Dear Life Member,
(Life Members: I have been telling you about the UUMA task force that we have been putting together to look at best practices for encouraging the best relationships between retired and active ministers. The task force has been recruited and Bill Hamilton-Holway, UUMA President, will be convening the group early in the new year. The task force is comprised of representatives from the UU Retired Ministers and Partners Association (UURMaPA); the Interim Ministers Guild; the UUA and settled ministers. I'll send the names and plans next month. If you have any questions please email Bill or me.)
The holidays are here. The joys and, sometimes, sorrows of the holidays can be extreme. Especially for ministers who are there to not only comfort and be present to the people we serve but who also experience the normal joys and sorrows that come with the season. I have always loved the holidays but working Christmas Eve was a mixed blessing. Celebrating and singing with the people the congregations I served was a joy. I remember enjoying the late Christmas Eve night ritual of walking the dog in the cold silence after a long day of preparing and leading services. Those walks were a time for a bit of joy, a bit of fatigue and a bit of melancholy remembering the extended family Christmas Eve gatherings of my pre-minister days.
Now that I am a community minister Christmas Eves are a bit different. I look forward to spending the day watching old Christmas movies, cooking and maybe even shopping a bit. My wife and sons appreciate having me around more than I used to be. I like it too. And yet I miss the planning and leading one to four services when we worry about how well the play will be acted and received and if we will light the candles again without the sanctuary catching fire. The carols, the readings, the celebrations, the memories are a bit different sitting in the pews than being up front.
No matter if your December is filled with leading Christmas, Solstice,Hanukah, Kwanza, and any other services; or if your work and ministry is serving in communities or institutions where the holidays are more about being present in different ways; or if you are able to take a break from ministry responsibilities this year and enjoy the holidays from a different perspective, may you know more of the joy and peace and less of the sorrow of life. And may each of us find time to enjoy the briskness of a chilly night, watching our breath and looking at the stars remembering how fortunate we are to be alive and to be called to this life of ministry.
UUMA Executive Director
Coaching and Beyond the Call Applications due by December 31
Two new UUMA programs are scheduled to begin in 2012 and you have until December 31 to apply to take part. We are looking for people who will make excellent peer coaches! Coaches must be in final fellowship and will given coaching training by an outside organization next Spring. Coaches will begin working with other UUMA members in the fall of 2012. For more information on the program go to https://uuma.site-ym.com/?coaching; Interested?: click here to apply (the deadline is December 31) and click here to ask any questions.
Beyond the Call: Preaching and Worship Arts, a two year program of study, practice and teaching, starts in the summer of 2012. Three of our finest preachers and liturgists - Mark Belletini, Kathleen Rolenz and Abhi Janamanchi - are the program's deans. You will meet with 20-30 colleagues four times a year; have many contacts between retreats and help lead small groups of colleagues who want to improve their preaching and worship leadership just like you. For more information on the program go to https://uuma.site-ym.com/?beyondthecall Interested?: click here to apply and click here to ask any questions you have.
Have you signed up to take part in Gathered Here?
The materials for community conversations for Gathered Here, the UUA program for congregational and community-based appreciative inquiry processes, have been tested and are ready to roll. Has your congregation or institution/community signed up to participate? Would you or someone you know have the skills to be a Gathered Here congregational coordinator or local facilitator? Click here to visit the Gathered Here page on the UUA website to watch videos and read frequently asked questions/answers to learn more about the program. You can also sign up to take part in the program.
Whose Are We? Chapter Awards Update
The Whose Are We? Coordinating Team is reviewing all sermons/essays and chapter facilitator feedback forms. We plan on announcing the three chapters that will each receive a $3,000 award for future spiritual/theological retreats and/or programming in mid December. Look for an announcement about the winning chapters in next month's e-update and enjoy the sermons and essays by clicking here. A "Whose Are We?" curriculum that can be used in congregations or other community institutions is available for UUMA members at https://uuma.site-ym.com/resource/resmgr/Docs/WhoseAreWeforCongregations7_.pdf