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Welcome! Here you will find information and activities related to the revised Cakes for the Queen of Heaven curriculum and its use in Unitarian Universalist congregations and in other organizations. This site is a combined effort of Unitarian Universalist Women and Religion core group and various Cakes and W&R groups.

Our Central Midwest District Cakes Train-the-Trainer committee consisted of a core group of women from the two district women’s organizations; the UU Women’s Connection (UUWC) and the Women & Religion Committee (W&R).  We had the further advantage of having one member who also was a member of the Continental UU Women & Religion Committee.  

We developed and presented 5 workshops district-wide to promote the newly revised Cakes for the Queen of Heaven curriculum. For each event, we had a minimum of three facilitators, two from our core group and one local contact. The following is an outline summary of our experiences. It is intended to provide guidance for other groups developing their own Cakes Train-the-Trainer workshops.

Our T3 Goals:  

  • Publicize and promote the newly revised Cakes for the Queen of Heaven
  • Encourage women to initiate and facilitate this workshop series
  • Pass on lessons learned from facilitators experienced with the old curriculum

Plan of Action:

  • Create a 1 day workshop to train potential facilitators
  • Offer the workshop several times throughout the district in the current year
  • Publicize the workshops widely, also serving to publicize the new curriculum
  • Continue to offer this workshop occasionally on an ongoing basis (annually?)


  • Core group of planners for committee who also serve as the workshop leaders
  • Designate roles & responsibilities, i.e. chair, registrar, treasurer, webweaver, etc.
  • Arrange for locations, dates, local contacts
  • Estimate overall budget to determine what fees will realistically cover costs
  • Develop publicity strategy, i.e. fliers, mailings, articles, websites, emails, etc.
  • Develop a standardized workshop outline, activity plan, handouts, setup etc.
  • Arrange for online registrations and credit card payments
  • Collect and summarize evaluations and then incorporate lessons learned

Comments from Rev. Shirley Ranck (2/24/08):

  • Explore the topic of reverence for large women in ancient times and the shifting preference to smaller figures as a possible correlation to women’s shrinking power in many cultures.
  • Be sure to address the question/comment that arises “but scholar A doesn’t agree”. Answer: “the curriculum is based on the work of distinguished scholars and in every field there is disagreement on interpretation of data.”
  • It is okay to pick and choose which questions from the curriculum to discuss and which activities to do.  It is a co-creative process, however, always include the historical material, the visual program and engage participants in personal sharing.  
  • Leaders/facilitators are not teachers. It is important to get the participants to talk and experience rather than be “talked at”.  Facilitators are not “experts”.  It is OK to say “I don’t know”.  Be open to what participants say.  Sometimes a good response is “I’ve never thought about it that way”.
  • Emphasize that mythology reflects and reinforces the social structures.  The curriculum includes stories exploring real women of ancient times, such as a woman poet of Sumeria.  Further, each session connects the ancient to the modern through sharing of personal experiences in the present time.

CMwD Cakes Train-the-Trainer (T3) Committee:



Pat Goller - UU Women's Connection, from Springfield, IL

tn Nancy

Nancy Irons - W&R, from north suburb of Chicago, IL

tn Gretchen Webweaver:  Gretchen Ohmann - W&R and Continental UUWR, from St. Joseph, MI.
tn Nicole Treasurer:  Nicole Lisk (now Nichols) - UU Women's Connection, from St. Louis, MO
tn Diana
Registrar:  Diana DeWeese - UU Women's Connection, from Springfield, IL
tn Jennifer Additional T3 Committee Members:
Jennifer Evans - UU Women's Connection, Oak Park, IL  (western suburb of Chicago)
tn Janet Janet Nortrom - W&R Wise Woman, Milwaukee, WI
tn Julie Local Coordinators:  
Teresa LaPlante W&R, from Watervliet, MI (not pictured)
Sherry Dearborn W&R, from Peoria, IL (not pictured
Julie Bock, from Milwaukee, WI

Roles & Responsibilities outline

Nancy Irons and Pat Goller served as primary coordinators for this project. Though we never took on the title of chairs, we functioned as such. Gretchen Ohmann also provided leadership on many initiatives.

