An intransitive end to the ministers chat

I was dropped today from the UUMA-Chat mailing list, being removed because I’m not a member of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association. I rarely read it — the email went directly to a folder — and never commented. Mailing lists are a bit, um, old-fashioned and the content of the list specialized in asking for suggestion and resources. Liturgy, church admin and the like. Important, but not riveting. Hardly worth joining an organization for (seeing as I didn’t use the UUMA’s other services either) and certainly not worth hundreds of dollars in dues.

The UUMA shows every sign of contracting and this exclusion, while it can be formally justified, fails the sniff test. This dismission was announced; I’m not alone. How does it help to make a cost-free service (to the UUMA; the UUA runs it) have fewer members, when there is the added value of keeping loosely connected people attracted? Put another way, the most likely new members of the UUMA are the very people (like me) who have been dismissed from the list. You’d think UUMA could hold out membership as an upsell — the “freemium” model of membership being so well established now that it hardly needs explanation — but no. As a friend puts it, it’s their loss, not mine. True.

This action, far from wanting me to join, makes me glad I haven’t. Calls to “keep covenant” (but serve the needs of only some ministers) or to “ensure quality” (but not guarantee it, or effectively punish misconducting ministers) ring false. Clannishness, defensiveness, mismanagement, or spite (or some or all of these) seem more likely reasons to add this tactic — why now, after all these years? — to a list of overpromising and underperforming.

Some may ask, if I don’t participate, how can I expect thing to change? Well, to be plain, I don’t expect improvement. And singletons and small groups of people often do better to try something different.

5 Replies to “An intransitive end to the ministers chat”

  1. Sadly, I agree. I left the UUMA several years ago when they announced a dues structure that would cost me about a thousand dollars a year in dues, when as a community minister they provide hardly any services to me. But…as I teach my clients, no one can take advantage of you without your consent.

  2. I well remember the claustrophobic feel of the UUMA Chat, and the echo chamber quality of the conversations and arguments that were repeated ad infinitum. What I best recall is that every time I contributed a non-conforming perspective I would get a thorough drubbing on the list but about a dozen expression of thanks OFF the list by private e-mail. I haven’t missed it and have admired you for sticking with it, although from the periphery. I haven’t paid my dues to the UUMA for several years. I contribute a tremendous amount of my time to the support and mentoring of colleagues and receive the same in kind. A few hundred dollars a year to support the UUMA seemed reasonable enough. Over one thousand dollars is ridiculous.

  3. Holy @#$^! Over a $1000 for dues to a professional organization! Even the more expensive academic organizations that I’ve seen have dues that tops out between $300 and $500 per year. I couldn’t imagine justifying over $1000. At that price, I could buy consultants, services, and resources a la cart in other places.

  4. I agree the dues are unreasonable in my case. While I give away half my services to the poor for free, my ministry is profitable and I earn well into six figures. As I am a community minister, the UUMA temporarily has reduced the dues for community ministers to .05%. However, in my case that is still a thousand dollars. When they rescind this temporary measure, the dues would be two thousand dollars a year; an insane amount. While it is true I could probably afford those dues, that isn’t the point. The point is that the dues are unreasonable. It is not fair to overcharge someone you know you are underserving. On that basis, I made my choice.

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