The Ministerial Fellowship Committee is one of the standing committees of the
Board of Trustees, established by the bylaws of the Unitarian Universalist
Association. The fourteen members include twelve persons appointed by the UUA
Board of Trustees, including two members who are themselves Trustees, and two
persons appointed by the UU Ministers Association. Eight members are clergy and
six are lay members. The Committee has met three times during this year, a
reduction of one meeting from past years, in cooperation with the request of the
Board of Trustees and Administration, to reduce costs. We meet once in Boston,
once in Berkeley, and once in Chicago, to accommodate candidates from the three
historically related Unitarian Universalist seminaries , Harvard Divinity
School, Starr King School for the Ministry, and Meadville/Lombard Theological
School, and from non-UU schools in the various regions of the country.
Our primary charge is the jurisdiction of ministerial fellowship, beginning
with the credentialing of candidates for Unitarian Universalist ministry. The
basic requirements for fellowship, which are established by the MFC, include an
undergraduate degree and a Master of Divinity degree or their equivalent, a
career assessment program, a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education, an approved
internship, sponsorship by a UU congregation, and an interview with the MFC.
Over the course of the past year, we have interviewed sixty-one candidates.
This is a lesser number than we have seen in recent years. As part of the
interview process, candidates preach a brief sermon, and we discuss with them
the findings from the required components of their preparation, listed above,
and expect them to demonstrate required competencies by answering questions in
those areas. Those candidates included 24 men and 37 women; 45 were preparing
for parish ministry, 12 for community ministry, and 4 for the ministry of
religious education. Ages ranged from mid-twenties to mid-sixties. Twelve
candidates attended Starr King School for the Ministry, ten were from
Meadville/Lombard, and six from Harvard Divinity School. The remaining 33
candidates attended other theological schools.
Fifty-five of those candidates interviewed were accepted into preliminary
fellowship, four were encouraged but required to return for another interview,
and two were discouraged from continuing in the process.
Twenty-two of the candidates had participated in a previous interview with a
Regional Subcommittee on Candidacy. All of those were granted preliminary
fellowship. Now in the fourth year of experience, an evaluation of the RSCC
process is underway under the direction of the Rev. David Pettee, Ministerial
Credentialing Director, and chaired by the Rev. Dr. Gene Pickett.
Although the majority of meeting time (and many hours of pre-meeting
preparation) is engaged in candidate interviews, the MFC also grants renewals
toward final fellowship, considers complaints and other possible disciplinary
matters, and is engaged in constant review of its own processes and procedures.
Committee members met with faculty at SKSM and M/L to discuss areas of common
interest and concern. After years of discussion and consideration, the proposal
to grant preliminary fellowship without regard to category is moving forward. A
Task Force under the direction of the UUMA Executive Committee and chaired by
the Rev. Roberta Nelson has made recommendations on the process of granting
final fellowship with specialization, and the MFC will be developing these
procedures in the year ahead. We are appreciative of the collaborative efforts
of the UUMA and the Board of Trustees in this work.
In keeping with the resolution of the UUA toward becoming an anti-racist,
anti-oppressive institution, the MFC has dedicated time to conversations among
ourselves and with invited guests on issues relating to ministers and candidates
of color. We have come to recognize that, although we have credentialed a number
of ministers of color as well-prepared for our ministry, the difficulties around
successful settlement, especially for male African-American ministers, are of
crisis proportions. We are working on several initiatives to address our own
understanding of these issues, to strengthen the Anti-Racism competency in our
requirements for fellowship, to consider support for ministers of color, and to
examine our policies and procedures through an anti-racist lens. We have
committed ourselves to further anti-racist, anti-oppressive and multicultural
training and this work will continue to be a priority for us.
During the last two years, the Committee has welcomed eight new members, who
have brought new perspectives and energy. Change has occurred at every level,
and we have learned to thrive on change. The Executive Committee is composed of
Rev. Dr. Leslie Westbrook, vice chair; Rev. Dr. Mark Belletini; Betty Bobo
Seiden, and myself. The Working Group convenors are Rev. Jory Agate, Candidacy;
Rev. Dr. Stephan Papa, Settlement; and Rev. Dianne Arakawa, Process. Committee
members include Susan Stukey, Rev. Wayne Arnason, Les McGukin, Rev. Ken Reeves,
Rev. Dr. Carolyn Owen-Towle, Abbey Tennis, and Dr. James Robinson. We are ably
supported by staff members Rev. David Hubner, Rev. David Pettee, and Rev.
Michelle Bentley, and are always most grateful for the services and support of
Christine May and Griffith Bell.
Phyllis Daniel Chair
For more information contact web @ uua.org.
This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations.
Please consider making a donation today.
Last updated on Friday, July 22, 2011.
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