What is Our Ministry?

Community ministry addresses the social and spiritual needs of people and organizations outside the direct care of congregations.

The Unitarian Universalist Society for Community Ministries (UUSCM) is a Unitarian Universalist movement of lay ministers & ordained clergy committed to promoting a broad spectrum of healing and social justice ministries.

Inspired by the religious values expressed in the Seven Principles of the Unitarian Universalist Association, our work is guided by the UUSCM Code of Practice. Our practices bring knowledge, compassion and healing to the people in our care informed by our training and life experiences.

Community Ministers may be Chaplains, Pastoral Counselors, Spiritual Directors, University or Theological School Faculty, Social Justice Activists, Denominational Officials, or practitioners of a wide range of other activities.

All members of UUSCM must be members in good standing of a Unitarian Universalist Congregation. While rare exceptions are possible, all have a reference from their parish minister in addition to other references. Please refer to Guide to Best Practices for Community Ministry.

Lay Community

Persons who are not clergy, but who are part of the Unitarian Universalist religious movement and dedicate themselves to its service by working in the wider community, are said to be Lay Community Ministers. 

At the local level they may carry a variety of titles depending on their roles and expertise. All feel their community work constitutes a ministry in some sense but they are otherwise independent.

All Lay Community Ministers will use academic or secular forms of address and do not wear specific liturgical garb. Please refer to the Guidelines for Covenantal Relationships for Lay Community Ministers for more information.

Members in Transition

Persons who are not yet clergy, but who are entering the process of becoming a Unitarian Universalist clergy person and have stated a professional intention to work with the wider community, are said to be Unitarian Universalist Aspirants or Unitarian Universalist Candidates for Community Ministry.

Community Ministers

Commissioned Community Ministers are laity who are in a formal ministerial relationship with a Unitarian Universalist congregation.

Many Commissioned Community Ministers were once clergy in other denominations, and many hold Master of Divinity Degrees or higher. Many are employed religious leadership positions (such as institutional chaplains).

Our organization permits Commissioned Community Ministers to use either secular or academic titles, or to optionally use the title "Deacon." Some may wear the distinctive stole of the Diaconate (a stole worn over the left shoulder as a sash) when engaging in ceremonial activities.

Community Ministers

Ordained Community Ministers are ordained persons. Most are ordained in the Unitarian Universalist Tradition and most are in Ministerial Fellowship with the Unitarian Universalist Association. If they are in a formal relationship with a Unitarian Universalist congregation they are said to be “Affiliated."

Persons who have have had their ministerial status recognized by the Ministerial Fellowship Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Association will be in Preliminary Fellowship or Final Fellowship. Members in Final Fellowship have completed all training and supervision requirements. This level of membership is the most rigorous recognized by our organization.

In almost all local contexts these members will use ministerial titles and forms of address as well as ministerial garb such as the clerical stole (a stole worn around the neck). They are considered the peer of any other Unitarian Universalist Clergy Person.

The Unitarian Universalist Society for Community Ministries.

Please contact our administrator,

Rev. Inanna Arthen
325 Lakeview Dr.
Winchendon, MA 01475 

(978) 297-1730

(C) UUSCM 2021
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