Summit on Excellence in Ministry

About the Summit

The Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (UUA) is gathering a conference of leaders in our movement who are actively engaged in the formation of both our professional and lay ministers. The Panel on Theological Education was asked by the UUA Board of Trustees to convene this conversation about our ministries.

We hope it will be a significant meeting for those who have rarely had an opportunity to work together. We have engaged a talented and skillful facilitator, the Rev. Susan Beaumont of the Alban Institute. She will lead us in dialogues that are challenging.

By design, the process is open with no predetermined conclusion or result. Some of the critical issues that we face include recruitment, disparity of resources available to students at Unitarian Universalist (UU) and non-UU schools, accountability, and continuing education for clergy and laity. We will hear a keynote address from the Executive Director of the Association of Theological Schools, Dr. Daniel Aleshire, who offers a wider perspective in the area of theological education.

"The Tyranny of Excellence" (PDF, 10 pages) was the Keynote address delivered by Dr. Daniel Aleshire on Friday December 12, 2008.

Location: University Unitarian Church, Seattle, WA

Date: December 10-12, 2008

Our Goals

The Panel on Theological Education recognizes a need for new and more imaginative partnerships to realize our hopes for Excellence in Ministry. Our faith is that by bringing together people who have a strong interest in and commitment to Excellence in Ministry, folks will set the groundwork for working with new partners, or strengthen the foundations for working with old partners in new ways. Additionally, the Panel is looking for input and inspiration to inform the next generation of its work.

Represented Organizations

The Panel has invited representatives from a number of stakeholder groups to participate in the conversation on Excellence in Ministry. These groups include:

Coverage of the Event

The Reverend Christine Robinson covered the conference via her blog, "iMinister."

Disclaimer to Notes on the Eight Conversations from the Excellence in Ministry Conference Held in Seattle, WA, December 10-12, 2008
The following notes were taken by more than a dozen volunteers at the conference. These notes have not been reviewed or edited. They are not intended to represent a final report and should not be considered a verbatim transcript. Not every critical point was captured by the note takers and some comments were taken out of a larger contextual conversation.

The following documents are in PDF format.

Contact Us

Please direct your questions to the Rev. David Pettee, Executive Secretary of the Panel on Theological Education at, (617) 948-6402.