  • Served as primary liaisons to our respective organizations
  • Recruited additional committee members
  • Arranged meeting (and conference call) dates and times
  • Developed and distributed agendas prior to meetings
  • Facilitated meetings, kept discussions on topic, recapped decisions and responsibilities
  • Arranged for minutes to be taken and distributed
  • Prompted people to report on various topics
  • Took initiative in communications to keep projects on track
  • Developed a proposal for funding submitted to Area UU Councils
  • Developed and presented a workshop on Cakes at the annual District Assembly

Nicole Lisk from UUWC served as our Treasurer. She is a member of Elliot Chapel in Kirkwood, MO (St. Louis area).

Nicole opened a nonprofit checking account using the UUWC nonprofit ID number. We had an initial deposit of $2,439 ($1,000 from each of our organizations and $439 raised in donations). To create a budget, we estimated our expenses, guessed at our attendance levels and ultimately decided upon a registration fee of $30. The Treasurer established a budget spreadsheet and tracked income and expenses throughout this project. Registration checks mailed to the Registrar were forwarded to the Treasurer for deposit. Online registration fees from PayPal were downloaded into our account.
Reimbursement checks were mailed to facilitators upon submission of a completed reimbursement form with receipts attached. (Reimbursable expenses included: Travel @ $.25 per mile, Telephone charges for conference calls, Photocopies of fliers and handouts @ $.05 each, Postage as needed, Folders, Food for workshops, Activity supplies, Babysitters, etc.) At the end of this project we had funds still available. The committee decided to purchase sets of curriculum for each of our hosting congregations and to allocate $500 to the Continental UUWR to be used for future Train-the-Trainer efforts in other districts. All remaining funds were then split between our two organizations and the checking account was closed. Nicole prepared a final financial report.

Resource Documents:

Spreadsheet with Budget and Actual figures
Reimbursement form

Early in this project we submitted proposals for funding to UU Area Councils (St. Louis, Chicago and Milwaukee), however no grants were awarded. A sample proposal is included.

Gretchen Ohmann, our webweaver, also served as our primary coordinator for publicity.

Created a single flier with all workshop dates and locations included
Registrar name and contact information was listed

pdf Facilitator Training Flyer template (8 KB)
pdf Sample registration form (264 KB)

Flyer distribution:
Handouts at events (women’s conferences, District Assembly, General Assembly), Included in 2 quarterly district mailing to congregations
Initially mailed to out-of-district but nearby churches
Re-mailed to host & nearby churches 6-8 weeks prior to the local training date

Email notices to everyone in or near district who purchased the curriculum
Mentioned in email to Women and Religion email list.  (Did we send to UU Women's Connection elist?)
Mentioned in UUWC printed newsletter
Posted on W&R, UUWC and Cakes webpages
Posted on CMwD website on Calendar of Events
Articles sent to Area UU Council newsletters
Articles sent to the CMwD eNewsletter (x2)
Mailed fliers to District RE Directors
Presented District Assembly Workshop as brief (90 min.) introduction to Cakes & our T3 workshops

Resource Documents:
Articles published in Newsletters

Diana DeWeese served as our Registrar. Most communication with both the committee and the attendees was handled via email. We set our fees at $30 per person (which did not include the curriculum)

Diana was our contact person on publicity and fielded questions from the public
Processed all mailed registrations, forwarding checks to the Treasurer
Online registration information was sent to Registrar from the Webweaver
Compiled an Excel spreadsheet of all registrants
Followed-up with registrants as needed
Provided rosters of participants for each workshop and any special requests
Sent out confirmation of registrations and pre-workshop details, i.e. directions, parking issues, link to church website, which entrance to use, when and where to meet, etc.

Confirmation materials should include: (provide sample confirmation message)

  1. Confirmation of date/time/location with maps and directions. These can be links
  2. Local information as appropriate, i.e. parking issues, which entrance to use, contact phone #
  3. Reminder that purchased curriculum and music CDs will be available on-site for pick-up or available to buy on-site that day.
  4. Reminder to bring the curriculum with them if they already own it.
  5. Suggestion that registrants bring an item for the altar, particularly a symbol of the goddess or a symbol of peace.
  6. If chairs will be without padding, it might be wise to suggest they bring a pillow to sit on.

