Sighing over the UUMA

I got one of those “if you forgot to pay your dues, disregard this” letters from the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association. They’re asking for $225, and I won’t be paying. A member of the Exec I ran into reminded me (so did the letter) there’s a 75% hardship waver, but I told her it isn’t paying (though that’s a lot of money) but wondering what services the UUMA provides that justfies the cost. I sighed after a read it, not angry but frustrated and . . . well, hell, yes I’m angry because the ministerial college needs all the help it can get.
Even when I was in a parish, I didn’t think the pre-GA workshops were that compelling, and the publications are minimal. The best reason I heard was — in so many words — “you ought to.” And that holds no water with me.

Chapter dues are astronomical, too, and now that I’m in a Day Job I haven’t had a chance to attend a meeting in almost two years. I don’t miss them on the whole and only two or three programs — one was by a locally-resident member of the Commission on Appraisal — stood out. That said, do you think I’ve gotten a phone call from any chapter member in that time? Even to say, “Wells, you cheapskate, where’s the check?” Nope. (I do get general emails about rallies to attend or wedding coverage.) I don’t want hand holding, but perhaps someone might be interested in what happend to me. Perhaps they all read this blog and already know.
Not that chapters have much in common with one another, but on the whole I’ve found official collegiality to be pretty cliquish, and as a former high school dweeb about two decades on, I can tell you that doesn’t hold any water either. Lord the blogosphere is so healthy.
So tell me — because I really am a team player at heart — what does the UUMA do that justifies the cost and the psychic room (the sat-upon franchise, to use the idiom) that excludes a different organization that might better fill its role?

5 Replies to “Sighing over the UUMA”

  1. You get a really nice un-laminated I.D. card that is good for discounts at many Jiffy Lubes!
    Aside from that, um, you maybe get …

    I can’t think of anything else! But 10% off an oil change, now that’s sumpin!

    Except that I made that part up.

    (will call later, after dinner)

  2. $225 is a bargain for the job protection schemes that the UUMA provides to approved UU ministers.

    Congregational polity means that we can hire whomever we choose, whether called or a direct hire, however if a UU minister violates the rules, they are more or less blacklisted and realistically won’t work for another UU congregation ever again.

    We are a teaching congregation, and have sponsored ministerial internships for the last X years, and the UUMA has hassled us and hassled each of our interns for the most ridiculous of reasons. Our senior minister doesn’t have the political connections [or capacity] to advocate for change, so we just shut up and take whatever the UUMA dishes out, rather than risk further retaliation.

    So $225 is cheap for the ability to upend congregational polity and the ability to limit competition for the pool of UU minister positions, all operating under the cover of quality assurance.

  3. I normally do not allow anonymous comments, but there was enough internal evidence and other information for me to believe that the previous poster was who he said he was.

  4. Scott, the anonymous poster’s post sure sounded, though, more like what I have experienced people commenting about the MFC than the UUMA, and the confusion about the two in the pews seems pretty strong. Maybe Clyde 🙂 (hint hint nudge nudge) will read this and comment from a position on the UUMA Exec. I could stand to be corrected by the anonymous poster if in fact they were referring to the UUMA and not the MFC.
    Ron Robinson

  5. That could well be Ron, or, as I was thinking it could be a zealous UUMA chapter. (I know where the anonymous president is, but won’t say. But I will say if his senior minister feels inhibited, then Lord save us all.)

    Or a remembrance of how one minister, well known in Oklahoma, was made a public example of for his actions (not themselves blameless, but related to polity, and nowhere as bad as some of the sexual antics folk get away with) in Florida. Thus his blacklisting reference, perhaps.

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