|From the Executive Director|
I’m writing this month as I look out over the Pacific Ocean. I’ve been in three days of meetings at Asilomar in California for our first retreat in the Beyond the Call: Entrepreneurial Ministry program. On Monday over 400 of our members will join us as we celebrate our third Institute for Excellence in Ministry. Pacific Grove, where we have gathered, is where I lived when I found Unitarian Universalism. I discovered or - more accurately - answered the call to ministry less than two years after I found the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Monterey Peninsula.
Forgive my nostalgia but as we start another major innovation at the UUMA (a multi-faith entrepreneurial ministry program) and prepare for the third version of a major innovation that continues to evolve, I’m thinking about what it all means for our members and our faith. I was interviewed this week about entrepreneurial ministry. I was asked what is so new about it. I answered it’s actually not new at all and that it has been happening for thousands of years. People have created new ways of serving, inspiring, leading others in pursuit of a deeper connection with the divine and a more just world.
Some of what we do as ministers is very old indeed. Loving, pastoring, preaching, healing, praying, doubting have been part of the religious leader’s tool kit since the beginning of religion/time. What’s new? Technology. How long we can live meaningful and purposeful lives. Attitudes and understandings of the value clergy and religious communities can have in one’s life.
The purpose of the UUMA is to nurture excellence in ministry through continuing education, collegiality and collaboration. In a week when I’m surrounded by hundreds of colleagues hungry to learn, to connect, to celebrate their vocations with those inside and outside our faith tradition, in a place of beauty and awe, I think we are doing a fairly good at living our vision. And yet. (There always is “and yet”.) The quest to touch more colleagues, to find new ways to create the beloved community, to collaborate more deeply and more widely, to bring more joy and peace to a hurting and violent world is a never-ending one.
If you are at Asilomar this week I hope you take a moment or two to remember those who are not. If you are not here at Asilomar I hope you make time to join in the live streaming so you can touch a little of our beloved community of colleagues who are working all over the globe to create something new while staying connected to something old.