Being a “Teaching Congregation”

I’m delighted that our new intern minister, Kiya Heartwood, is back from her January intensives at Starr King School for the Ministry and has begun her internship with Live Oak. She’s getting all settled into her new office, getting her keys, and setting her calendar.

How does an internship work, to prepare someone for becoming a Unitarian Universalist minister?

From the UUA:

The Ministerial Fellowshipping Committee’s (MFC) philosophy of ministerial formation is based on the integration of theory and practice, commonly understood as critical practice, or praxis. The MFC believes that an internship is central to preparation for the ministry. The best professional training includes an intensive practical experience under a qualified supervisor in a congregation and/or community-based setting. Although an internship will not make an intern a seasoned minister, it does offer opportunities to develop ministerial skills in a supportive setting and with an experienced supervisor. It provides an environment in which to integrate historical and theological understandings with the practice of ministry—developing skills, self-awareness, confidence, ease in relationships, and a sense of vocation.

First and foremost: Kiya will be asking lots and lots of questions, including a lot of “why do you do it this way?” questions. This should help us, too!

She’ll be learning more about the “behind the scenes” parts of being a minister — preparing reports, going to Board and other committee meetings, doing pastoral care, working with religious education. And of course, the upfront things, too, like preaching.

The biggest thing is that she’ll be learning how to be a minster, by being a minister. You can go to her with pastoral concerns, share with her your dreams for Live Oak, ask her advice about church programs, etc.

At my internship for Northwoods UU Church in The Woodlands, several church members took me out for tea or coffee. This is a great way to help Kiya get to know us. (And seminarians can always use a free meal. Theology textbooks are expensive, y’all!)

Welcome, Kiya!