Rev. Dr. Edward Brock

Unitarian Universalist Minister

I am passionately committed to the growth and health of UU congregations.

I believe UU congregations are vitally important for our society and provide invaluable resources for spiritual and religious nurture.

I hope this website will help give you a sense of my work and the ways that I can be helpful to your congregation during this time of transition and change.

​In searching for an interim minister, I believe it is important to ask these four questions:​

 >     Is your potential interim a professional? Do they have at least the minimum credentials for  an interim minister and have they served in the role professionally for at least five years?

>      Has your potential interim minister been a settled minister for at least 5 years? The settled ministry experience gives the person doing interim ministry a highly valuable perspective, particularly in preparing the church for the next settled minister.

>     Has your potential interim minister any special training that goes far beyond the basic interim training that can help him or her in their work as an interim?

>     Does the interim prospect have an actual track record of clear, concrete and specific successes that goes beyond mere ‘place holding’ until the settled minister arrives?

I can answer affirmatively to each of these questions.

There are many ways to measure success in interim ministry. I will just mention three. In each congregation I have served, the level of giving for the annual canvass increased, significant organizational changes to the betterment of the well-being of the community occurred, and the congregation was prepared for its future in a healthy direction.

I look forward to the opportunity of getting to know you better.

Professional Chronology

Interim Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Huntsville, Al. 2018-present
Interim Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Birmingham, Al. 2016-2018
Interim Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Ventura, CA 2015-present
Interim Minister, First Unitarian Church of Oakland, Oakland, CA 2013 – 2015
Interim Minister, Orange Coast UU Church, Costa Mesa, CA 2011 – 2013
Interim Minister, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, TX 2010 – 2011
Interim Minister, Hamilton First Unitarian Church, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada 2009 – 2010
Spiritual Director, Private Practice 2007 – 2009
Minister, Edmonds Unitarian Church, Edmonds, WA 1999 – 2007
Interim Minister, Ormond Beach Unitarian Church, Daytona Beach, FL 1998 – 1999
Minister, Jacksonville Unitarian Universalist Church, Jacksonville, FL 1989 – 1998

*Served in this role while completing State Licensing Requirement for Therapist in Washington State.

Experiences Before Unitarian Universalism

I began my professional life as a United Methodist Minister.  Then before my transition to the UU Ministry, I worked in the business world for four years.  These experiences have been invaluable to my work as a UU minister.  My experience in the business world added to my grasp of the financial component of church work.  My experience as a United Methodist minister deepened my capacity for interfaith work.

Education and Training

Doctorate in Ministry
Wisdom University, Oakland, California
Area of Concentration: Pastoral Care and Organizational Theory

Masters in Divinity
Vanderbilt University Divinity School, Nashville, Tennessee
Area of Concentration: Religion and Ethics

Bachelor’s Degree
Birmingham Southern College, Birmingham, Alabama
Area of Concentration: History and Religion

Mental Health Credential (LMHC)
Licensed Mental Health Counselor
Washington State

AIMIT STATUS, UUA

Experience

I have in depth, broad experience of our congregations.  During the last 25 years, I have been interim minister at six very different UU congregations and settled minister at two quite different congregations (ranging in size from 170 to 500 members) and, via my district and interfaith work, experience with dozens of other UU congregations. These experiences gave me a comprehensive awareness of the needs of our congregations and the challenges lay and clergy leaders face.

I have worked with congregations in every phase of transition and development, including but not limited to:

  • leadership development and training
  • workshops in understanding congregational organization
  • staff development and re-alignment

       • major fund raising

       • selling and moving a congregational home

       • by-law and policy and procedure revisions

       • development of covenants of right relationship

       • crisis management

       • introducing, implementing and using a policy based structure within different types of governance systems

       • engagement in social justice programs

       • developing programs for growth

       • mediating relationship of former ministers with current leadership

       • redefining relationships between professional staff, boards and committees

Additionally, I have a high level of training in two areas of study that are extremely useful in working with congregations: family systems theory and the practice of Dr. Marshall Rosenberg’s ‘compassionate communication.’  I studied with Rabbi Friedman, a leading teacher for the application systems theory to congregations, for seven years.  Additionally, in the process of obtaining my license to do psychotherapy, I had 140 hours of formal meetings with my supervising therapist, Dr. Mary Sferre, a highly regarded family systems therapist as well as a religious professional; our sessions were spent understanding how people function in social systems with emphasis on religious communities and exploring the meaning of ‘leader.’ My in-depth and extensive training with Dr. Marshall Rosenberg’s theory and practice of compassionate communication, including a week-long workshop in Switzerland with other community organizers from around the world, can be used to improve internal and external communication in congregations across a wide spectrum of issues, including, but not limited to, conflict resolution, conflict prevention, establishing healthy ways to manage anxiety around disagreements and differences, and creating models for how optimal communication occurs in congregations.  My understanding of the ‘systems’ of congregations and the members and leaders of a congregation,  and the interactions of all of these parts is informed by very well thought out paradigms of what organizational health looks like.

I have honed a skill derived from my experiences as a minister, student of systems theory, and counselor: I can come into a situation, discern what the major issues are that need to be addressed, and help a congregation  focus its energy toward achieving important goals.  I have done this with great effectiveness in all the interim ministries I have engaged in with concrete and measurable consequences. This skill involves nurturing the leadership required to get things moving in a healthy and positive direction with a combination of training, coaching and pastoral support.

Leadership

Leadership is the fulcrum which moves people and events; it is the center without which events drift or things fall apart. Leadership development is the key to success however ‘success’ for a specific congregation at a particular time  is defined.

Leadership is often misunderstood as ‘power over others’ but that is a false definition.

I define leadership as the ability to live in congruence with principles, inspire and sustain trust, build cooperative teams which move in the same direction, nurture leadership in others, remain highly adaptive to the situation at hand, and move steadily toward completing important goals without being thrown off course.

The many references on my website attest to my success in helping congregations develop their leadership.

Leadership invites people to look at their situation from new perspectives.

For example, a leader might ask ‘How do we create effective organizational structures which allow us to unleash our energies most effectively to reach the goals we care about most deeply?’

Ministerial leadership, in particular, is about helping other people become empowered to lead.  This might involve tapping into leadership that has been overlooked. It might involve developing leadership through training events or in other ways.

Leadership is teachable and essential to the life of a congregation.  I can help nurture leadership in the congregation I serve.