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Reverend Vanessa Southern preaches at the Service of the Living Tradition at General Assembly 2013 in Louisville, Kentucky

Rev. Vanessa Southern preaches at General Assembly, 2013 in Louisville, KY.

Unitarian Universalist Ministers
Career Development for Ministers

Ministers are spiritual leaders of our faith communities. They help us explore life’s questions, challenge us to live out our values, and comfort us in times of suffering. Ministers teach, preach, listen and learn by leading congregations, serving as chaplains, and working for justice in the community.

Unitarian Universalist (UU) ministers are a diverse group. They include people of different genders and sexualities, and those who are single or partnered. Ministers have different races and ethnicities, different abilities, and come from many ages and stages of life. Their personal beliefs are as diverse as Unitarian Universalism, and all are committed to UU values. Rather than telling others what to do or believe, ministers encourage people to make sense of the world in their own way, supporting them on their life’s journey.

Ministers serve in a variety of settings—in congregations and beyond. Ministers with the Unitarian Universalist Association are highly trained and highly capable. They go through demanding training and fellowshipping process with the UUA, and must be confirmed, or “ordained,” by a UU congregation.

Ministry in Congregations

UU ministers act as spiritual and administrative leaders of congregations. They lead worship services and give sermons, challenge and guide the congregation’s spiritual focus, provide pastoral care and counseling, conduct special services, and represent Unitarian Universalism in the community. Ministers work closely with congregations’ volunteer leaders to providing vision, direction, and day-to-day administration, often supervising staff. Some ministers specifically serve a congregation’s religious education or social justice program. All congregation-based ministers lead in partnership with members of the congregation because members get to choose whom to hire as their minister.

Ministry Beyond Congregations

UU community ministers work outside of congregations. They may serve hospitals, universities, prisons, or military bases as chaplains. They may be an executive director of a non-profit or a community organizer. Some community ministers are helping professionals, working as mental health counselors or teachers. All community ministers bring UU values to their work, holding up the UU spirit of personal growth and social justice.

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