Thursday, February 21, 2008

Standard Practice?

I was just reading Moxie Life's blog and she noted that she knows of five ministers who have been fired. She seemed to think this is a UU thing. What do you all think? Are we noted for getting disgruntled easily and firing our minsters post haste? Are our congregations too difficult to please? Are our schools doing a poor job of preparing ministers for actual congregational leadership? Do we attract people to the ministry who would be better in other fields, but haven't been directed that way? I also know of a couple of ministers who have had to leave. Of course we try to couch it as "not a good fit", but is that really the issue? Thoughts?


Transient and Permanent said...

None of the congregations that I've attended have ever fired a minister, so it can't be THAT widespread a practice. But the factors you cited could be at play in other congregations.

Lizard Eater said...

It's definitely not just a UU thing. In the South, there's a joke about what do a football coach and a Baptist minister have in common? They've both either just been fired or are about to be fired.

I've seen problems on both sides. I've seen ministers who weren't prepared for ministry (which scares me, as a seminarian) and congregations that weren't prepared to have a minister.

Oh, wait. Same congregation.

Anonymous said...

oh... a can of worms. I was just saying at three of the churches on the west coast I have seen this happen. The congregations just booted out the minister. I don't think it is a UU thing, but I do think it happens a little too often in UU churches. One person can't please everyone. Ever.

Robin Edgar said...

Well the flip side of that coin is that there definitely are some U*U ministers who merit being fired or otherwise held accountable for unbecoming conduct or incompetence etc. who are not fired and do not face the slightest accountability for their unbecoming or otherwise unprofessional conduct.

For the record, I have sometimes been falsely accused of demanding that a certain unmentionable U*U minister be fired. That is not true. What I did say at one point, was that what the minister had done by that point in time several years down the road from some egregious unbecoming conduct was bad enough to warrant him being fired.

Steve Caldwell said...

Our congregation (All Souls UU - Shreveport, Louisiana) had a settled minister depart in 1999 due to ministerial misconduct during his counseling sessions with adult members of the congregation.

He resigned from our pulpit and resigned his UU fellowshipped minister credentials in early 2000 after the initial MFC investigation found enough grounds for a formal hearing.

This minister is still doing couseling without a license in Louisiana because he still claims to be ordained and still does informal worship services in his home.

This 1999 ministerial firing seems legitimate to me.

However, our most recent settled minister left our congregation voluntarily in early 2008 partly for personal reasons and partly due to some cranky board members and cranky congregation members.

The cranky member complaints came from sermon comments she made on the Welcoming Congregation program and our congregation's past history ... the 7 October 2008 sermon led to this conflict with our minister and cranky members.

My feeling here is it would be unfair for any UU minister to be in our pulpit without some serious attitude adjustment in the congregation so we are not so conservative and reactionary in our congregational responses to mainstream UU efforts like the Welcoming Congregation program.