Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association
Membership Counts: E-Update
Vol. 4 Issue 3 ~ March 2013

Dear Member,

In the last few weeks as I've met with our members around the United States and attended Wisdom 2.0 (a conference on the integration of technology and wisdom practice and tradition) one word has taken hold of me - sustainability. It’s reminded me of how things were when I had we had a new baby or my first new car - everyone seemed to have one too. Every meeting I have attended, whether it be with seminarians, UUA staff or colleagues in different chapters, the challenge of sustainability is never far away.

The challenges of sustaining life on this planet in the midst of climate change, economic restructuring and globalization aren't what have been living with me lately (as if those could ever go away). The sustainability I've been focused on is the future of liberal religion and the organizations and institutions that support it.

Why have I been musing on this topic? Maybe because I've been working on the UUMA budget and am recruiting our first Stewardship Development team. Maybe it’s because I recently learned that it takes, on average, 15 millennials to give the same amount as one baby boomer to charitable institutions. Maybe it's because I sat with a roomful of seminarians who shared the financial challenges of answering their calls and becoming a minister. Maybe it's because I know how difficult it has been for so many of our members who are having their professional expenses cut or who have part-time or community ministries where professional expenses are only a dream. Maybe it’s because I've been reading more about the toll ministry takes on our bodies and spirits. Or maybe it is simply because I am painfully aware of how challenging it is for so many to make ends meet and dreams come true.  

When I'm not traveling to meetings to meet with our members and partners and, hopefully, to further the cause of the UUMA I am often invited to preach and teach on stewardship and abundance. I started doing so when I first entered seminary and despite not really having the time now, I can't seem to stop. I know that for many the sustainability challenges facing our world and our religious tradition can be frightening at best and paralyzing at worst. How will our planet survive let alone our congregations, seminaries and ministries?

Forgive me, but I think the answers might lie in our UUMA mission. We aim to nurture excellence in ministry through continuing education, collegiality and collaboration. Perhaps we can meet the challenges of tomorrow the same way. Learning, connecting and thinking with others, creating new ways to fund and practice our faith, in partnership with people and organizations inside and outside our normal circles. Like you, I don't know what the future holds but I do know that when two or more are gathered the holy is present. That is an eternal truth that will not change. When we invoke a spirit of passion and creativity, of collegiality and collaboration, answers come and magic happens. May our ministries, wherever and whatever they be, offer the world both sustenance and holy possibility.


Don Southworth
UUMA Executive Director


Registration for Ministry Days Open!

Registration is open for Ministry Days on the UUMA Website: http://www.uuma.org/event/md2013.  A few new things this year:

  • Everyone who registers will receive a copy of Lillian Daniel's newest book "When 'Spiritual But Not Religious' is Not Enough: Seeing God in Surprising Places, Even the Church."
  • Special access and reception at the Muhammad Ali Center on Monday night. When making your travel arrangements consider arriving in time to join us for open access to the center to be followed by a reception overlooking beautiful Louisville. The center will be open exclusively for Ministry Day registrants from 7:00-8:00. You can pick up your registration materials at the Galt House from 4:00-6:30 or at the Ali Center from 7:00-8:00.
  • A Tuesday evening vesper service!  Experience connection & renewal at the Healing Vespers Service, held at the First Unitarian Church of Louisville. Led by a group of pioneering new UU ministers, this service is an opportunity to reconnect with the source of joy, strength, and inspiration in your life.
  • More flex time to spend with colleagues.  In an attempt to provide much needed time for you to connect with your colleagues, we have opened the schedule to allow for a longer lunches. We hope that you will use this time to enjoy one of the many restaurants in the area. For those wishing to stay at the hotel we will be offering an optional buffet meal on Wednesday. Please note: to help lower costs we will only be providing snack breaks. The Galt House has a lovely cafeteria and there are many local restaurants available for breakfast and lunch.

Update From Key UUMA Committees - CENTER

This month’s UUMA leaders' update comes from Cheryl M. Walker and Sarah Gibb Millspaugh, co-chairs of the CENTER Committee.

While many of us are still basking in the inspiration and renewal provided by UUMA CENTER's 2013 Institute for Excellence in Ministry, let us take a moment to tell you about all that your CENTER team offers colleagues year-round. CENTER is the hub of continuing education within the UUMA. Our mission is "to design and deliver excellent continuing education that inspires, nurtures and transforms members of the UUMA." We collaborate with the UUMA Board and Staff to organize, plan and support collegial networks of education and training such as the UUMA Coaching program (new opportunities to get a coach will open next month);  Collegial Conversations (Whose Are We? and Who Are Our Neighbors? are the two most recent), intensive skill-development programs like Beyond the Call, which is focuses this year on preaching and worship arts, the Chapter Presenters Program, which brings skilled facilitators to UUMA chapter gatherings, and the biennial Institute for Excellence in Ministry. We are also looking to expand our offerings in online education so that we might more readily learn together across distance. We welcome your thoughts on how we can best serve our mission and best serve you. We particularly welcome your ideas for the next Institute, happening February 2-6, 2015 in Monterey, California – planning is already underway!

 UUA Moderators Forum For UUMA Members

We have invited Tamara Payne-Alex and Jim Key, candidates for UUA Moderator, to answer questions from UUMA members and participate in two on-line webinars with us in May (dates to be announced). Do you have questions you would like to ask Tamara and Jim about their hopes and dreams about the future of the UUA and/or how their leadership will support and serve UUMA members? We will be collecting your questions and ask Tamara and Jim to address some of them on the webinars in May and others in writing. If you have a question please send email it to Don. Dates for the webinars will be announced in next month’s e-update.

 Last Chance to Share Your Thoughts on Mentoring and the Institute

Have you filled out our UUA/UUMA survey about mentoring yet? If not do so NOW as we will be tallying the results and using them to formulate our plans for recruiting mentors so that we can expand and strengthening mentoring for candidates and ministers in preliminary fellowship. Click here to give us your thoughts. Did you attend the Institute for Excellence in Ministry and forget to tell us about your experience? If so click here to fill out the survey which guides our planning for the next Institute and other future learning opportunities. Both surveys will be closed on March 15 so get your input in ASAP!

 Be In Touch!
Please share your questions, feedback and ideas!
Thank you for your service in the world and for your commitment and passion for ministry.

Rev. Don Southworth, Executive Director
UU Ministers Association

25 Beacon St. Boston, MA 02108
617-848-0416 (phone) ~ 617-848-8122 (fax)