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Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, Weekly News and Reflections

January 10, 2020

Our hearts and prayers are especially with you, beloved colleagues, who have Arab, Persian, Turkmenistan, and Kurdish heritage and ancestry. We know this time of uncertainty and fear of war places an added burden on your ministries,  and we want you to know that we’ve got your back.  We are  lifting up prayers for military colleagues who may be serving with and supporting people preparing for rapid deployment. We ask a blessing on your ministries. And we send our love to our Australian colleagues and their families.  We pray for safety. We pray for healing. We pray for peace.  If you need support dear colleagues, please don't hesitate to reach out to any of us. We are here for you.

Melissa Carvill Ziemer, Director of Collegial Practices

Learning and Growing


One of the things I love about ministry is that learning and growing are essential for the work. This past fall, my learning and growing has been focused on the matter of right relationship. It has been a pleasure to have Julica Hermann de la Fuente and Clyde Grubbs as partners in study. All three of us are grateful to all of you who took time to participate in our Right Relationship Town Halls these past months. Your reflections and questions have been very helpful in informing our work.


For those who didn’t get to take part in the Town Halls, some background: Julica and Clyde and I formed a working group to respond to a footnote in the proposed Guidelines Revisions asking the UUMA Executive Team to create a Right Relations Guide Handbook and make it available for public comment before any approved Guidelines Revisions are implemented. We offer this as a work in process in the interest of advancing our efforts to be a learning community during this period of study.


Based on your feedback on the (which are due February 1), the Guidelines Committees will determine whether to recommend changes to the proposed revisions to the UUMA Board of Trustees. You can expect to receive the final text of the Guidelines revisions we’ll consider at our 2020 annual meeting in our May 2020 mailing.


This draft Table of Contents and Bibliography is not annotated as we feel that offering detail is the work of the next stage of development. However, there was a common constellation of questions about selection and role we’d like to address in more detail now. We anticipate that we would invite applications for the Right Relations Office and that those selected would be appointed to renewable two-year terms. We expect that all Right Relations Guides would be required to be ministers in Full Fellowship, that they would complete all the training we provide and that they would participate in ongoing consultation and collaboration with the other Right Relations Guides and with the UUMA Director of Collegial Practice to fulfill their roles. We do not expect the Right Relations Guides would act as judges; rather, we expect they would act as companions working as part of a team of people endeavoring to navigate toward right relationship.


Should we go forward with the development of this handbook, we’ll invite you to future conversations to help shape the content. For now, we invite you to review this draft to inform your reflection on the proposed revisions.


Peer Coaching


As the search season begins, now might be a time to consider coaching. Our coaches can support your journey and discernment during the process as well as navigating transitions.

There are two options for coaching :

  • Traditional coaching: which offers coaching roughly once per month over 8-9 months.
  • Fast track coaching: which includes 4 to 6 one-hour meetings held every other week.

For more information or to sign up, visit or email .

The UUMA staff gathers in Chicago for annual staff meeting. From left to right: Janette Lallier, Allison King, Hannah Franco-Isaacs, Julica Hermann de la Fuente, Darrick Jackson, Melissa Carvill Ziemer, Sana Saeed

From left to right Janette Lallier, Allison King, Hannah Franco-Isaacs, Julica Hermann de la Fuente, Darrick Jackson, Melissa Carvill Ziemer, Sana Saeed. With big thanks to Julica for teaching us frosting magic!

From the Waist Up


Earlier this week the staff of the UUMA gathered in Chicago for our annual staff meeting. We worshiped together, we covenanted and yes, we learned, from Julica, how to make butter cream roses. Being a relatively new staff member with the UUMA I have been delighted by how the team works together each and every day. I feel so grateful to be a part of this team. There is something, however, that gets a little lost when you work virtually. Sharing meals and seeing everyone in 3D was a truly joyous experience for me. Is the work we are doing always easy and care free? Not always, but do we know that we have a staff that will offer support, accountability and challenge each other to continue to grow in our work. Yes. Yes, we do.



UUMA Administrator



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Melissa, Darrick, and Janette






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