Important First Step
Credibility and Sustainability
While a seminarian(s) or parish or community minister(s) may initiate an in care program, such a program cannot be well sustained without the involvement of Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Congregational Life Staff. In all the programs that exist today, the District Executive was involved from the start, giving the program a seal of approval and credibility that is necessary for broad involvement from the various constituents (ministers, seminaries and students).
Districts (or Regions) serve as the fiscal agents for an in-care program, and distribution of grant funds are made to District or Regional offices. In some cases, the District or Regional office can even serve as a “headquarters” or workspace for those involved.
Finding Time and Partners
An adaptive challenge faced by Congregational Life Staff is finding the time in what is already a very busy schedule. It is important to remember that in adaptive solutions all stakeholders take responsibility for making change, not just the authority or Congregational Life Staff. That is why it is important that Congregational Life Staff involve ministers to help start and sustain the effort. One District Executive commented that while she did provide early leadership for the in care program, her first steps were to find ministers who saw a need and were willing to give some of their professional time and attention to developing a program.
We recommend that when beginning conversations about an in care program, Congregational Life Staff identify three or four ministers in the area who share a passion for engagement with students, a passion for the quality and future of our ministry, and a willingness to become a learning community together. They, along with a Congregational Life Staff person, should be invited to form an assessment and planning team.