News from Ministerial Fellowship

May 2013

From Rev. Alicia R. Forde, Professional Development Director.


All ministers in Preliminary Fellowship will be required to “register” with the Professional Development Office by September 1st each year. This is a process we have been asking of “First Year” ministers, but will now be expanded to all ministers in Preliminary Fellowship. The reason for this is so that our office will know who is currently working in a ministry that qualifies for renewal of fellowship. This will have implications for when you are expected to submit an application for renewal of fellowship (see below). Currently, unless you have gone through the settlement system, we don’t know if you are working in ministry that qualifies for renewal of fellowship, or if you are still searching. Some you do a year of work, but then change positions, and we don’t have records of that. So this requirement is in place to keep our records up to date. Visit our list of Minister's Forms to download a copy.


All ministers in Preliminary Fellowship will be required to be in a mentoring relationship whether or not you are working in ministry. The Ministerial Fellowship Committee (MFC) wants you to be getting mentoring from day one. Mentors can be very helpful as you are in search or ascertaining what form your ministry should take. Right now the MFC doesn’t know if you are meeting with a mentor until you submit your application for renewal of fellowship after working in ministry for at least a year. If you are not yet meeting with a mentor, you should find one ASAP. The MFC recognizes that your mentor may change as you accept a call or change ministerial specialty, but they want you in relationship with a more seasoned colleague. When you register each September, there will be a space for you to fill in who your mentor is and state that you have been meeting regularly. (Remember it is ok to meet via phone or Skype.)

Annual Renewals

If you are not working in ministry, you will have up to three years to submit an application for renewal of fellowship before either applying for an extension or going to Inactive Status. If you ARE working in ministry that is eligible for renewal of fellowship you will be expected to submit an application for renewal of fellowship ANNUALLY. The MFC has seen issues with ministers who are working, but are picking and choosing which years to apply for a renewal. The MFC sees your first years of ministry as their opportunity to keep you “in care” and offer their feedback and advice. They want to know how you are doing. They will not permit ministers who are working ministers to postpone applying for a renewal of fellowship. So if you have been working this past year (2010-11) you should plan to submit an application for renewal of fellowship either by the June 1 or Oct. 15 deadline. If you have an unusual circumstance that will make it difficult to submit an application for renewal on time, the MFC is willing to consider waiver requests, but they want to make this decision on a case by case basis and not grant waiver and extensions as routinely as they have in the past. Visit our Ministers in Preliminary Fellowship area for more info on the renewal process.

Affiliation Agreement/Covenant

Community ministers will no longer have to submit a form signed by the leadership of their affiliating congregation. Instead the MFC wants to see a copy of your affiliation agreement or covenant with your affiliating congregation. That should be submitted with each renewal.

Board Certification

The MFC voted the following policy: “Ministers in Preliminary Fellowship who become Board Certified Chaplains can apply to the MFC to have their certification process count as one renewal of fellowship. The Board certification certificate must be submitted to the MFC and the renewal approved by the MFC.” So basically if you have gotten board certification, you should submit your certification letter to the MFC and the MFC may grant you a renewal of fellowship based on your certification. The MFC recognizes the rigorous process of becoming board certified and knows you often don’t have time to pursue your affiliation during that time. The MFC wants to honor you for the work you have done.

Transfer Candidates

The MFC voted an alternative process for ministers who have transferred to the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) after being credentialed in another denomination for at least 5 years. The process includes:

  • Either a Parish or Community Minister Cover Page
  • Evidence that the minister has been meeting with a Unitarian Universalist (UU) collegial group on a regular basis (at least every 2 months) with at least 4 other colleagues for the previous year;
  • A written self-reflection on their UU ministry experience;
  • A submission of a professional development report from the past year and one for upcoming year.

Renewal of fellowship will be based on this material submitted.

This is not automatic. You must be approved by my office to be engaged in this alternative process.

I suggest you read all of the rules and policies that relate to Preliminary Fellowship: Rules 13–14 and Policies 14–16A. They do change regularly and it is good to stay abreast of what is required of you.

Please let me know if you have any questions about your particular situation.