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 Find a Congregation

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NTUUC Strategic Plan

Plan as of Aug 2020

Events Around the Cluster Calendar


The Leading Edge:
Training to Strengthen North Texas UU Congregations

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

First Unitarian Church of Dallas
4015 Normandy Avenue
Dallas, Texas 75205-1750
(214) 528-3990

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This event is being hosted by First Unitarian Church of Dallas and
is being made possible by generous financial support from NTUUC.

 Three programs are being offered this year:

Facilitation 101: How to Lead a Class for Adults
Presenter: Diana Pollard
Open to all of NTUUC

Small Group Ministry Facilitator Training
Presenters: Marcia Niemann and Susan Miller
Open to all of NTUUC

Successful Sundays: Happy Teachers, Happy Kids, Happy Middle Schoolers
Presenters: Tracy McShan, Karen Stanton, and Karen Lewis
Morning open to all of NTUUC, afternoon session for First Church teachers only

Registration Information:

There is no fee for registration or childcare, but class sizes are limited.
Please register early to reserve your seat.

Register by Wednesday, August 9th (11:59pm)


Free childcare will be available -
provided that you make online reservations in advance by clicking  on this button:

Childcare Request Form

Children will be provided with fresh veggies, cheese pizza and lemonade. If this menu doesn’t meet the needs of your child, please pack a lunch labeled with first & last name. No nut butter of any kind, please.

Dietary Concerns

Let us know on the registration form whether you’re omnivore or vegan. We are unable to accommodate other special dietary needs. If you’re on a restricted diet, we ask that you bring something tasty that you will enjoy.


Please contact us at leadingedge @


2017 Program Details

8:30am Check-in, Coffee, and Conversation

Please arrive having had a good breakfast, ready for learning and inspiration


9:00am Welcome and Opening Program

Rev. Aaron White

9:30am Morning Tracks:

Three morning tracks. Please specify your choice on the registration form.

A. Facilitation 101: How to Lead a Class for Adults

Presented by Diana Pollard, Master Facilitator and leader of First Church’s UU Learning Community

Interested in leading a Sunday morning class at church?

Want to learn more about how to successfully facilitate a group session? Join us for a morning of fun and learning as we help you understand:

  • How to make the job of facilitator much easier.
  • How to quickly engage participants in the learning process.
  • How to gain poise and confidence as a facilitator.
  • The seven fatal mistakes that facilitators make and how to avoid them.
  • How to deal positively with challenging behaviors in the classroom.

B. Small Group Ministry

Presented by: Marcia Niemann and Susan Miller

Small group ministry can be a vital part of your congregation's faith formation and community building programs. This workshop will review the small group ministry program, CIRCLES, used at First Unitarian Church of Dallas. Marcia and Susan are two of the founding members of First Dallas' CIRCLES program. They will review the purposes, covenants, format, topics, training an manuals for facilitators, structure for an ongoing program, etc.

The workshop will also include time for members of other NTUUC churches to briefly describe how they currently organize their small group ministries. Participants can expect to learn about group ministry programs and resources and to experience basic facilitator training. Most importantly, the workshop will include a short "sample session" to illustrate the power and energy that can develop in small group ministry.

C. Successful Sundays: Happy Teachers, Happy Kiddos, Happy Middle Schoolers

Presenters: Tracy McShan, Karen Stanton, and Karen Lewis
Regardless of where you teach or whether you teach children or young teens, when you get down to it, teaching is about one thing only. What is that? Come and find out!

Join us for a morning of fun as we learn:

  • that there’s only one curriculum, we all share it, and what it is exactly.
  • what a covenant is, how to create it, and how to stay in it.
  • the developmental stages of learning and faith development.
  • how to engage your class in the learning process.
  • how to instill self discipline.
  • how to deal positively with challenging behaviors in the classroom.
  • what components are essential for a meaningful Sunday experience for all.


12:30pm Lunch

1:30pm Blessing of Your Ministry and Work

First Unitarian Church of Dallas Teaching Faculty Only

With Karen Lewis and Martha Norton

If you are on the faculty of First Church and will be attending, PLEASE LET US KNOW on the registration form, so we know how late we need to ask the caregivers to stay and how many caregivers we'll need for the afternoon.

New to Teaching?
Then this session is mandatory for you. Learn all you’ll need to know to get off to a great start.

