It was a great conference! Thirty-seven people came together from 13 states at the UU Congregation of Asheville on March 28-30, 2012.
The keynote program, “In Search of the Human Jesus of Nazareth,” with Dr. R. Earle Rabb, was very interesting and informative. A memorable odyssey was delivered by Barbara Prairie. It was great fellowship with old friends, stirring worship, and good programs
Our August 18-25, 2012 gathering was at the Star Island Conference Center, Isles of Shoals in Rye, NH.
Kathleen Hunter and Alan Deale planned the wonderful retreat. The theme speaker was Stefano Carta, Jungian scholar.
2014 at Seabeck
Fourteen of us gathered for our spring conference at the Seabeck Conference Center on Hood Canal in Washington State on May 13-15, 2014. The weather was amazing, with crystal-clear views of the Olympic Mountains just across the sparkling blue waters of Hood Canal. (Moving the conference from April to May really paid off in the much better weather. Think warm and sunny.) Bald eagles and crows put on a show that distracted us from the program.
Speaking of the program, the focus was on how we experience beauty in our lives. With a brief introduction, we met in a small group ministry format and spoke from our own experiences, which demonstrated a vast range of experiences of beauty that touches all the senses. In the arts-and-crafts time, we made collages illustrating beauty.
Shirley Ranck presented her odyssey and reflections on her work in Women’s Spirituality and as a very active interim minister, extolling the virtues of interim ministry. Part of her story is in her book, The Grandmother Galaxy. And we experienced worship together, including a wonderful homily that Sylvia Falconer prepared for the memorial service honoring retired ministers and partners who have died in the past year.
Of course the setting is spectacular, the food healthy and plentiful, and the company terrific. We were especially pleased that Ray and Gretchen Manker came from Arizona, escorted by their daughter and son-in-law, Kathy Manker and Bruce Gardner.
Previously at Seabeck
The UURMaPA Spring 2016 conference was held on February 29 – March 2 at La Casa de Maria Retreat Conference Center near Santa Barbara, CA with 68 of us attending. The conference theme was “Life Transitions” with a keynote talk given by Arvid Straube. We enjoyed each other’s company at the beautiful grounds and surroundings of the retreat center, ate delicious meals, worshipped together, and were invited into the conference theme, “Life Transitions” in a keynote talk and workshops. We were entertained (in the best sense of that word as he explained) by Thomas Anastasi’s Odyssey.
The planning committee welcomed us with a vespers service and memorial to members who have died in the past year to open the retreat. Tom and Carolyn Owen-Towle offered the next morning’s worship and you can read Tom’s sermon, “Hopers Unite”
Our featured presenter, the Rev. Dr. Arvid Straube, spoke out of his experience as a long time UU parish minister (retired 2014), Buddhist practitioner, and Spiritual Director. You can read his Keynote Talk or watch him here:
Special guests Don Southworth (UUMA Executive Director) and Scott Tayler (UUA Director of Congregational Life) joined us for the conference. Don talked with us about current happenings at the UUMA of special interest to retired ministers and to partners. Scott engaged us in a conversation about a new initiative under development to employ the wisdom of sages who have retired from ministry to assist in special projects with congregations, about which more will unfold as the project is refined.
2015 Gathering at Attleboro
Our 2015 Fall Conference in Attleboro was extended by an additional day. Dan McKanan, Emerson UUA Senior Lecturer in Divinity at Harvard, and author of Prophetic Encounters: Religion and the American Radical Tradition, spoke on “UU Prophetic Scholarship in the 21st Century.” The evening included a dramatic presentation of Emily Dickinson portrayed by Candice Riddington. Attendees travelled by bus to Boston for a catered lunch at the UUA’s new headquarters at 24 Farnsworth Street. Andy and Chris Backus presented their odyssey.
2014 Gathering at Attleboro
Despite the inclement weather, or perhaps because of it, the 54 people who attended this year’s UURMaPA New England conference in Attleboro, Massachusetts, wanted to add another day to a future conference. Our keynote speaker was Harvard professor Daniel Smail, who opened our minds to epochs in Deep History of the human race.
2013 Gathering at Attleboro
View a 5-1/2 minute slideshow, created by Eleanor Richardson.
2012 Gathering at Attleboro
Forty-one members of UURMaPA gathered for our Attleboro Conference from October 2-4, 2012, held at LaSalette Retreat Center. The keynote program was “How Shall We Be with One Another?” with members of the UUMA Task Force on Retired Ministers, including our own Jim Eller and Chris Lilly Backus. The Task Force was charged with finding and sharing best practices for right relations among retired, interim and settled ministers, and their families. After a report of their findings, we broke into small groups for further discussion.
Tuesday afternoon Iska Cole shared her remarkable experiences as a Slovak partisan during World War II. That evening Margi Nasemann presented a “History of the United States through Music,” after which we watched the first 2012 US presidential debate. During the business meeting on Thursday morning, two awards were presented: Glen Snowden was given the Unsung UURMaPA Hero Award and Andy Backus the 2012 Creative Sage-ing Award.
