Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, Weekly News and Reflections

November 30, 2018

Letting Go: A Reflection from the Director of Operations

Janette Lallier, UUMA Director of Operations


One of the many lessons of my recent sabbatical time was learning how to let go. On the Camino, there is a famous spot called Cruz de Ferro (Iron Cross). Tradition holds that pilgrims carry something (usually a stone) from their home and leave it at the foot of the cross to represent lying their burdens down – I learned about this tradition rather late in my preparations and grabbed a rock from my home alter just as I was leaving the door. It was a rock that I had selected during a UUMA Board (then Exec) worship service in San Francisco. At the time, I was at my all time heaviest and feeling lost in my own skin. I picked the biggest rock I could find and tried to find the beauty in it – and, in turn: me. Many years (and many pounds) later, I found myself with a tear in my eye as I left the rock amongst the others and realized what a burden my weight had been to me my whole life. Not the physical pounds (beauty is beauty), but it seems I had convinced myself that I was my weight. As I walked briskly away from the cross, I felt lighter, more open, ready for something new to fill the space that had been occupied so long.

Upon returning home I tore open my closets and repurposed most of my old clothes – those “Just in case the weight comes back” clothes. But I didn’t stop there, I reorganized my personal altar (which had expanded over the years to three) and lovingly released all the precious gifts people had given me over the years. What I am left with is space: space in my closet, in my life, and in my heart.


What in your life or ministry is taking up too much space? Whether a long-held belief of a dusty prayer book – there is value in taking a moment to ask yourself if it opens your heart. If not, perhaps it is time to lovingly release it and see what may come.


As you may know, on July 1, the UUMA began an experiment in shared leadership. On retreat, the newly formed Executive Team, pro tem worked with the talented to define goals, clarify responsibilities, establish a peer supervision model, and make a plan for the coming year (we are continuing our coaching with Rev. Jackson monthly). As part of reviewing our portfolios I once again find myself wanting to “let go.” In looking at our tasks, procedures, policies, and even programs - what do we strengthen and keep, what do we pass on to others, and what do we bless and let go of? As we further define our roles, we have created a FAQ document (see link below) to help everyone understand both the time line and structure of our staff leadership team. It is our hope that this, along with our revised Organizational Chart, will help when you are wondering who you should reach out to. Your feedback is welcome and appreciated.


As we begin to let go of “business as usual,” I invite you to join me in a sense of curiosity to see what might come – what might fill the space. I am looking forward to this year of questioning and exploration, am enjoying this new leadership role, and am thrilled by the chance to participate in this enriching, collaborative process. Thank you for your partnership in the journey.


The Structure of our Shared Ministry


The UUMA is engaging a shared ministry experiment with our executive function. As a part of this experiment, we have moved from a single UUMA executive director to a team of three directors for our organization. To help clarify the roles of the directors within this “pro tem” executive team and to address questions that may arise as we engage this shift we have created a FAQ document. . If you have additional questions you can contact the Executive Team, pro tem at .


Next Week's Webinar: Despair in a Time of Joy


"That's the thing about pain, it demands to be felt."

-John Green, The Fault in Our Stars


This time of year is filled with messages of happiness and joy and does not leave space for the sadness, anger, and despair we might feel. Join us on Wednesday, December 5 at 2 PM EST for a webinar led by Darrick Jackson focusing on the practice of lament to hold space for ourselves and those whom we serve.



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.




Follow us on:


Director of Collegial Practices


Director of Education


Director of Operations


, pro tem

Melissa, Darrick, and Janette


Program Assistant


Office Assistant




Did you miss a previous issue? Our goal this year is to provide

shorter, more frequent updates. If you missed one,



Higher Logic