The Unitarian Universalist 
Society for Community Ministries

Categories of Ministries

Categories of Community Ministers
This chart lists details regarding the three categories of Minister as understood by
the UU Society for Community Ministers (UUSCM)

Lay Community Minister


Community Minister

Community Minister


Dedicated laity engaged in ministry to our larger world.


Experience a "sense of call" to perform ministry.

UU Congregational Membership

Member of a UU Congregation
(Church of the Larger Fellowship included).

Ceremony/Ritual Formalizing


No Formal Ceremony or Ritual required for "Lay Ministry" relationship.

Undergoes Commissioning Ceremony by a UU Congregation.

Undergoes Ordination Ceremony with a specific religious communal tradition.


Can be referred to as "Lay Community Minister". May use secular or academic titles.

Can be referred to as "Commissioned Community Minister". Recommend to use only secular or academic titles or the title "Deacon."

Referred to as clergy. Title of Reverend. May be referred to as "Affiliated Community Minister" if affiliated with a UU congregation. May be referred to as "Fellowshipped Community Minister" if in fellowship with the UUA.

UUSCM Professional Profile

May present credentials in public profile on UUSCM website.

Professional References 

References required, ideally including one 

from Parish minister or Board chair 

of member congregation.

Reference the ordaining organization. Non UUs may need other references.

Professional Organization Membership/ Relationship

Member of UUSCM and 
other professional organization.


Follows UUSCM Code of Professional Practice. 

Follows UUSCM Code of Professional Practice; Commissioning Guidelines (Draft Here).

Follows UUSCM Code of Professional Practice, and Affiliation Guidelines.


No vestments when participating in congregational services. 

May wear vestments. May wear Diaconate Stole (worn as a sash).

Wear vestments in congregational services, including a Clergy Stole worn around the neck.


Includes youth and adult members, as well as those in transition to becoming ordained.

Includes lay and adult members, and those who are in transition, who have been commissioned by their congregation; some who were ordained in a tradition or in an organization that is not widely recognized may choose commissioning; in addition, those in transition to becoming ordained and fellowshipped as UU clergy may be commissioned by a congregation.

May be ordained as UU or in another tradition.

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