Rejuvenation. That's what I received from the first ever Community Ministers Retreat hosted by the UUA in collaboration with the UU Society for Community Ministers. I hadn't realized I needed rejuvenation until I received it. To be with colleagues being called to ministries outside of the parish was truly uplifting. The Rev. Larry Peers led participants, which included 25 Community Ministers in preliminary fellowship, two UUA staff, two UUSCM representatives and four mentors, through a series of rewarding exercises. We became reacquainted with our deepest calling, why we do the ministry we do, explored challenges to our ministries, and identified pathways forward for addressing some of those challenges. One outcome of this gathering is the creation of several task groups to explore such things as the creation of a UUMA Chapter for community ministers, providing input into the MFC process, and continuing to educate congregations on the importance of community ministry.
The most soul nourishing aspect of the weekend for me, though, was in the interactions with my colleagues sharing our experiences, challenges and hopes together. Tears came to my eyes as I resonated with a colleague's embodied description of what her ministry used to be like and what it is like now. Being in the very early stages of developing an entrepreneurial ministry can feel very lonely. As I shared with the group, I felt like I was wandering around in the fog and this weekend I found out that there are others in the fog with me. I am not alone, there are others within a hand reach. We formed community of practice groups so that this experience and growth may continue past the retreat. In our closing, the Rev. Cat Cox led a ritual in which we each selected a touchstone and described what we would infuse our ministry with and what our intention is going forward. I selected a beautiful layered stone and declared that I would infuse my ministry with more gentleness in its development and that I intend to let go of fear.
May it be so.
UUMA Office Assistant
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