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Emerging Ministries Glossary

Defining Our Terms

These words and phrases help us talk about our emerging ministries. Terms are listed in alphabetical order.

Campus Ministries—Unitarian Universalist (UU) groups gathering in campus settings or specifically in support of folks in higher education.

Covenant—a covenant is a set of agreements about how we will be together in community. Our religious ancestors have been using covenants to organize their spiritual communities for centuries.

Covenanting Communities A newer designation of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Board, approved in 2015: these groups claim UU Principles and Sources, advance UU values, are committed to being in covenant with the larger UU movement, are not member congregations and follow the patterns of our polity (communities are self governed and freely associate with the UUA)

Emerging Congregations—Developing and forming congregations. UUs gathered with the goal of becoming a future member congregation.

Emerging Ministries—New groups or projects that are grounded in Unitarian Universalism and bring people together in covenanted community. This term includes future congregations, projects started by existing congregations, and groups that use other gathering models.

Intentional Living Communities- UU groupsliving intentionally and covenantally, guided by UU values and traditions.

Meeting Groups—UU groups gathering for worship, small group ministry, religious education or other spiritual purposes

Military Ministries—UU groups gathering in military settings or specifically in support of those in the military.

Member Congregation—a group of at least 30 UUs who celebrate religious services, host at least one business meeting a year, elect their own officers and freely associate with the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Mentor Congregation (also Sponsor Congregation)—Established congregation in a formal, covenantal relationship with an emerging congregation or other ministry. A Mentor Congregation may provide guidance, coaching, fiscal sponsorship, leadership on loans, and the like.

Missional Communities—Group of people, about the size of an extended family, who are united through UU community around organizing for justice and/or providing community services

MultiSite Ministries—There are multiple models of multisite ministry, such as one congregation with multiple campuses, two or more communities sharing resources, or two or more communities merging into one organization

Prison Ministries—UU groups gathering in prison settings, or specifically in support of incarcerated people

Five young women working in the dirt with gardening gloves.

The UU Students at Penn State are one example of a campus ministry

Musicians play at Sanctuary Boston YA@GA worship 2014.

The Sanctuary Boston is one example of a meeting group, meeting for worship and small group ministry

An older woman shows three young children plants in various containers

A Third Place Foundation is one example of a missional community.

Learn more about emerging ministries and see six different types of new groups and projects