|From the Board of Trustees|
Kelly Weisman Asprooth-Jackson, UUMA Board Secretary
News came this past month, from folks at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, about the collision of two black holes, roughly 1.3 billion light-years away from our own precious star. And though that, by itself, is a spectacular thing to imagine, the actual reason for the announcement – the news of the news – was that the collaborative project between researchers from a host of different schools and institutions had learned of the collision by observing the gravitational waves it produced. This being the first ever observation of such waves, it was a pretty big deal.
Hold that thought for just one second though, if you will. I am now less than one year into my term on the UUMA’s board. When I volunteered for this role, I thought that from my time as a member and my previous service on a chapter exec, I had a solid grasp of how the UUMA works and what the UUMA does. But each board meeting I’ve participated in, and frequently in the spaces between the meetings, I’ve encountered some program or practice or structure within our association that I had no idea about at all.
For instance: the UUMA’s Associate Member status, and its process is something I’ve gone from having virtually no understanding of, to a regular interaction with, since, as a board member, I’m now a part of considering applications from potential Associate Members. It was a term I had heard before, but I couldn’t have told you its purpose (whereas now I understand that Associate Members are religious leaders not in fellowship with the MFC, who are nonetheless regarded as good and trustworthy colleagues by UUMA members local to them who know them well, and who seek the accountability and support that being a part of the UUMA affords). Of course, each new learning feels a little bit like a discovery, since the information is new to me. But in another, more accurate sense, all of it was here all along.
This brings us back around the gravitational waves. I recently brought up this major scientific discovery (major enough to catch fire in the popular press) with my go-to science consultant: my father, who is a retired physicist. In his usual, patient way, he acknowledged my excitement, while pointing out that the existence of these waves has been generally accepted for some time now – in fact, a Nobel prize was awarded for identifying indirect evidence of their existence back in the early 1990s! Similarly, what’s news to me about the UUMA and its offerings may not be news to you. But what I have found is that our association is so great and ambitious in its scope (and so ably served by its staff and volunteer leaders), that, like the universe we inhabit, there seems always to be more to it, the longer and harder I look.