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Beyond Categorical Thinking (BCT)


  • A program designed to promote inclusive thinking and prevent unfair discrimination during a congregation’s search for a settled minister

  How to Apply  

  • Search committee submits BCT Request Form (Word) PDF to transitions [at] uua [dot] org, preferably as email attachment
  • Provide 2 or 3 possible dates—Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) will make every effort to schedule for first choice date
  • Submit application six weeks in advance of dates requested
  • Once workshop is scheduled, UUA will send  a confirmation email with facilitator names  and contact information

Weekend Visit

  • Three hour workshop and Sunday worship with 1 or 2 UUA-trained facilitators, sponsored by members of the search committee
  • Scheduled for early in the search process before the search committee receives names of interested ministers (usually September-December for an August start or March-June for a February start)
  • Facilitators often meet separately with the search committee, usually preceding the workshop


  • Approximately 3 hours; can be scheduled on Saturday morning or Sunday after service, depending on availability of facilitator and congregation’s needs
  • Adapted to address the concerns raised by the congregation in their application
  • Utilizes conversations and case studies of actual events from other UU congregations
  • All congregants invited; search committee expected to attend; church leadership strongly encouraged to attend; interim minister and other staff welcome to attend
  • Facilitators selected by Transitions Office based on availability and needs expressed by congregation in application

Sunday Service

  • Facilitators offer the sermon; may recommend hymns and readings; may also conduct other parts of the service
  • Service details should be agreed upon by the search committee contact and the facilitators prior to the weekend
  • Search Committee provides lunch for the facilitators; many congregations host a lunch for all participants


  • Flat fee of $300 per congregation; If more than two services or if worship at two different sites, cost is $400
  • UUA pays travel-related costs for facilitators; includes mileage, airfare, meals, and hotel (if no home hospitality)
  • Facilitators also receive an honorarium from UUA, not from congregations

 Workshop Materials

  • A sample publicity blurb (PDF) is available for congregational communications about the event
  • Workshop materials will be emailed from the UUA Transitions Office to search committee contact after confirmation has been sent

 History of BCT

  • Program began in 1988 at request of ministers who experienced discrimination during the search process
  • Has evolved over time to meet the needs of the congregations and ministers in search.  Originally concerned with issues of gender, race, sexual orientation, and disability.  Now includes gender identity, ethnicity, mental health, class, age, and size
  • UUA Bylaws call on congregations to be nondiscriminatory in its practices around ministers and other congregational employees

For more information contact