MFC Renewal Process: Frequently Asked Questions
What are the requirements for a renewal of preliminary fellowship?
All applications for renewal of fellowship must contain, at the very least, the following:
- Cover Page
One evaluation from each of the following sources:
- Governing Board/Supervisor
- Committee on Ministry
- Self (including a Professional Development Plan)
- Mentor Form
A copy of the affiliating congregation's signed agreement or covenant (for community ministers only)
- Should I have the evaluation filled out by the Board or my Supervisor?
The Ministerial Fellowship Committee (MFC) accepts evaluations from either individual supervisors or governing boards provided that the evaluating party is directly involved in a supervisory relationship with the minister. The MFC discourages members of the governing board/supervisors from serving on the Committee on Ministry Evaluation.
What should I include in my professional development plan?
A professional development plan should feature a tangible outline of continuing education plans for the coming year. Examples of activities include:
- Anti-Racism/Anti Oppression workshops
- Readings on theology and worship arts
- Alban course, a minister’s study group
- Interfaith connections
- Trainings offered by secular organizations in administration
- Classes in religious education.
The MFC takes this portion of the renewal application very seriously and expects renewal candidates to be thorough in their outlines. The Committee will look to see that your professional development plan reflects the growth needs identified in your evaluation materials
- Where can I go for advice on developing my Professional Development Plan?
The Professional Development Office at the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) is available to ministers seeking advice on continuing education opportunities. Please contact Rev. Alicia R. Forde, Professional Development Director (professionaldevelopment [at] uua [dot] org) at the UUA if you need further assistance.
- What span of time should a renewal application cover?
Each renewal evaluation must cover at least 10 to 12 consecutive months’ worth of ministerial work. For parish-based ministers, this may translate to a Church year (from Sept-June and not including summers). Renewal evaluations based on anything less than a Church year will not be considered for review.
- When should I expect to receive a decision letter regarding my application for renewal?
Currently, decision letters are mailed out the first week of November, February and May.
- There are special circumstances in my ministry that might affect my eligibility for renewal. What do I do?
If you find yourself in an unusual situation that affects your ability to apply for a renewal, the first thing you should do is consult with the Professional Development Director or the MFC Coordinator on how best to proceed. In most situations, the MFC is willing to consider waivers of MFC rules on a case by case basis.
- How long can I remain in any one renewal phase?
If you are not working in ministry, you will have up to three years to submit an application for renewal of fellowship before either applying for an extension or going to Inactive Status. If you ARE working in ministry that is eligible for renewal of fellowship you will be expected to submit an application for renewal of fellowship ANNUALLY.
- What if I am over the one year limit?
Ministers in Preliminary Fellowship who are working who have not submitted a renewal application within that year will be considered Out Of Compliance and may have their names forwarded to the MFC for recommendation to be removed from fellowship. However, ministers do have the option of applying for an extension (or waiver of Rule 13C of the MFC rules and policies). Ministers who are granted extensions have an additional year to submit their renewals. Alternatively, ministers might apply for Inactive Status.
- What is Inactive Status?
Ministers in preliminary fellowship and are not currently engaged in ministry, nor seeking to be engaged in ministry in the near future should apply for Inactive Status. Ministers in Inactive Status are required to pay $25 annually (Due every 1st of September) to keep their fellowship status with the UUA. Ministers in Inactive Status remain in good standing with the MFC.
- My decision letter states that my application for renewal was incomplete. Will I have to submit a completely new renewal for the next meeting?
No. In most cases, a minister with an incomplete renewal is requested to submit only the missing materials and not the entire application. The completed renewal will then automatically be submitted for consideration at the following MFC meeting.
- I am a Community Minister. What is a statement of Affiliation?
A statement of Affiliation (formerly called Endorsement) is a covenant between the community minister and a UU congregation. An Affiliation should recognize the minister’s work in the community as ministry and state their willingness to be in relationship with this minister. All community ministers in Preliminary Fellowship must be in affiliation in order to be considered for renewal. Ministers must renew their agreements every three years. Only ministers who are affiliated with congregations will receive delegate status at General Assembly. For examples of covenants with congregations and information on affiliation, please see the Society for Community Ministry website.
- As a community minister, who should be on my Committee on Ministry (COM)?
Committees on Ministry are expected to have representation from both the place of employment as well as the affiliated congregation. Individuals representing the community minister’s employment may be co-workers, individuals served by the agency or perhaps other clergy professionals in the field. Supervisors are highly discouraged from participating with the evaluative process of Committee on Ministry. A CoM should be composed of members familiar with the Minister’s pastoral and administrative abilities and who are knowledgeable of Unitarian Universalism.
- How many members should I have on my Committee on Ministry?
The MFC typically expects to see feedback from three to five members. The MFC requires the CoM to submit only one evaluation on behalf of the entire committee.
- How often should the Committee on Ministry meet?
The CoM is expected to meet every 4-6 weeks. The MFC expects a CoM evaluation to be based on deliberations made within those meetings over the course of a year
- What does a Committee on Ministry for a community minister do?
The CoM assists community ministers in the reflection and affirmation of their ministry, from theological introspection to conversation on ways to meet the pastoral needs of the community.
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