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Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, Weekly News and Reflections

November 9, 2018

Healing Through Interfaith Relationships:

A Reflection from our Ministerial Intern

Sana Saeed, UUMA Intern

Last week, I was in Toronto for the Parliament of World Religions to speak on a panel on Religious and Cultural Appropriation in Interfaith Engagement with some wonderful religious professionals. Though, while there and thinking of my presentation, I found myself reflecting on my first interfaith exchange that came at a rather vulnerable and complex time in my life.

 

When I was 13 years old, my grandfather from my mother’s side died. I called him Nana, and he was a sweet grandfather. I remember visiting his home in Manchester, England on the weekends where sometimes I would spend the night.

On Sunday mornings while eating a bowl of cereal and squished into an armchair with him, we would watch the old Planet of the Apes series, followed by Superman and Batman. We’d also watch Rawhide, so I learned a whole lot about country westerns and Clint Eastwood from him. I only now realized it, but Nana was a bit of a comic book nerd.

 

He died on a visit to Karachi, Pakistan, and his funeral took place there. I remember learning about his death and feeling upset and confused. Unfortunately, when he died my parents were unable to take me to his funeral and could only afford to take one of the kids along with themselves. So, they took my youngest brother. I was left with my mom’s best friend, Mina auntie and her two daughters, who I liked spending time with during the weekends.

 

For me, being left behind for two weeks and not being able to say goodbye to Nana was hard. I realized then my Sunday mornings were going to change without him. And it made my soul hurt. It was also the first time I experienced losing someone to death, so the feeling was new. Reflecting on this grief today, it brings to my mind questions asked in her poem titled "Mending:"

 

“How shall we mend you, sweet Soul?

What shall we use, and how is it in the first place you’ve come to be torn?

Come sit. Come tell me.

We will find a way to mend you.”

 

My mending came by being in interfaith community. Mina auntie and her family are Hindus. I learned about Hindu prayers from them and I learned about their altar. Living with them for those two weeks back in England, while processing the death of my grandfather, I also went through my first intense interfaith experience.

 

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Report of the Accountability Committee of the UUMA Guidelines

Paul Langston-Daley, Accountability Committee Chair

The UUMA Board has appointed the Accountability Team of the Guidelines Committee to make recommendations about the way in which we hold one another accountable to our covenants. As a collegial body, we have come to recognize that our guidelines are inadequate, given our current needs and culture. These guidelines, written in the 1960’s and patch-worked since then, do not allow us to fully hold each other accountable to our covenant and our code of conduct in the way we would like. It seems we are at a place in our evolution as a professional organization to update our ethics and our covenant to meet our current needs.

 

Our task on the Accountability Committee is to create a clear and responsive process for responding to breaches in covenant in healthy and productive ways. These breaches can be minor or major; our goal for any breach of covenant is to repair the harm, restore relationships, and return to covenant whenever and wherever possible — noting that it is not always possible to do so. Our is focus is on our covenant and on our relationships rather than on an adversarial or legalistic approach. We believe that those approaches have often been ineffective and many times caused greater harm. The worst harm has often been to our most vulnerable colleagues: women, people of color, interns, trans and gender non-conforming people, second ministers, and others who held less power.

 

As we gather information, hear stories, and imagine a process that honors our values, we will be seeking input from many groups and individuals. We welcome your input and encourage you to contact us if you feel you have something important about the process you would like to share with us.

 

Committee members are: Michelle Favreault, Karen Stoyanoff, Jonalu Johnstone, Lynnda White, and Matthew Johnson, and I serve as chair. We can be reached at . We are committed to developing a process that is transparent and easy to understand and follow.

 

We hope this improved process will allow us to address the conflicts both large and small that inevitably occur between us, providing a healthier, more trusting and trustworthy collegial body. The times we live in are complicated and dangerous, and we need every one of us at our best to face what is in front of us, and what is coming.

 

Shanti,

Paul

 

Updates from the UUMA

 

  • Military Chaplains Chapter: We are pleased to announce that our Board of Trustees has approved the creation of a new non-geographic chapter of the UUMA. This chapter was organized by military chaplains to meet the specific and unique needs of UUMA members serving as Military Chaplains who often find themselves in isolated areas and/or moving frequently. Given that many UUMA members may not be deeply familiar with military culture, this chapter will provide an important opportunity for collegial connection. To join the chapter, and click on Join Group. For more information on how to change chapters, . Members can join as many chapters as they find helpful to their ministry, but must select one as their Primary Chapter. For more support on connecting with a chapter, contact .

 

  • Search Webinar: Did you miss the "Ministerial Search in 2019" webinar? to watch the recording about how ministerial search has changed, what you need to know about the new ministry search system and websites, and more! Thanks to Katie Romano-Griffen for hosting on behalf of CENTER and Keith Kron, Transitions Director, for presenting.

 

 

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Higher Logic