Attendees at the UU Minister's Association biennial institute in January each received a copy of the latest issue - titled "Humanism and Ministry." Many UU clergy, especially those whose training and experience come in part from other religious traditions, have little knowlege of humanism as practiced in the congregations of the UUA, and little in the way of a track record ministering to humanists. With roughly half of the 160,000 adult UUs identifying with or sympathizing with humanism, it's important to offer them exposure to the wide range of values, inclinations and needs of such a significant portion of their congregants.
Much of what humanists desire is what all UUs desire - the blessings of community, personal support and an opportunity to act together with others on a variety of mutual goals. The humanist authors in this issue focus largely on what is unique about our particular claims on Unitarian Universalism, its congregations and its ministers. The differences with non-humanist claims are often subtle, but are important to enabling humanists to continue the myriad contributions we have made to liberal religious life over the past eight decades.
Two veteran humanist ministers, Sarah Oelberg and Mary Louise DeWolf, gently take apart the prevailing concept of UU churches as communities dedicated primarily to growing their members towards "spiritual maturity." Their colleague at our Detroit church, Roger Mohr, offers an alternative vision of the Humanists (liberal) congregation-to-come as both a center of bold leadership for the wider world, and a community to equip and support those willing to take on such leadership.
John Hooper and Michael Werner point to the demographic phenomenon of the "nones" as an opportunity to rework the here-and-now of UUism, while Jill Rafferty Weinisch describes a parallel-to-UU ministry in the secular world. Michael Tino and Glenn Keldsen offer detailed examples of humanist worship and science based congregational programming.