|Sustaining the Call|
By Sharon Wylie
I attended my first UUMA chapter meeting and retreat in 2010. I was an intern minister and candidate for UU ministry, and I was incredibly freaked out (that’s a technical term) to be in a room full of UU ministers. In hindsight, I’m not sure what I was afraid of. I suppose I was just extremely intimidated.
When we were invited to break into small groups for deeper check-in, the intern ministers elected to meet together. I felt vulnerable sharing my sense of overwhelm just being at the retreat. In our small group, I learned that I was not alone in feeling intimidated and freaked out.
And that’s my story of the first time I experienced collegial support as a UU minister. Vulnerable and anxious, I learned I was not the only one feeling vulnerable and anxious. Over the years, I have experienced this affirmation again and again from my colleagues: In this extremely lonely vocation, we are in fact not alone.
Since that time—from candidacy to preliminary fellowship, from my call to serve a congregation to final fellowship and on—UUMA colleagues have companioned me through the most significant events of my ministry. My growth as a minister has been nurtured by workshops at the Center Institute and time spent with colleagues at chapter retreats. I am privileged to mentor one colleague and serve as vocational advisor to another. Through Facebook and email, I am in touch with UUMA colleagues almost every day.
Simply put, I cannot imagine what my ministry would be like without the UUMA, and I’m glad I don’t have to.
Because I joined the UUMA in 2009, I was never a member before we had an executive director. When I’ve mentioned this to senior colleagues, they’ve expressed a strong appreciation for the changes that have come with professional leadership. I don’t have to know what things were like before to appreciate the ambition and vision we have now.
Enthusiasm for the UUMA and its potential as a professional organization is why I’m an ambassador for the Sustaining the Call endowment campaign. Yes, the UUMA is an amazing organization as-is. But we can do even better. We can do better supporting our community ministers. We can do better supporting entrepreneurial ministries. We can do better ensuring that all who want to can attend collegial gatherings and participate in continuing education.
I appreciate all that the UUMA already provides, and I am excited by the possibilities ahead of us. I will be proud in years to come to say that I contributed to the endowment that provides the foundation for what we do and are together. If you haven't already made a pledge to the Sustaining the Call Campaign, I hope you will make time to do so today. Here is the link. Please join me in supporting our ministries of today and tomorrow!
Blessings, Sharon Wylie