What's in this Issue:
Recovery Support Group?
Are you a Unitarian Universalist minister in recovery from or struggling with addiction?
The UU Clergy Recovery Affinity Group is an online space where clergy are welcome to share honestly and safely about their journeys and about how both addiction and recovery shape their lives and their ministry. This group is only for people seriously wanting to be in a community of kindred people seeking support in remaining sober from addictions/compulsions, including drugs and alcohol, gambling, debting, food, sex, and so on. This is not a 12-step group per se, but open to all who are on the path of recovery, whether that be through the 12 steps, SMART Recovery, Buddhist practice, or any other healing path. Because this is an affinity group coming out of the UUMA, absolute anonymity is not possible, especially once you have joined the group. So, while this is an open group, please only join if this is something you truly need. Safety is a priority.
To join log in and visit: http://uuma.site-ym.com/members/group.asp?id=88546
MD2012 Food Allergy Group
If you have a food allergy that might be a challenge for our Ministry Days catering and plan on attending the Phoenix GA you may want to consider adding your point of view to the 2012 allergy food group. The group will work with Janette to make sure the catering for Phoenix works for all attending. This is an experiment to see how we can do things better and we imagine this group helping to review menus and ingredients and brainstorm ways to feed the memberships diverse and sometimes complex dietary needs. If you would like to add your voice or if you have a comment or concern please be in touch with Janette at email@example.com.
News about the UUA Directory
The online UUA Directory (www.uua.org/directory ormy.uua.org/directory) includes searchable listings of both UU congregations and professional religious leaders. If the UUA has your email address in our database, the page about you includes a form that visitors can fill out to send you a message, without revealing your email address.
If someone sends you a message from the online UUA Directory, you receive an email with an introductory paragraph saying that it’s forwarded from myUUA.org. Following that is the person’s name, email address, and message. If you want to respond, be sure to send your response to the person’s email address and not to the UUA. We can’t vouch for the authenticity of messages – anyone can fill out the form out – but you may hear from past parishioners or colleagues.
To see what it looks like, go to www.uua.org/directory or my.uua.org/directory, search for yourself, and send yourself a message.
Call for Sermons!
Have you heard a dynamic sermon promoting the financial support of Unitarian Universalism as it affirms our faith, vision, and future? If so, please send a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org! We want to share these sermons with our UU community.
The UUA will present a Stewardship Sermon Award in the summer of 2012 to the sermon that best promotes generosity and financial stewardship. UU professional religious leaders or those in at least their second year of professional leadership study are eligible for consideration. Sermons must be submitted by February 20, 2012 Contact email@example.com for more details.
Clergy Shirts Available
Clergy colleagues in the UUA have arranged with Almy to offer clergy an opportunity to show support for the ideals of justice and equality by wearing these special clergy shirts and blouses, inspired by the Standing on the Side of Love Campaign, when you attend the Justice General Assembly in June 2012. They are classic Almy shirt and blouse styles for clergy men and women. And each is tailored in the gold color and printed with the heart that symbolizes the movement. These shirts are a limited edition. Order your shirt or blouse by April 20, 2012 to ensure delivery in time for the June 2012 UUA Justice General Assembly in Phoenix.
Click here to order
your shirt or blouse today!
*Note: Proceeds from sales of this shirt do not go to support the Standing on the Side of Love campaign. For the official Standing on the Side of Love Campaign online store, visit www.sslonlinestore.com.
(Life Members: As you can see from all the information below the UUMA is a busy, busy organization these days. I'm especially excited about the work we are doing with and for our retired ministers. Our President, Bill Hamilton-Holway, is convening a task force next week to look at best practices for relationships between retired and active, settled ministers. The task force has active and retired ministers, Keith Kron from the UUA and two members from the UU Retired Ministers and Partners Association, including a minister's partner. Speaking of UURMaPA, the UUMA has increased our donation to them to $1500 (300% more than we gave three years ago.) I'm particularly happy that almost 20% of the applicants for our new coaching program are retired ministers. Good things happening in lots of places. Let me know if you have any questions about any of the things we are working on.)
This week I am meeting with our CENTER team at the Sirata Beach Resort in St. Pete Beach, Florida where we will be having our second UUMA Institute for Excellence in Ministry 52 weeks from today. I left the cold and snow of Chicago on Sunday night, had a quick pit stop at home in North Carolina and arrived to dinner and a sunset on the beach in 75 glorious degrees. (I have a tough job but someone needs to do it!) I am looking forward to sharing the view with you next year.
Over the last few months I have come to more deeply appreciate the unique job I have. I have the privilege of working with some unbelievable ministers who volunteer their time for their colleagues (and an unbelievable Administrator who helps keep us all sane); I am able to work collaboratively with many hard working, dedicated UUA staffers on some of the important issues and challenges we face as a religion; I visit congregations around the country sharing the good news of the UUMA and the possibilities that can happen when we practice gratitude and generosity; I see the tough work of changing a governance structure and discerning the right roles and purposes for the future up close at UUA Board of Trustee meetings; I get to spend sacred time with UUMA members at chapter gatherings and retreats; I have the chance to work and collaborate with the leaders of other professional organizations to better serve our religious professionals and I am able to co-create new programs and initiatives that nurture excellence in ministry.
When I take time to reflect on all of the things I do, and the people I get to do them with, I am struck with how many people give so much of their life to the health and well-being of ministry and Unitarian Universalism. I recently read a biography on Steve Jobs. I loved the book and couldn't put it down. I could not help but read it with the future of the UUMA and Unitarian Universalism on my mind. What lessons can we learn from a flawed and brilliant man who went from searching for spiritual insight in an ashram in India to the leader of the wealthiest company in the world that has changed the way we work and play? What similarities could there be in the story of company that boomed, busted and really boomed, to a professional association of ministers and a religious tradition that faces a rapidly changing world with far more questions than answers?
