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Freedom of Religious Thought

Shared Ministry

A sense of community has been central ever since 1956, when Unitarians in Saskatoon first gathered as a fellowship. As the fellowship became a congregation, as the place of meeting changed, as individuals moved in and out of the group, and even as the sense of purpose and direction shifted, an understanding of shared ministry grew. It has not always been clearly defined, yet has had a high and explicit value among UCS members. The core of this shared ministry is community.

For the sake of a continuing community, we see every role and activity of our members as a ministry. To work on the affairs of a committee, to tend to the needs of fellow members, to maintain our building, to prepare a Sunday service, or to take part in other activities, are all part of a ministry of community. A professional minister adds one more dimension to our Congregational community.

For the minister, we believe that shared ministry means: • Speaking from a free pulpit three Sundays out of four. • Supporting and advising volunteers in all church leadership functions. • Collaborating with volunteers to create programs that will enhance our community and attract new members. • Relating to each of us as a whole and genuine person. • Sharing your unique talents and interests.

For us, as a congregation, shared ministry means: • Creating a worship service one Sunday out of four, and assisting the minister in creating all the others. • Supporting and caring for the minister as a person as well as our minister. • Consulting with the minister — seeking and valuing her ideas and advice — about all church programs before we make decisions, with the understanding that we will do our full share to implement them.

In a surrounding society that is saturated in myths of individual self-sufficiency and each-against-all competition, a focus on community as shared ministry is novel and the skills to realize it — in ways that do not depend on compelled allegiance to a particular creed or person — are scarce. Nevertheless, with the goal of creating and maintaining a community based on a vision of what can be and not solely on conformity and convenience, UCS members covenant to create a community of shared ministry and to evolve a liveable place in it for a full-time, professionally trained, and congregationally ordained minister.