Thursday, June 25, 2009

UUMA Business Meeting

The Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association passed two important initiatives designed to make our professional ministers group more effective and accountable.

The most far-reaching, and the more controversial of the two, was a change in our dues structure that significantly increases dues for all members, while also making the structure more equitable by replacing a flat rate dues for all ministers with a structure based on percent of salary. Higher paid ministers will now pay more each year than lower paid ministers. The extra money raised will go to fund a new paid position in the UUMA - an Executive Director, and also to change the way the Association offers continuing education.

Previously the UUMA was managed by a volunteer President and Board. The only paid staff was an administrator. They all did exceptional work but the scope of the Association was severely limited by relying sole on volunteer time and expertise. A convincing argument for many of the ministers was an analogy to the difference that occurs in our congregations when a lay-led fellowship hires a professional minister. Most of the body supported the idea. The negative comments and questions during the discussion were mostly about the process of creating the new idea, and the details of the dues structure, rather than the substantive issue of the need for professional staff.

The change in Continuing Education is also a move toward professionalism. Currently continuing education is focused on the one day at the beginning of the GA week called "Ministry Days." (This weeks continuing education presenter was Sonia Sanchez who I blogged about previously). The new plan will be to offer multi-day courses in retreat like settings at different times and places throughout the year. I'm looking forward to it.

The other important issue for the ministers is an on-going process of revising our ethics code. Yesterday we gave final approval to a change in our covenant and then we approved preliminary language for three other sections of the code which will then go back to our district Chapters for continued discussion and revision.

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