Sunday, February 15, 2009

Step 2, Part 2: Further Research

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself"
US poet (1819 - 1892)

OK, OK, I'm not going to claim I contain multitudes. However, I am learning that writing a blog means at the least that I sometimes repeat myself (and probably sometimes contradict myself as well).

One of the challenges in the next step of the research is distinguishing the basic competencies expected of all UU ministers and the competencies (or the levels of attainment of competencies) for different types of ministry. (Currently, the three broad categories are parish, religious education, and community. Each of these categories could have subcategories, such as medical chaplaincies, prison chaplaincies, adult education.) For example, chaplains may rarely preach and may not have or need the expertise in this competency parish ministers develop. Conversely, some parish ministers may rarely provide counseling and may not have nor need the expertise that chaplains develop.

There is merit in having the assessment for preliminary fellowship be for ministry in general. It allows the newly fellowshipped to explore different opportunities in ministry without seeking the MFC's approval for every change. Conversely, it allows the MFC to set foundational qualification for all UU ministry.

Yet, examining need not be an either/or proposition. The MFC could continue to examine candidates for ministry in general while directing or weighting some of the questions to be more specific ministry or ministries for which the candidate is preparing. I suspect that it may already be doing so.

While I have been focusing on competencies and interviewing in this blog, a thorough soup-to-nuts review would include the entire process of ministerial formation and development. The magnitude of this task is another argument for the development of a research team. Maybe the team members will be the multitudes to which Whitman was referring.

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