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Rev. Misty-Dawn Shelley—Spring 2011

MFC Liaison to Candidates Report

Liaison to Candidates December 2011 Report

Dear Candidates,

I’ve had the privilege of sitting where you are right now, sitting with anxiety, excitement, doubt, faith, confidence, a head full of knowledge, and a heart full of wisdom. And now, I’ve also had the privilege to sit with the members of the Ministerial Fellowship Committee and UUA staff of Ministries & Faith Development as Liaison to the Candidates for the December 2011 meeting, sitting with excitement, faith, hope, and compassion.

I am in awe by the grace which flows through the entire week of business meetings and candidate appointments. I know that it may be difficult to believe that the 7 members of the MFC, 1 Liaison to Candidates, and 2 staff members seated before you are rooting for you, excited to greet, listen, and welcome the minister before them, and that they also grieve when the appointment has been difficult. All through my preparation for ministry, I have been reminded by colleagues to remember that ministers are not super human, that we are simply human and therefore one might remember this when coming for their appointment to see the MFC. Just as candidates want to be seen as the ministers they are when coming before the committee, I would affirm the same for the members of the MFC. The members of the MFC are members and ministers of our congregations and communities, who invest time and talent to the process of ministerial credentialing, with the support, knowledge and guidance of UUA staff who live their callings through the work of our association. With all that in mind, there are a few additional practical preparation tips that I will share with you that may sound familiar if you have read a few other student liaison reports.

Read ALL of the Required Reading List. This requirement is not another check on the path of preparation for ministry checklist. This required reading is essential to help you understand the importance of the histories and heritage of our Association, the diversity of theologies at our core, the culture and practice of congregational life, and the resources that are the bedrock of the mantle of knowledge that comes with Unitarian Universalist ministry.

Know Your Packet. This packet is the workbook to your interview. You come before the committee with a wealth of experience and education which is culminating in the face to face appointment with the MFC. The committee wants to see the whole person. They want to see the packet embodied in the minister that leads them in worship and enters fully into conversation with them.

Preach It! Write and deliver a sermon that exemplifies your preaching style. I loved receiving sermons from my colleagues that displayed their prophetic and always compassionate message to begin the time with the committee. Remember to keep the sermon to ten minutes. Keeping the sermon to ten minutes honors the time you have with the committee, the time you want to have with the committee in conversation. Honor Your Preparation and Process. I have no doubt that you have worked hard, suffered losses, experienced joy, and been transformed by the preparation for ministry. When you honor the transformation and the preparation you will come to this point on the path to fellowship knowing deep down in your bones the wisdom that grounds your ministry. I also know that life can provide twists and turns that we have not planned for and doubt sneaks in and priorities fall to the bottom of our lists. So, regardless of the back log of MFC interviews, and the timelines we craft to fulfill requirements, you must honor your personal as well as professional preparation and process. If you have had a twist or turn, I encourage you to speak with the UUA staff, they are our colleagues and are incredible resources for the path may be personal, however the ministry is communal.

Believe. Finally, dear colleagues in ministry, believe in yourself. Believe in your packet, your preparation, and your process. Believe in the ministry you have been called to, for the world is in need and I imagine you have been called to serve with, and for, that which lies before you.

Blessings upon your preparation ~ Rev. Misty-Dawn Shelly