|From the Executive Director|
It’s the first day back in the new year and my to do list is as long as it has ever been. I hope your winter holidays were a time of rest and reflection on all that matters most in your life. I recently completed speaking to our twenty chapter presidents around the continent. I’m always in awe of the commitment it takes for our members to do the work of ministry and then find time to serve their colleagues and our faith.
This was the second time in my 5+ years as UUMA Executive Director that I have carved out the time to have one on one conversations with our chapter presidents. The first time was during my first few months on the job when I was doing my best to understand the needs and desires of our membership and discern how I could ensure the investment the membership made in their vision of a stronger UUMA (and the hiring of an Executive Director) was rewarded.
Suffice to say a lot has changed in the last five years. One chapter president raised a concern that nobody would have said five years ago - has the UUMA outgrown its capacity given all we are doing. It is a fair question that I and our leaders reflect on often. Right before Christmas the staff met to review the long-term staffing structure we need for the future. (And today we are announcing two new additions to our staff - Sarah Moldenhauer-Salazar, Endowment Director and Emily DeTar, our first intern - to help us do all we need to do.) In the next five months we will be rolling out our second Beyond the Call program (this one’s on entrepreneurial ministry) and hosting our third, and biggest, Institute on Excellence in Ministry.
As I have reflected on my conversations with our chapter presidents I was most struck by two things. One is that we have come a long way in the last five years and two we have so much farther to go. Many of our members are so busy doing ministry that they aren’t even aware of what we are offering. Less than 50% of us read the e-update and because, in part, we have so much going on too many aren’t aware of our coaching program, or mentor training, or the importance of the endowment campaign or the scholarships and grants available for continuing education. If you are reading these words you probably aren’t among those people but it’s clear we need to learn how to do a better job in communicating and engaging people more fully in the life of their professional association.
The mission of the UUMA is to nurture excellence in ministry through continuing education, collegiality and collaboration. I may recommend a forth c to the board to add to the list - communication. May all your dreams and hopes come true in 2015. And when they don’t may you have a colleague to share your disappointment, frustration and renewed enthusiasm with. Happy New Year and happy ministry!