(Revised 8:45pm bringing ideas from Facebook conversation)
On the UUA’s leader email list someone has asked for thoughts on ordaining people to serve at the congregational level. I think the question is about a congregation ordaining someone in the very same congregation to serve within that congregation.
I asked the question via Facebook. One person raised the point that if you’re ordained as minister in one congregation, you’re a minister everywhere. There is no such thing as “Okay, you’re ordained, but it only applies in our Sanctuary and front lawn up to the side walk.”
I know that the power to ordain belongs to our congregations. I suspect ordination existed before our Association and that our credentialing process evolved to create standards for those being considered for called and settled parish ministry positions — but I’m no ordination historian.
Personally, I don’t think our system of either being a fully ordained, seminary trained and UUA fellowshipped minister or you’re NOT a minister is healthy.
I’m constantly reading about huge Christian churches with someone who is the Pastor of this and the Pastor of that. I’m sure people who serve as “Web Communications Pastor” has not gone to seminary and the equivalent of our UUA fellowshipping process. But it does raise the question, what’s our equivalent of pastor?
What kinds of ministry and ministers do we not have because there is only a process for those on a track to be called parish ministers?
The UUA’s web page on ministers states the following:
Although it is very rare, our congregations do sometimes ordain and/or hire a minister who has not been officially approved (fellowshipped) by the Unitarian Universalist Association. Each congregation has the authority to choose its own leaders.
For information on becoming a Unitarian Universalist minister, please see the “Ordination” page.
I wonder if we should have many more UU ministers serving our faith than we have fellowshipped ministers, similar to how we have many interims but only some are AIM’s. Would it help if we had a more sophisticated continuum of ministry with more roles, positions and titles than we presently have?
Examples of non-traditional ministry roles?
Make sure to check out comments on Scott’s post as well: