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Unitarian Universalist Ministers

Unitarian Universalist (UU) ministers are a diverse group. There is no single model of what ministers act like, look like, or minister like. UU Ministers are:

  • men, women, and transgender people;
  • single, partnered, and married people;
  • people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and heterosexual;
  • people of many races and ethnicities;
  • people of many different abilities;
  • adults of many ages and stages;
  • lifelong UUs and people who’ve practiced other faiths;

Theologically, UU ministers are as diverse as Unitarian Universalism—among our ministers you will find a variety of spiritualities and many different beliefs about the sacred.

UU ministers serve in a variety of settings—in congregations and beyond. Ministers who are in fellowship with the Unitarian Universalist Association have successfully completed a rigorous credentialing process and have been ordained by congregations.

Congregation-Based Ministry

UU ministers serve a dual function, acting both as spiritual and administrative leaders of congregations. They lead worship services and give sermons, challenge and guide the congregation’s spiritual focus, provide pastoral care and counseling, conduct special services, and help to represent Unitarian Universalism in the community. Ministers work closely with congregations’ governing boards and committees, providing vision, direction and day-to-day administration, often supervising staff. Some ministers specifically serve a congregation’s religious education or social justice program. All congregation-based ministers lead in partnership with members of the congregation, to whom the ministers are accountable.

Ministry beyond Congregations

UU “community ministers” minister outside of congregations. They may serve hospitals, universities, prisons, or military bases as chaplains. They may serve as an executive director of a non-profit or a community organizer. Some community ministers are helping professionals, working as licensed mental health counselors or certified teachers.

Congregations without Ministers

Lay-led congregations have chosen to lead themselves without a minister. Unitarian Universalism has a proud history of lay leadership that can be traced to the Fellowship Movement that began in 1948. Some Fellowships have since called ministers but still keep the name “Fellowship” as a connection to their roots.

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Becoming a Unitarian Universalist Minister

To experience Unitarian Universalism firsthand, we invite you to visit a congregation near you!

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This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Tuesday, December 10, 2013.

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Our ministers talk about what they love about ministry.

Ministers respond to the question, "How is your ministry transformative?"

UU community ministers talk about the work they do in the world.

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Learn more about the Beliefs & Principles of Unitarian Universalism, or read our online magazine, UU World, for features on today's Unitarian Universalists. Visit an online UU church, or find a congregation near you.

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