Ministry honored, examined in Service of the Living Tradition

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The Rev. Michael A. Schuler offered an appraisal of ministerial authority during his sermon at the Service of the Living Tradition Thursday night, saying that respect for the office of minister has fluctuated over the last 200 years but has never been so low as it is now. He said that respect as a minister must be earned today through love, trust, authenticity, and partnership.

The Rev. Michael A. Schuler, preacher at the Service of the Living TraditionSpeaking on the topic of love, Schuler pointed to women in the ministry leading to shifting expectations for all genders. “Congregants today want a minister who will lead with compassion.”

Schuler said that a minister gains the trust of a congregation by “showing a willingness to listen and to learn.”

In addressing the need for authenticity from ministers, Schuler said that religious seekers aren’t just looking for professional competency in their ministers but a high-functioning person who models wholeness. Authenticity is not to be confused with perfection, Schuler warned.

The final component Schuler pointed to is partnership between congregations and ministers. Ministry must be shared and the authority of both ministers and congregations must be respected.

“We are not yet doing our best work together,” Shuler concluded. “We have to come to terms with these authority issues.”

The annual Service of the Living Tradition has been held since 1945 and now honors credentialed ministers, music leaders, and religious educators. At this year’s service, 42 ministers were welcomed into preliminary fellowship and 41 ministers were welcomed into final fellowship. Four credentialed music leaders were recognized. Five people were welcomed to the ranks of credentialed religious educators, with three people recognized for being religious educators at the master level.

Thirty-four ministers were honored for completing their full-time ministries.

Twelve ministers who passed away over the past year were remembered.

Watch the Service of the Living Tradition, read the worship service texts and sermon, and browse the list of religious leaders honored at this year’s service at the UUA website.

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