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I want to begin by telling you some of the things I observed about the Ministerial Fellowship Committee (MFC) when I worked with them during their September meeting.
When I was a candidate, thinking about coming before the Committee, I felt really intimidated by the fact that there was going to be one of “me” and nine of “them” in the room. But having spent some time on the “them” side, I am truly grateful that the MFC is a Committee. I observed the many ways that a group of people can work together to make far better decisions than any single individual could. This was true both in the numbers they gave and in the advice they gave.
I know there is a perception that the MFC is extremely powerful. I want to express how deeply I observed the MFC holding itself accountable to various other groups within our Association. The MFC includes representatives of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Board and the UU Ministers Association, who help to ensure this accountability. But the aspect of this that impressed me the most was the role of liaisons to candidates. As a liaison, I was encouraged to be a fully participating part of the process. I was asked to give a report to the Committee at the end of the meeting commenting on their process and offering any suggestions I might have. David Pettee tells me that the Committee takes this feedback seriously, and has in the past changed some aspects of their process in response. This is just one of the ways the Committee continually reflects on its own process to make sure it is as fair, as helpful to candidates, and as accountable to the whole ministry of the UUA as possible.
Finally, I observed a very deep concern and compassion for candidates within the MFC. What was said to me is true in my experience: the MFC wants candidates to succeed. When granting I’s and II’s, the Committee crafts its advice or requirements carefully to support the best development of the candidate’s ministry. When giving other numbers, I heard the Committee consistently seek ways to give candidates another chance and to leave the door open. Knowing this might help you to be less nervous. They really do want you to do as well as you can, not just in the interview but also in your ministry.
So, given all of that, here is my advice:
I wish you all the best as you prepare for your appointments. Individual interviews and Committee deliberations are confidential, but if my general experience as a candidate or as a temporary member of the Committee can be of any assistance to you, you may certainly email me at ebaron @ uuma.org. Good luck!
Rev. Erica Baron
For more information contact web @ uua.org.
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Last updated on Tuesday, April 16, 2013.
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