Sunday, February 1, 2009

Professional Competencies

As stated in an earlier post, there are 15 areas of competence for fellowshipping as a UU minister. 10 are academic, and 5 are professional. The latter are worship, preaching, music aesthetics; pastoral care and counseling; leadership and organization; administration and management; and anti-racism, anti-oppression, and multiculturalism.

Those of you who are reading closely will note that the "5" areas of competence are actually 12 areas of competence. Let's take a closer look at a couple of these:

  • Worship, Preaching, Music Aesthetics: Candidates are expected to know the theory and art of worship, preaching and rites of passage, and have experience in conducting religious ceremonies.
  • Pastoral Care and Counseling: Candidates should be familiar with theories, techniques and issues related to pastoral counseling, and be able to demonstrate ability in pastoral counseling. One unit of Clinical Pastoral Education is required.

The first question that naturally arises regarding the Worship area of competence is whether there should be a comma and the word "and" after the word "Music" in the first competency. Are candidates expected to be competent in "music" and "aesthetics" or "music aesthetics"?

How much experience are candidates expected to have in conducting religious ceremonies? Are there measures of competence in conducting such ceremonies and how will candidates demonstrate that they competently conducted such ceremonies.

There is some guidance in the Pastoral Care and Counseling area of competence. Candidates must have completed one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). Is that sufficient experience? What distinguishes a successful CPE unit?

There are over 250 theories of personality. How "many theories, techniques, and issues related to pastoral counseling" are candidates expected to have absorbed? How are they to demonstrate competency?

Some of the above questions are difficult, if not impossible, to answer definitely. However, it's quite possible that the competencies could be written in a manner that would make expectations clearer.


  1. I have this feeling that "music aesthetics" is not what they meant. That, to me, is a competency that a music writer would need. What I suggest they meant is "knowledge of liturgical music" or "the theory of using music in worship", given the other competencies it is grouped with.

    But if they really DID mean "aesthetics", why?

  2. Great question. I suspect that "aesthetics" refers to the visual beauty of worship and ritual.