Block1From the Acting Executive Director
Melissa Carvill Ziemer, Acting Executive Director
 
I've been meeting with a small group of four other colleagues once a month for over a decade. We meet in person when we can at General Assembly or other collegial events, but mostly our practice with each other happens by conference call. The accompaniment of this group of colleagues is a blessing in my life and in my ministry. We bring questions we are wrestling with in our work to our time together. We share the joys and sorrows of our lives. We pray for each other. Though the purpose is not to teach, I often learn something in our monthly meetings. Today I learned about myself. I heard myself name the ways in which I am struggling, juggling, unsure.... My colleagues met me there, even though it isn't an easy place to meet.
 
 
Research from the Flourishing in Ministry project tells us that a sense of belonging among other clergy is one of the most important contributors to clergy well-being and sustainability in our work. The way we create opportunities for belonging among one another through a container of covenantal support and accountability is one of the things that makes the UUMA such an important institution. That is why it is essential that we do the work we need to do to examine how white supremacy, racism and other forms of oppression have affected us as an institution. The UUMA matters and so we must do all we can to dismantle the barriers that perpetuate marginalization for some of our colleagues. That urgent focus is always in my mind and heart as I do my work within the UUMA. I want every Unitarian Universalist minister - those currently serving, in preparation and in retirement - to have ready and welcoming access to a UUMA that can help them flourish in ministry in real and meaningful ways.
 
 
Ways like today, when I joined my clergy group call late and distracted and my colleagues were there waiting to welcome me as I was in my unpolished messiness. Like the time my colleagues formed a Clearness Committee for me to help me discern where my call was leading. Like the time colleagues came to visit with healthy snacks and presence when I was in the hospital with my premature baby, scared and in need of prayer. Like when colleagues ask hard questions while recognizing that answers often need time and space to form. And times when colleagues lead worship that opens my heart and touches my spirit. Or times when colleagues create curricula designed to help me and all of us work on our intercultural competency. And most especially in ways like showing up and staying at the table, even when we don't agree and even when it isn't easy and even when we'd rather do something else, but we keep staying and we keep trying, because the UUMA and what it promises matters for us and our faith. I'm honored to be working with you dear colleagues, in this ministry we create for and with each other to nurture all the ways we are called to bless the world.

In faith,
Melissa
block2Dedicated Good Officer Update & Good Officer Events

We are happy and grateful to announce that we have appointed four of our colleagues to serve as Dedicated Good Officers for ministers with historically marginalized identities:
  • Maria Cristina Vlassidis Burgoa
  • Qiyamah Rahman
  • Helen McFadyen
  • Terry Cummings
Each of these colleagues applied to serve in this new role and each was endorsed by other colleagues who are familiar with their work. Our new Dedicated Good Officers will join the Chapter Good Officers for orientation and training this spring and will begin their service thereafter. If you have an historically marginalized identity, find yourself in need of a Good Officer, and would prefer to work with someone who also has an historically marginalized identity, please feel welcome to reach out to one of these colleagues, no matter where you live. You can learn more about these colleagues and find their contact information here.

Orientation, Training and Continuing Education for Good Officers

All new and continuing Good Officers are asked to attend the Good Officer Training and Continuing Education Day on Monday, June 18. If you will be in Kansas City, you can register on your Ministry Days registration form: (if you already completed your Ministry Days registration form and didn't let us know you will be attending the Good Officer training, please let our Office Assistant Allison King know so she can update your registration.) If you will not be in Kansas City, you can register to attend the training via livestream here.
 
In addition, all new Good Officers are asked to plan to attend one of the new Good Officer online Orientation sessions. (Continuing Good Officers are welcome to attend if desired for a review of the philosophy of the program, expectations of the role and resources and support available from the UUMA.) Sessions will be held on Thursday, May 31 at 1pm EDT and Tuesday June 7 at noon EDT. Calls will be recorded for those who can't make either date. You can register for either session here:
block3Ministerial Formation Network Recordings

Recordings of Ministerial Formation Network webinars are now available for viewing.

Click here for a description of all the webinars
  • Building a Beloved Community - Nov 29, 2017 and Dec 7, 2017
  • Community Ministry - Feb 20, and Feb 28, 2018
  • Interfaith MFN Webinar - April 20, 2018
Click here to go directly to the archives.