This granting program spares no costs to get various grant recipients talking to and learning from each other. Even at my level of involvement (I lead a pastoral support group for one of these grant programs and have once traveled to be a part of this peer group learning) I've been impressed. Anyway, I've been conditioned to respond to "Excellence" with relief, as in, "somebody has noticed my hard work and its importance and wants to help me do it better."
Another advance reading for our UU Excellence in Ministry Summit was a list from one of the SPE peer learning groups as they attempted to define pastoral excellence. You can see the original here. I'm going to take a stab at translating into UU lingo and add a few ideas of my own (they're in blue)
Excellences in UU Ministers
- Passion for the potentially saving message of Unitarian Universalism
- Integrity and self-awareness grounded in grace/ a grace-filled understanding of the bounty and beauty of the Universe
- The ability to articulate liberal religion.
- The ability to listen with compassion and respond with wisdom.
- The ability to work collaboratively and lead with vision in institution and in community
- Commitment to spiritual formation and disciplined life that includes rest, spiritual practice, work, worship, justice, and service.
- Life-long inquiry, unending curiosity, continuing discovery, and lively imagination.
- Hospitality and generosity of spirit that embraces diversity and receives the gifts of others, including “the least of these.”
- Humility before God and one another.
- Agility, energy, and balance in responding to the demands of ministry.
- Holistic health, in mind, body and spirit.