Religious Leadership

Professional clergy have had a special role in leading our movement. We recommend a single category of ministry with specializations, rather than the present three tracks (parish, religious education, and community). We also suggest further development of shared ministry between clergy and laity.

  1. ". . . Ministry of the congregation does not belong exclusively to ordained clergy, but to everyone. . . . Neil Shadle stated, 'Ministry is the vocation of every person of faith, [and] Unitarian Universalism, as a democratic faith, affirms the priesthood of all believers'."
  2. "Ordination is not merely a tertiary level of accreditation after graduation and Fellowship, but a mutual commitment to service and support, a calling out of the congregation to service of that community and the world beyond."
  3. "Each community minister [should] enter into a three-way covenantal association among (1) the minister, (2) the setting of ministry, and (3) at least one nearby Unitarian Universalist congregation."


  • How can we reshape our understanding of lay and professional ministries, both to resolve current tensions and to meet new needs for religious leadership?