site.

Sample Photo Release Forms

Full Page Photo Release Form (DOC) via Jennifer Harvilak, DRE at Cedarhurst UU, Finksburg Maryland.

RE Registration Form with Photo Release (DOC) via Jenn McAdoo, Credentialed Religious Educator at the  First Universalist Church, Yarmouth, ME.

Online RE Registration Form with Photo Release (website) via Natalie Browne, Director of Lifespan Faith Development First Unitarian Universalist Church, Houston, TX

Jan Gartner, Lifespan Faith Development & Youth Ministries Consultant for the Ohio-Meadville District of the UUA and Director of Religious Education at First Universalist Church of Rochester, NY offers the following:

I have a “Safety and Support” section on my registration form.  This includes a space to explain any special needs or situations, as well as the following statement:
We enjoy using photos of children in our church literature and displays, as well as on our website.  If you DO NOT want your child’s picture used for such purposes, please indicate any restrictions here.  Your child will not be identified by name on the website.  (Blank indicates okay.)
Nobody has indicated anything here in the 2 years I’ve done it this way.  We did make a video of a class session last year that got posted on YouTube, and I got verbal permission from each family for that. Anything a little out of the ordinary like that I would go out of my way to check with families.