Reports were given by UURMaPA Board members who were present, Joyce Stewart reported on the state of the UUA Retirement Plan, and Susan Weston led a discussion on future conference sites. John and Susan Weston served as conference chairs, and Richard Fewkes, Carol Taylor and Joel Weaver, and John Weston led us in worship services over the three days. As always we enjoyed our social times, with Happy Hours hosted by Ellen and George Brandenburg.
Previously at Attleboro
UURMaPA is partnering with the UUA and UUMA to offer a retirement planning seminar for UU ministers who are thinking about retirement in 5-10 years. It will be at the Newcomb Tennis Camp, outside San Antonio, Texas, March 27-31, 2017. We’ve contracted with our own Larry Peers to help lead the seminar. Any of you who have, like me, attended one of Larry’s retirement seminars know how valuable it can be.
So why are we telling already-retired ministers and partners about this? Two reasons, actually. First, while targeted invitations will be going out to UUMA members who are 5-10 years out, there’s nothing like a personal “urging.” So if you know colleagues in that target group, please have a personal conversation.
Which brings me to the second reason for telling you all about this. I took Larry’s seminar after I had retired, basically as part of UURMaPA’s investigation into whether to sponsor this seminar. During the training, over and over again I had head-slapping “I wish I had known this” moments.
So I’m asking for your help in fleshing out UURMaPA’s part of the training, which revolves around the topic, “Things I wish I had known before I retired.” I was fortunate to have engaged Alban consultant Susan Beaumont as my preretirement coach. And yet Larry’s seminar offered much that would have made the transition better for me and for the congregation.
Please drop me an e-mail (DWGallager@gmail.com) or call (248/647-1912) to share what you wish you had known before you retired. You can help make things better for colleagues, partners, congregations and community settings. Thanks for your help.
— Doug Gallager
To learn more or apply, see the UUMA Retirement Planning Seminar webpage.
from Elderberries Fall 2016:
Targeted Ministry Program Offers Opportunities
by Keith Kron and Scott Tayler
How often have we seen a congregation that needs a little extra help? Perhaps they are moving toward their first ministry, or they need sabbatical coverage, or an outside voice during an interim or settled ministry, or perhaps they just need some targeted development. These needs are not new. Yet they remain timely.
Congregations are often faced with the problem of limited resources, which makes the problem of getting the help they need more complicated. I see congregations with negotiated resignations needing to go without a minister for months. I see new ministers get stuck struggling with complex systems questions. Colleagues go on sabbatical but worry that the congregation they serve may destabilize. An interim minister might benefit greatly by having an esteemed colleague repeat, differently, an idea the congregational leadership resists.
All of these situations are examples where a short-term, targeted ministry could benefit the congregation and the ministry with this congregation. UURMaPA and the UUA have joined together to address these situations, creating the Targeted Ministry Program (with the acronym, TMP).
The Targeted Ministry Program will have three purposes:
- To support congregational program development, growth, and health
- To utilize the expertise of retired ministers
- To provide more flexible ministry options for congregations and ministers
The Transitions Office will oversee the process in conjunction with Congregational Life staff. Indeed, a regional staff member is likely to be a key point person to congregations, recommending the program to them and helping them refine what they need from a TMP minister. The Transitions Office will create the application for ministers who wish to apply. Along with the regional staff, we will work for good quality and good matching of ministerial skills and temperament to the congregation and its needs. The Transitions Office and the regional staff will work with the congregations to assure that an appropriate developmental covenant is reached between the TMP minister and the congregation. Congregations will be expected to compensate at the recommended rates set by the UUMA, as well as those recommended by the Office of Church Staff Finances.
UURMaPA has submitted a grant to the UU Funding Panel to help with the cost of training ministers for this new program. Initially, the effort hopes to provide training in conjunction with upcoming UURMaPA gatherings, beginning in the Fall of 2017.
While it’s hard to predict the utilization of this program for our congregations, there is a definite need. And there is a well-remembered positive history of similar efforts from the Minister On Loan program of years ago. When they speak of their ministerial history, many of our congregations don’t remember the name, but they do speak well of the effect of having a minister come visit for a month or two. Colleagues in that program saw the opportunity to utilize their skills and make a real difference in a congregation’s life. And being able to do so on a short term basis had high appeal to ministers.
Our hope is to build well with a small, more intentional start, creating a few success stories that can be widely shared. Regional staff and the Transitions Office will be looking for congregations ready to engage well with this new program, and for ministers ready to engage with them and meet the congregation where they are. Ministers with good skills around non-anxious behavior, fine preaching and pastoral skills, and specific skills around leadership development will be particularly good matches for the program, especially if they bring a positive and hopeful message. Jim Eller and Marni Harmony were instrumental supporters and workers from UURMaPA to get this program going, while Scott Tayler and Keith Kron worked diligently from the UUA’s side in support of the program.
- September, 2016 Grant application submitted to Funding Panel
- November, 2016 Funding Panel notifies UURMaPA of decision on application
- December, 2016 Transitions Office creates and publishes ministerial application for program (Transitions Office website)
- January, 2017 Regional staff begins to identify congregations in need of program, and creates application and covenantal forms for congregation
- October, 2017 Training for ministers in program at UURMaPA gathering
- Fall, 2017 and beyond Program begins.
