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Introduction to In Care Program Guide

An in care program for those becoming ministers

What is an in care program?

An in care program is a structured way to invite students preparing for the Unitarian Universalist ministry to be in close relationship with Unitarian Universalist ministers and congregations throughout throughout their preparation. Congregations and ministers partner to support future leadership of our movement by create mentoring opportunities and finding ways to experience together the larger context of professional religious leadership.

Why is it important?

An in care program helps to shape the future of our faith! It supports excellence in ministry, encourages healthy congregations, and supports a dynamic public witness for our faith. 

How does an in care program work?

  • Professional colleagues encourage and support those preparing for ministry 
  • Congregations act as partners in ministerial formation; those preparing for ministry remain active in congregations throughout the formation process
  • Lay leaders participate in in care program workshops and events, deepening their own spiritual lives and leadership abilities
  • Those in preparation have opportunities to practice ministry in different contexts and to explore its various expressions
  • Current ministers receive training and support to provide excellent in-care practice for those preparing for ministry
  • Aspirants and candidates are supported as they prepare for field education and internships, interviews with the Ministerial Fellowship Committee (MFC), and the ministerial search process

Who should read this guide?

This guide is useful for those who would like to establish, deepen, or strengthen an in care program. This includes Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) district and regional field staff, Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association chapters, seminary faculty who teach Unitarian Universalist content, and individual ministers and lay leaders. 

What information is in this guide?

This guide includes:

  • Explanation of benefits to all stakeholders in an in care program
  • Background, philosophy, and history of several existing in care programs for Unitarian Universalists preparing for ministry
  • Descriptions of component parts of existing programs and guidance about organizational structure
  • Specific resources developed by existing programs that can be adapted for use in other contexts, including position descriptions, workshop plans, reflection questions, and a bibliography

We expect this guide to be a living document, with additional information, resources, guidance, and testimonials added as they are developed by those who adapt the materials in this guide for their own context.