Seminary for the Laity

Seminary for the Laity

During the 2007-2008 academic year, Starr King has offered 7-week Seminary for the Laity online courses. With enormous gratitude to Dr. Helen Bishop, we are announcing that the Seminary for the Laity certificate program will not continue into the 2008-2009 academic year. In light of Starr King School's new educational model, our approach to theological education for the laity is under further development. Students currently enrolled in the Seminary for the Laity certificate program who wish to receive a certificate may complete it by taking SKSM online courses for the SftL rate fees. For more information, SftL Certificate students should contact Cathleen Young at

Dr. Bishop’s leadership in this capacity has been outstanding and we are grateful. Thank you, Dr. Bishop for your generous commitment, educational imagination, wisdom, and collegial spirit. We look forward to working with you in the future.

Educational Goals

Starr King School’s Seminary for the Laity is a non-resident, online certificate program designed to help congregational and non-profit leaders develop skills that can move organizations toward fulfilling their mission and vision.  The program is appropriate for:

  • lay leaders
  • clergy
  • religious educators
  • church administrators
  • music and volunteer services directors
  • Unitarian Universalist congregational leaders
  • Unitarian Universalist Association district leaders
  • non-profit leaders. 

These leaders frequently operate in an environment of constant change and limited resources while struggling to support their communities, further organizational goals and plan strategically for the future.  Classes offered as part of the Seminary for the Laity program recognize the realities of this environment and provide students with the necessary tools for organizational sustainability.

Through this online program, leaders will learn to analyze community systems, clarify and expand an organization’s mission, manage shifts and trends, turn conflict into a positive tool for change, and care for themselves to sustain both personal and organizational growth.

Courses include the opportunity to deepen understanding of Unitarian Universalist values, heritage, theology and ethics.

SKSM integrates learning tools, such as podcasts, video segments and CD recordings, into the program, offering them in formats designed for ease of use by a wide variety of people.  Participants will create a learning community within the program to support their work.

Online Coursework

Seminary for the Laity offers flexible half-semester and semester courses leading to a certificate of completion from Starr King School.  Each course is designed to be self-standing (no class is a prerequisite for another) and available in a variety of sequences to fit the needs of participants.

Click here to view the Seminary for the Laity courses we are offering.

For graduate-level courses, click here for our online offerings and click here for our onsite classes.

Program Director

Dr. Helen Bishop holds an Ed.D, in organizational leadership and has an extensive background working with Unitarian Universalist congregations, districts and affiliated organizations.  She has designed, developed and taught online courses related to all aspects of lay leadership and congregational studies, including a pilot project for Unitarian Universalist lay leaders.  She also served as director of The Mountain Learning Center for Leadership in Highlands, N.C., and as District Executive for Congregational Services for the UUA’s Central Midwest District.

Read an introductory letter from Dr. Bishop.

Additional Information

Contact Admissions for more information about this new program, which starts Fall 2007.

Click for the SKSM Academic Calendar for Seminary for the Laity dates.


Click to view the Starr King catalog in PDF format.

M.A. | MASC | M.Div. | Seminary for the Laity


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