As we look forward to entering the Call process for our beloved minister, it is worthwhile revisiting the definitions of both “ministry” and “call”.
The dictionary definition of “ministry” is “the work or vocation of a minister of religion”. In the context of many faiths, the minister is largely responsible for the ministry. When looking at ministry through the lens of Unitarian Universalism, however, we have to keep in mind that we are a congregational denomination, meaning that everyone in the congregation contributes to the ministry of the church. We have no denominational hierarchy (like a bishop) telling us what to do and how to do it. We decide what our ministry will be, and the minister guides us in implementing that ministry.
In this sense, ministry is all the services that we provide to our community, both our members and the larger community in which we live. A church is a building in which ministry occurs, while ministry itself is service.
Ministry in the UU faith is also a covenantal relationship between the minister and the congregation. The details of ministry are always evolving and are defined by the congregation through policies passed by the Council.
UU ministers act as the spiritual and administrative leaders of their congregations. Specifically, “they lead worship services and give sermons, challenge and guide the congregation’s spiritual focus, provide pastoral care and counseling, conduct special services, and represent Unitarian Universalism in the community”.
“Call” is the process through which Unitarian Universalist congregations choose their ministers. Because congregations choose their ministers, the minister leads in partnership with the congregation. This is very different from how many faiths choose their leaders, and therefore the process through which that decision is made is very important. The more members and friends who participate in the process, the more likely the resulting ministry will be successful.
The “contract to call” process is slightly different in that we already know who our ministerial candidate is. We have had the pleasure of working with Rev. Amy for the last year and a half, and even before that as our intern. So we have a pretty good sense of how she will be as our leader. This, however, makes it all the more important that we discuss and clarify, as much as possible, what we want our ministry to be, and to then determine whether Rev. Amy is the right person to lead us in that ministry.
With that in mind, please look for and plan to participate in the ZOOM cottage meetings that will be taking place during March. The details of these meetings will be announced as we get closer. Please also mark your calendars for a special Call Sermon at the end of February or early March.
Yours in faith –
Contract to Call Process Task Force