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Ministerial Formation Network
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What is the Ministerial Formation Network?

The Ministerial Formation Network (MFN) is a joint UUMA/UUA program designed to support every aspirant and candidate for our ministry no matter where they live. The MFN offers discernment support, collegiality and supplemental education free of charge. Through non-evaluative individual or group advising with experienced ministers, quarterly webinars on a range of topics and an annual retreat with other participants and leaders in the program, the MFN offers a web of support for those who are preparing to devote their life to ministry.  


What are the elements of the Ministerial Formation Network?

We offer three things to each participant in the program: 

    Discernment Support:

    Participants can choose to receive their discernment support from either an individual vocational advisor or in a group experience (provided they enroll in the summer/fall).  For those who would like the support of others who share an aspect of their identity, we offer identity group options. We also offer the option for participants to specify identity preferences for their Vocational Advisor. We cannot guarantee our ability to make identity matches, but we will do our best.



    Participants are invited to at least one in-person retreat each year they are enrolled in the program. Like other aspects of the program, attendance at the retreat is free of charge.


    Supplemental Education:

    Drawing on research about the transition into ministry, we offer webinars each year on a variety of topics. Participants may choose which webinars are most relevant to their own learning goals.


    What are the Ministerial Formation Network eligibility requirements?

    To enroll in the program, a person must be either an aspirant or a candidate for the Unitarian Universalist ministry and a member in good standing of the UUMA. As long as this criteria is met, there is no limit to the number of years a person may participate in the MFN.

    In addition, those who enroll must make a commitment to participate to the best of their ability. The benefits of the program will be fully experienced by those who fully participate, as the components of the program have been designed to work together. Minimum participation requirements include meeting regularly with a vocational advisor or discernment group and attending at least one webinar.


    What is the timeline of the Ministerial Formation Network?

    The program runs on an academic year schedule, but enrollment is open on a rolling basis. Participants can join the program at any time. Widespread enrollment invitations, group formation and orientation for leadership will occur in August and September with an expected start for groups and individual advising in October of each year.  Once enrolled, participants remain enrolled until they achieve preliminary fellowship or decide to unenroll.


    How do I become a participant in the MFN?

    Enrollment in the MFN is open on an ongoing basis. Click this link to enroll.



    The Ministerial Formation Network is pleased to announce the 2020-2021 series of Virtual Retreats for aspirants and candidates for Unitarian Universalist Ministry. As our Unitarian Universalist congregations and communities continue to adjust and grow in the midst of the pandemic, we seek to create memorable and meaningful opportunities for discernment, collegiality and learning for those who are preparing for a life in ministry. We will offer two open retreats in October 2020 and specialized retreats in January and March 2021. Click here for themes, dates, and registration. 



    The MFN offers a number of webinars throughout the year. Click here for themes, dates, and registration information. 


    How do I access the MFN library?

    You can access all the webinars we have offered in the past and the session plans for individual and group advising at:


    How is the Ministerial Formation Network led?

    The Director of Ministries for Collegial Care for the UUMA, Rev. Melissa Carvill Ziemer, is responsible for management and leadership of the MFN.  She works closely with the Ministerial Credentialing Director of the UUA.  Support is provided by the UUMA Collegial Care Assistant, Steven Leigh Williams.

    Many UUMA members volunteer for leadership roles within the MFN. Ministers who have achieved at least preliminary fellowship serve as individual Vocational Advisors, Discernment Group leaders, MFN Liaisons and webinar presenters.


    How do I become a leader in the MFN?

    Click on the following links to indicate your interest in serving as a Discernment Group LeaderVocational Advisor or Webinar Presenter. If you are interested in serving as aChapter Liaison, please contact Melissa Carvill Ziemer at


    How is the Ministerial Formation Network financed?

    The MFN is funded by grants from the Panel on Theological Education, the St. Lawrence Foundation, the Fund for Unitarian Universalism, the Stevens Fund and by a portion of the UUMA budget.  We are very grateful to the generosity of our funders. We do not charge a participation fee. Participants support the program by paying their dues to the UUMA.


    Who do I contact if I have questions?

    Please contact the Director of Ministries for Collegial Care, Rev. Melissa Carvill Ziemer at or (617) 848-0498 extension 1 with any questions.


    Important Links:

    Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, 24 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210-1409
    © 2020 Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association.