News & Press: Announcement

Vision and Mission Update

Thursday, April 12, 2018  
Posted by: Julie Enersen
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April 9, 2018

Dear Members,

On behalf of the dedicated members of your Board of Trustees, we bring you greetings in these early days of Spring. In mid-February the board completed a fruitful, highly collaborative face-to-face meeting in Portland, OR hosted by member-at-large DeReau Farrar. We worshipped, sang, and spent many hours in deep conversation and discernment as we examined where our organization is now and where you, and we, imagine it going in the future.

Some of you will recall that last year, the board asked you for feedback as we contemplated our identity. We imagined ourselves as reaching out more widely to all professional ministry leaders, and perhaps even beyond Unitarian Universalism, to provide resources for music ministry professionals who serve other faith traditions as well. The exploration led us into conversation with you about the name of our organization and its identity: are we still a support network, or have we become a professional organization that serves those engaged – whether compensated or not – in the work of professional music ministry? How key is it to maintain our UU identity in our name?

You gave us valuable feedback through discussions on email lists, and more than sixty of you met with us in lunchtime feedback sessions at last year’s UUMN conference in Arlington, Virginia. The board reviewed all the feedback that you provided and returned to these conversations at our meeting in Portland. Contributing to our conversation was an interim report on music ministry in Unitarian Universalism which comes from a study being conducted by the Rev. Jason Shelton on our behalf. Jason’s work represents the first in-depth assessment of the state and breadth of music ministry in UUism and was helpful in sharing with us the needs and aspirations of those who carry this ministry forward.

From Jason’s study and the feedback you have shared with us, we are aware of a number of values you hold dear:

~We know that the connections that you have within this organization are of great value to you; ~ that you seek resources in the form of published works, repertoire ideas, copyright information, connections to guest artists, and more.  

~ We know, too, that many of you feel that the path we’ve been on for many years – which might be described as “one size fits all” – might not be fitting anyone very well. Requests for information more focused on continuing education for music ministry professionals – serving a variety of congregational sizes – is needed.

With all this as background, the board writes to let you know that we are recommending a change in our organization’s name and mission statement, plus a new vision statement, to be considered by you now and voted on at our upcoming Annual Meeting in August, 2018 in Portland, OR. We propose the following:

~ That the name of our organization become the Association for UU Music Ministries.

This change is recommended to adopt a name that better articulates our standing as a professional organization – one that will still provide collegial support, but will focus on services to support our UU professional ministries in a variety of settings.

~ That our mission statement become the following:

“The mission of the Association for UU Music Ministries is to support music and worship arts professionals and those they serve through advocacy, education, and inspiration.”

This change is recommended to more clearly state the focus of our organization as supporting professionals and their constituents through three channels:  advocacy (for fair compensation and just work practices), continuing education (to affirm and maintain excellence in our ministry), and worship, education and creative learning (which will continue to inspire and move us toward the best ministry we can offer).

~ That we affirm the following vision statement for our organization: 

“To be the primary resource for music and worship arts professionals as they are transforming our communities and the world.”

Our intent, in offering this vision, is to strive continually for excellence in all that we do and are, and to join our UU colleagues who serve as religious professionals in bringing forth ministry that can change the world.

We will offer an ‘eye-opener’ question-and-answer meeting (bring your coffee!) in Portland on Thursday, August 2 where the board will be ready to engage in further conversation with you on these topics. A vote on these recommendations will be taken during our annual meeting (breakfast included!) the next day on Friday, August 3.

Your Board is both hopeful and enthusiastic about these proposed changes to our name, identity, and vision, and we hope that you are as well. We look forward to hearing from you if you wish to share your thoughts with us, and hope that we will be able to greet you in Portland, OR this summer.

Faithfully yours,

Your UUMN Board of Trustees 
Shawn McCann, President
Deborah Weiner, Moderator
L.H. Brown, Treasurer
Sarah Jebian, Secretary
Amanda Thomas, at-large
DeReau Farrar, at-large
Christe Lunsford, at-large                                         

Julie Shaw, UUA Liaison
Julie Enersen, Executive Administrator

Contact Us

Administrative: 1800 Indiana Street, Vallejo, CA 94590
Executive: 17 Johnson Road, West Orange, NJ 07052
Phone: (856) 886-8742



Supporting music and worship arts professionals, leaders, and those they serve through advocacy, education, and inspiration.