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Gift of the Week—September 19, 2007

Who Gave It: Katherine S. and John W. Kaufmann

Who Got It: Unitarian Universalist (UU) Seminarians

How it happened: As a practicing psychotherapist, Dr. Kathy Kaufmann has for many years participated in the UU referral network that connects her with parishioners who are seeking counseling. Kathy has also met with many ministers and ministerial pairs over the years—and with an increasing number of students and interns. She has seen that seminarians are faced with unique challenges as they undergo the process of becoming ministers, and benefit greatly from the psychotherapy process.

However, Kathy has also witnessed the obstacles to seminarians seeking counseling. Many find that their health insurance does not cover counseling or the extent of counseling that they need, and many have no health insurance at all. While UU entities and congregations are sometimes able to help with the costs, resources have been inadequate. The Unitarian Universalist Association's (UUA’s) ministerial scholarships are limited and rarely large enough to cover expenses outside of tuition, books, and basic living needs.

In establishing the Katherine S. and John W. Kaufmann Ministerial Student Health Fund, Kathy and her husband, John, who are active members of the UU Society of Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts, have opened access to therapy for seminarians. The Kaufmanns have endowed the fund through a generous cash gift and look forward to its growth through their bequest intention and through the contributions of others.

Kathy and John describe their vision as “supporting the development of psychologically healthy ministers in our faith, who therefore can serve our congregations and communities as well as possible.” Their generosity will help us to better support our ministerial students and strengthen Unitarian Universalism.

Less than half an hour after the fund was announced over electronic distribution lists, the Ministerial Credentialing Office had already received two inquires. There is a true need among ministerial students for quality mental health services. The generosity of the Kaufmanns and others will support these students’ health and vitality, and help them to become the most effective ministers they can be.

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