Does ministry feel like your next step? Do you dream of offering spiritual support and guidance, standing with people at the turning points 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? Considering ministry is just the start of the process.
Ministry is both a profession and a calling. Study, exploration, spiritual practice, and self-examination are all part of deciding whether it is right for you.
Ministry comes into being in community. You should start by being involved in your congregation. Then, if you want to explore the path of ministry, speak to your minister. If your congregation is lay-led, contact the minister of a nearby Unitarian Universalist congregation or a member of the executive committee of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers of Canada (UUMOC).
The website of the Unitarian Universalist Association provides information on the many steps involved in becoming a UU minister. To be accepted as an aspirant to ministry, you must, among other things, have been accepted at a theological school for a Master of Divinity degree. The program is three or four years long, and includes a year-long internship in a congregation or community organization. You don’t need to attend a specifically UU seminary, although there are advantages to doing so.
There are two such seminaries in North America, both in the US.
- Starr King School for the Ministry, Berkeley, California
- Meadville Lombard Theological School, Chicago, Illinois
Harvard Divinity School (in Cambridge, Massachusetts) is also popular among UU ministerial students.
Several Canadian seminaries welcome UU students, including
- Vancouver School of Theology, Vancouver, British Columbia
- Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, Waterloo, Ontario
- Emmanuel College, Toronto, Ontario
- United Theological College, Montreal, Quebec
Once you have completed your degree and other requirements, you will apply for a final interview with the Ministerial Fellowship Committee (MFC), which grants preliminary fellowship. With that, you can apply for ministry positions. You may be ordained by your home congregation or by the first congregation you serve.