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What is MWLS?

Part of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s nationwide network of leadership schools, MidWest Leadership School is a week-long intensive program in leadership and group dynamics. Led by lay and ordained staff with a deep understanding of UU congregations, MWLS

  • develops both youth and adults into congregational leaders
  • provides leadership tools and skills
  • deepens Unitarian Universalist identity

This is an extremely intense week of workshops, discussions, intimate small groups, worship preparation, personal theological exploration and growth.

In exchange for wholehearted commitment to a strenuous schedule, MWLS offers a life-changing and congregation-nourishing opportunity.

Some PHOTOS from 2017 are on our FACEBOOK page!

Who Is MWLS For?

Youth School

An opportunity for youth entering grades 9-12 to develop leadership skills, MWLS - Youth School operates at the same time as MWLS - Adult School. Some activities, such as multi-generational worship experiences, are shared between the schools. 

Adult School

Are you currently—or soon to be—in an active lay leadership role? Do you want to know more about consensus building or conflict management, congregational growth, or social justice issues? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then MWLS - Adult School is for you!

Registration is open to applicants from member congregations in the MidAmerica Region (formerly Central MidWest, Heartland, and Prairie Star Districts) and to seminary students not yet in candidate status.


JULY of each year (Sunday–Saturday)

  • Both schools use the same arrival and departure times, though the daily calendars are unique.
  • Plan to arrive between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m., Sunday, for check-in and campus tours. (No early check-ins)
  • Except in extraordinary circumstances, late arrivals will not be admitted to school.
  • Re-convene at 5:00 Sunday for dinner, orientation, and worship.
  • Meals and activities are scheduled from 7 am to 9 pm daily, with breaks available between classes and activities.
  • Depart at noon on Saturday.

Your Commitment

The week long experience is designed as an integrated curriculum. Each person who enrolls contributes to the learning experience. 

This is an intense week with little free time, filled with intellectual and emotional rigor.

Participants are expected to make a commitment to the formation of this intentional community, to stay the entire week, and to attend all scheduled classes and gatherings.


Beginning in 2020, MidWest Leadership School will take place on the campus of
Illinois Wesleyan University
1312 Park Street
Bloomington, IL 61701