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From the Executive Director
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“I wake up each morning torn between a desire to save the world and a desire to savor the world.” — E.B. White


It doesn’t seem so long ago when July was a time of relaxation and play.  School was out and I was at the playground or, more recently, congregational/UUMA life slowed down and vacation or study leave was nearby.  Not so much anymore.  I have been thinking about E.B. White's quote a lot this month.  When I wake up and sit on my back porch listening to the birds and meditating after opening up the daily news and social media sites on my computer.  The world seems both more beautiful and more ugly every day.


My life in July included a few days rest by the beach, an incredible conference and the busy, often mundane tasks of catching up after Ministry Days/GA and preparing for what’s next for the UUMA.  My life, like yours, included watching the horror of escalating violence around the world taking innocent lives and the more personal loss of a colleague whose life ended way too soon.  Thanks to the modern marvels of Facebook and Twitter we can share the beauty and pain of our world more quickly and often more intimately than we ever have before.  I’ll let others assess how this helps or hinders our lives…it just is.  I do know that seeing beautiful pictures of babies and sacred shrines from around the world and reading heartbreaking accounts of personal and community grief all in two minutes or less both comforts and jars me at the same time.


I suspect everyone in the world relates to E.B. White’s quote but I know that it has meant more to me since I became a minister.  Maybe because among our many ministerial tasks/duties we are privileged to create/lead/embrace celebrations of life AND we are compelled to be both pastors and prophets to a hurting, confused world.  On most days these opportunities are why we feel so fortunate to have been called to the life of ministry.  On some days these responsibilities seem more like burdens we can’t carry alone.  Of course we can’t…but too often we try.


My friends, be good to yourselves in these wonderful and awful days.  So often people turn to us for answers and inspiration, care and comfort, hope and renewal when life throws them for a loop and it seems the world needs more saving than savoring.  Sometimes in our commitment to save the world through our ministry we forget - or maybe neglect - to spend our time savoring as well as saving. 


May these summer days provide some space for us to laugh and rest, cry and pray.  To ache for those whose lives end too soon and rejoice for new life and the hope it bring.  Time to savor and time to save.  


Don Southworth
UUMA Executive Director

Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, 24 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210-1409
© 2016 Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association.