Ministers At Large?

Link: A Proposal.

Our current situation: more preachers than pulpits

In March 2005 there were 125 Unitarian Universalist ministers seeking settlement, but there were only 45 congregations seeking ministers. 

Currently there are 480 women and men preparing in 75 professional schools to become Unitarian Universalist ministers. 

In the 6 months between August 2003 and January 2004, 19 candidates received Preliminary Fellowship in Parish Ministry, while only 6 ministers retired from the ministry. 

While it is wonderful to have such an abundance of people seeking to serve professionally in our tiny but historically vital movement, how can we best cope with the current superabundance of able aspirants? Before we consider solutions, let’s look at the large societal trends.

Discuss this interesting work and check out their facts and figures about the numbers of openings/pulpits to ministers, trends, etc.

9 responses to “Ministers At Large?

  1. 480 seminarians preparing for UU ministry RIGHT NOW? Is that a typo?

    My head is reeling.

  2. Golly — I think that would be about four times what there were when I went through a decade ago.

    Perhaps the true replacement of TCM will be PPP (price per pound).

  3. I think there need to be more congregations … we need more UU fellowships, churches, etc. But admittedly, I know absolutely nothing about the process of starting new churches.

  4. In the UK, we’re trying to develop a network of At-Large young adult chaplains, though this would simply be an additional unpaid responsibility to already employed ministers.

    As Hafidha said, I think these unemployed ministers should become missionaries, and start new churches. University chaplains would be good too.

    Or come over here to the UK. We have lots of churches without ministers. I’m honestly not sure how many can afford to pay a full time wage, but if we’re talking about tent-makering in anycase.

    I’m sure there might be other countries that might be able to use a few young American ministers too. A missionary response, in the widest sense seems like the obvious way to go. Otherwise, we really shouldn’t be allowing as many people to start seminary.

  5. If UUs had missionaries, I might become one.

  6. If UUs had missionaries, I might become one.

  7. I hear you, although at my interview with the Regional Sub Committee on Candidacy, they urged me to get more UU History and Theology…more can’t hurt!

  8. I read the proposal, and am having a comprehension gap at the point where it starts talking about the tent making ministry. Is this another way of saying that these candidates should get a day job and moonlight as UU ministers? If not, then I don’t understand what’s being proposed.

  9. Oh, there are other documents on the site at that explains the proposal in context. That Google toolbar “Up” arrow can be very useful sometimes. The proposal is to have a day job, but call yourself a minister.

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