|From the Acting Executive Director|
One of the things I’ve learned about ministry is that discernment never ends. In May I had the opportunity to co-facilitate the second module of Where Leads Our Call for our colleagues in Canada. I shared with them, in my little homily about calling and discernment, that I used to think one day I would have discerned – past tense. I thought that once I finally worked through all my questions about whether I was called to ministry and when and where and how, that I would be able to abide in confidence. In truth, that was my experience for a while. A couple of years into my ministry in Kent, I was overcome with a powerful feeling of yes. I was confident I was answering my call faithfully and well.
In time, that feeling began to change. The causes were mostly related to my other calling as a parent, but the consequences were much larger. After another long period of discernment, I began a new ministry with the UUMA and my spouse and children and I moved back to Western Massachusetts, which is where I lived before I went to seminary. I was still in the process of discerning the meaning of all these changes in my ministry and in my life when tumult began to unfold in our faith. This spring was a painful and challenging time for me and for many leaders in the UUMA.
Still, when the UUMA Board of Trustees asked me to serve as the Acting Executive Director, it was easy to say yes. Even though none of this had been part of my near or long term imagining of my future in ministry, it was easy to say yes because I love Unitarian Universalism and I love all of you who have dedicated yourselves to our ministry. My yes is a yes of discernment for me personally and as a leader. Over the next year I will work with the board and the staff and our many dedicated UUMA volunteers as we reflect on where we are now after being led for eight years by a visionary, talented and hard-working founding Executive Director, Don Southworth.
Already it is clear that there are some things we must end, like the weekly Resistance and Resilience emails. There are other things we must continue working toward, like the outstanding Institute for Excellence in Ministry coming up in January. There are seeds we have been planting that need tending to flourish, like the new Ministerial Formation Network being implemented continentally this fall. There are also relationships that need to be repaired and systems that need to be assessed. As we move through our discernment and transition, I think it is important for us as the UUMA to be actively engaging with the larger conversation in our association about how we can dismantle white supremacy in our faith.
Meanwhile, the daily work goes on. Janette and I are looking forward to welcoming our next UUMA Intern Sana Saeed in September and are eager to identify the two people who will be joining us soon as our next Office Assistant and the Interim Associate Executive Director. If you are interested or know someone who might be, you can find all the details about applying for those positions in this E – Update.
In hope and faith,