Saturday, January 21, 2006

Fixing UUism: Support Lay Ministry

Jamie Goodwin of Trivium


There are thousands of dedicated and passionate lay members in our congregations who would jump at a chance to be an official part of our ministry. I am not advocating reducing our standards for Ordainment but creating a nation wide commissioning program for those adult members who do not have the time, funding, and educational background to become full fledged ministers.

The program itself should push for candidates to focus on specific areas like Pastoral Care, Worship, or Religious Education. The implementation and over sight of these programs could be handled at the District level.

Two such programs already exist in the Ohio-Meadville and Prairie Star Districts. When a candidate is commissioned by them however they are commissioned by the district not in fellowship with the UUA.

7 comments:

The Emerson Avenger said...

Support the U*U lay ministry of Robin Edgar. . .

The Emerson Avenger said...

Oops! The "missing link". . .

The Emerson Avenger said...

U*Us gotta love this one. . . ;-)

To say nothing of this burning Unitarian question mark. . .

Jamie Goodwin said...

I don't know if I should be frightened or Honored that the only comments came from Robin Edgar..

well thanks for reading it anyways Robin

The Emerson Avenger said...

U should definitely be honoured with a U Jamie. . . ;-)

I am not nearly as frightening as some U*Us have a vested interest in trying to portray me.

The Emerson Avenger said...

May the Farce be with you! ;-)

Patrick Murfin said...

I am all in favor of this proposal. Maybe it’s because I am a lay man who sometimes has access to the pulpit and dream about droning on to more semi-comatose and stupefied congregations.

A real lay ministry could be a real asset in UU evangelization. I hearken back to the “preaching licenses” that the Universalists granted the lay saddle-bag missionaries who did so much to spread the faith through the Mid West and upper South. Many of our start-ups, small congregations and fellowships might find the services of such lay ministers very useful.

The designation could also recognize the work of pastoral care volunteers, religious educators, and community outreach workers. It could also fill the void in lay ministry created when most of our churches abandoned the positions of “elders” and “deacons” years ago in favor of a “board and committee” form of organization.

I believe the Canadians do, or did have a procedure for ordaining lay Chaplains, something maybe we could look into.

Of course the mere mention of this set our ministers off on a craft-union frenzy. After all with so many seminary graduates fruitlessly chasing search committee to search committee for the merest scrap of a job, I don’t imagine they would relish competition from a retired janitor with a case of pulpit itch.