Unfellowshipped ministers in Unitarian Universalist congregations

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There no reason (anymore, from a Universalist perspective) that a minister without ministerial fellowship in the UUA can't serve a UU congregation. There are some denominational oddments around inclusions in directories -- unimportant to the living -- so I have to think the reason to note such in our once-print, now-online directory is to note who's not in the guild. (The auslander clergy were marked with a # -- alas, not in scarlet ink.)

Noodling around the online directory and the General Assembly certification numbers to re-set the UUA geographic epicenter -- to come -- I discovered the notation lives, and thanks to a customized Google search can see the list all in one place. More than I would have guessed, too. The term "Non UU" may not be quite fair -- some of these ministers must surely be members of the churches they serve. Some are in federated and multi-denominational parishes; others are in out-of-the-way areas. But not all. Many emerited. An interesting mix.

See them here.

4 Replies to “Unfellowshipped ministers in Unitarian Universalist congregations”

  1. There’s actually more than that – at least two congregations that I know of have a non-fellowshiped minister listed on their websites, but don’t list a minister in the UUA listings.

  2. I don’t agree with the non-UU designation in the directory. There was a time when the notation was NIF, shorthand for “not in fellowship”. I would posit that NIF is probably the more precise designation. It would include both the ministers from other denominations who are sometimes called by UU churches, AND the UU persons duly ordained by UU churches (but who have not completed the fellowship process). In our polity, ordination is a power reserved solely for the local congregation. But the trend has been to portray ordination as honorific, and fellowship as the only real credential. I would argue that both are real and weighty credentials, with the fully endorsed minister being one who is ordained and fellowshipped. Those who are only ordained without fellowship have a status that is an echo to the old Universalist designation of being a “licensed minister”, but not “ordained” by the state convention.

  3. Did a quick survey through my District directory. At present there are 5 NIF ministers serving congregations. 1 is a UU who serves bi-vocationally at a small congregation in a small city. 1 is a UU who serves bi-vocationally in a specialized youth and children’s ministry. 1 is a UU who serves on a consulting basis for a small congregation in a small city. 1 is a Methodist who splits her time between a rural UU church, and as the director of a religous non-profit. 1 is a UU who serves bi-vocationally at a small church located at the county seat of a primarily rural county. 4 of these 5 were raised up via the UU system of ordination. Only 1 is not a UU, and is serving among us in ecumenical friendship.

    In the recent past I knew there were 3 additional ministers NIF. 2 were granted ministerial fellowship (one served a small church, the other as co-minister of a large church). The third left parish ministry at a small urban church for work with a religious non-profit.

    There is certainly more non-fellowshipped activity out there than I would have assumed. I am going to posit that it serves an ecological niche that some among us would disdain.

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