Enclosed is a correspondence from the UUMA President Cheryl M. Walker and Executive Director Don Southworth
May 19, 2017
Dear UUMA Members,
We are writing to you to apologize and to let you know what we are working on together. We apologize because it's been too long since we have been in communication with you. The feelings, responses and events that were triggered by Don's Easter letter to the UUA Board of Trustees and the elected UUMA Board's letter on April 21 have affected us deeply. We want you to know that we are committed to doing the best we can do to provide space and opportunities so that healing and reconciliation can occur and the UUMA can model how we most effectively acknowledge and engage in different opinions and perspective.
We know that you are curious and maybe even anxious about plans going forward so we wanted to give you an update on what we have heard from you:
Ministry Days - The Ministry Days planning team, which comprises of members from the UUMA Board, the UUMA staff and key program committees, is working on making changes to our programming to allow us to engage in conversation, reflection, worship and maybe even action, about the issues that have arisen in the last two months in the UUA and UUMA. The annual meeting packet and information about Ministry Days can be found here.
Follow Up From Don's & the Board's Letters - The board, Don, and former UUMA Board member and Committee on ARAOM chair, Parisa Parsa, have been working together on crafting the appropriate apologies and actions to restore broken relationships between each of us and those throughout our faith. We know that in the eyes of some the UUMA's reputation and effectiveness have been tarnished and we are committed to doing what we can to restore both and make us stronger in the future.
Communications Going Forward - Both Don and the board are disappointed it has taken so long to communicate with you. We blame that on our hopes to do that collaboratively and a governance structure that asks the board to speak with one voice. Long term we plan on looking how to do this better; short term we are committing to send out more details about our plans in two weeks, on the issues above, as part of the June e-update.
In late March we wrote a letter to you that said in part: "The purpose of this letter is to let you know we are listening carefully to the conversation and witnessing to the pain it evokes: the pain of those of us who continue to face the realities of oppression and unfairness in the world, our faith and our institutions - including the UUMA, the pain of those of us who serve in leadership roles in our faith, whose decisions are always (and rightly) open for critique, the pain we all feel when someone we love is hurting. We are witnessing and we are committed to both learning and loving with you as we take the next steps."
Although the events and situations of the past month are different than what we experienced in late March, our words and commitment are the same. Thank you for your patience and for your commitment to our faith and our UUMA.
In faith & in love,
Don & Cheryl
Be In Touch!
Thank you for your service in the world and for your commitment and passion for ministry.