Got questions? We’ve got answers.
Learn some tips and tricks, procedures specific to First Church and, most importantly, how you’ll be supported in your ministry.

Veteran Teacher?
You're welcome to stay and share your wisdom.


Event Registration

Please click on the titles below to select your program choice and submit your registration. Only programs with available seats will be listed.

- Please register early to make sure you reserve your space.


No events



The Presenters:

tracy mcshan small
An active member of First Unitarian Church of Dallas for 17 years, Tracy McShan recently served on staff as Chief Congregational Life Officer, overseeing faith development for children and adults, hospitality, and member integration. She is a certified leadership coach with a twenty-year background in consulting, development, and leadership in the business and education fields. In her day job, she serves as Sr. Director of Professional Services for Scientific Learning, an educational software company.
Tracy has served in many volunteer and leadership roles at First Church currently serving as usher, campus greeter, facilitator of the Monday Night Mindfulness group, nominating committee member, and facilitator for the Coming of Age class. She lives in Dallas with her very patient husband Dean Cowell, her always-hungry beagle Stella, and two sassy house rabbits named Alvin and Collette. She is fiercely passionate about the work of Unitarian Universalism and is an unabashedly proud evangelist for this faith.


karen stanton small
A member of First Church since 2001, Karen Stanton has been a school teacher for 25 years. Currently a District Instructional Specialist with Plano ISD, she received the district’s 2014 Teacher of the Year award  for Secondary Schools

Karen has generously shared her heart and talents with UU kiddos of many ages on Sunday mornings and is currently teaching rising 7th, 8th, and 9th graders. Karen’s leadership does not stop with teaching, she’s also served as Worship Associate, as a member of the Nominating Committee, and on the Chart and Compass 2010 Capital Campaign.
Karen and her husband Mike have two daughters and are celebrating 15 years of marriage. Karen volunteers at the Plano Animal Shelter and has a passion for travel, reading, and cooking. You can view a short video about Karen here.


karen lewis small
Introduced to our free faith in fourth grade, Karen Lewis serves the church where childhood lessons were learned! You might say “whatever those teachers did, it worked.” Now in her sixteenth year as Director of Children’s Ministries, Karen previously served First Unitarian Church of Dallas as Youth Director for four years.

A true believer, Karen knows that our faith saves lives in the here and now and makes the world a better place by inspiring people of all ages to be thoughtful, loving, kind, forgiving and generous. Karen feels blessed to work with compassionate people of all ages who want to heal the world. She says, “I'm working on being a good wife, mother, grandmother, friend, role model, teacher, manager, steward, soul. No wonder I'm so tired!” She and her husband Steve have two adult children, and are grandparents of two kiddos and a third is on the way.


diana pollard small
Diana Pollard, a business consultant specializing in strategic planning, process engineering, and performance analytics, designs and facilitates business meetings as well as training classes. She is a Certified Executive Coach and Certified Professional Facilitator..




marcia niemann
A member at First Unitarian Church of Dallas for18 years, Marcia Niemann was active in Journey Towards Wholeness (anti-racism work), and was a facilitator in Deepening Groups (a predecessor of CIRCLES). She worked on a long term planning committee that recommended the formation of the CIRCLES program, and then on the committee that did the initial planning for the program.

Marcia has been co-facilitating CIRCLE groups, served on the CIRCLE Steering Committee, and trained new CIRCLE Facilitators since the beginning of the program. She also attended the small group ministry track of workshops at General Assembly in Fort Worth.

susan miller
Susan Miller is a nine-year member of First Unitarian Church of Dallas. As a Professor at the Richland campus of the Dallas County Community College District she trained as a facilitator of small staff-development groups in “Teacher Formation,” based on the work of Parker Palmer. Subsequently, she became coordinator of the "Retreats for Refreshment and Renewal" program, using Palmer's work, for Richland College faculty and staff. Because of this experience, First Church staff invited her to be in the first cohort of facilitators for their Circles small group ministry.  Each year since that invitation, she has been either a facilitator or a member of a circle group. 

While a member of the Circles Steering Committee, she and Marcia Niemann collaborated in creating the Facilitator Handbook, now used as a reference for facilitators and a training tool. She and Marcia, along with other members of the Circles Steering Committee, continue to train new facilitators to the present day.