Academic and Professional Preparation for Becoming a Minister
The Ministerial Fellowship Committee's (MFC's) expectation is that, prior to graduation from a theological school or equivalent program, each candidate will have achieved a satisfactory level of competence in specified areas. Students are encouraged to work closely with the school in planning their courses of study so that these areas can be covered through course work, independent study, reading, seminars, workshops or other experiences.
Following is a listing of areas of competence that the MFC feels each candidate should cover in the course of his/her preparation. How these areas are covered is left to the candidate and the theological school. However, the committee will request that each candidate prepare a written statement. Course work with brief course descriptions should be included in the statement as well as brief descriptions of the readings, seminars, workshops, or life experience being cited as pertinent to the specific areas of competence.
Areas of Academic Competence
- Theology: Each candidate is expected to have competency in theological studies, both historical and contemporary, with the ability to articulate and discuss his/her own theology.
- Church History: Candidates are expected to be familiar with the major events, themes, controversies and theological issues in the history of the Christian Church, with particular attention to the development of Unitarianism and Universalism.
- Hebrew and Christian Scriptures: All Candidates are required to have the equivalent of one graduate level course in critical analysis of the Hebrew Scriptures, and one graduate level course in critical analysis of Christian Scriptures. An additional course in each area is strongly recommended.
- World Religions: Candidates are expected to have graduate level knowledge in two areas: general comparative studies of major world religion traditions, and the in-depth study of one specific religious tradition other than Unitarian Universalism.
- Social Theory/Social Ethics: Candidates are expected to be knowledgeable about social theory (issues of ethics and justice,) to understand the religious issues involved, to have responses to the issues, and to have a practical understanding of the dynamics of social change.
- Human Development/Family Life Education/Ministry with Youth and Young Adults: Candidates are expected to be knowledgeable about theories and research in human development and how these theories relate to issues such as aging, adolescence, parenting, and death. In addition, candidates should be familiar with issues, programs and resources for ministry with youth and young adults.
Areas of Unitarian Universalist Competence
- Unitarian Universalist History and Polity: Candidates should be able to demonstrate graduate level knowledge of issues, themes, theological motifs, sources and literature of Unitarian and Universalist history, and be able to describe and critique institutional history, present organization and issues, with an emphasis on building an anti-racist, multi-cultural movement.
- Religious Education History, Theory, Method, and Practice: Candidates should have a clear understanding of several current philosophies of educational learning theories, teaching methods (including methods of teacher training) and the history and philosophy of Unitarian Universalist (UU) religious education. Candidates are expected to be knowledgeable about several current philosophical and methodological trends in UU religious education, and be familiar with at least one UU religious education curriculum at each age level. Candidates should be able to discuss the theological and education assumptions and methodologies each religious education curriculum uses.
- Professional Ethics/ UUMA Guidelines: A thorough knowledge of the UU Ministers Association (UUMA) Guidelines, paying special attention to professional ethics, is expected.
Areas of Professional Competence
- Worship, Music, Aesthetics, and Preaching: Candidates are expected to know the theory and art of worship, preaching and rites of passage, and have experience in conducting religious ceremonies.
- Pastoral Care and Counseling: Candidates should be familiar with theories, techniques and issues related to pastoral counseling, and be able to demonstrate ability in pastoral counseling. One unit of Clinical Pastoral Education is required.
- Leadership and Organization: Candidates are expected to have good skills in working with committees and boards, and in training, motivating, and sustaining volunteers. A working knowledge of group dynamics, interpersonal communication, theories of ministry and family systems theory is expected.
- Administration and Management: Candidates are expected to have familiarity with and basic competence in methods and theories of administration and fundraising. Work in this area should be a combination of academic and experiential.
- Personal and/or Spiritual Development: It is important that candidates be able to share with the committee those insights, experiences and understandings which have contributed to their personal and spiritual growth. Candidates are expected to demonstrate a personal commitment to both practice and model self care.
- Anti-Racism, Anti-Oppression, and Multiculturalism: Candidates are expected to be conversant with concepts of anti-racism and to demonstrate a commitment to anti-racism and diversity in our Association.
- Sexual Health, Sexual Boundaries, Sexual Justice: Candidates are expected to be knowledgeable about sexuality issues in ministry, including sexual education, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning and Intersex (LGBTQI) issues, sexuality concerns of adults and adolescents for pastoral care, and public witness. Candidates are expected to demonstrate a commitment to sexual justice in our Association and in society. One sexual harassment prevention learning experience is required.
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