From the UUMA Board of Directors

At our fall meeting in Kansas City, your UUMA Board of Trustees grappled with some big questions, and took the first few tentative steps toward some structural and institutional changes that will allow us to better fulfill our mission:
to nurture excellence in ministry through collegiality, continuing education, collaboration and shared commitment to antiracist, anti-oppressive, multicultural practice.
 
One of the first things we did was to approve the application of the Interim Guild to become the first non-geographically-based chapter of the UUMA.  This allows groups of colleagues to come together in ways that are better suited to their specific needs, and we hope additional applications will be forthcoming.  Nor will you need to choose between chapters; your UUMA dues entitle you to be a member in more than one.
 
We also hosted a lunch for local colleagues, as we do during each of our in-person meetings.  We were able to draw these colleagues into our conversation around "The Big Question," which was "If the UUMA did not exist, and you were creating it today, what would it look like?" We heard a request to lead our colleagues into more social justice action.  We also heard a clear call to prioritize two aspects of our work...continuing education and collegiality and advocacy.  
 
Conversations about continuing education have been unfolding over decades.  However, the board feels strongly that it is time to move beyond conversations to action.  We are looking at ways to reallocate resources to support instituting continuing Ed requirements for all active ministers in our association.  There's no way to take this step without also making sure that CE opportunities are accessible, financially and physically, to all our members.
 
We also want to strengthen our structures of collegiality and advocacy.  Part of this work will belong to the newly commissioned Guidelines Committees, referenced by Melissa, above.  However, we believe that many ministers want their UUMA staff to be available to them for support and counsel.  Holding that need (for support) alongside the need for stronger structures of accountability, the tension between the two seems obvious.  It simply isn't possible for our Good Officers to offer colleagues pastoral support, serve as 'union reps' in disputes with the institutions we serve, and then turn on a dime to hold those same colleagues accountable to our guidelines and our deep values.  
 
Both of these new initiatives require significant resources.  Our conversation also touched on what we might need to let go of, and the inevitable difficulty of change.  This is a time of transition- an open moment.  We intend to take advantage of this openness to discern the way forward that best serves our colleagues, our UUMA, and our faith.
 
Blessings,
 
Elizabeth Stevens
At-large Board Member, with portfolio of Counsel and Advocacy