Here is your monthly news and updates from the UU Ministers Association!
Your Monthly News & Updates
 
From the Acting Executive Director
Melissa Carvill Ziemer

Dear Colleagues,

I called my nearest-in-age little sister in tears on a sunny May afternoon right around my 23rdbirthday. I called her because we had a similar experience of surviving the impact of multiple forms of violence against women and girls in our growing up.We had survived, but in the years since leaving home, I had grown increasingly afraid that I would never feel at ease enough in this world to live a happy, healthy life.What I heard my sister tell me was that violence against women and girls is ubiquitous the world over and that I couldn't afford to let it stop me from living life as well as possible.

I had been a Women's Studies major in college and my sister's words reminded me of so many works I'd read by women, people of color, and LGBTQ people who refused to surrender to victimization.Her words reminded me of the way in which living as well as possible is a kind of resistance, which reminded me of all the ways people before us have resisted and advocated and fought for a better world for us all.

The recent wave of #MeToo testimonies from women and femmes and trans* and non-binary people has me remembering my own experiences, including the ones in which I learned to connect the dots.The violence of the patriarchy is connected to the violence of white supremacy which is connected to the violence of homophobia and transphobia and ableism and every other form of oppression.What they have in common is the violence that results when individuals perpetrate toxic power over and the violence that is sanctioned when systems collude in protecting and defending abuses...READ MORE
Darrick Jackson
From the Interim Associate Executive Director

Several years ago, I took on a spiritual practice of gratitude for my mentors during the month of November. It was inspired by the book, "Lanterns: A Memoir of Mentors" by Marian Wright Edelman. In the book, she reflects on her life and the civil rights movement through the people who influenced her along the way. These figures ranged from her parents, to community elders, to teachers and to national leaders. All of them led by example, and helped her to find her path through the barriers of racism, sexism and classism that plague our country.
 
It feels like a good time to revisit that practice. Many days it feels as if the weight of the world is growing instead of lessening. The news and social media are filled with more and more outrage and heartbreak every day. I find myself often looking for the resources to stand in the midst of the tumult and the strength to be a part of making change in the world. In these moments, I draw on my mentors to sustain me...READ MORE
From the UUMA Intern

Sana Saeed
"The goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives."-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
 
This month, I'm excited to see my brother who was deported for being undocumented. I haven't seen himin four years. Even better, my mom will be staying with him. My family has gone through its own challenges, and now we're all spread out. One brother lives in Toronto, my mother lives in Myanmar, my dad lives in Virginia and my youngest brother is moving to Atlanta. Sometimes I feel like we're an asterism of stars, like the big dipper, glimmering in the sky connected by a mystery and the divine. We live as a asterism, within a giant constellation, watching carefully which way the arc of the moral universe will bend.
 
I have always had an uncomfortable relationship with Thanksgiving as a holiday, especially because of its historical premise. To me, it's a story of colonization and violence towards indigenous people. If I see myself relating to anyone in some way in the Thanksgiving story, it is with the indigenous people, because of the...READ MORE
Elizabeth Stevens
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...READ MORE
Seeking Applications to Serve on the Guidelines Committee

The UUMA Board of Trustees has provided a charge for two iterations of a Guidelines Committee.We are actively seeking UUMA members whowould be interested in serving on the committee to advance the work before us.You may apply to serve onthe committeehere.Applications are due by November 20.The Board will make a decision about membership on the committee bythe end of November.

The Board announced this charge last week from their Kansas City meeting on Facebook Live. If you missed itclick here.

Charges to Guidelines Committees A & B:
 
The UUMA GuidelinesCommittee Ais charged with studying the existing Guidelines and proposing revisions to clarify and strengthen our professional standards against behaviors that perpetuate white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, and other systems and structures of oppression. This should include, but may not be limited to: unambiguously forbidding sexual harassment, contact, and/or relationships between ministers and anyone and everyone they serve, supervise, or otherwise hold authority over; changing or removing provisions that aid minsconductors in evading accountability; adding a specific provision against bullying and harassment; naming the malicious deceit of those we serve an actionable offense; and making it explicit that the imperative to confront and dismantle white supremacy and heteropatriarchy should take priority over collegial courtesy. These proposed revisions will be considered during the 2018 annual meeting. The committee will assist chapter leaders in facilitating adaptive conversations during a year of study and recommend either adoption of the 2018 proposed changes or new changes based on the year of study for consideration during the 2019 annual meeting. The Committee will assist staff in developing a resource guide for ethics in relationship to systemic oppression within our Guidelines.
 
The UUMA GuidelinesCommittee Bis charged with receiving recommendations from the Committee on Ethics and Collegiality for revisions to the UUMA's accountability process. They will bring forward these recommendations for consideration during the 2018 annual meeting. The committee will assist chapter leaders in facilitating adaptive conversations during a year of study and recommend either adoption of the 2018 proposed changes or new changes based on the year of study for consideration during the 2019 annual meeting. The Committee will assist staff in developing a resource guide for the accountability process within our Guidelines.
 
Click here to apply for either committee.
Workshop Changes for the Institute
 
Due to unexpected circumstances, two of our workshops have been cancelled, "Embodied Organizing For the Planet: Prophetic Social Justice Ministry for the 21st Century" and "Entrepreneurial Faith Communities: A Jewish Perspective. "

We are happy to announce that they will be replaced by a workshop by Deborah Pope-Lance "Ministerial Relationships: We Are The Tools of Our Trade" This workshop will look at ministerial relationships, our own approaches to these relationships, and how they are affected by issues of misconduct and boundary violations.Click herefor a full description.
 
If you have already registered, and would like to switch to this workshop, please emailoffice@uuma.org.

Deepening: Clergy Renewal and Continuing Education
 
Deepening: Clergy Renewal and Continuing Educationis an 18-month program aimed at offering discernment support, spiritual sustenance, continuing education and collegiality to Unitarian Universalist ministers in four phases of ministry:
  • Early Years (years 1-5)
  • Middle Years I (years 6 to 15)
  • Middle Years II (years 15 +)
  • Fifth Season (elders, in partial or full retirement)
The primary goal for this pilot program is to nurture excellence in ministry by establishing a culture of, and consistent expectations for, ongoing education and deepening collegiality throughout a life in ministry. In Deepening, we're excited to partner with colleagues in nurturing an understanding of and deeper commitment to:
  • Health and Wellness (as ministers and as people)
  • Financial Literacy (personally and professionally)
  • Vocational and Leadership Discernment (including self-awareness skills and strong collegial networks that can offer discernment support)
  • Spiritual Growth (emphasizing integration of learning and experience)
Deepening: Clergy Renewal & Continuing Education is a collaborative program developed by the UUA, UUMA, and UURMaPA.To learn more about the program including dates and cost and to apply to be part of the pilot, pleaseclick here.

Let your thoughts be known: UUMA Survey
 
Good Offices: The Good Officer Support Team is seeking to learn more about your experiences with the Good Offices Program. Please take a moment to complete this survey by clickinghere.
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Be In Touch!
 
Please share your questions, feedback and ideas!
 
Thank you for your service in the world and for your commitment and passion for ministry.
 

Rev. Melissa Carvill Ziemer,
Acting Executive Director
 
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