Minister Emeritus — Some Dimensions of the Relationship
Posted by Rev Roger
Posted on October 15, 2017
[This material was provided at the forum on Sunday, October 15. Board members and others in attendance said it would be helpful to put this on the website so that voting Members could read it before the October 22 Congregational Meeting. Any questions may be directed to .]
Minister Emeritus or Minister Emerita is an honorary title bestowed by the congregation rather than a staff position in the church.
Rev. Ted Webb retired from UUSS in 1982; he was Minister Emeritus from 1985 until his death in 2014; Rev. Ford Lewis was so named 6 years after his retirement; he died in 1998.
This honor is in recognition of Doug Kraft’s dedicated, long-term service and a fruitful ministry to the congregation and feelings of affection and appreciation by the congregation.
This designation provides no compensation, but it does grant the Minister Emeritus an automatic clergy vote every year on elections and all other business at the UUA’s General Assembly and at the District Assembly. Also, his name and the title Minister Emeritus would be listed on the back of the OOS and in the newsletter and on our website.
The emeritus title does not imply that the retired minister is one of our current ministers but is retired from serving the congregation and its members and friends.
An emeritus minister does not offer pastoral counseling as part of the congregation but may provide counseling in private practice. The emeritus minister does not speak as a representative of the congregation in public. However, if the current ministers are not available, they may invite and request the minister emeritus to represent them and the congregation at a local public event or at a denominational, district or interfaith event.
The current ministers may also invite the minister emeritus to offer a sermon on an agreeable date once or twice a year, and they may ask him to fill in on an emergency basis if they are not available. They also may request the minister emeritus to participate in other services on occasion or to speak at a memorial service that they are leading for a longtime member.
The settled minister and the minister emeritus will develop a covenant to clarify how they (and non-called or hired clergy also on staff at UUSS) will relate in the context of the congregation and how they will support one another’s ministry. It is being facilitated by a trusted UU colleague with experience in the dynamics of minister emeritus relationships when the retired minister and spouse live in the same area and worship at the congregation where they had served.
Roger and Doug will introduce the covenant to the congregation, perhaps in the context of a ceremony where the honorary status is bestowed. A reception or party is also a good idea, then or at another time.
Perhaps a reception could happen after a service in the next several months, depending on the UUSS calendar of events. Please indicate in the COMMENTS line below if you would be interested in helping to host a reception for Doug after a service.
Sources: UU Ministers Association and UU Retired Ministerss and Partners Association
Roger has said: “Lucy and I are grateful to be following Doug’s ministry, which we recognize for the accomplishments of healing, program development, relationship-building, a clear mission, optimism about our future, and especially growth in health and generosity.”
Doug has said: “I want to emphasize that I love the congregation and feel highly supportive of the ministries of both Roger and Lucy. I want to do what I can do in my own small way to be helpful to them.”
At its regular meeting on September 28, 2017, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to provide its enthusiastic affirmation of this action.