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What Your Minister Does

Rev. Carol Bodeau, Minister

Recently, I was asked by a couple of congregants about the exact nature of my job. Though most Westsiders have a basic idea of what I do, it became clear to me that not everyone has a clear sense of how I spend my work time, or even how my actual work time is defined. Here’s a basic outline of my role as minister of WUUC.

First, my position is not a full-time position. I work three- quarters time, which for a minister translates to somewhere between 30-40 hours each week. I am off-duty one Sunday each month, and have 6 weeks of ‘leave’ each year. This is divided into 2 weeks when I work long-distance from California, where my teenage son lives (usually on his spring and summer break time), and 4 weeks of vacation time. Unlike more traditional UU ministry positions, in which the minister takes the whole summer off, I will be working throughout the summer.

My work week includes three to four days when I am at the office. I am usually at church on Sundays from about 9am til about 3pm. Sundays usually include a few meetings, in addition to Sunday service. I meet monthly with the Board of Trustees, the Committee on Ministry, the Worship Committee, and the Membership Committee. I also work all day Wednesday, though some of that time may be spent at meetings in other parts of town (including monthly ministers’ meetings in Oak Ridge). Wednesdays are filled with meetings with staff, pastoral meetings with congregants, planning meetings with committees, and meetings with cluster leaders from other churches in the area. Every other Wednesday evening, I help lead the evening meditations and adult RE programs. I am also usually at Westside on Monday afternoons and evenings, working on office tasks or meeting with committees and congregants. And each week usually includes at least one extra meeting, event, or activity at the church. In addition to these tasks at church, I make frequent pastoral visits and phone calls. On average, I make at least one visit each week to a congregant’s home or hospital/care facility. I also officiate at weddings and memorial services, for both congregants and members of the local community.

The rest of the week, I work at my home office—writing sermons, reading books about church growth and development, planning special events with various committees, communicating with other churches and ministers about cluster events, calendaring and tracking the life of the church as a whole, and keeping up with the various paperwork tasks required. In addition to my work for Westside, I also maintain a private counseling practice in Oak Ridge, where I work one day each week.

Because we are at an important point in the life of our church, exploring what size church we’d like to be and how we’d like to use our resources, it’s helpful for everyone to have a good idea just how I spend my time. Though I hold the official title of ‘minister,’ ministry is a function of the whole community; it is work we all do together. How does my ministry work match with what you thought it to be? And, more importantly, how does it complement or support your ministry work? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so call or email and let me know what you think.

Rev. Carol

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