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Rev. Alicia R. Forde—March 2005

MFC Liaison to Candidates Report

I want to preface my remarks by admitting that throughout my seminary career, I was deeply cynical about the credentialing process. What follows is not a conversion story or testimonial, it is however, my encounter with the Ministerial Fellowship Committee (MFC) from the other side—a humbling experience of a process that is alive with possibility.

The most consistent advice I received before meeting the committee was this: "be a minister to the MFC." From my experience, more than being a minister to/for the MFC is simply showing up and living one's Ministerial Identity by being authentic and human. While I don't feel capable of offering specific "advice"—the following may provide some insight.

  • In your moments of preparation, attend to your Internship plan for learning, to the ways in which your internship unfolded. What were your strengths and growing edges? How well able are you to reflect on the process and hold yourself, the church, institution (think systems) accountable for the joys and strife?
  • Attend to the competencies. Be clear about where your strengths lie and if possible, have a solid, and realistic plan to address the areas for growth as you see them. Hand in hand with this is being able to articulate your particular ministerial "style" or approach.
  • The packet you send to the MFC is, in theory, a comprehensive representation of who you are and your ministry. Though it is not all of you, it is what the committee is working with. All questions arise from that packet—as such, each interview experience is somewhat unique. It seems like it would be helpful then, to be intimately familiar with your packet, and with yourself! Though this would not have been helpful for me—many find that a mock MFC interview offers them the opportunity to self-reflect and interpret their experiences with others from a place of self-authority.
  • Most helpful for me, with regard to seeing the MFC and to participating on the committee: grounding myself. Establishing an on-going spiritual practice that offered me something solid to rest in on both occasions.
  • And as much as humanly possible, put aside the outcome.

I experienced the members of the committee as warm, thoughtful, and dedicated. They are a jovial, respectful and caring group—with the desire to welcome new colleagues. I found them to be conscientious with regard to keeping the whole picture in mind...that is, the individual as well as the larger UU community. I would describe this committee as deeply human, alive to their limitations and blind spots—organic and dynamic in the sense that they continue to seek feedback, input, and ways to deepen their effectiveness and better serve candidates.

The UUA is in the midst of becoming more aware and pro-active with regard to Anti-Racism, Anti-Oppression, and is an area for growth, and as such a place where candidates can probably help them grow! Constructive feedback is truly appreciated on the overall process.

Blessings to you on your journey.

Alicia R. Forde