Excellence in Ministry

28 November 2008

PeaceBang has closed the comments for her post about the Excellence in Ministry summit, and probably with good reason. These things always seem to get out of hand.

But I’ve had one thought about our terminology here that seems relevant, without presuming to fully answer any of the questions she’s posed. The usual term, in a Christian church, for the person UUs usually call the minister, is “pastor.” This grates against UUs for all sort of reasons, some of them legit: it smacks of hierarchy and patriarchy, among other things.

But doesn’t it undermine our stated commitment to “ministry of all believers” to confine that name to the ordained? One of the churches I work with as an organizer lists in its order of service, “Ministers: All Members of ___________ Church. Pastor: Rev. John Jones.” Doesn’t something like that better reflect our ideal of ministry?

I think that this is a place where the UU compulsion to purge all things Christian has really damaged (what I would like to be?) our understanding of ministry.

Update: Christine Robinson is live-blogging the summit here.


One Response to “Excellence in Ministry”

  1. PeaceBang Says:

    I dig that. And I love the term pastor for all of its connotations about shepherds and care-giving and stuff that gives some UUs the heebie-jeebies.

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