Considering Ministry

Does ministry feel like your next step?  Are you dreaming of giving sermons, being a witness to people in the dance of their lives, advocating for a healthy and just social system?  Do you wish to celebrate the mystery, not just on Sunday but every day?

The first step is to speak to the minister of your congregation.  Ministry comes into being in community and those interested in ministry are strongly encouraged to be actively engaged in congregational life.  If you are from a lay-led fellowship or a congregation in transition, please contact a member of the UUMOC executive or the minister of a nearby congregation.  A process of discernment is vital to ministry success.

As you begin your journey, you will apply for aspirant status with the UUA. For detailed information on the requirements for Unitarian Universalist ministry, visit the credentialing page in the Ministry area of the UUA website. Eventually, you will attend an interview with the UUA’s Regional Sub-committee for Candidacy (RSCC) to become a candidate minister. Once you have candidate status, you are welcomed into the professional association.

After candidacy and an internship, you apply for a final interview with the Ministerial Fellowship Committee (MFC), which grants preliminary fellowship. Once you have preliminary fellowship, you are free to apply for ministry positions. Ordination may be conferred by your home congregation or by your first ministry position. Final Fellowship comes after three years of full time work and yearly evaluations by your congregation or other workplace.

Once you have discerned your vocation, you will have to choose which seminary is best suited to your needs. A Master’s of Divinity is a three to four year program, and includes a year long internship in a congregation or community organization.

In the United States there are two Unitarian Universalist seminaries:

  • Starr King in Berkeley, California full time residential, on-line classes
  • Meadville Lombard in Chicago full time residential program, modified residency program

Harvard Divinity School is also a popular choice.

In Canada there are several ATS certified ecumenical seminaries that welcome Unitarian Universalist students, including: