History:The Unitarian Association of Lay Leaders (UALL) was brought into being in 1991 to offer support to those in lay ministry, Lay Pastors and Lay Leaders, who were leading congregations, often in tandem with other jobs. It was represented on a joint consultative committee on Unitarian Education and Training, whose recommendation led in 1994 to the creation of an Approved Roll of Lay Leaders. Then UALL became an Affiliated Society of the General Assembly.
At that time, membership was restricted to Approved Lay Leaders and Lay Pastors with pastoral responsibility for a single congregation or fellowship, and to those undergoing preparation for admission to one of the Approved Rolls, following their appearance before the Interview Sub-Committee (now the Interview Panel).
Given the evolution of diverse forms of Lay Ministry since the original formation of UALL (for example group ministries where a Lay Leader does not have pastoral responsibility for a single congregation) it was decided to relax the criteria for membership so as to adapt to the changing scene.
In 2001, the Unitarian Association of Lay Preachers was wound up, and members were invited to join UALL. This led to a new category of membership: Associate Member. This category was open to Lay Preachers and others who in various ways are involved in and supportive of lay activities within the movement.
Since its inception, UALL has sought to be both a pastoral support and training vehicle. We now give support to the increased training opportunities required for GA recognition, and work closely with the GA's Worship Studies Course, which is run by the Joined Up Education Panel. WSC students are encouraged to attend our annual conference to further their training.
At our AGM in 2008, it was decided that a name change was required, to reflect the Association's broadening remit. Our new name, Unitarian Association for Lay Ministry, was chosen to indicate that we see our principal role as that of supporting lay ministry in all its forms, not just those with pastoral oversight for a congregation.
The development of UALM has been, for all of us, an exciting and enriching experience. We communicate with each other, support each other, learn from each other, and continually pull together in seeking to achieve our objectives.