Farewell from Allison Palm, UUMA Program Assistant
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Three years ago, I opened up an e-update much like this one and read that the UUMA was seeking an office assistant. As a brand-new candidate member, I knew very little about what our UUMA actually did, but I did have some dreams about what I hoped our collegial community might look like. Like many of our new colleagues, I was cautious as I entered UUMA life, unsure what I would find but certain that I was going to need a strong collegial community to get me through the hard nights of ministry.
While I wish I could tell you that I came into this job and found immediately the collegial community I had been hoping for, we all know that community and institutions are more complicated and fallible than that. But what I found is something more important than a perfect community. I found a UUMA that was becoming stronger and more resilient as each day passed. I found a staff team that cared deeply for those we served, and who were committed to the work of building a better UUMA. I found volunteers who cared so much about their colleagues that they gave hours upon hours of their time and energy and love to create programs that nurtured and sustained our ministry. And I found a community of ministers that was and is changing and growing and deepening.
As you probably already know, the UUMA has changed a lot in the past three years. Our staff has grown and shrunk and grown again. We've launched new programs and committees. And we've begun to imagine how we might become a collegial community that is based not on competition and isolation, but on vulnerability, accountability and trust. As I finish my time on the UUMA staff and head into parish ministry and regular old UUMA membership, I am so grateful to know that I have a professional association that I can feel proud to be a part of.
It has been such a blessing to serve you, my colleagues these past three years. I leave filled with gratitude for all of you, for the ways in which you serve our world and our faith. I leave filled with gratitude for the amazing volunteers who staff our committees and board at the UUMA. And I leave filled with gratitude for the fabulous staff team that I've had the pleasure to work with.
There is still much work to be done as we continue on the journey toward a more caring, more supportive, more resilient collegial community. But my time on the UUMA staff has given me hope for our future. I have seen what happens when we show up for one another, when we reach out in love, when we speak hard truths, and when we work together. I have seen the way that strengthens our ministries and our faith. My prayer for all of us is that we continue this work--that as we do the hard work of building the beloved community in our larger world, we also engage in the hard work of building beloved community amongst our colleagues.
One of the commitments I am making to myself and to you as I leave the UUMA staff is that I will not leave behind this important work. It will take all of us to build a collegial community we dream about. I hope you'll join me.
With gratitude & blessings,