Beyond Categorical Thinking (BCT)

Southern Region staff team


  • 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 to, preferably as email attachment
  • Provide two or three possible dates; Transitions Office staff will make every effort to schedule for first choice date
  • Submit application eight weeks in advance of dates requested so we may minimize travel costs
  • Once workshop is scheduled, Transitions Office staff will send a confirmation email with facilitator names, contact information, and workshop resources

Weekend Visit

  • Workshop and worship presented by one or two UUA-trained facilitators, sponsored by the ministerial search committee
  • Facilitators lead a three-hour workshop either on Sunday after worship or on Saturday morning or afternoon. Some congregations determine that attendance may be better on a Saturday
  • Facilitator preaches at Sunday worship and may lead the worship or participate beyond the sermon with readings, hymn selections, etc. This is worked out between the facilitator and search committee
  • Workshop should be scheduled for before the search committee receives names of interested ministers (usually September-December for an August start or March-June for a February start)
  • Facilitators usually meet separately with the search committee, either as an orientation and a chance to ask questions about the workshop or as a debriefing to process what was experienced during the workshop


  • Approximately three 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 Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations
  • All congregants should be 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


  • For BCT Weekend with a single Sunday service - cost is $500 per congregation or $400 if Honor Congregation (formerly Fair Share)
  • For BCT Weekend with two or more Sunday services - cost is $550 per congregation or $450 if Honor Congregation (formerly Fair Share)
  • 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 is available for congregational communications about the event
  • Workshop materials will be emailed from the UUA Transitions Office to search committee contact within the confirmation letter

 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, size, etc.
  • UUA Bylaws call on congregations to be nondiscriminatory in its practices around hiring ministers and other congregational employees

Post-Workshop Evaluation

  • Please fill out an evaluation after your congregation's BCT workshop. Only one person from the search committee needs to do so; answers may be conglomerated from multiple search committee members.