Ministerial Intern Jill Reflects on Internship Experience at UUCM

During this church year, I’ve had the wonderful good fortune to serve and learn as your Ministerial Intern here at UUCM. As Fred Hulting described in a recent post, the purpose of a congregational internship is for the intern to pursue their learning goals and develop ministerial skills in a supportive congregation with an experienced supervisor. Interns do that by gaining experience in the various functions of parish ministry, regularly reflecting on our strengths and growth areas, and developing our ministerial identity and our spiritual and theological grounding for ministry. 

I could not have asked for a better internship site than UUCM. This is a uniquely warm, caring, and supportive community, open to new ideas and reflective conversations. Rev. Lisa is not only an excellent model, but also a highly respected and skillful mentor. We meet weekly for supervision time, in which we reflect together on how my work and learning are going. Rev. Lisa has a great gift for asking insightful questions that have helped me find my authentic voice and grow into the role of minister.

A congregational internship is one of the requirements for candidates seeking to become Unitarian Universalist ministers through the Unitarian Universalist Association’s credentialing system. By being a teaching congregation, UUCM serves the larger UU faith community in the important work of developing future ministers who will serve in our church and our communities for decades to come.

At the beginning of an internship, the intern and supervisor create a Learning and Service Agreement, which spells out overall learning goals and areas of focus. I also identified particular activities under each of the seven competency areas that the UUA evaluates. (In case you’re curious, the seven competency areas are: Worship and Rites of Passage, Pastoral Care and Presence, Spiritual Development for Self and Others, Social Justice in the Public Square, Administration, Serves the Larger Unitarian Universalist Faith, and Leads the Faith into the Future). 

Examples of my activities this year include creating and leading the Animal Blessing Service last fall, preaching once a month on the Soul Matters theme, creating Poetry and Pie night, and working closely with the Housing Justice team on publicly advocating for rental assistance legislation. Working with Karen on creating the “Wall of Love” during February is a highlight for me, as an interactive and intergenerational opportunity for our community to reflect on Love, a central theme of our faith.

Interns also meet regularly with an Internship Committee. My committee have been wonderful supporters, reflection partners, and providers of feedback throughout the year. Feedback is crucial for learning and development, and I welcome your thoughts! To share feedback on any of my work this year, please reach out to me directly or to one of the internship committee members: Sue Fust, Karen Hulting, Steve Sundby, Joyce Tregaskis, and Brook Wheeler.

Thank you, UUCM, for choosing to be a teaching congregation and for all the ways you support the internship program. It is here in this internship that I have truly begun to know myself as a minister, with my own authentic voice and style. It is here, among you dear UUCMers, that I have found deep confirmation of my call and deep joy in the work of ministry. Gratitude abounds!

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