Shared Ministry comes in many forms and can produce different results for each type of congregation. Our Shared Ministry can be seen in our formal programs: our Worship Associates, Pastoral Care, Committee on Ministry, Choir, Religious Education for children and adults, and Social Justice committee. However, here at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Marin, we hold the perspective that the Board of Trustees, the Minister, every committee and the congregation at large, are joined in Shared Ministry through their responsibility and opportunity to respond to life's changes. The urge to serve each other through compassion and challenge evolves from the deeper wellsprings of our Shared Ministry.
Our system of church governance implies that all members of a congregation share in the ministry of the church. An Ordained Minister is "called" from among the members of the church and empowered by them to take a special leadership role in the ministry of the congregation. It empowers the minister with distinct authority and roles, some of which are defined by his contract, others by our history and traditions of the ordained ministry. Still, ministers understand that, in being "called" to a congregation, they are entering into a partnership that is built on compromise, communication, commitment to a common goal, and an appreciation of the special talents that each partner brings to the relationship.
In a voluntary religious organization such as ours, the minister and the congregation each bring valuable contributions to the partnership. The minister brings his professional aspects and his own spiritual quest; the congregation brings a collection of skills and energies that no one person could possibly provide. Together the minister and the congregation create a dynamic partnership that neither could generate alone. Ideas and plans may come from any source and, after being shaped by the group, can be endorsed and implemented by the whole organization. The division of duties and responsibilities does not mean equal responsibilities or authority. These may vary according to the task, the position, the occasion, and the people involved.
Shared Ministry is guided by the spirit of love and kindness and is exercised first of all among our own members. We recognize that Shared Ministry is an essential aspect of a successful congregation. It is a vital part of spiritual growth: We are all called; we are wholly dependent on each other; we all have gifts to give each other; we are all called to give and to partake in life's many paths to meaning and the caring of one another. This is our SHARED MINISTRY.
We covenant to:
• Respect others: their person, ideas, and spiritual/theological beliefs
• Speak the truth with love, care and sensitivity
• Listen carefully
• Respond with respect
• Act with kindness
When conflict does arise, we covenant to follow the conflict resolution policy in effect at that time.
The Committee on Ministry (COM) serves as a communication channel between the congregation and the Minister, as well as providing support and counsel for the Minister. It was instituted in 1997 to serve the new goal of "shared ministry." The COM's mission is to help define that goal, educate the membership in that regard, and monitor the health and strength of the congregation in light of the goal of shared ministry.
The committee's specific duties, as listed in UUCM's bylaws, include the evaluation of the Minister, a yearly report to the congregation evaluating lay and professional leadership and their coordination as shared ministry, and facilitating communication between the Minister, the Board of Trustees, and the congregation. In carrying out this last duty, the Committee is to mediate differences and disputes while practicing and modeling right relations.
The Committee consists of six members appointed by the Board of Trustees. The Minister attends meetings regularly, as this is essential to the COM's mission. Two members rotate off at the end of each church year.
We invite members to contact any COM member to clarify or help in any situation that fits our mission as described above. We pledge our earnest attention to any problems brought to us, and we will actively keep our eyes and ears open for conditions that affect our shared ministry, both positively and negatively.
Committee members for 2012-13: Carol Kerr (Chair), Norm Davidson, Nikki Gotthelf, David Haumann, Susan Mathews, and Carole Rosvold