Liaison with UUWR re. webhosting Cakes blog, announcements, email group list
Setup committee email group list
Checked email from public and responded or forwarded as appropriate
Coordinated email announcements / publicity
Setup PayPal account and passed on online registration information to Registrar

Workshop Facilitators:
Each event had a designated Lead facilitator, Music facilitator, Local facilitator
Local facilitator arranges for rooms, food, babysitter, access to building, etc.
Lead facilitator arranges for handouts, equipment (i.e. computer & projector), altar items, resource materials, nametags, etc.
Music facilitator teaches and leads the songs, brings instruments &/or CD to play
Facilitators finalized details of who was doing what the week prior to the workshop
All facilitators use the Detailed Workshop Outline
Double check that everyone has paid and that you have all contact information.

Facilitating Workshops:

  • Clearly introduce the concept of “I” statements and minimize cross-talking
  • Explain expectation of privacy, “What is said in circle, stays in circle.”
  • Encourage everyone to participate, even if only to say, “I pass.”
  • Be aware that some may be hard of hearing and ask participants to speak up.
  • For Session 1, suggest people can name their “spiritual mother” if “birth mother” is not appropriate.
  • Be aware of time. Start and end on time.; Cut material if you need to.
  • Introduce song at beginning of session and then use it later as well
  • After lunch use “(person’s name) is here, (person’s name) is here, May all manner of good things come to her now” around the circle to re-establish the mood.
  • Include introduction of the Cakes blog in the Strategies for Success discussion.
  • Rearrange session 5 so the personal experience with violence is earlier, rather than at the end. Use the discussion of Peace as the ending topic.

Workshop Logistics:

Set registration deadline at 5 days prior to event
Refund requests reviewed on an individual basis
No refunds given for less than 24 hours notice
Babysitter must be requested in advance
$20 per mother grant available for home babysitting instead on on-site
Copies of curriculum and Music CD available on-site for purchase
Home Hospitality through local facilitator for leaders and participants as needed

st jo t3 altar

altar table at st. joseph facilitator training day

Setup:  (Do setup in advance, perhaps the day before. May need to request that church staff do it)
Chairs in a horseshoe with projector screen at the opening
Low altar table in the center or under the projector screen
Use a line of tealights in place of the tea boxes to represent the thousands of years.
Welcome table with sign-in sheet, nametags, folders

st jo side table with books

Side table with a sampling of resources, i.e. books, videos and extra handouts
Side table extra curriculum and CDs available for purchase.
Area with tables and chairs available to use for food or when working with the clay
Decorations if available, Banners, Goddess figurines, musical instruments

st jo t3 setup

Laptop, Projector, Screen, curriculum CD with slide shows
Blog video?  Screen shots of the blog?
Digital Camera to take photos (Please send some to the blog)

Continental breakfast: Coffee, Hot water, Juice, Pastries or Bagels, Fruit
Lunch: Sandwiches / Soup / Salad ordered from an area restaurant, Participants decided what they want upon arrival. Local facilitator places the order and coordinates pickup / delivery. (Be sure vegetarian options are available)
Drinks: Coffee & Hot water all day, soft drinks both regular & diet (Be sure there are non-caffeinated options)
Afternoon Snacks: Bread dragon with butter and jam, Cookies, Fruit
(Perhaps pass a bowl of Hershey’s Kisses around during the final visual program)

Handout Summary:
We found it most consistent for one person to put together all of the folders and deliver or mail them to the Lead facilitators for each workshop. Participants were reminded to bring their curriculum if they had purchased it. We had extra copies of the curriculum available, so copying of material from the book was minimized.

(TEXT) Cover page with facilitator names and contact information
(TEXT) Basic Session Schedule / Outline
pdf CakesTOC parts1and2 (18 KB) (PDF) Curriculum Table of Contents
(TEXT) Cakes Q&A handout
(TEXT) Strategies for Success (Facilitators Tips)
pdf Cakes sign up sheet (448 KB) (PDF) Blank Cakes sign-up sheet to use in home congregation
(LIST) Supplemental readings, chants, plays, etc. (use your own ideas, of course!)
(TEXT) Workshop Evaluation Form
Business cards for the Cakes blog*
Promotional material for W&R and Women's Connection and their upcoming events

Possible Additional Activities:
Spiral Dance
Dances of Universal Peace
Chanting / Songs – “Lady Weave Your Circle Tight, “May the Circle be Open

UU Women and Religion is offering these additional resources to groups who want to offer facilitator training in their District or area:

1. e-mail chat list for planning and discussions

2. e-mail news/publicity list — add all your contacts and e-mail them news of your events

3. * Cakes blog "business" cards to hand out

Contact Gretchen by e-mail: to request any of these resources free of charge.


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