Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, Weekly News and Reflections

May 31, 2019

A Skill, a Craft, an Alchemy: A Reflection from the UUMA Intern


Mia Mingus asks in her blog post, “Dreaming Accountability,"


“What if accountability wasn’t scary? It will never be easy or comfortable, but what if it wasn’t scary? What if our own accountability wasn’t something we ran from, but something we ran towards and desired, appreciated, held as sacred? What if we cherished opportunities to take accountability as precious opportunities to practice liberation? To practice love? To practice the kinds of people, elders-to-be, and souls we want to be? To practice that which we can only practice in real time?”


As I co-create the session plan for covenant groups after the Tuesday morning opening worship at Ministry Days, I find myself dwelling on accountability as part of a practice of liberation. For some of us, this could be an invitation to take risks, perhaps share about ways that accountability has played a role in our ministry and what we gain collectively when practicing accountability. For others, this could be an invitation to move towards grace for ourselves or others, and an opportunity to create room for healing. Mingus says, “Accountability is not a destination; it is a skill we can build and practice. It is an art, a craft, an alchemy we can learn how to wield, just as we have learned how to wield hurt and shame and fear.” As you may know, skill-building can be messy and uncomfortable and can’t be perfected. For some, skill-building is a life-long journey. I invite you as colleagues in shared ministry to move into this potentially messy, craft-building space to explore accountability, where there may be some risk-taking along with grace in this sacred practice of liberation.


If you are interested in facilitating a covenant group, I invite you to be a leader. We will facilitate conversations after the Tuesday morning opening worship, including off-site covenant group conversations. The service is titled “Stronger in the Broken Places: Accountable Nurturing of our Shared Ministry.” There will be a training for all small group leader volunteers before Ministry Days via Zoom (and it will be recorded for those who cannot attend when sessions are scheduled). If you’re available and interested in facilitating on-site or off-site groups, let me know at and I'll get back to you in the first week of June. Thanks to those who have already expressed an interest.


Participating in the UUMA Business Meeting


If you are planning on attending Ministry Days in Spokane, today is the last day to register! to see if you are registered (your name will only appear if you are fully paid). If not, to do so now!


have been posted for about a month – please take a moment to review them. If you requested a paper copy on your registration form, they were put in the mail this week. Please bring those paper copies to Spokane as we will not have extra copies on site. If you wish to receive a paper copy, please contact .

If you can not be with us in Spokane, we hope you will be able to join us via the livestream. to participate in the livestream and be connected to all the programming and off-site support. All active members will be eligible to vote in the annual meeting and can do so by joining a Zoom call on Wednesday morning, June 19th. Conference information will be available closer to the event. We encourage off-site attendees to participate in as much of the livestream as possible so that you are prepared for the Annual Meeting.


Staff Changes: Introducing and Re-Introducing


We are excited to announce our FY20 Staff Team!


We are over the moon to announce that , our current Intern, will be stepping in to the role of Collegiality Program Assistant. In this new position, Sana will be providing support to the Ministerial Formation Network and our growing Collegiality Programming. In our new structure will be taking on the role of Education Program Assistant and will provide support to our new online learning platform and other continuing education programs. In addition, please join me in welcoming to the UUMA Staff team as our new Administrator. Hannah will be the taking the lead in matters of membership renewal, event registration and arrangements, and communications. We think she is going to be a terrific addition!


Please know that as we continue to refine our staff structure so as to better support the values, mission and vision of our association you will be able to find our organizational chart, job descriptions, and contact information online at . Read a little more about our staff below.

Hannah Franco-Isaacs: As a lifelong UU, I am so excited for this opportunity to work with the UUMA. I grew up in Oakland, CA before moving to St. Paul, MN and have been an active member at Unity Church - Unitarian for many years. I graduated from the University of Minnesota where I majored in Religious Studies with a focus on Judaism and the Holocaust. I always knew that my work would be interwoven with my faith. I will soon make my home in Portland, OR with my husband, Tim. In Portland, I will be working part time as a Director of Religious Education at West Hills Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. I am looking forward to being one more bridge between ministers and religious educators. Throughout my life, I have seen the ways in which Unitarian Universalism can transform lives and what a powerful force it can be in the world. I am honored for this opportunity to work with the UUMA to provide support to our members.

Sana Saeed: I am excited to be transitioning from being an Intern at the UUMA into the part-time position of Collegial Practices Assistant. I look forward to supporting the work of the MFN and other collegial retreats moving into this position in June. I graduated in May 2018 with a third graduate degree: a Master’s of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School (HDS) and am currently serving as a Chaplain at the University of Pennsylvania working with undergraduate and graduate students on campus. Born in Manchester, UK, I moved to the USA when I was sixteen. As a dual citizen, I grew up in a Pakistani home with the fortune of learning Urdu, Punjabi, as well as English. My upbringing inspired a love for traveling. I became interested in Unitarian Universalism after being hired as a Director of Youth Ministry for the UU Church of Arlington, where I frequently was asked the question, “What is a Muslim doing working in a church?" Since then, I have been immersed in UU and Muslim communities through various interfaith endeavors and hope to become one of the handful of UU Muslim ministers who are part of the UU community today. .

Allison King: I have been a UU since 1992, when I discovered a UU church in my neighborhood, and thought, “Why not?” Since 1998, I have served as Choir or Music Director for 4 different UU churches in the Portland area, and currently serve the UU Congregation at Willamette Falls in Oregon City. I have been the GA choir director, and a featured vocal soloist at GA several times over the past few years. I am a regular attendee and music staff for the Eliot Institute, a UU family camp in northern Washington. I have worked in administrative support for everything from a large high-tech company to small non-profits in the arts and the environment. I’m really looking forward to moving into the Education Assistant role – I’m always up for learning new things, and excited to see how this offering will support UU ministers and ministry. I live in Portland, OR and am dubiously managed by my feline companions, Sachie and Luna.



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