Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Gossip Column: Why is Thom going to Boston?

From Monday, October 29 through Friday, October 2 I will be in the Boston area meeting with the Executive Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Minister's Association. I was elected to the 10-member UUMA Exec. in June of 2006. I was definitely the junior member of the Exec. Here are my colleagues on the Exec., their role on the committee, and their years of experience in UU ministry as of 6/06.
Ken Sawyer (President) 36 years
Rob Eller-Isaacs (President-Elect) 31 years
Mary Katherine Morn (Vice-President) 18 years
Gail Geisenhainer (Treasurer) 10 years
Don Southworth (Secretary) 6 years
Susan Manker-Seale (Good Offices) 20 years
Randy Becker (Arrangements) 34 years
Jane Rzepka (Chapter Visits) 30 years
Joan Van Becelaere (Continuing Education) 6 years
Clyde Grubbs (Anti-Racism) 11 years
Thom Belote (Communications) 3 years
That is an average of 18.5 years in the ministry, and a median of 18 years. The current 2007-2008 Exec. consists of:
Rob Eller-Isaacs (President) 32 years
Sarah Lammert (Vice-President) 14 years
Gail Geisenhainer (Treasurer) 11 years
Don Southworth (Secretary) 7 years
Fred Muir (Good Offices) 32 years
Randy Becker (Arrangements) 35 years
Jane Rzepka (Chapter Visits) 31 years
Carol Huston (Continuing Education) 15 years
Hope Johnson (Anti-Racism) 5 years
Thom Belote (Communications) 4 years
That is an average of 18.5 years in the ministry, and a median of 14.5 years.

My portfolio on the Exec. is Publications / On-line Communications. My tasks include serving as the Executive Editor of our quarterly newsletter, managing the website (which we've hired a contractor to overhaul), and other duties related to communications and publications. One of my projects last year was to create an interactive blog for remembering deceased colleagues. I also am the liaison to our liaison to students, the UUMA volunteer who keeps in touch with students preparing for ministry.

I like to say that the UUMA is two parts professional organization and one part union. As a professional organization we set guidelines for professional conduct (and on occasion have to discipline colleagues who violate professional standards.) We also provide a variety of professional development opportunities and services aimed at promoting excellence in ministry and enhancing collegiality. Our other function is to represent the interests and concerns of the over 1,600 members of the UUMA in our movement as a whole. During our meetings in Boston, we will hold meetings with the UUA President (Rev. Bill Sinkford), UUA Moderator (Gini Courter, as well as members of the UUA Board and Staff and other leaders. This is the more political side of serving on the UUMA Exec.

That's what I'll be doing in Boston next week!

You can find more Gossip Column entries here.