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Evolution in the Ministry of Good Offices
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Over the last several years, the Good Offices Coordinating Team and the Director of Ministries for Collegial Care have been engaged in a process of assessment, reflection, development and discernment about the UUMA’s ministry of Good Offices.  We identified a number of areas in need of improvement and began working toward changes in the program.  The more we have dived into this work, the more we discerned that it is time to evolve the ministry of Good Offices.   In order to more fully meet the needs of our members and more fully respect the gifts and limitations of the members who volunteer to serve in this important role, we are beginning a process of casting a new vision for Good Offices in the UUMA.

 

We want to work toward these changes because:

 

  • Historically, the formal structures of Good Offices has been most effective for people closest to the center and least effective for those with marginalized identities.
  • We hear from UUMA members and UUA staff that there is a lot of unevenness among the ministry of Good Offices. 
  • Ministers contact Good Officers for a variety of reasons and we hear from Good Officers it is hard to be skilled and equipped for the range of requests.
  • We believe we can make Good Offices more effective by inviting Good Officers to specialize and by increasing training and support for their area of specialization.
  • We can provide greater support and accountability for Good Offices by centralizing the roles, investing in ARAOMC training and establishing smaller working teams in each area of specialization.


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Image credit: Karyn Knight Detering


In recent months we shared our vision with those serving in the ministry of Good Offices and we are now ready to begin sharing more widely.  The vision includes creating areas of specialization in the ministry of Good Offices to include: 

 

  • Chapter elected Resource Guides
  • Chaplain
  • Right Relationship Guides
  • Contract/Call Negotiators
  • Organizational Navigators

 

 

Pending a positive vote on the Guidelines Revisions in June 2020, we will begin moving forward with the development of the Good Offices Right Relationship specialization first. Good Offices training for all new and continuing Good Officers will also be held in summer of 2020.  At that time, we will share more about how we hope to live into this evolution.  For now, it is important to say that we expect the process to be emergent and iterative.  We are going to figure out how to do this together as we live into the vision and we will refine it as we practice and learn from our practice.  We expect it will take time - at least a couple of years.  While we are working toward this new vision, we expect to keep the current chapter Good Offices structure in place alongside the new structures we are creating.

  

To learn more please visit the resources below:

 

Good Offices Town Hall Presentation

Fourth Good Offices Town Hall

Draft Right Relations Table of Content (a work in progress)

Draft Good Offices Handbook for the Right Relationship Specialization             

Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, 24 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210-1409
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