Creating Minister and Licensed Teacher Agreements

Published on: June 22, 2015

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A choral group that I sing in is currently rehearsing a song with words that go something like this: “How good it is, how good and pleasant, when people dwell in unity … when people sing in harmony.” Most of the time, fortunately, our singing group is doing just that—singing in harmony, for it is our greatest desire to present that which is good and pleasant. We have learned that it requires several things, such as knowing our part, consciously listening to each other, and making appropriate adjustments in pitch or volume. When we do this well, the outcome is a harmonious sound that is pleasing to the ear.

In music, most of the time the melody is carried by the sopranos. But in some songs, the altos carry the melody for part of the song. Wisely, the composer writes the melody for the altos in songs where the melody is within the range, or skill level, of the alto. For my alto voice, anything above a D on the treble clef scale produces a sound that is not all that beautiful, so I am content knowing that the sopranos are taking care of the higher notes.

This reminds me of the ideal relationship that I envision between minister and licensed Unity teacher. Knowing our part, or our role in the ministry, is of prime importance. Much discord can be avoided with clear role definitions. We recommend a written agreement between minister and licensed teacher which clearly states the role of each, and we provide a sample of this kind of agreement during SDS (Skills Demonstration Seminar) week. We now have a sample on our website on the Administration page that you can customize for your use.

While licensed teachers are especially trained to teach Unity classes and to pray with congregants, the role of the licensed teacher is sometimes very fluid. Their role can change depending on the needs of the minister or ministry, and the skill level of the licensed teacher. The minister may occasionally ask the licensed teacher to fill other roles within the ministry, such as delivering the Sunday message or leading a meditation.

Consciously listening to each other and making appropriate adjustments are skills required by every good choir. These same skills are developed as our ministers and licensed teachers work together, become better acquainted with each other, and have a deeper understanding of each other’s roles. Both strive to create an environment which allows the congregation to see and hear the beautiful music of leaders who dwell in unity—leaders who sing in harmony. It is indeed good and pleasant to be a part of such a ministry.

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Shirley Kennedy
Shirley Kennedy is a licensed Unity teacher and serves UWM as Licensed Teacher Coordinator. She has degrees in human resource development and business administration. Shirley has served Unity communities in northern Virginia and south Texas as employee, volunteer, teacher and spiritual leader.

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