Rev. Dr. Anita Farber-Robertson

Background & Development


Introducing the Rev. Dr. Anita Farber-Robertson:

My deep love and passion is for congregational life, where the generations come together with their whole bodies, minds, hearts and spirits, growing, learning and finding common support and nurture, equipping them to love and serve the wider community.

I served as settled pastor in two Unitarian Universalist congregations in Canton and Swampscott, Massachusetts for a total of 19 years attaining fellowship first in Parish Ministry and later in Community Ministry.

I find great satisfaction in serving as Interim Minister to congregations in transition which I have done since 1999. I am a fully Accredited Interim Minister.  Delightfully, I learn something from every congregation that I serve.

Beginning in 1988 I taught in a variety of capacities at Andover Newton Theological School, eventually serving as the Adjunct Professor of Communication.  I led the design team and was the lead instructor for the course Interim Ministry: Theory and Practice
 My book, Learning While Leading, Increasing your Effectiveness in Ministry, published by Alban Institute, has been used in seminaries around the world. My essays on other topics have been published in anthologies. 

I co-authored Called to Community, New Directions in Unitarian Universalist Ministry, with Dorothy May Emerson, published in 2013.

I have a consulting practice to congregations (Learning Edge Consulting), and lead workshops for clergy and lay leaders in interim ministry, conflict management, adaptive change, anti-racism/diversity training, supervision, and time management.

My experience with congregations covers a broad spectrum of sizes and cultures.  The smallest congregation I have served as minister gathered 45 souls, while the largest, 500.

I came to Unitarian Universalism as a young adult, joining a lay led congregation, the Fourth Unitarian Society of Westchester County, in New York State where I served in many capacities including chairing their first every-member canvass, chairing the Worship Committee, and becoming President/chair of the Board.

I moved to Massachusetts with the eventual intention of attending seminary, settling in the small town of Hudson where they were in the process of calling a minister and I was asked to run the RE program which had fallen apart.  I spent four exciting years creatively inventing a new and successful RE program, working closely with the good folks I’d come to know and love in the church.  I enjoyed the children immensely, and miss having more contact with them.

For the three and a half years that I studied at Andover Newton Theological School for my M. Div., I served as the chaplain of the Doolittle Retirement Home, a UU retirement home in Foxborough, MA, where I preached every week and pastored the residents.  Having learned just before how much I enjoyed ministering to children and youth, I was surprised to learn how much I enjoyed ministering to the elders.  Clearly an intergenerational ministry was the one for me.

My first call was to First Parish, UU in Canton, MA.  It was a wonderfully satisfying and enjoyable ministry that I took up there, where I raised my family, and grew in ministry.  I am grateful to them for my ministerial formation.  I accepted the call to serve as the senior minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lynn, in Swampscott, MA which promised an opportunity for urban ministry in addition to a fuller staff. 

While I found the urban ministry work compelling, some in the congregation had other interests.  I chose to leave after serving eight years so that I could accept a call to teach at Andover Newton and buckle down and write the book I’d been intending.

I was encouraged to consider interim ministry by executives of two different denominations.  They each pointed out that I had excellent consulting skills, and interim ministry, as they explained it to me, was just a longer, differently paced consulting.  I agreed to try it and fell in love.  This now, was my new calling. Nineteen years later, I am still in love with congregations in transition.