Woods Working: “UUA-MFC, Ordination, Installation – explaining alphabet Soup”

As many of you already know, you, as the UU Fellowship of Redwood City (UUFRC), are being invited to ordain Eleanor Kilpatrick to the ministry of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Only a UU congregation has the privilege and the responsibility of choosing to convey the title of “minister” to a person. It is a very important act in the life of a minister, one that cannot be rescinded. The vote will be taken at the Special Congregational Meeting on December 9, 2018 right after the worship service. I hope you all can be at that meeting to participate in the vote. There will be the option of absentee ballots being handed in as well, preferably before the meeting begins.

UUA-MFC refers to the Ministerial Fellowship Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Churches, the current denomination of this congregation. That Committee rigorously observes aspirants and candidates for ministry, determining whether they meet the standards for UU ministry established and revised on a regular basis by the UUA, through its representatives on the MFC. The categories considered are preaching, preparation for providing for pastoral care through Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) working as an intern at a church or agency that provides ministerial services to individuals and communities, learning to teach and facilitate educational programs that provide skills to live the Principles of UU, ability to provide public witness to the issues UU values hold most dear, etc. Ellie has already passed the MFC and is accepted as an appropriate person for UU ministry through that process.

But, as noted before, only a congregation can assert that they see a true minister in Ellie Kilpatrick.

Voting to Ordain Ellie and following through with the Ceremony of Ordination does not mean Ellie will be serving as a minister at UUFRC. Ellie has been offering preaching, pastoral, educational services, etc. here at UUFRC which disqualifies her from applying to become your minister, because she would not be an equal candidate with the other ministers who may seek a settlement at UUFRC. Fairness requires that no one who has given ministerial services to a church may apply until more than three years have transpired since those services have been received. Voting to ordain simply means that this congregation can honestly assert that Ellie Kilpatrick is a true minister who is able to serve any church in the UUA.

         Thus, there would be no Ceremony of Installation for Ellie as a minister at this time, nor for, at the minimum, the next three years. And since Ellie is also a member of this congregation, she will be continuing to work as an unpaid volunteer until she finds her first settlement as a minister. We certainly wish her well in her search for such a settlement.

If you have any further questions, please talk to me or Steve Hill to clarify your questions or concerns. This is a momentous decision that you have made before to good end for the ministers whom you have already ordained who are now serving other congregations in the UUA.

Bright Blessings as you consider this important decision,

Gretchen Woods, AIM (accredited interim minister)