Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Why It's Important for UU Ministers to Travel ...

Specifically, to speak at other UU churches. (I enjoyed Ms. Kitty's post about doing pulpit supply.) More specifically, to UU churches who don't have a minister:

1) To teach about UUism. Take our church. We haven't had a minister in what, a couple of years? Three years. Wow. So we have members who are church members, but may not necessarily be UUs, because while they've been exposed to a lot of different speakers, they haven't heard a lot from the pulpit about Unitarian Universalism.

2) To show people why it's important to have the goal of getting a minister. Again, we have a lot of members who have seen a UU minister only rarely, if at all. Why should they get excited about getting a minister? What's so special about a UU minister anyway? And then, the Sunday happens where we get a dynamic UU minister in the pulpit. And everyone says, "OHHHH! Gollum want shiny UU preacher!"

3) To bring a little bit of the outside UU world into a church. It's very easy -- especially in small, minister-less congregations -- for church members to become myopic about UUism. Convinced that they are the only UU church in the whole world. And then a UU minister visits and "Look! A stranger! From a faraway land! But she's ... one of US!"

4) To say things that someone from within the congregation can't say. I travel around, doing pulpit supply as a lay speaker, and this is one of the aspects I really enjoy. If a member of Doe UU congregation gets up in the pulpit and preaches about forgiveness, well, some folks are going to find that a little pointed, whether it is or not. But if I do it ... hey, it's just a sermon. I don't know these people.

5) To get in touch with your inner circuit rider. Universalist circuit rider preachers are an important part of our heritage and by all accounts, helped grow Universalism "back then." Wouldn't it be great if the same thing happened now?

Preach on! Amen! Blessed Be!


ms. kitty said...

Good points, LE! I should say that mostly I preach at fellowships and small congregations which don't have ministers. I think what you're saying is right on---that circuit rider preachers offer a huge service and inspiration to small congregations without ministers.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Earthbound Spirit said...

Preach it, sister! My congregation also has no regular minister - and everything you've just said is absolutely true.

uuMomma said...

The trustees of one of our endowed funds offered to pay for two UU ministers to be guest speakers at our church for this very reason. Most of our membership (myself included until about 3 years ago) doesn't know much about UUism beyond our walls. This has begun, also, to inform our membership about different ways of being a UU thatn the one offered by our half-time minister.

Good insights. Thanks!

Christine Robinson said...

Because there's only one of me in this big, rural state, We have a video subscription series to which any lay-lead congregation can apply. $100 buys you four DVD's of sermons during the next year with service suggestions and discussion questions. You can use them for worship if your group is smaller than 10 or you use a projector, or for small groups. The topics are all "UU 101" variety.
contact if interested...