The Freeman File – September 2013
THE FREEMAN FILE
I’m Still Standing
For the past couple years I’ve been going through the process of becoming a UU minister.
I’ve met with area UU ministers and with my UU mentor, Rev Dr Fred Wooden, a life-long UU and
Senior Minister at Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids.
A new booklet details the steps needed to achieve standing in the UUA. I’ve read about half
the 20 or so required UU books and still have to read an equal number of online books, sermons
and religious education materials. I also need to write a couple personal essays about my past and
future ministerial plans. In addition, I have to complete a 400 hour CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education)
program at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo, take a Career Assessment test and psych exam in
Chicago, which take several days, go through a criminal background check and be interviewed by
the UUA Ministerial Fellowship Committee in Boston, all of which will cost thousands of dollars.
Then I need to do an internship at a UU church under the supervision of a UU minister, full-time for 9
months or part-time for 18 months. I was surprised to learn that ministerial candidates cannot accept
a ministerial position at a UU church (as I have at HUUC), other than internships, “unless approved
by the Ministerial Credentialing Director,” or the candidate will be “ineligible for an interview
with the Ministerial Fellowship Committee for four years from the commencement of the position.”
(I believe this is new.)
To be honest, when I began this process I did not realize it would take many years and cost
thousands of dollars. Given my age (old) and my finances (inadequate), I don’t see how I can become
a UU minister anytime soon, if at all. But I plan to honor the contract I recently signed with
HUUC, which reflected the desire expressed at the Congregational meeting in May to retain a minister
(me) through August 31, 2014. I assume that at next May’s Congregational meeting, you and
the rest of the HUUC folks will decide whether you can afford to or want to retain the services of a
very liberal, open-minded, interfaith, compassionate, justice-oriented, UCC minister (me), beyond
August of next year.
Shalom, Salaam, Peace,
Rev Bill Freeman
PS: Beginning in September, I’ll be preaching the first two Sundays of each month. I’ll be at The
Coffee House on Seminole at Seaway Drive on the first and second Thursday (rather than every
Wednesday) of the month from 2-5 PM. It’s good to call first to make sure I’m not making a hospital
visit or something. I’m also available by appointment. In addition, I’ll offer two SOUL (Study Observe
Understand Learn) Classes: a Book Discussion group the first Thursday of the month, 7-9
PM, and a Spiritual Cinema group (a change from an earlier planned group) the second Thursday of
the month, 7-9 PM. Both groups will meet at Kathleen’s and my house, (Call for Location). All are welcome.