Additional training for ministers at subsequent UURMaPA gatherings Interested ministers should contact the Transitions Office after the January 1, 2017 at email@example.com.
The 2014 UURMaPA Creative Sageing Award was presented at the annual luncheon at General Assembly in Providence, RI to the Rev. Dr. Nana Kratochvil for her service to the Unitarian Universalist Association, to interfaith religious cooperation, to the Democratic party, and to her own family.
Nana retired from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Muskegon, Michigan in 2006, having served there since 1995. During retirement, she served as the minister to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Central Michigan in Mt. Pleasant, MI. She recently completed seven years as the Ministerial Settlement Representative for the Heartland District, and is currently the Chair of the UUA’s Commission on Appraisal, where she has served for five years.
Nana helped form an Interfaith Study and Support Group in Muskegon, Michigan and continues to be an active and committed member. She also has been an active leader of the Progressive Democratic Women’s Caucus of Western Michigan for the past seven years.
Currently, her 28-year old granddaughter and 5-year old great-granddaughter share her small home in a lively and energetic household. When she can get away, Nana enjoys a quiet sail on Lake Michigan — and when she can’t, you can count on her for a wonderful conversation!
UURMaPA offers two awards (The Unsung UURMaPAn and The Creative Sageing Award).
The Unsung UURMaPAn Award
Previously the Unsung Hero, this award was new in 2012. It is to be given to an UURMAPA member who has not been recognized for his or her vital contributions to our UU retired movement along with generous service to others. The award will honor a volunteer who has made an extraordinary contribution to our association, working behind the scenes during their retirement years. The successful nominee will not have been recognized elsewhere.
The Unsung UURMaPAn will be recognized at General Assembly or at our UURMAPA Fall Conference and in Elderberries, and will receive a $500 honorarium.
Unsung UURMaPAn Awards have honored:
- Chris Lilly Backus in 2016
- Vern and Sue Nichols in 2015
- Rhett Baird in 2014
- Iska Cole in 2013
- Glen Snowden in 2012
Click on their names to read about each of their awards.
The Creative Sageing Award
This award is given each June in recognition of outstanding service and creativity in pursuing new ventures after retirement and building on one’s experience in creative ways. This might involve, for example, mentoring, public service, fostering spiritual growth, writing/publishing, creating/participating in community and denominational service projects and organizations. All UURMaPA members are eligible. The winner receives a $500 honorarium.
Creative Sageing winners in past years include:
- Gordon Gibson in 2017
- Barbara Child in 2016
- Fred Lipp in 2015
- Nana Kratochvil in 2014
- Farley and Virginia Wheelwright in 2013
- Andy Backus in 2012
- Med Anderson in 2011
- Eleanor and Peter Richardson in 2010
- Bill Murry in 2009
- Lex Crane in 2008
Click on their names to read about each of their awards.
UURMaPA members often remain active in retirement, sometimes serving in interim ministries or doing pulpit supply or sabbatical fillin ministries, sometimes in leadership roles in Unitarian Universalism, often as mentors and coaches to ministerial colleagues, as speakers and presenters, and outside UU circles in arts and crafts, sports, and a myriad other things. If you are engaged in an activity you’d like others to know about, drop a note (and a digital image) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some of us are:
Reflecting on Ministry:
Dick Gilbert gave the 50-year speech at Ministry Days 2011 in Charlotte, NC. Download the text of his talk 50-Year Talk by Dick Gilbert Nancy Doughty introduced him. Download her text Introduction for Dick Gilbert
Kenneth Torquil MacLean gave the 50-year speech at Ministry Days 2010 in Minneapolis, MN. Download the text of his talk: 50-Year Talk by Ken MacLean
Emily Morse Palmer shared her Odyssey about entering ministry in midlife at the UURMaPA Pan-South Conference in Ft. Myers, FL. Dick Fewkes shared his Odyssey at the 2016 Attleboro conference, and Thomas Anastasi gave his at the 2016 Santa Barbara conference.
Preaching and Presenting:
Dick Fewkes has brought Theodore Parker to life preaching in churches in Massachusetts and at the UURMaPA Northeast Conference in Attleboro.
Practicing a Craft:
Carl Bretz weaves at the Appalachian Arts Crafts Center in Norris, Tennessee. He has found weaving a great stress reliever and it has become a part of his religious practice. He has been inspired by his experience teaching weaving to recovering hospital patients (as part of their occupational therapy).
Andy Backus designed the set for the musical, “Guys & Dolls” at Bellingham Theatre Guild. He is shown here adjusting a cityscape painted on muslin. You may recognize the Chrysler Building in New York City.
Competing in Athletics:
Barbara Murry won a gold medal at the US Figure Skating Adult Championships for her freestyle program in the group for ladies 61 and above. The group has printed a tee-shirt with a skater pictured doing an arabesque and a legend that reads: “Can Your Grandmother Do This?”
Raising Grapes and Making Wine:
Kim Beach with his granddaughter, Libby, in his vineyard, Campicello, in Madison County, VA, where he enjoys perfecting his cabernet.
What Keeps You Active?