Perhaps more than you would think. Innovation and passion are keys to success. So are leadership, a commitment to excellence and hard work. And maybe most of all creating, believing and living a vision that offers a better way.
My job gives me the chance to read lots of emails, make lots of conference calls, attend lots of meetings; it also lets me hang out on the occasional beach and fly around in airplanes 30,000 feet above the earth. The emails, conference calls and meetings give us the chance to get lots of things done, things that help nurture excellence in ministry through continuing education, collegiality and collaboration (we hope!) The beaches and the airplane rides give me the chance to reflect, gratefully, on all we do and wonder what we do it for.
It's hard to imagine a world without music on our phones or the convenience of writing sermons and newsletter articles on a laptop, maybe even while watching a sunset on the beach.
It's hard to imagine a world without religious communities of people coming together - in many ways - to celebrate the joys and sorrows of life while working together to make the world a better place. It's hard to imagine a world without people giving their lives in service to something greater than themselves, loving, caring and challenging others. It's hard to imagine, I hope, a UUMA that isn't working on creating new and better ways to teach, connect and learn from each other.
Last night at dinner we reflected on all the changes that have happened at CENTER and the UUMA in the last few years. We have more members than ever before. We have a bi-annual Institute for Excellence in Ministry that has and will draw some of the best speakers in the country. We have so many new programs and opportunities for continuing education collegiality that it's hard to keep up with them. We have grown our budget and our commitment to each other. We have new ways of working and collaborating with our partners to make a stronger Unitarian Universalism. We have much more to do...and be. The snow and the beach have a way of reminding us to enjoy journey.
UUMA Executive Director
UUMA Programs Are In Full Bloom
We have had a busy few months at the UUMA. 50 members applied to be facilitators for the Who Are Our Neighbors? conversation that will begin in the fall; 30 have been selected and will attend a train the trainers session with Beth Zemsky in early May. Over 50 members have applied to be in among our fist group of coaches who will be trained in the spring and begin coaching in the fall. More than 20 people applied for the first Beyond the Call two-year program on Preaching and Worship Arts which will begin in early 2013. Thank you to everyone for your support of Association Sunday which funded continued education. Although we came up short of our goals we are receiving over $100,000 to fund these and other programs.
2012 Ministry Days Planning Needs Your Help!
We hope you have read the email we sent out on January 13 that included details about our plans for Ministry Days in June. We are collecting your ideas and plans so that we can deliver the best programming to help us prepare for Justice GA. We are planning on having some dynamic speakers and helpful workshops and trainings that will not only be valuable during our time in Phoenix but also back home in our congregations and other settings. If you have not yet filled out our Ministry Days survey please click here to do so right away. We will be sending out details on the agenda and speakers at the end of February. (If you are a chapter Good Officer who can join us for Good Officer training on Sunday evening and Monday - June 17-18, please email Don for more details.)
Webinar introduces valuable tool for congregational culture and faith-building
Tap into your congregation’s passion, strengths, and energy by reminding people of what they love about our faith. Join with other UUs across the nation to forge a collective vision for the UUA and help professional and lay leaders shape the future of Unitarian Universalism. Join any one of three 30-minute webinars to learn how your congregation can become part of a "positive revolution” in Unitarian Universalism, simply by sponsoring a 2-hour Gathered Here Community Conversation:
- WHAT: An informational webinar, hosted by Rev. Gary Smith (Minister Emeritus, First Parish, Concord, MA) and Rev. Nate Walker (Minister, First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia)
- WHEN: Choose the most convenient time from among these three options
- WHY: Learn how easy it is to nurture your congregation and grow our faith!
- HOW: To hear and participate in the conversation call1-610-214-0000 and enter participant code 725528#. To see the presentation visit: http://connectpro29983900.adobeconnect.com/gatheredhere/ (enter as a guest). If you have a webcam, enable it so we can see one another. More extended directions will be sent to all who RSVP
Only 363 Days to the next Institute for Excellence in Ministry
It's hard to believe it has been one year since our first UUMA CENTER Institute for Excellence in Ministry and only one year to our second. Our program for the 2013 Institute for Excellence in Ministry (January 28 - February 1, 2013) in St. Pete Beach, Florida is almost complete. Your CENTER team and staff are reviewing all the details on site this week and doing what we can to ensure sunny, upper 70's weather for next year. Registration packets will be coming in the mail in March with all the details, costs and scholarship information. The deadline for paying a deposit and being entered in the drawing to win a free registration has been extended to February 28, 2012. If you wish to place a deposit of $100 or $300 towards your registration fees please click here.
Changes to UUMA CENTER Presenter Program
Your UUMA CENTER committee has been looking at ways our traditional CENTER Presenter Program could be made even more helpful for district and regional gatherings. After research and study, the most fundamental change we are supporting is to intentionally recruit CENTER presenters who will be able to speak to our Association’s need for cutting edge work in one of 8 core areas. These areas are:
If you are interested in helping to shape the direction of our movement and have experience and skills presenting a 8-12 hour program to your colleagues, the UUMA CENTER team would love to receive an application from you. You can find an online application along with directions at: https://uuma.site-ym.com/?presenterapplication The application deadline is March 15, 2012.
- Worship and Music Arts
- Anti-Racism, Anti-Oppression, Multiculturalism, Intercultural Competence
- Theological Imperatives
- Social / Soulful Justice (Creating cooperative justice affiliates and initiatives)
- Healthy Congregations and Systems
- Staffing and Administrative Arts
- Youth and Millennial Ministry (innovative use of contemporary communications technology)