Dispatches From the Journey to UU Ministry, by Melody Moberg, DRE
I am thrilled to announce I have become a candidate for Unitarian Universalist ministry! I will continue serving as Director of Religious Education (DRE) at University Unitarian Church, as I have been. Here is a dispatch from my journey toward ordination for those curious about the process.
I take classes in the Master of Divinity program at Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry, and engage a parallel process of requirements from the Unitarian Universalist Association. Just before Covid-19 struck I completed a six-month hospital chaplaincy internship at Swedish Medical Center. Our faith can be a life-saving asset in this field. Unitarian Universalists are particularly poised to offer engaged, respectful interfaith chaplaincy to people from all walks of life, without seeking to convert, or push agendas. I was astounded by the power of this work. In addition, to achieve candidate status I completed a rigorous career assessment and psychological testing. I found this process illuminating and engaging.
Unitarian Universalist ministers in formation are typically in three stages – aspirant status, candidate status, and waiting to see the Ministerial Fellowship Committee (MFC). At the MFC, candidates present a packet of information about themselves, lead worship, and are asked questions from a panel. At this point, future ministers have read a lot of UU books, completed a hospital chaplaincy internship, completed a nine-month ministerial internship at a UU congregation, and completed a Master of Divinity degree, which usually takes 3-4 years full time.
I am taking a long, intentional, and hopefully sustainable path. In all, my journey to ministry will take seven years of schooling and internships. Because it’s such a long process for me, these milestones feel extra important to celebrate.
I am a life-long UU and have been drawn to ministry since I started grilling my parents about God from my car seat. I was delighted to say “Yes” to ministry after years of deliberation, feeling that inexorable draw toward worship, mystery and service in my classes, papers and practices.
It is a privilege to do good work as your DRE in our phenomenal Unitarian Universalist congregation while I prepare for ministry. I am able to put into practice the content I learn in school. Working with children and teens forces me to be flexible, lighthearted and pragmatic in practicing my religion. I always need to ask how faith formation and family ministry can be real. Our faith isn’t hokey. It isn’t lip service. It isn’t fake. It is deep, transformative, fun, engaging and life-saving. Thank you all for being part of my story.