|From the Associate Executive Director|
Like so many of you in parish ministry, my summer is filled with preparing for the worship, programming, staff priorities and leadership development of the church year ahead. This annual congregational work is made more complex this year as the staff, lay leaders and I also plan for the end of my ministry with them right after Thanksgiving. Even more than usual, my summer is filled with meetings with the wonderful leaders I’ve been privileged to share the ministry with for the last eleven years.
At the same time, I’ve also been participating in a select few meetings with UUMA staff and volunteers to begin preparing for my new role as the Associate Executive Director of the UUMA. In one such meeting this week, I was struck by a parallel in the ending of my parish ministry and the beginning of my ministry within the UUMA. Just like the congregation I serve, UUMA leaders are busy this summer preparing for the year ahead. The work is different, of course, but the dedication, passion and generosity of the staff and volunteers who are doing the work is very familiar.
The opportunity to work collaboratively with so many of our colleagues in advancing the mission of the UUMA is one of the things that most excites me about my new role. As a parish minister, I have considered myself to be invested in and connected with the UUMA. And yet, I am already realizing that the reach of the UUMA is even wider and deeper than I realized. We are fortunate to have such an effective and visionary professional association to support our individual and collective ministries.
You may have heard that one of the new initiatives of the UUMA this year, in collaboration with the UUA, is the development of a new Ministerial Formation Network. This network will be available to all aspirants and candidates for our ministry, no matter where they live on the continent or which seminary they attend. The network is being designed to offer discernment support, collegiality and training and education to people throughout their process from aspirant to preliminary fellowship. A big part of my new position will include implementing, managing and evaluating this new program. The success of this endeavor will be made possible with the service of many UUMA members in a variety of roles. I am looking forward to working with many of you in support of the future of Unitarian Universalist ministry and this faith we share. Though it is bittersweet to leave the people of a congregation I love, I am looking forward with gratitude to the honor of serving with and for and among you.
Rev. Melissa Carvill-Ziemer
UUMA Associate Executive Director