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Rev. Andy Burnette—December 2010

MFC Liaison to Candidates Report

It was my privilege to serve as liaison to candidates at the December, 2010 meeting of the Ministerial Fellowship Committee. I was a member of the ordaining board of a Christian denomination before transferring to the UUA and was interested to see how things worked in my new tradition. I can assure you that although the breadth of competency is greater, the work the MFC does is similar to the work of many other bodies in other denominations and movements. It is holy work.

A few things you should know as someone seeing the MFC:

  1. You are held in concern for months before you come into the interview. People have read your approximately 100 pages of material carefully, as they have for nine other candidates. Just before you walk into the room, the panel practices a time of centering meant to focus the members on you and your interview. Your interviewers want you to do well. In addition, the staff of the UUA look forward to celebrating with you when you receive fellowship. Many people are on your side.
  2. The difficulty of this process is a product of generations of deep concern for the living tradition of Unitarian Universalism. You are stepping into a river that has been running for some time. MFC members are aware of this tradition and are charged to uphold the high quality of liberal ministers who serve in Unitarian Universalism. Which brings me to my next point:
  3. Be on time with your packet. Late material is often evidence of a lack of seriousness. The other candidates have had major life issues in the last few years too. Promptness is one of the things over which you have complete control. Don’t miss deadlines!
  4. The chair of the MFC probably does not want to be led in a liturgical dance. You don’t have long to give the panel a picture of yourself as a minister. Show your creativity in your sermon and in your responses to questions, not in extra pieces of pre-interview liturgy which could be distracting. This includes the awesome idea you are thinking about right now. :)
  5. Trust the process. Remember that phrase from CPE? It’s true here too. If you receive a number that disappoints you, grieve the loss then address the issues your panel asks you to address. Threes become ones because they spend a year working hard on the issues that came up in their packets and their interviews. And it happens all the time.

I look forward to serving with you.


Rev. Andy Burnette