“HUUMS lives the ditty: ‘roots hold us close, wings set us free.’ At my most lacerated, this community holds me with grace; at my most collected, this community empowers me to soar – and to pull others with me for the journey.” – Erik Resly [MDiv II]
“While the MFC’s procedures, the UUA’s website, and life itself was shifting around, HUUMS was there, steady, Friday after Friday. It was a place where colleagues a few steps ahead of me could show me the ropes, and where I could “pay it forward” to the ones who came after me. We supported each other in hard times and in celebrating. I will always cherish my HUUMS time!” – Rev. Angela Herrera [MDiv ’10, Assistant Minister at First Unitarian Church in Albuquerque,NM]
“There are few places in Divinity School where students can practice, learn, be supported, and help others while preparing for ministry. HUUMS is one such place. The group helped me find my preaching voice, gave me practice in leadership, and provided colleagues that I will know deep into my years of ministry. HUUMS was an invaluable experience for me.” -Rev. Lucas Hergert [MDiv ’09, Minister at Unitarian Universalist Church in Livermore, CA and President of HUUMS, 2008]
“Thousands of miles apart, I still keep in touch with the colleagues I met through HUUMS. In times of distress as well as joy, I turn to them for support, guidance and love. HUUMS provides a place for discerning souls to find their preaching voice, to discover their gifts in ministry and ultimately to find their calling. For the incredible blessings HUUMS provided me both during and after seminary, I am very grateful!” -Rev. Robin Tanner [MDiv ’09, Minister at Piedmont Unitarian Universalist Church in Charlotte, NC]
Frequently Asked Questions:
Will HDS adequately prepare me for ordained UU ministry?
Yes! HDS is a wonderful place and offers many opportunities to prepare for ministry. We benefit from a wide array of courses on Unitarian Universalism such as theology, history, preaching, religious education, polity and best practices. These courses are taught by esteemed Unitarian Universalist professors, ministers and leaders, including Dan McKanan, the Ralph Waldo Emerson Unitarian Universalist Association Senior Lecturer in Divinity, Mass Bay Executive Rev. Sue Phillips, Judith Frediani, the UUA Director of Faith Development, Rev. Parisa Parsa Minister at First Parish in Milton and Gary Smith, author and Pastor Emeritus at First Parish in Concord. Students at HDS also benefit from the opportunity to take others courses throughout Harvard University as well as at any of the other BTI (Boston Theological Institute) schools. In addition to academics, HDS also asks each student to participate in field education, a chance for students to practice ministry in the surrounding community. Field education is where you get to put what you’ve learned in the classroom into practice out in the “real world,” whether in nearby UU congregations, at the UUA headquarters or in local hospitals or non-profits. UU students at HDS are also blessed to have wonderful denominational counselors who mentor and support students on their journey towards ministry.
Are you wondering if you’d fit in as a UU at HDS?
There is a wide range of personal backgrounds and future goals amongst UUs at HDS. These vocational desires range from parish ministry, chaplaincy, academic positions, non-profit work, and many more. Theologically, we draw from a plethora of sources, including paganism, Buddhism, Christianity, Sikhism. Many of us are in our twenties and thirties, but not all—some of us also bring a vast amount of experience in the working and professional world with us to our divinity school studies.
Is HDS an incredibly competitive environment?
Not ‘incredibly’ competitive, and ‘somewhat’ is even a stretch. Of course, HDSers tend to be extremely self-motivated and driven folk, so there’s a lot of passion to go around. But, to the best of our knowledge, there is no library book stealing or smug grade proclamations. HUUMS, in particular, commits itself to creating a safe, supportive and empowering community in which we can explore deep parts of ourselves while being in fellowship with others.
How does it feel to be a UU at HDS?
HDS itself was founded by Unitarians back in 1816, and although it has changed a bit since then, we feel it is still a great place to be a UU. We are highly respected for the unique gifts we bring to the table of pluralism while remaining open to learning from our colleagues of all traditions.
Is HDS a UU seminary and if so, what are its strengths and weaknesses?
We consider HDS a seminary as UUs. It is a place in which we worship; learn how to take care of ourselves and each other; listen; stretch ourselves intellectually and spiritually; and learn to lean into our supervisors, advisers, friends, and whatever we call holy. The strengths of the seminary are the room and support it offers to do all of the above. It’s weaknesses are an institutional focus that can at times be more intentional about intellectual development and less intentional about making the ties to ministerial development.
Is everyone at HDS preparing for ordained parish ministry? Doctoral work?
Though this is different for every incoming class (and while it often changes for many folks sometime during their time at HDS), approximately 40% of the MDiv students at HDS are preparing for ordained parish ministry, 30% doctoral work, and 30% divided between other non-profit work and/or other degrees.
Do I have to be sure of my career plans when I enter?
No. While it can be a nice thing to have a vision to work toward, don’t fret if you’re not 100% sure of what you want to do with the rest of your life. It is entirely possible that even if you enter divinity school steadfastly pursuing something in particular, that you will graduate with a different idea for your future.