Dear Colleagues -
This letter comes to you jointly from the UU Ministers Association and the UU Society for Community Ministries. It is likely to be the first such joint communication that you have received from us, but our collaboration is not new! In fact, this letter grows directly out of a UUMA - UUSCM 2012 Summit of the Joint Task Force for Excellence in Community Ministry which explored ways that our two professional ministerial organizations might collaborate tothe benefit of all our members and those we serve.
Our invitation to you today is to consider the potential benefits to your ministry of holding membership in both the UUMA and UUSCM - as we do ourselves!
As clergy, we know that strengthening and growing the network of our relationships is key. Sharing the work of ministry in innovative ways is essential in the world of today. Membership in both the UUMA and UUSCM expands the intersectionality of our connections in ways that are rich with possibilities.
Membership in the UUMA, which exists to serve UU clergy, brings community and parish clergy into relationship, connecting all clergy colleagues in a covenantal relationship of support and accountability. The UUMA is working hard to examine and dismantle the ways white supremacy, racism and other forms of oppression create barriers and marginalization for some of our colleagues. The UUMA is also working to build capacity to meet the needs of community ministers, especially where they are different from the needs of parish ministers.
Membership in the UUSCM, which exists to serve community ministries, brings community ministry clergy and lay community ministers into relationship, connecting all community ministers. All clergy who - by virtue of their work in the larger community, in social justice, in academia, or in denominational leadership - also identify as community ministers in addition to identifying as parish ministers are warmly welcomed into membership. This welcome is extended whether the community ministry aspect of your ministerial service is paid or volunteer.
Both the UUMA and UUSCM offer distinctive resources for collegiality, collaboration and continuing education to their members. Both organizations share a commitment to nurturing antiracist, anti-oppressive, multicultural practice. Within UUSCM, this focus includes lay community ministers who serve “beyond the walls” in both professional and volunteer capacities as well as those lay ministers whose primary service is in congregational life.
For clergy identifying as parish ministers, joining UUSCM as a Friend of Community Ministry offers valuable resources and support:
- for affiliating and working with community ministry clergy in a congregation;
- for learning about and benefitting from the UU lay ministry movement, recognized by the UUA in the Summit on Sustainability (2015), by the foundation of the UU Lay Ministry Network and by new regional and theological school leadership development programs for lay ministers;
- for considering congregational commissioning of lay ministers (think “deacons” in other denominations) and accessing the resources on commissioning offered by UUSCM;
- for learning about “hybrid” ministries combining parish and community ministries.
Community ministry is a rapidly expanding face of UU ministry. Half of present seminarians express interest in serving community or hybrid ministries, and the expansion of lay ministry leadership development programs is happening both in our seminaries and in lay commissioning programs.
Join us in strengthening the “interdependent web” of ministries of many kinds in our faith. Dues structures for both the UUMA and UUSCM make it easy.
Visit https://www.uuscm.org/PathToMembership and https://www.uuma.org/general/register_member_type.asp? for more information.
Membership information for UUSCM can be found at https://uuscm.org
Rev. Melissa Carvill Ziemer, UUMA Acting Executive Director
Rev. Cat Cox, UUSCM President
Rev. Darrick Jackson, UUMA Interim Associate Director