When asked to comment on the Continuing Education focus of our vision statement, most of you (63%) agreed that we are doing well in achieving this vision. Over half agreed that our offerings are relevant to your type of ministry.
The open-ended questions in the survey provided important feedback to the Board and Staff. These comments expressed a desire for greater partnership with UU groups (MFC, Fahs Collaborative, Interim Network, etc.) as well as with non-UU sources. We heard most clearly from those serving ministries outside the traditional parish setting. Candidates in preliminary fellowship, retirees, chaplains in diverse settings, multi-staff ministers, and religious educators voiced a desire for more relevant and accessible programs. Additionally, ministers who are accredited by other organizations do not rely on the UUMA for continuing education, turning instead to other professional organizations for developmental needs.
The most well-attended programs in the past three years were Ministry days, Center Institute, Whose Are We, Who Are our Neighbors, and the Center Presenter Programs. The Institute received the largest number of "excellent" ratings for quality. Even though many ministers have been able to attend Ministry Days and the Institute, a good number (27% & 31%) said the cost prevented you from participating. Access to programs was a consistent message throughout this section of the survey. You highlighted not only financial barriers, but also geography and work schedules that run counter to one that is congregation-based.
Addressing the financial barrier, we just launched the UUMA Endowment campaign. A $2 million endowment fund will allow us to ease those barriers and extend continuing education to more members. Addressing the logistical barriers, we recently launched UUMA Connect, an on-line "campus" for post-seminary education and professional development.
This Summer, you will have several opportunities to join one of our programs:
1) BTC: Entrepreneurial Ministry
4) Where Leads Our Call? (the next UUMA-wide conversation)
We hope you will take full advantage of your membership in the UUMA to nurture and strengthen your ministries.