Mar 082016
 March 8, 2016

A Seminary Intern at UUSS in 2016-17: Some Questions and Answers

Posted by Rev Roger

Posted on March 8, 2016

What’s the plan? As noted in February’s Unigram, UUSS plans to have a UU seminarian here for nine months in the next budget year.  The student will do a wide range of ministry with us on a full time basis.  When Rev. Roger is away for six months of sabbatical leave, the intern will have more opportunities for ministry with our thriving congregation and also will have the benefit of mentoring by Rev. Lucy.

What is our commitment?  UUSS will pay a stipend.  We will involve the student in preaching, music, RE, committee work, governance, staff relations, pastoral care, social action and community building aspects of UUSS life.  The intern will participate in meetings and retreats of the Pacific Central UU Ministers Association.

One or both ministers will meet weekly with the intern for in-depth conversation, reflection and feedback.  We will recruit a small Internship Committee to meet monthly for reflecting on ministry at UUSS and for mid-year and final evaluations of the person’s accomplishment of their learning goals and responsibilities of ministry.

Can the student stay on at UUSS?  There is no plan or intention for that.  Some churches do hire an intern to be the summer minister for two months after an internship ends, and the UUA permits that.  However, unless a special and rare exception is granted by the UUA, the student must leave after their year of learning and serving in the internship.  An internship is not an extended probation for a permanent job here.

Will we have an intern every year?  Some congregations choose to be “teaching churches” and fund yearly internships to do so.  UUSS has had a few interns in the past, but not every year.   At present there is no plan to become a regular “teaching congregation.”  Next year is important because Rev. Roger will be away for nine months. However, it is important to note, we are not hiring a “replacement.” We are appointing an intern who will help with many of the tasks of ministry but who will be here for their own goals of ministerial formation.  The UUA Ministerial Fellowship Committee requires everyone seeking UUA credentials to complete an internship.

Why an intern?   It will be less expensive to pay an intern’s full-time stipend than it would be to hire even a part-time minister to handle administrative, pastoral care, volunteer support and program leadership tasks, in addition to preaching once a month.  At the same time, we will contribute to the vitality of the UU movement by teaching and inspiring a future minister here in our vital, creative and exciting UU Society.

Is it funded?  For a congregation of our size, UUA guidelines indicate a stipend of $16,000 over nine months.  We wanted to extend an offer before the best candidate goes elsewhere, so the Board made a commitment in January to fund this internship.

We all hope the success of this current program year at UUSS will inspire generous pledging by new members and friends, plus growth in giving by everyone else, so the budget will be balanced and our momentum will stay strong.

Who will be our intern in 2016-17?  If and when the ministers and board select an appealing applicant, the person will be introduced in an upcoming Unigram and a weekly Minister Message email.  The intern would arrive in Sacramento by September.

Feel free to leave a comment or question about this post.

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